Category Archives: Canon Law

St. Joseph Foundation: The Decision to shut down parishes is contrary to the Gospel & Canon Law

THIS ARTICLE PRESUPPOSES THAT THE PANDEMIC IS REAL, WHICH IT IS NOT

But even if it were, the way the Bishops have closed Churches
is completely contrary to the Gospel:
Anti-Pope, Anti-Church, Anti-Bishops, Anti-Gospel, Anti-Parishes

Pastoral Remedies in Time of the Corona Panic

An excerpt of the Original at Saint Joseph’s Foundation’s website, here in PDF.

By Philip C. L. Gray, JCL

Questions Answered

I turn now to apply the principles noted above and answer some of the questions we have received.

1. Does a diocesan bishop have the authority to cancel “non-essential” activities in a parish, such as Stations of the Cross, CCD, bible studies, etc.?

Generally speaking, no. A pastor is the administrator of his parish. Under jurisprudence, it is the pastