Category Archives: Canon Law

You have a right to question your priest

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

It is a principle of natural law, that anyone who presents himself as anything, has the duty to give reasons which justify his claims in public. This in past ages has never been much of an issue with regard to Catholic priests or Bishops. It was sufficient to know that he was a priest or a Bishop.

But with the planned and organized and generation-long effort by Masons in and outside the Church to corrupt the priesthood of Jesus Christ in the Church, it is no longer always and everywhere safe to presume the priest you know is Catholic, that is correct in doctrine, even when he is a Catholic priest.

So you should ask your local priest questions and not merely act as dumb sheep, if he appears to deviate from right doctrine or orthodox practice.

And no, I am not talking about him mistakenly leaving the cruets on the Altar rather than on the credence table. I am talking about issues which regard whether he has accepted the religion of Globalism or whether he is a Catholic.

If he says in a homily, that Greta Thurnburg is a Saint. Then you do not need to discuss anything with him, you need to denounce him as a heretic to your Bishop. I counseled one laymen on this matter recently, and after writing his bishop, the priest was removed as pastor from his parish.

No, I am speaking about ambiguous speech.  If a priest says we must be accepting to habitual sinners and goes on and on about this, then you should question him, because he may be a habitual sinner himself with intentions of corruption your sons and/or daughters.

If he says he hates honest politicians like Donald Trump or Matteo Salvini, you should question him about his politics. Because if he is a Marxist he is an apostate on account of this, that he rejects the entire soteriology of the Church.  Soteriology is the theology of salvation. Salvation consists in our supernatural conformity, body and soul, to the will of God, through the Sacraments, with the merit of eternal life in Heaven. It does not consist in fulfilling the political platform of the local left wing party.

In fact, if your priest admits he votes for the Left, you should question him, because with a few questions you will be able to reveal that he is either a heretic or an apostate, and then you can denounce him to your Bishop and leave the parish for another one.

If he preaches against the prolife movement, against those who want right doctrine or praxis, if he says that truth does not matter or says things which are confused, you should question him. I remember years ago, I was visiting a Church on Holy Trinity Sunday, and the priest said: At the baptism of Jesus a voice was heard, the voice of the Holy Spirit saying, “This is my beloved son, listen to him”.  In charity I assumed the priest was drunk on some physical liquid, and so I denounced him by letter to his bishop. In a week or two he was removed from the parish.

I know of a real case, in the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts, where a priest spoke in favor of contraception and abortion during a homily. The whole parish rose up and physically ran him out of the parish. The Bishop graciously responded by removing the priest as pastor. They questioned him before the ran him out, but they did the right and Catholic thing. God bless both them and their Bishop.

So it is important to speak with your priest, when he starts acting strange. Because if you don’t, it will lead to more serious scandals and the lost of faith of your brother and sisters in Christ. And do not hesitate to denounce bad priests, because this is a blessing for all: for by denouncing bad priests, you make the life of every other good priest in the Diocese easier, by removing a stain, a cross and a plague on the local Church.

If you have a question about the strange behavior of a priest, and seek advice, publish your story in a comment, but remove all identifying information as to place and person, so as to protect the reputations of all involved.

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CREDITS: The featured image is of Fra Angelico’s,  The arrest of Christ, and is in the public domain, being a faithful reproduction of an original work of art which is mroe than 200 years old.

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Dialogue with a Cardinal, who refused dialogue

By Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Christian charity requires that we not refuse to speak with our superiors or inferiors. The Crisis in the Church now is so grave that we should all be seeking to speak with our superiors about it and about how to remedy it. One thing we must discuss is the canonically erroneous declaration of Feb. 11, 2013 by the man who is Pope Benedict XVI.  Erroneous, manifestly, because no one had the respect for his Office or person to point out that the act needed to be redone, IF it was his intention to posit an act in conformity with Canon 332 §2.

For this reason I have written more than 50 Cardinals, I think — I am not sure I have lost count — to raise the issue. And recently one of them had the Christian charity to respond to me in writing. I cannot divulge the actual text, for the sake of my respect for his person and office, but I can divulge my text in reply, because I think it addresses a problem we all are having when we speak with out superiors about Pope Benedict’s Declaratio.

The Cardinal wrote to me that we must presume that Pope Francis is validly elected and holds the petrine munus, and therefore, he told me that he did not want to speak with me in person about the Renunciation.

Here is my reply to this prince of the Church:

Your Eminence,

If you ask any Doctor of Law, you will see that the reason you give, namely, “We must assume Pope Francis is a validly elected pope, who actually represents the petrine munus”, is a statement which compounds several errors:

1. First, that a man is the pope is not a presumption of fact, but the conclusion of law. For example, he is not the pope, whom the Cardinals say is the pope, rather, he is the pope who was elected according to the norm of Universi Dominici Gregis. To say the first, that is, that he whom the Cardinals says is the pope, is the pope, confuses the means whereby we know a canonical fact with the cause of the legitimacy of a canonical fact. They are two different things.

2. Second, in all law, whether Roman, Napoleonic or Common, the cessation of power is never presumed. This is an ancient principle, the ignoring of which would cause chaos in society. The corollary is that the cessation of right is never presumed. Now a Papal renunciation is the first moment in a petrine succession. And a succession of legal right is judged as a cessation of power. As Mons. Arrieta, of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, affirmed in my presence on Dec 11, 2019, such an act of renunciation must be clear in itself, it cannot be interpreted to be valid, because no one has the right to interpret it. This is because, interpretation of a law is the cause of its being understood other than what it is. And the Code of Canon Law does not grant that right, in papal renunciations, since they must be manifestly a renunciation of petrine munus.

3. Third, your affirmation that Pope Francis must be assumed to be validly elected, is the supposition of a conclusion as the first premise of your thought. In other words, you have taken what you should, in virtue of a series of illations based on facts and law, hold as a conclusion, and make it the first principle whereby your mind refuses to presuppose that from which it is illated. This is the logical error called petitio principii.

4. In truth, if you read Universi Dominici Gregis n. 37, Pope John Paul II required that a sede vacante be verified as a legal one. But Mons Arrieta assured me that no such verification was done in Feb. 2013. In fact, canon 40 invalidates everything done by a subject receiving an administrative act, before he verifies the integrity of the act itself. Yet the Vatican was publishing different versions of the Declaratio for many days, so an integral act was never had prior to the announcement minutes after the Consistory of Feb. 11, that the act meant a renunciation of the papacy. Indeed, as a Latinist who has published both a Grammar and translated over 9000 pages of Scholastic texts, I have found more thn 40 errors in the Latin text. There are moreover at least 6 canonical errors in the central act, which render it invalid, null or irritus. Furthermore, canon 41 gives each of us the duty to refuse an actus nullus and requires that we have recourse to the authority issuing the act. As Mons. Arrieta affirmed again to me, in the case of a papal resignation, if the act is null it must be redone, and if it is unclear the recourse to the superior must be to solicit another valid act, since he himself cannot make it valid by an interpretation. Thus, the mere fact that Pope Benedict said he renounced the ministerium, when Canon 332 §2 requries the renunciation of munus, means that the act is also irritus in virtue of canon 188, for substantial error, and irritus in virtue of canon 38 for not containing a derogation of the requirement to name the munus.

I can understand that as a Cardinal you would be disinclined to broach the issue of the legitimacy of the previous apparent Conclave, in which you never participated, but as Catholics we risk the penalty of eternal damnation, if we allow the Petrine Succession to falter for reasons so grave. Words have meaning, and if we reject that, then we will not find mercy before the terrible seat of Judgement of the Divine Word, who said of Pope John Paul II when he foresaw his Code of Canon Law in 1983: Whatsoever you bind on earth, shall be bound also in Heaven.

Finally, I have not demanded a meeting with Your Eminence, but I have pointed out the grave reasons why you should act, and at least do the due diligence required of you in Canon 41 and seek a private audience with Pope Benedict, before he loses his mental faculties. I assure you that he will tell you that it was never his intention to renounce the petrine munus, only to renounce the petrine ministerium and office. I say this based on a complete study of everything he said from Feb. 11, 2013 to today. And Antonio Socci agrees with me, as he said in his interview with Aldo Maria Valli just last week.

Sincerely in Saint Francis,

Br. Alexis Bugnolo

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CREDITS: The Featured Image is my own photo of a bas-relief in the Basilica of the Most Holy Savior, here at Rome, showing a Pope kneeling in adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Truth Incarnate.

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The news that Benedict renounced the Papacy is itself canonically invalid

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

As I have said before, everything in the Bergoglian Church is founded upon lies and falsehoods. And the more you investigate, the more you find that this is true.

In many posts, here at The From Rome Blog, I have focused on the canonical problems of the Declaratio read aloud by Pope Benedict XVI on Feb. 11, 2013, during the Consistory of Cardinals called for the canonization of the Martyrs of Otranto and other saints.

Today I want to share only a short reflection, directed that those who think, that since everyone accepted that Benedict resigned the papacy, upon the news published that day, that we are canonically or morally bound to hold fast with that interpretation until some authority says otherwise.

The truth is, however, exactly the opposite.

And the truth is the opposite, because, once again, Pope John Paul II saved the Church from that kind of false thinking when he promulgated the Code of Canon Law in 1983, specifically including canon 40, which addresses this very issue.

That canon reads as follows in the Latin, official text:

Can. 40 — Exsecutor alicuius actus administrativi invalide suo munere fungitur, antequam litteras receperit earumque authenticitatem et integritatem recognoverit, nisi praevia earundem notitia ad ipsum auctoritate eundem actum edentis transmissa fuerit.

Here is my English translation:

Canon 40: The executor of any administrative act invalidly conducts his office (suo munero), before he receives the documents (letteras) and certifies (recognoverit) their integrity and authenticity, unless previous knowledge of them has been transmitted to him by the authority publishing the act itself.

And here is the problem, plain to see. Pope Benedict XVI read his Declaratio on that day between 11:30 and 11:40 A.M. It was so unexpected, that Vatican TV had to turn the cameras on several moments after the reading had begun. — Tell me again, that this was planned for months in advance, as Archbishop Ganswein keeps insisting in recent years!

Then at 11:58, Father Lombardi gives Giovanna Chirri, the ANSA pool reporter, the go ahead to tweet out that Benedict was resigning, he will leave the Pontificate on Feb. 28th.

But from Feb. 11, 2013 to about Feb. 18, 2013, the Vatican Press Office was publishing varying versions of the Renunciation, correcting now this, now that.

Thus, only until the final version was had, could anyone VALIDLY respond to it in canonical form, since Canon 40 requires that those with an office in the Church NOT act until they have the administrative act in hand in its integral form.

This means that the idea that Benedict had resigned the Papacy arose in that period of time in which Pope John Paul II forbid any canonically binding actions. That means that whoever told Lombardi to tell reporters anything, acted invalidly according to Canon Law. Which means that their act binds no one! And can never bind anyone.

It also means that once the final version was published, ALL who held office in the Church were canonically obliged TO RE-EXAMINE the act. — Did they do that?

I suggest the next time anyone says Bergoglio is certainly the Pope, ask them if they did that on Feb. 19, 2013. I bet you will find that the answer is that they did not.

So the next time anyone attempts to gaslight you into thinking that you are wrong to disagree with the “universal acceptance” of Benedict’s renunciation, you might want to ask them if they have ever read Canon 40 and considered that not only was the news Fake News, but its publication lacks ALL CANONICAL AUTHORITY.  This means, that the news never came from the Church of Jesus Christ, as an ontological entity.

As the sheep of Christ, then, we are gravely obliged to stop regarding it as authoritative. Indeed, to continue to do so is to transfer our loyalty, which we should show to the Church, to some other entity. And that is precisely the shell game of the AntiChrist.

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Re-Elect Pope Benedict!

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

On March 13, 2013 a Schism was consummated in the Church by the College of Cardinals, who dared to convene a Conclave during the life of a Pope who had not resigned in accord with Canon 332 §2.  Nearly everyone was drawn into this schism due to the rash and false announcement put out by Father Lombardi on Feb. 11, 2013, when he gave Giovanna Chirri the via libera to publish a tweet at 11:58 AM that morning, just minutes after the end of the Consistory for the Martyrs of Otranto, claiming that Benedict had resigned and would give up the Pontificate on February 28.

During the last 7 years, the Holy Spirit has been stirring up Catholics to re-examine the Renunciation and realize in accord with the right granted them in canon 41 that the Renunciation was never valid, because it never named the thing a Pope must renounce to renounce the Papacy: the petrine munus.

For Catholics loyal to Christ, our duty now is to convince the Cardinals and Bishops to stop adhering to this Schism. Bergoglio never was the Successor of Saint Peter and is not the Pope: Benedict XVI is.

However, I am willing to admit that the Cardinals might not have the intellectual capacity or the moral ability to recognize the truth of what they did (schism and usurpation) and of what the Renunciation really meant: nothing at all but the uncanonical expression of an old man who was tired of governing those who did not obey him.

So I am willing to propose a solution for the Church, which does not require the Cardinals to have any virtue other than pragmatic prudence. And in this post, I will discuss that which regards the possibility that Bergoglio leaves office before Benedict.*

The Solution

The solution would be, that after the resignation of Bergoglio (may God hasten the day!) or after the death of Bergoglio (may he repent before it comes upon him), the Cardinals decide to re-elect Pope Benedict as the pope.

In this way they return to loyalty to the Pope without having to admit their error or sin. In this way they get a superior who probably wont ever correct them in anything, being so old and weak.

While one can argue that the Cardinals cannot validly or legitimately elect anyone during the life time of Pope Benedict, nevertheless, such a post-Bergoglian faux Conclave would serve as a cover for their return to communion with him.

So materially it would be a papal conclave and election, but formally it would me an act of re-submission to the Roman Pontiff. And Benedict does not even have to agree or be informed, because he is already pope and has already accepted his canonical election in 2005!

So I say this publicly now, so that if the occasion presents itself, Catholic bloggers and Clergy might take swift action to persuade the better Cardinals to propose this path of action in the future.  I myself will make it a point to discuss it with every Cardinal I get the chance to speak with, and I encourage all to write every Cardinal and suggest it.

Because, we must keep ever in mind, that what matters most of all is the salvation of souls. And this objective requires that first the College of Cardinals and the College of Bishops and the Clergy return to communion with Pope Benedict XVI, the true and only Vicar of Jesus Christ on Earth.

After that, the Church can get to business condemning the individual heresies of Cardinal Bergoglio.

Appendix

For many, however, this controversy has caused them to forget how necessary submission to the true Roman Pontiff is for society and their own personal salvation, so I will reprint here in full the English translation** of the Bull of Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam, which is a must read for all Catholics right now in the Church.

Unam Sanctam

One God, One Faith, One Spiritual Authority

Bull of Pope Boniface VIII promulgated November 18, 1302

Urged by faith, we are obliged to believe and to maintain that the Church is one, holy, catholic, and also apostolic. We believe in Her firmly and We confess with simplicity that outside of Her there is neither salvation nor the remission of sins, as the Spouse in the Canticles [Sgs 6:8] proclaims: ‘One is my dove, my perfect one. She is the only one, the chosen of her who bore her,‘ and She represents one sole mystical body whose Head is Christ and the head of Christ is God [1 Cor 11:3]. In Her then is one Lord, one faith, one baptism [Eph 4:5]. There had been at the time of the deluge only one ark of Noah, prefiguring the one Church, which ark, having been finished to a single cubit, had only one pilot and guide, i.e., Noah, and We read that, outside of this ark, all that subsisted on the earth was destroyed.

We venerate this Church as one, the Lord having said by the mouth of the prophet: ‘Deliver, O God, my soul from the sword and my only one from the hand of the dog.’ [Ps 21:20] He has prayed for his soul, that is for himself, heart and body; and this body, that is to say, the Church, He has called one because of the unity of the Spouse, of the faith, of the sacraments, and of the charity of the Church. This is the tunic of the Lord, the seamless tunic, which was not rent but which was cast by lot [Jn 19:23- 24]. Therefore, of the one and only Church there is one body and one head, not two heads like a monster; that is, Christ and the Vicar of Christ, Peter and the successor of Peter, since the Lord speaking to Peter Himself said: ‘Feed my sheep‘ [Jn 21:17], meaning, my sheep in general, not these, nor those in particular, whence we understand that He entrusted all to him [Peter]. Therefore, if the Greeks or others should say that they are not confided to Peter and to his successors, they must confess not being the sheep of Christ, since Our Lord says in John ‘there is one sheepfold and one shepherd.’ We are informed by the texts of the gospels that in this Church and in its power are two swords; namely, the spiritual and the temporal. For when the Apostles say: ‘Behold, here are two swords‘ [Lk 22:38] that is to say, in the Church, since the Apostles were speaking, the Lord did not reply that there were too many, but sufficient. Certainly the one who denies that the temporal sword is in the power of Peter has not listened well to the word of the Lord commanding: ‘Put up thy sword into thy scabbard‘ [Mt 26:52]. Both, therefore, are in the power of the Church, that is to say, the spiritual and the material sword, but the former is to be administered for the Church but the latter by the Church; the former in the hands of the priest; the latter by the hands of kings and soldiers, but at the will and sufferance of the priest.

However, one sword ought to be subordinated to the other and temporal authority, subjected to spiritual power. For since the Apostle said: ‘There is no power except from God and the things that are, are ordained of God‘ [Rom 13:1-2], but they would not be ordained if one sword were not subordinated to the other and if the inferior one, as it were, were not led upwards by the other.

For, according to the Blessed Dionysius, it is a law of the divinity that the lowest things reach the highest place by intermediaries. Then, according to the order of the universe, all things are not led back to order equally and immediately, but the lowest by the intermediary, and the inferior by the superior. Hence we must recognize the more clearly that spiritual power surpasses in dignity and in nobility any temporal power whatever, as spiritual things surpass the temporal. This we see very clearly also by the payment, benediction, and consecration of the tithes, but the acceptance of power itself and by the government even of things. For with truth as Our witness, it belongs to spiritual power to establish the terrestrial power and to pass judgement if it has not been good. Thus is accomplished the prophecy of Jeremias concerning the Church and the ecclesiastical power: ‘Behold to-day I have placed you over nations, and over kingdoms‘ and the rest. Therefore, if the terrestrial power err, it will be judged by the spiritual power; but if a minor spiritual power err, it will be judged by a superior spiritual power; but if the highest power of all err, it can be judged only by God, and not by man, according to the testimony of the Apostle: ‘The spiritual man judgeth of all things and he himself is judged by no man‘ [1 Cor 2:15]. This authority, however, (though it has been given to man and is exercised by man), is not human but rather divine, granted to Peter by a divine word and reaffirmed to him (Peter) and his successors by the One Whom Peter confessed, the Lord saying to Peter himself, ‘Whatsoever you shall bind on earth, shall be bound also in Heaven‘ etc., [Mt 16:19]. Therefore whoever resists this power thus ordained by God, resists the ordinance of God [Rom 13:2], unless he invent like Manicheus two beginnings, which is false and judged by Us heretical, since according to the testimony of Moses, it is not in the beginnings but in the beginning that God created heaven and earth [Gen 1:1]. Furthermore, We declare, We proclaim, We define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.

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* In my post tomorrow, I will discuss the opposite case, and what the solution there might be.

** Source, with a few corrections, regarding honorific capitalizations, added by myself here on the pronouns referring to the Roman Pontiff and to Holy Mother Church.

Why Saint Alphonsus dei Liguori would say the Renunciation was invalid

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by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

The Saints who have been canonized are already in the glory of Paradise, and so, baring an extraordinary grace, do not speak to us anymore. But those Saints who have fully explained their opinions or teaching on any point, can be said to speak to us today. This is especially true of Saints who have taught on questions of law and the principles to be followed in controversies.  Of which kind is Saint Alphonsus dei Liguori, Doctor of the Church on all questions of moral theology, and not a few questions of law.

No one has the right to interpret a Papal Resignation

As I reported in my notes for my meeting with Bishop Arrieta, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legal Texts — who is the top Vatican official for questions of legal interpretation — he emphatically declared, that no one has the right to interpret a Papal Resignation. It must be clear in itself.

This statement by Bishop Arrieta clears up the entire controversy over the renunciation of Pope Benedict. Because, it ends it.  That is, since Pope Benedict XVI renounced the ministerium, not anything else. No one has the right to say that he renounced the Papal Office or petrine Munus or even power of governance.  Because to say that something else, requires an interpretation. And no one, not even the man who is the pope, has the right to interpret the act of renunciation.

But the statement of Bishop Arrieta is not of his own making. It is the necessary conclusion of legal principles.  First, that a declaration made by the man who is the pope, inasmuch as he is the man, and not the pope, cannot be judged by anyone except according to the norm of law. And since a declaration by such man when regarding the renunciation of the Office regards the renouncing of the Office, one cannot appeal to the holder of the office to interpret it. Because if it was valid, then the holder is no longer the holder, and thus cannot receive appeals. If it was not valid, then appealing to the holder of the office is tantamount to declaring the renunciation in valid.

Any appeal to Pope Benedict XVI to clarify what he meant means that the Resignation is invalid

This is a very important point, which has been overlooked in this 7 year controversy. Anyone who appeals to anything which Pope Benedict said before or after Feb. 28, 2013, to explain that the Renunciation means the renunciation of the papacy, or of the petrine munus, or of the power of governance IS IMPLICITLY AFFIRMING THAT POPE BENEDICT IS STILL THE POPE AND THAT THE RENUNCIATION WAS INVALID, because they are trying to have recourse to an official interpretation. And if the act needs to be interpreted, then it is doubtful. And if the renunciation is doubtful, then in virtue of canon 332 §2, it is invalid for lack of due manifestation.

What Saint Alphonsus says about the interpretation of a law:

For those who have overdosed on the falsehood of universal acceptance, and quote Saint Alphonsus, let us see what the Saint would say about the games the authors of such sophisms play with the words “munus” and “ministerium,” to make the Resignation say what it does not say.  For this we must have recourse to the teaching of Saint Alphonsus, taken from his great work, Theologia Moralis, Bk. I, tract ii, p. 242, De interpretatio legis. I will first quote the Latin, for those who can read Latin, and then give an English translation:

DE INTERPRETATIO LEGIS

200. Interpretatio alia est Authentica, alia Usualis, alia Doctrinalis. Authentica fieri potest vel ab ipso legislatore, vel ab eius successore, aut a superiore. Usualis est illa, quae ita ab usu est recepta. Doctrinalis autem est declaratio quaedam mentis legislatoris, quase a quocumque doctore fieri potest.

Hic dubitur an delcarationes, quae fiunt a Pontifice, vel a principe alicuius legis, indigeant promulgatione, ut obligent. In hoc distinguere oportet declarationes pure tales ab aliis quae sunt non pure tales, sed potius sunt merae interpretationes. Declarationes pure tales sunt, cum ab illis explicatur aliquis sensus, qui usque ab initio iam erat clare imbibitus in lege: ex. gr. si dubium sit, an sub verbo filii intelligatur solus legitimus aut eitam spurius, et legislator declarat intelligi etiam spurium, tunc verum fit quod sensus in lege erat clare imbibitus. Interpretatio autem, sive declaratio non pure talis est illa, cuius sensus non est clare imbibitus in lege, sed circa ipsum variae sunt opiniones, et tantum deducitur ex argumentis, v. gr. quod sub nomine patris intelligatur eitam avus, aut quod sub nomine moartis intelligatur etiam mors civilis, prout est carcer perpetuus, aut simile, recurrendo ad quamdam impropriam significationem.

His positis, dicimus cum Suarez, Castropal. Vasques, Sals, Salm. Holzaman, La-Croix, Supplet Sporger etc. quod declaratio sensus clare imbibiti in lege non requirit promulagationem, sed etiam obliget eos omnes qui illum noverint, cum talis declaratio non sit nova lex. Interpretatio vero alicuius sensus non clare, sed tantum obscure, sive improprie imbibiti in lege, quae est declaratio non pure talis (ut diximus) haec, quia habetur tanquam nova lex, ut obliget, necessario promulgationem requirit, sicut omnes aliae leges juxta dicta. n. 95 et 96. Hinc infertur cum Suar. de Leg. 1. 6. c. 1. n. 3 et Castrop. tr. 3. eod. tit. d. 5. p. 3. §. 1. n. 5 (qui citat pro se Bon. Salas, et Lorca) quod declaratio, quae fit a legislatore alicuius sensus clare in lege imbibiti (juxta exemplum adductum filii legitimi, et spurii) non requirit promulgatioem, ut obliget. Contra vero declaratio sensus obscure imbibiti (juxta exemplus avi sub nomine patris, vel mortis civilils sub nomine mortis) indiget quidem promulgatione; tunc enim ipsa novam constituit obligationem, quae per se non erat prius clare in lege imbibita. Et idem dicunt Suar. loc. cit. et Castrop. n. 2 de illis declarationibus, quae fiunt non ab eodem legislatore, sed ab eius successore, aut superiore; quia legislatoris mens nequit his esse ita cognita, ut erat ipsi legislatori; unde tunc, ut declaretur sensus (quamvis imbibitus in lege) alicuius obligationis, semper opus est recurrere ad argumenta, et interpretationes, quae novam legam constituunt, reddendo certum quod erat dubium; et ideo promulgatio requiritur, alias declaratio nunquam authentica, sed tantum doctrinalis repubabitur.

My English translation:

On the Interpretation of Law

200. One interpretation is authentic, another customary, another academic.  An authentic (interpretation) can be made either by the legislator himself, and/or by his successor, or by a superior. A customary (interpretation) is that, which has been received thus by custom.  Moreover, an academic (interpretation) is a certain declaration of the mind of the legislator, which can be made by any professor.

Here, there is doubted whether declarations, which are made by the Pontiff, and/or by a prince for any law, are in need of promulgation, to oblige.  In this, it is necessary to distinguish those which are purely such from those which are not purely such, but rather mere interpretations.  Declarations are purely such, when by them there is explicated some sense, which was clearly incorporated in the law already from the beginning: e. g., if there be a doubt, whether under the term, “son” there be understood only a legitimate or even an illegitimate son, and the the legislator declares (the word “son” in the law”) is to be understood even as an illegitimate one, then indeed it becomes that (that) sense in the law was clearly incorporated in the law.  But an interpretation, or declaration which is not purely such, is that, the sense of which is not clearly incorporated in the law, but about which there are various opinions, and as much as is deduced through arguments, e. g., that under the term, “father”, there be understood also a grandfather, or that under the term, “death”, there be also understood a civil death, insofar as is perpetual incarceration, or the like, by recurring to a certain improper signification.

With these things posited, We say with Suarez, Castropal., Vasquez, Sals. Salimancans, Holzman, La-Croix, Supplet Sporget etc.., that the declaration of a sense clearly incorporated in the law does not require promulgation, but that it also obliges all those who know of it, though such a declaration is not a new law.  But an interpretation of some sense not clearly, but obscurely, or improperly incorporated in the law, which is not a declaration purely such (as we have said above), this (kind), because it is held to be a new law, to oblige, requires necessarily a promulgation, just as all other laws spoke of in nn. 95 and 96.  Hence, there is inferred with Suarez de Leg. 1. 6. c. 1. n. 3 and Castrop. tr. 3. eod. tit. d. 5. p. 3. §. 1. n. 5 (qui citat pro se Bon. Salas, et Lorca), that a declaration, which is made by the legislator of any sense clearly incorporated in the law (according to the example given above of the legitimate and illegitimate son) does not require a promulgation, to oblige. However, contrariwise, the declaration of a sense obscurely incorporated (according to the example given of a grandfather under the term of “father”, and/or of a civil death under the term of “death”) do indeed need a promulgation; for then it itself constitutes a new obligation, which per se was not beforehand clearly incorporated in the law. And the same is said by Suarez. loc. cit, and Castrop. n. 2, of those declarations, which are not made by the ssame legislator, but by his successor, or superior; because the mind of the legislator is never so known to other as it was to the legislator himself: on which account, then, to declare the sense (though incorporated in the law) of any obligation, it is always necessary to have recourse to arguments, and interpretations, which constitute a new law, by rendering certain what was doubtful; and for that reason a promulgation is required, otherwise the declaration is never an authentic one, but only is reputed to be a doctrinal one.

Thus, Saint Alphonsus.

What the teaching of Saint Alphonsus on Legal interpretation means in regard to the Renunciation

From this text, we can glean three truths.

  1. When the meaning is clearly incorporated into the law, that meaning is the authentic one, and its sense is binding upon all, as for example, when Benedict says he renounces the ministry, all are obliged to understand that as a renunciation of ministry.
  2. When the word which is subject to a possible interpretation is a noun which includes all possible interpretations according to its essential signification, such as “son” includes natural and legal sons, not just legal sons, then the interpretation is a customary one and is obliging upon all, once the legislator declares that his mind was to include all such possibilities.  But before such a declaration it is not binding.
  3. When the word which is subject to a possible interpretation is a noun, which DOES NOT include the possible wanted interpretation, such as “ministerium” in the text of Pope Benedict’s resignation is wanted to mean “munus” or “officium” which are entirely other words, then the interpretation is NOT AUTHENTIC and is not binding upon anyone, and only can become binding, when promulgated by the legislator or his successors.

And thus one can conclude, from the testimony of Bishop Arrieta and Saint Alphonsus, that the interpretation of the Cardinals and Bishops that Benedict’s renunciation of ministry is equivalent in law, or signification, or intention, to a resignation of the Papal Office or Petrine Munus, is not only an illegitimate interpretation, but is an interpretation which is not binding upon anyone!

Moreover, one can conclude, that even if hypothetically any successor of Pope Benedict XVI were to say that such a reading of the text (where ministerium = munus) is the one Benedict intended, then the act itself posited by Benedict was invalid as per canon 332 §2, since it was not duly manifest in itself, but required another promulgated interpretation to make it valid.

And this means that the very existence of the plot to solve the Pope Emeritus problem is not only evidence that the resignation was invalid from the start, but is DOOMED TO FAILURE since as an interpretation of the act, its very promulgation will publicly testify to and canonically establish the invalidity of the renunciation!

In other words, there is no way to fix the invalidity of the resignation by any subsequent act. And what the Cardinals and Bishops are doing is GRAVELY IMMORAL AND DISHONEST and, moreover, is a grave USURPATION OF RIGHT.

One can also honestly say, therefore, that the usurpation of the Papacy by Bergoglio is a moral consequence of the usurpation of the right of interpretation by the Cardinals, and that Bergoglio’s bizarre moral character and state of mind is the perfect fruit of and punishment for their sin.

Benoît est toujours pape

Le but de cette vidéo est de fournir une démonstration claire et irréfutable que le pape Benoît XVI n’a pas renoncé de manière valide à l’office de la papauté en février 2013 et qu’il est donc toujours le pape.

 

This English Video has now been subtitled in

  1. Spanish
  2. Italian
  3. Portuguese
  4. German

FOR ALL VERSIONS, see Brian Murphy’s YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQXlwqOsZe9mbYNKcRrGasQ

Also,

  1. Brian is working on a Russian version, and
  2. hopefully the Polish version will be published next week too.

From Rome Blog asks all its readers to SHARE THESE VIDEOS on social media, also if you can help translate this Video into Arabic, Hungarian, Hindi and/or Swahili, please leave a message in the comment section of this page!

My Meeting with the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts

By Br. Alexis Bugnolo

I write this post to publicly thank Mons. Juan Ignacio Arrieta Ochoa de Chinchetru, Titular Bishop of Civitate, who was appointed by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI as Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts.

I met with him this morning at 9:45. The meeting lasted about 75 minutes. I did not record the meeting, but want to share with everyone what I remember of it, because of its great importance to the life of the Catholic Church.

I began by saying that I had come to discuss the interpretation of law (interpretatio iuris) or more specifically the right to interpret canonical acts (ius interpretandi). Bishop Arrieta is an expert on this matter, having served in the capacity of a Professor of Canon Law since 1984 at the Pontifical University of Santa Croce, and from 2003 to 2008 at the Preside of the “St Pius X” Institute of Canon Law at Venice, and as Canonist to the Apostolic Penitentiary. Since February of 2007, he has served in the Pontifical Council as its Secretary. This title does not mean he is a secretary, but rather, the Vice President as it were to the Council.

I want to remark on the gentleness and noble demeanor of the Bishop, who never used any hominems, never lost his patience and showed himself willing to discuss the most impolitic issues, from the point of view of canon law, in the Church.

I began my questions with a preface, and with the Bishop’s permission read to him my entire article, entitled, ¡Viva Guadalajara! which was published, here, at the From Rome Blog, this morning.

During the reading, the Bishop could not hide his amusement at the fictitious story, but as I moved to my comments on how this story applies not only to the first moments of a papacy but also to the last, that is, to a Papal renunciation, the amusement on his face disappeared instantly. — Nevertheless, he continued to be polite.

He confirmed for me the following facts:

  1. To his knowledge, there was no meeting of canonists in February of 2013 which discussed the validity of the Act of Renunciation, nor whether a renunciation of ministerium effected a renunciation of munus.
  2. To his knowledge, Pope Benedict XVI never explained himself to any Cardinal or canonists in private as to whether his act effected a renunciation of the petrine munus or office.
  3. To his knowledge, no act of interpretation of the Renunciation was ever promulgated by Pope Benedict XVI.
  4. Bishop Arrieta did admit that he was asked questions regarding the Renunciation, on Feb. 11, 2013, but no question regarded the use of the term ministerium instead of munus.

He also confirmed for me these points of law:

  1. If anyone heard Pope Benedict XVI in February of 2013 explain or officially interpret his Act of Renunciation as an act of renouncing the munus, and left a sworn testimony to the fact, this would have no juridical value whatsoever. That is it would not make or alter the signification other than it is.
  2. An act of papal Renunciation is not subject to the interpretation of anyone in the Church. That is, no one has the right to interpret it.
  3. An act of papal Renunciation, therefore, must be certain in itself. If it is not certain, it is invalid.
  4. There is no Canon in the Code of Canon Law which predicates the term ministerium of an ecclesiastical office.
  5. What Ganswein said at the Gregorian University in 2016 A.D. — he admitted he had not read the text of Ganswein in full or in the original — is impossible, since the Papal Office is theologically incapable of being held by more than one man at a time.
  6. It is canonically impossible that two persons hold he Petrine Munus at the same time.
  7. The Roman Curia shares in the Petrine Ministerium, but not the Petrine Munus.
  8. There can only be one pope.
  9. The Pope is subject to Divine Law and cannot split the office.
  10. Canon 1331 §2, n. 4 does allow an excommunicated person to hold a ministry in the Church, but that there is a reform of the Penal Code in the works and that this is something that will be addressed.
  11. Canon 332 §2 requires a verbal renunciation, not a renunciation which is signified by gestures or after the fact statements.
  12. The supreme theological and legal principle for interpretation of canonical acts is the teaching of Jesus Christ, where He said, “Let your yes be Yes, and your no, No, anything else comes from the Devil” (Mt. 5:37)

Now Bishop Arrieta did not agree with me in everything. He made it clear to me that he holds the following positions:

  1. The Renunciation of Pope Benedict was certain and clear.
  2. The Renunciation clearly signified the renunciation of the office of the papacy.
  3. It is morally impossible in the judgement of Bishop Arrieta, based on his knowledge of the man, Ratzinger, that Pope Benedict intended to deceive anyone by pretending to resign one thing instead of the other.
  4. Canon 332 §2, as regards the requirements of liberty and due manifestation, is not talking about a renunciation of the petrine munus.
  5. The necessity in a papal renunciation is a renunciation of the papal office, not of the petrine munus, which is a canonical term which does not adequately reflect the theological reality.
  6. In the Code of Canon Law there is no clear distinction between munus and ministerium.

Regarding this 4th position of the Bishop, I must say I tried to get a word in edgewise to object to such a patently false statement, as if conditions for validity for an act of renunciation of munus only regard the act of renouncing and not the object which is to be renounced. I think the Bishop just said this out of desperation because it is logically absurd on the face of it, as you cannot read part of a sentence which regards conditions for validity and ignore what was said as the fundamental condition for the occurrence or discernment of the occurrence of the act in question!

Regarding the 5th position, I disagree, because Pope John Paul II, the Vicar of Christ, by promulgating the Code imposed upon the whole Church the canonical obligation of understanding it in accord with Canon 17, not as defective in anything. Therefore, an interpretation of canon 332 §2 which implies a defect, cannot be authentic.

I won’t respond here to n. 6, since I have devastatingly refuted it in the recent Academic Conference at Rome, the excerpt of which I published on this very topic, here.

What left me unsatisfied about our conversation is that I asked a lot of questions, but Mons. Arrieta could not give me answers. Here are some of my question, not verbatim, but according to their sense, that the Bishop did not or could not answer:

  1. If it is clear that Pope Benedict resigned his office, can you explain to me canonically how he did that if he never mentioned the office or the Petrine Munus?
  2. If Canon 41 gives to every priest the discretion and right to evaluate the Papal Act of Renunciation before deciding to stop naming Benedict in the Canon of the Mass, as the Pope, why it is canonically wrong if he exercise this discretion, judge the act nullus and continue to name Benedict?
  3. If no one has the right to interpret the Papal Act, how can you explain why nearly everyone in the Hierarchy holds that it effected a renunciation of the Papal Office, if nowhere in the Act did Pope Benedict say I renounce the office or the munus? Is that not an interpretation?
  4. While I am willing to concede out of respect for Pope Benedict that he did not maliciously intend to deceive, is it not possible he was in substantial error when he resigned one thing and not the other?
  5. Does not our loyalty to Jesus Christ, Who bound Himself to observe Canon Law, require us to consider as possible that the Pope be in error in thinking he can resign part of the papal prerogatives and keep the rest? or was wrong in desiring to bifurcate the papacy?
  6. Does not the historical facts that 1) Pope Benedict XVI before his elevation to the Papacy knew of the desires of many German theologians to split the papal office along the lines of the petrine munus and the petrine ministry, and 2) the strange way of renouncing the ministry, but not the munus, coupled with 3) the testimony of Ganswein his personal secretary, who should know the mind of the Holy Father, produce the most sound forensic testimony that the Pope did intend to bifurcate the Papal Office and should be corrected by the Church, even if we personally hold that he had no such intention by way of supposition and respect for his person?

The Bishop closed by remarking that my approach to the reading of the Act of Renunciation was strange to him, that he has never considered this problem before, that he has never read about this controversy, but that I had given him “much to think about”.

CONCLUSION

The sum of what Mons. Arrieta told me leads me to conclude the following:

  1. The Act of Renunciation was presumed from the start to be a renunciation of the Papacy, without any consideration of the discrepancy of renouncing the ministerium instead of the munus, as if the Code of 1917 were operative, and not the Code of 1983.
  2. There has never been any canonical reflection on the canonical value of the Act of Renunciation by anyone known to Bishop Arrieta.
  3. There are no canonical arguments for the validity of the renunciation to effect a loss of the Papal Office, because the interpretation is simply a presumption based on an extrinsic method of reading the act (as I point out in my previous article), which is the most unauthentic and error-prone method of interpretation.
  4. The opinion of No Cardinal or Bishop or Priest on this matter constrains anyone in the Church to accept it, because no one has the right to say that the Papal Act means something other than it expressly says.
  5. Thus, the Renunciation of Pope Benedict DID NOT effect the loss of the Papal Office. He remains the Pope, the Successor of Saint Peter, the Vicar of Christ, the Supreme Pontiff and the Roman Pontiff with all rights and privileges, all prerogatives and powers, graces and carisms, BECAUSE IF YOU DO NOT RENOUNCE THE PAPACY BY WORDS, YOU HAVE NOT RENOUNCED THE PAPACY!*

Finally, I do want to thank the Bishop for his patience. Several times in the 75 minutes we spent discussing this most important matter, he remarked he had other duties, but stayed anyhow when what I said was substantial and presented a line of argumentation which he felt necessary to respond to.

____________

* For those not familiar with the technical language, in this controversy, “papacy” here refers not to the Vatican, nor to the Papal State(s) or Territory,  nor to the government of the Vatican, but to the Office of the Roman Pontiff. And I use this term here in the linguistic sense, not in the sense of the thing, but of the thing as named. For example, a husband refers to his wife by either one of her proper names, first, middle, last, or improper names, such as honey, dear, sweetie, or by a pronoun standing alone or followed by a subordinate phrase, such as, “the one who does the dishes”. If he says, I am going to get rid of the dish-washing, the bathroom-cleaning, the meal-preparation and the warm bed, he has not referred logically nor verbally to his wife, because the actions which his wife does or the effects of which she is the cause are not her, they are effects or actions under her power, and by naming them, one does not name necessarily or determinatively the one who is his wife. — So likewise, when Pope Benedict renounced the ministry but not the Papal Office, he did not renounce the Office, because he did not name it, he only referred to that which might be construed as the ministry which flows from it. The intellectual incapacity or inability to recognize this common law of human language and signification is at the heart of the reason why so many think Benedict resigned the papacy, when in reality he did nothing of the kind. However, why he did what he did, is besides the point (praeter rem), because whatever his motives, the act remains invalid, null.

 

¡Viva Guadalajara!

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

In the conclave of 2243, the Cardinals of the Roman Church, in their final votation, elected a Spaniard.

So, according to the rules established by Pope John Paul II, on February 22, 1996, in the document Universi Dominici Gregis, n. 87, the Cardinal Deacon, the Secretary of the College of Cardinals and the Master of Cerimonies for Pontifical Liturgies approach the Spanish Cardinal and ask him in these solemn words if he will accept his election:  Do you accept your canonical election as the Supreme Pontiff?

Silence.

Then the Cardinal Deacon signals with his eyes to the Elected Cardinal, asking for an answer.

The Cardinal Elect, smiles, then extends both hands to each side and forms the V sign. With that he says in a clear voice: ¡Viva Guadalajara!

The Spanish Cardinals in the Sistine Chapel, familiar with the jocularity of the Elected Cardinal, giggle. The Cardinal from Barcelona says to himself, “What a joker! But this is not a time for laughs!”

The Secretary of the College gives a stern look at the Cardinal Elect. He is not amused at this kind of levity. So he turns to the Cardinal Deacon, who is perplexed, and whispers: “Let’s ask him again”.

So the aged Cardinal Deacon, turns to the Cardinal Elect, and asks again, this time in Spanish: ¿Acepta su elección canónica como Sumo Pontífice?

Silence.

Then, the Cardinal Elect, answers: raising both his right and left hand as before, and making the V sign with each, he says: ¡Viva Guadalajara! — This time with an even bigger smile on his face.

At this point, the Cardinals break their silence, and mixed mutterings of insouciance and consternation.

The Cardinal Deacon, now impatient, says to the Cardinal Elect: “This is no time to make jokes. Please answer the question with a Yes or a No”. Then recomposing himself, he repeats the canonical question, this time in Italian: Accetti la tua elezione canonica a Sommo Pontefice?

And again, the Cardinal Elect responds in the same manner.

At this point, the Cardinals in the Sistine Chapel break out in small groups of conversation. Everyone is trying to figure out what the Cardinal Elect means to say. The Spanish Cardinals approach the Elect and attempt to reason with him. But he says nothing futher. All he does is keep smiling and raising his right and left hand now and then with the V sign, for victory.

So in accord with the Papal Law on Conclaves, UDG, n. 5, the Cardinal from Paris asks that the College discuss and decide what is to be done, since the Papal Law says nothing about the manner in which the Cardinal Elect is to accept the office, whether it be by a Yes or No or by some other sign.

Two factions arise among the Cardinals. On the one side, a minority hold that the Cardinal Elect, by the words used has not accepted his election and must be considered either in error or mad. On the other side, the position taken is that of the Cardinal of Mexico City, who reasons this way: There is no more certain a manner of indicating that one has accepted the dignity of a prince than to respond in a manner which requires his listeners to acquiesce to his authority. Now by responding in this manner, does not the Cardinal Elect clearly show his intent to act like a prince? And therefore, his intention to accept the election? Is he not just putting our loyalty to the test? I for one will not fail in my loyalty to the Supreme Pontiff in this his first act of office!

This line of reasoning wins over the majority and they vote to regard the manner of speech chosen by the Cardinal Elect as meaning, “Yes, I accept”.

The Cardinal Deacon, then approaches the Cardinal Elect and asks him by which name he wants to be known. He replies, “Ignazio I”.

And years pass. And there is nothing controversial in the pontificate of Ignatius the First. Not in the least.

Except for this one thing.

Every time journalists manage to get an interview with him, and they ask him about the moment of his election as Pope, they ask him what he said, and he says: ¡Viva Guadalajara!

About 6 years into his reign as pope, one journalist, by the name of Marco Tosatti III, wanting to understand this better, asks a very specific question of Pope Ignatius I, during a plan trip.

Tosatti III: I know, your Holiness, has been asked this same question many times. And we are all impressed by your talent for humor and your jocundity, which is so unique among the Popes. But the day of your election, if I may ask again, can you tell just what you said, when the Cardinal Deacon asked you if you would accept your canonical election?

Ignatius I: I said, ¡Viva Guadalajara!

Tosatti III: Is that all you said?

Ignatius I: Yes.

Tosatti III: Did you not say, Yes?

Ignatius I: No, I never said Yes or No. I simply said, ¡Viva Guadalajara!

Marco Tosatti III publishes his interview and it goes round the world. The Pope never said yes.

A few days later, another Italian Vaticanista, by the name of Sandro Magister V, obtains an interview with the aged Cardinal Deacon, who confirms the story: Yes, he never said, yes. In fact there was a controversy in the Conclave, and now that Pope Ignatius I has abolished the pontifical secret on his election, I can reveal that we held a vote in accord with Universi Dominici Gregis, n. 5, and we determined that canonically speaking, this phrase, ¡Viva Guadalajara! would be taken to mean, “yes, I accept”.

Magister V also publishes his interview, which causes even more of an uproar and travels round the world.

About two weeks later, an old lady from the suburb of Madrid, Spain, where Pope Ignatius I grew up, flys to Rome and enters the Piazza of St Peter with a sign, saying, “He is not the Pope!” The Gendarmerie, the Vatican Police, attempt to take the sign from her, there is a scuffle and they end up punching her and she punching them back. Eventually they take both her and the sign away.

But the pilgrims in the piazza photograph and video record the entire travesty and these images go world wide on all social media platforms.

The next day in all the majors newspapers and MSM sites the one topic is why they beat up this poor old women. And the journalists who are allowed to interview her in the Vatican jail all receive the same statement, prepared by her attorney: In my suburb of Madrid, where I grew up with Pope Ignatius I, the phrase, ¡Viva Guadalajara! has always meant, “You got to be kidding. I would no more agree to that than support the team from Guadalajara, by shouting ¡Viva Guadalajara! at a soccer match with our own team!”

At this news, journalists flock to Madrid, Spain and interview all those they can find who knew the Pope as a child or youngster. And they all agree that what this old lady said is the absolute truth.

And these journalists report what they find. And, the next day, Ignatius I gives an interview and says: You see, there is nothing I hate more that arrogance and sycophantry. So when I saw that there were no worthy candidates for the Papacy, I determined to do what I could to delay as much as possible the Conclave, so the most unworthy ones would be taken by the Lord or not be able to vote, having reached the age of 80. So I contrived the deception I used to fool everyone. And it worked. But now that my purpose has achieved its goal, I willing admit that I was never pope, because I never accepted my election as the Supreme Pontiff. Therefore, I will now stop pretending to be pope and go back to Madrid and enjoy my final years of life by drinking cerveza and watching the Madrid Soccer team. Good-bye and Adios!

_____________

The Limits of Discretion

So ends the fictional canonical case I have created. As you can see, strange things can happen if the discretion which we Catholics traditionally accord to the Cardinals goes beyond all limits. There are just some things they cannot do even if they want to.

One thing they cannot do, even if they want to, regards the interpretation of verbal texts. As a translator of medieval texts, I understand well that there are 3 ways of determining the meaning of any obscure phrase. The first is intrinsic, the second extrinsic and the third is referential.

Intrinsic methods look to the meaning of the words used and their grammatical structure. Extrinsic methods look to the context in which the phrase is used and impose a theory about what the intent was in the author’s mind in using the obscure phrase. Referential methods look for other occurrences of the same obscure phrase in the writings of the same author, his contemporaries or those authors he read or cited.

And as a translator, I have learned the hard way, that the worse method of interpretation is the extrinsic method. The intrinsic method can be used but it requires great discretion and a good knowledge of the author one is reading. The referential method is the most certain but one has to take into account that every author might use standard phrases slightly differently.

¡Viva Guadalajara!

As can be seen from the fictional case I have constructed, grave error can arise when the ones who should be interpreting the meaning of things said by the Pope use the extrinsic method, by adopting the context of the phrase and some theory of what the intention was of the one saying it, and from these two data points extrapolate the meaning of the phrase.

This has been no idle study. And though you may find this story humorous, that is not my intention. Because though it regards what could happen regarding the very first moment an man becomes the Pope, the same interpretational problem can arise in the very last moment a man is the Pope, that is in an Act of Renunciation.

Because, when a man renounces the papacy, Canon 332 §2 requires that he say something that signifies, In my capacity as Roman Pontiff, I renounce the munus which I received in the Apostolic Succession from Saint Peter, the day I accepted my election as Supreme Pontiff by the College of Cardinals.

The words do not have to be the ones I just wrote, but they have to signify essentially the same thing.

If you say, however, I declare that I renounce the ministry which was entrusted to me through the hands of the Cardinals, the day I was elected, then you have a problem. Because no where in the Code of Canon Law, nor in Canonical Tradition, nor in the mind of Pope John Paul II do we find any clear equation or predication of munus by ministerium. To hold that Pope Benedict’s renunciation of ministry means a renunciation of munus is an interpretation, unfounded in the law. Moreover, the Cardinals and Bishops and Clergy who hold this interpretation have no authority in the law to interpret the Papal Act in this manner.

We need to be adults and admit this problem of interpretation.

And the ones who committed this error have to grow up and stop insisting that we follow them in it. After all, religious extremism does not consist in refusing an error of interpretation. Religious extremism consists in insisting, like ISIS, that we accept their errors of interpretation or else.

CREDITS: the image of the Cathedral of Madrid is taken from the Wikipedia article on the Facade of the Cathedral of Madrid and is used under the wiki commons license described there.

 

Pope John Paul II admitted that a Papal Renunciation could be invalid

AAC Chair Throne Pope John Paul II

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Don’t let anyone tell you to shut up, when you point out that some are saying the renunciation of Pope Benedict was or could be invalid.

Don’t let them coerce you by telling you that it is absurd to suppose that a Papal act be invalid.

Don’t let them get away with such a claim!

Why?

Because, no less that Pope John Paul II declared that a papal resignation could be invalid!

First, the FACTS of the Laws

And not only declared, but he enshrined the possibility into the Papal Law on Conclaves: Universi dominici gregis, n. 3, where it says in Latin:

3. Praeterea statuimus, ne Cardinalium Collegium de iuribus Sedis Apostolicae Romanaeque Ecclesiae ullo modo disponere valeat, nedum de iis sive directe sive indirecte quidquam detrahat, quamvis agatur de componendis discidiis aut de persequendis factis adversus eadem iura perpetratis, post Pontificis obitum vel validam renuntiationem.(14) Curae autem sit omnibus Cardinalibus haec iura tueri.

Which in good English is:

3. Moreover, We establish, that the College of Cardinals not be able to dispose in any manner of the rights of the Apostolic See and Roman Church, much less to detract anything from them either directly or indirectly, even though it be done concerning the resolution of disputes or the prosecution of deeds perpetrated against the same rights, after the death and/or valid renunciation* of the Pontiff. (14) Moreover, let it belong to the care of all the Cardinals that these rights be watched over.

* The reference to a “valid renunciation” is to Canon 332 §2, which lays down 2 reasons for an invalid renunciation (lack of freedom in renouncing the petrine munus, and lack of due manifestation of the renunciation of the petrine munus).

Some would like to have it that Canon 332 §2 is merely laying down the requisites to be observed in a papal resignation, and that it does not exist to be used by anyone, let alone a layman, to discern or determine when a resignation is valid or not.

The assertion is a perfect form of gas-lighting: You cannot let the masses use the Code of Canon Law, you cannot let them read the Papal Law on Conclaves, but if they do, you must convince them that what they see does not mean what it says or that what they read there is something they cannot use in an argument or apply to any particular case! Thus might be the counsel of any modern day Screwtape to his Trad inc. minions.

This objective is supported by the absurd arguments being used to attack those who are examining the resignation, such as that argument evinced by Mr. Sammons the other day:

Evidently, if we take Mr. Sammons at his word, he must rail against Pope John Paul II, against the Papal Law on Conclaves and against the Code of Canon Law of 1983, all which admit the possibility of an invalid renunciation! — Evidently railing against Popes is o.k., so long as you recognize that they are popes. — This seems to be the new dogma of Trad Inc. Even though Catholic Tradition holds that in nothing can a pope be judged but faith.

Having seen this form of gas-lighting, we must begin to ask ourselves, “Whom we should listen to or obey? A Layman or Pope John Paul II?”

After all, to turn Mr. Sammon’s rhetoric against him: What does it matter what Mr. Sammons wants?

Second, the Implications of the Law

As it has been amply proven that Pope John Paul II held that a papal renunciation could be invalid, we should use the intellects God gave us to use and think about what that means. We should not let the gas-lighting false apostles, out there, stop us from thinking.

First, if a papal renunciation could be invalid. That means that objectively speaking it could be invalid. That means that it can be recognized by men who are capable of knowing objective reality. That means that men should recognize it if it be, and should NOT harken to any propaganda to ignore the problem. Because, obviously, if Pope John Paul II wanted us to listen to propagandists who do not want us to see that a resignation was invalid when it was invalid, he would never have mentioned that there could be an invalid resignation.

Second, that means that the Church has the duty to recognize an invalid resignation is invalid, since the Code of Canon Law binds everyone in the Church. The Papal Law on Conclaves binds the Cardinals, and so they are also obligated to recognize an invalid resignation is invalid.

Third. Now how is anyone to do that? Pope John Paul II shows us how in canons 40 and 41, where everyone in the Church who has an office is obliged to examine the administrative act of his superior to see if it is effective and authentic. Though canon 41 speaks only of acts which are null or inopportune, clearly an invalid resignation is both.

That means it was the duty of all the Cardinals as of 11:45 AM, February 11, 2013, when the Consistory ended (approximately, as I do not know the precise minute of termination) until today to examine the act. If the act was invalid, they were obliged to omit the Conclave, and if they find now that it is invalid, they are obliged to say the conclave was invalid.

CONCLUSION

So you see, now, how wrong Cardinal Burke was, when he condemned a whole category of Catholics as “extremists” if they doubted that Bergoglio was the pope. Because if that doubt arises from an invalid resignation, then they are not only NOT extremists, they are the most faithful Catholics in the Church, and they are doing what all Cardinals should have done and still refuse to do!

No, your Eminence, there are No Extremists here, but there are a lot of Presumptuous Princes!

Now almost no one in the Church is a canon lawyer, but a good number of the Cardinals are. And if you have studied canon law or civil law, then you know a general principle of law which is applicable in this case:

A cessation of power is never to be presumed!

As I mentioned previously, this general principle of law is enshrined in Canon 21 (and implied in many other canons, such as canon 40). It is really a summation of common sense. Because if one presumed the cessation of power, then the rule of law would break down, because presumption has a way of inclining to disorder and chaos, in particular, to the kind of disorder and chaos we have seen in the Church for nearly 7 years.

Now a papal renunciation pertains to a cessation of power, as the learned and eminent Canonist I spoke with recently admitted. Therefore, we cannot presume a pope has validly resigned. The presumption, rather, is that he has not resigned. Presumption here refers to the inclination of our judgement prior to seeing the facts and evidence.

Now Canon 332 §2 says that a pope resigns when he resigns his munus.

But Pope Benedict in his act of Feb. 11, 2013, renounces the ministerium he received.

Therefore, at this point, before any further study, each and every Cardinal had the duty to presume that the renunciation was invalid. He had to presume this, because, the presumption of law requires that he hold that there has been no cessation of power, when a pope renounces ministerium instead of the required munus.

Canon 17 then requires the Cardinals to examine the Code of Canon Law (as I did here) to understand the proper sense of terms, or the canonical tradition (as I did here), or the mind of the Legislator (as was done by Father Walter Covens here).  But all of these conclude the renunciation of ministry does not effect a renunciation of the papacy.

So who is the extremist now? The Catholic who holds, as he should, to what the law presumes? Or the Cardinal who did not do his duty nor his homework but rails at Catholics who have done what he neglected to do? Presuming against the very presumption of the law.

It almost seems as if the Cardinals were already inclined to rid themselves of Pope Benedict, and so, whether he was in error or not, whether he wanted to  bifurcate the papacy or not, whether the renunciation was valid or not, they did not bother one iota to due their due diligence before convening in Conclave. — If there ever was a reason to doubt the validity of the Conclave of 2013, this is the first and prime of them all!

Third, Action Item:

Ask your favorite priest, Bishop or Cardinal, when did he apply canons 40 and 41 to the Papal renunciation?

Because in those 2 canons, all who hold an office in the Church — even the simple priest who is no longer mentioning Benedict in the Canon of the Mass, where the name of the Roman Pontiff is named — all, I say, had the duty to examine the Latin text of the Renunciation and determine whether it fulfilled the requirements of the Latin text of Canon 332 §2. So ask them, “On what day and hour, in what place and with what books and references did you do your duty specified in canons 40 and 41 as regards the declaration of Pope Benedict XVI on Feb. 11, 2013, called, “Non solum propter”?” — You have every right to ask this question, before listening to anything they say about the renunciation, because obviously, if they never did their duty, they have no moral right to tell you anything about what the Act of Renunciation means, let alone, to regard anyone else as the Pope, other than Benedict.

(For more information about Canons 21, 40 and 41 and what should have been done on Feb. 11, 2013, after Pope Benedict XVI read his Act of renunciation, see here).

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CREDITS: The image of the Pope is from https://agrellcarving.com, who carved the Throne on which he is sitting and which produces other fine products of furniture (This is not a paid advertisement, but the image is copyright by Agrell Carving).

Pope Benedict’s Renunciation is invalid for 6 Canonical Reasons

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

As Catholics begin the effort to make known to the clergy that they were defrauded of their loyalty to Christ’s Vicar on Feb. 28, 2013, it is important to have at hand a short summary of the canonical problems in Pope Benedict XVI’s declaration of Feb. 11, 2013, Non solum propter. (Official text here at Vatican website)

Here is such a short summary.

6 canonical errors in the Act of Renunciation

  1. In the Act, the Roman pontiff renounces “the ministry committed to him through the hands of the Cardinals” on the day he was elected. But canon 332 §2, in the official Latin text of that canon, requires that the renunciation be of the petrine “munus”, that is the Papal Office (cf. canons 331, 333, 334, 749). Therefore, the act is NOT a renunciation of the papacy. Thus, in regard to canon 332 §2, the act is an ACTUS NULLUS. And if it  be said or thought to be an act of renunciation of the papacy, then the assertion or estimation is false by reason of Canon 188, which declares IRRITUS any renunciations of office vitiated by substantial error, that is by an error which touches the substance of the act (which, in this case, is constituted by the essence of the act as an act of renunciation of the munus, not of the ministerium).*
  2. In the Act, the Roman Pontiff does not name the office by any proper canonical term, and thus the act is also an ACTUS INVALIDUS by reason of the requirement of canon 332 §2, that the act be duly manifested (rite manifestetur), since that which is not named is not manifest.
  3. In the Act, the Roman Pontiff’s liberty regards that which he does, not that which he does not do, which, since he does not do it, whether he be free to do it or not, is not expressed. Therefore, the act is an ACTUS INVALIDUS by reason of the requirement of canon 332 §2, that the act be freely executed (libere fiat).
  4. In making a declaration of renunciation, instead of renouncing, the act is also an ACTUS NULLUS, because canon law does not regard declarations to be canonical acts. They are merely announcements. (cf. Penal section on announcements regarding persons who have incurred latae sententiae excommunications ipso iure).
  5. In making what appears to be a renunciation of the papacy, without naming the papal office as required by Canon 332 §2, the man making the declaration, inasmuch as he is the man, who received the office and who is attempting to separate himself from the office, had need to obtain from the man who is the Pope, an express derogation of the terms of canon 332 §2, in virtue of canon 38, and since he did not, since no concession of derogation of that requirement is mentioned in the act, then by reason of canon 38, the act, which is both contrary to the law of Canon 332 §2 and gravely injurious of the right of the faithful to know who is the true pope and when he has canonically resigned, is an ACTUS SINE EFFECTU, that is an act which lacks all effect.
  6. Finally, in renouncing “the ministry”, the Roman Pontiff posits a legal act which is not foreseen in the Code of Canon Law, since no canon therein speaks of a renunciation of ministry. Therefore, the act is an ACTUS NULLUS according to the norm of law. Therefore, in accord with canon 41 no one with an office in the Church has any duty to recognize it.

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* I do not include substantial error as one of the canonical errors in the Act, because the act was never one of a renunciation of the papal office. The argument that substantial error vitiates the act, technically, has more to do with the mis-perceptions or false claims made about the canonical value of the act, than with the act itself. Speaking of substantial error is thus necessary when discussing it with someone who is operating under the false premise that the Pope renounced the papacy, but eventually one must talk about the reality of what the Pope actually said on that day, and distinguish that reality from the misperception which was published to all the world.

POST SCRIPT: Note that in the title of this post I use the word “invalid” in the common sense of an act which does not effect what one thinks it effects, but properly speaking the term should be “vitiated” or “erroneous”, because as you can see from the list of 6 canonical errors, 3 regard nullity, 2 regard invalidity, and 1 regards being without effect.

 

An Index to Pope Benedict’s Renunciation

So much has been written about Pope Benedict’s renunciation of Feb. 11, 2013, that it is easy to forget or miss important articles. Since a lot of visitors who come to The From Rome Blog want to read about Benedict’s renunciation, it is helpful to have in one post, a list of all the Articles published here.

This is a topical, not chronological list: that is, it lists articles according to what aspect of the controversy they principally deal with, not according to the date they were published.

Before reading any of the Articles, see this public notice about FACTS VS CONJECTURE

And make sure to read the last section, which is the MOST important: What we must now do!

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An Index to our Articles on Pope Benedict’s Renunciation

The Renunciation of Feb. 11, 2013

Latin Text of Non Solum propter

Vernacular Translations of Non solum propter

The History of the Claim that the Text means Benedict resigned the Papacy

Why Pope Benedict Renounced the Ministry which He had received from the Cardinals

What Pope Benedict says His resignation means and meant

  1. Pope Benedict XVI in Feb. 2013 said in every way possible that He had not resigned the Papacy
  2. Pope Benedict XVI on Feb. 14, 2013 explained to the Clergy of Rome how to see that He had not resigned the Papacy
  3. How the Vatican’s attempt to get Benedict to call Bergoglio the Pope failed in June 2019

What in truth does the Act of Renouncing the Ministry mean or effect?

  1. Jesus Christ’s Point of view on this.
  2. Pope John Paul II admitted that a Papal renunciation could be invalid.
  3. The 6 Canonical Errors in the Act of Renunciation, which deprive it of all effect.
  4. The Canonical Argument that the Act does not cause the loss of the Papacy (ppbxvi.org)
  5. Video Explanation, prepared by Brian Murphy with input from Br. Bugnolo
  6. Ann Barnhardt’s authoritative Video on Substantial Error
  7. L’argomento canonico che dimostra che la Rinuncia non effettua la perdita del papato
  8. What Pope John Paul II taught about Munus and Ministerium, and how it binds the whole Church.
  9. The Magisterial Teaching of Pope Boniface VIII regarding the necessity of renouncing the Munus
  10. Why Saint Alponsus dei Liguori would say that the Renunciation, as written, is invalid.
  11. Why, on account of only resigning the Ministry, Pope Benedict made it dogmatically impossible that Bergoglio be the Pope
  12. Why, on account of only resigning the Ministry. Pope Benedict made it canonically impossible that Bergoglio’s election as pope was valid.

A Scholastic Investigation into the Canonical Meaning of the Resignation

Here Br. Bugnolo has gathered all the major arguments for and against and shows which side has the better argument.

The Dubious Arguments and outright Falsehoods used to defend that the renunciation caused Benedict to lose the Papacy

CONFIRMATIONS FROM ROME THAT BENEDICT IS STILL THE POPE

WHAT CATHOLICS SHOULD DO IN RESPONSE

A Nonsensical Act: What the Latin of the Renunciation really says

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Let us read Non solum propter
according to the rules of Latin grammar

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

In my previous article, Pope Benedict’s Forced Abdication, I spoke of the evidence which seems to indicate that Pope Benedict’s resignation was demanded and that the text of Renunciation was hurriedly prepared, which left it full of errors: at the end of which, I promised to examine the text and expose these errors. I did this yesterday in my article entitled, Clamourous Errors in the Latin of the Renunciation, wherein I detailed and identified more than 40 grammatical and canonical errors in the text.

Now, I will fulfill the promise I made yesterday to give an English translation of what the Latin really does say, rather than what most translators (including myself here) attempt to make it say, to make it intelligible. So, I warn my readers, what follows is a discourse, written by someone with scarce knowledge of Latin, and thus, that the English translation will appear to be a poor translation, when it is in fact an exact rendering of the sloppy and erroneous Latin.

Since I am a published translator, however, I will try to give the document the best possible English syntax within the rules of Latin grammar, without however altering the Latin signification.

The Translation

Not solely for the sake of three acts of canonization, have I convoked you towards this Consistory, but also to communicate on behalf of the life of the Church your act of decision-making of great importance. Having scouted out my conscience again and again before God, I have arrived at certain cognition — my strengths by my worsening age are no longer apt — to administer the Munus petrinum equitably. I am well conscious that this Munus according to his spiritual essence ought to be pursued not only by doing and speaking, but no less by suffering and by praying. Yet, however, in the world of our season, subjected to hasty acts of change, and perturbed by questions of great value on behalf of the life of faith, a certain vigor of body and soul is necessary to steer the Barque of Saint Peter and the Gospel to announce, which (strength) in me in these furthest months is lessening in such a manner, that to well administer the ministry committed to me, I ought to acknowledge my incapacity. On which account, well conscious of the weight of this act I declare in full liberty, that I renounce the ministry of the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Saint Peter, committed to me through the hands of the Cardinals on the 19th of April, 2005, to vacate from the 28th of February, at 20:00 hours, Rome time, the See of Saint Peter, and that a Conclave to elect a new Supreme Pontiff be convoked by those who are competent.

Dearest Brothers: from my whole heart you I thank for all your physical love and the work, by which you bore with me the weight of my ministry and I ask pardon for all my failings. Moreover, now We completely trust the Holy Church of God to the care of the Most High Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and We implore His holy Mother, Mary, to assist with Her maternal goodness, the Cardinal fathers in electing a new supreme pontiff. As far as regards myself, may I also wish to serve with my whole heart in a future by a life dedicated to prayer for Holy Mother Church.

DISCUSSION

The Act is confused by switching between the first person singular and plural. It is signed with the name of the We, the Pope, but most of it is said by the I, who is Ratzinger. It contains the glaring errors which render the act canonically nullus (null), namely, it is a declaration of the man, Ratzinger, that he is going to renounce on Feb 28. But he never did renounce on that day.

It is also canonically, invalid, because it refers to a renunciation, never made, of the ministry received from the Cardinals. But what is that. That is canonically nothing, since a ministry flows from an office, or if it does not flow from an office, it is like being a lector or acolyte. Neither of which is the Papal Office.

It is also canonically, irritus, that is improperly manifested, because what on earth does it say and mean and why is the man who is the Pope saying that which has no effect in Canon Law?

It is also a nonsensical act of declaration by the man, Ratzinger, that a Conclave must be called. And that he is going to renounce to make the chair of Peter vacant or go on vacation (the Latin is ambiguous). Why add the consequences or intent of the act of renunciation, which is going to be made, but which was never made, UNLESS there is some doubt that the act you are making will cause the Chair of Peter to be vacant and necessitate a Conclave?

The Latin text obviously was NEVER shown to a Latinist who had the authority and opportunity to correct it. The Latin text was also obviously never shown to a canonist, who had the authority and opportunity to correct it.

I think it is safe to presume, therefore, that the text was never shown to anyone to be recognized according to the norm of Canon 40 nor acted upon according to the norm of Canon 41. For Canon 40 requires that all subordinates determine whether the written administrative act of their superior is authentic and complete. And this act is so rife with errors one can doubt a Pope wrote it, seeing that he has dozens of experts to help him write his acts. On that basis, one should have asked if he was handed this act and forced to sign and read it! Also, on account of Canon 41, since it is an actus nullus, one has no obligation to put it into effect, and if he does put it into effect he is guilty of the usurpation of power; likewise, by the same Canon, every subordinate is obliged to omit its execution until he confers with the superior who posited it regarding the inopportune commands contained in it, such as seeming to call for a Conclave when you have not yet renounced the Papal office.

Finally, if the act meant something, it meant that on Feb 28, 2013, the Pope was going to renounce the Petrine Ministry. Since the Pope never did that at that hour, it does not even effect a renunciation of ministry!

Thus, Pope Benedict XV remains the only true Pope with all his rights an privileges as before Feb 11, 2013. This act will go down in history as an embarrassment to the papacy. That the Cardinals pretend nothing was or is wrong with it, either means that they certainly are not competent to elect a Roman Pontiff, or that they were complicit in forcing his resignation. Both may explain the ‘what’ they have not been doing since Feb. 11, 2013.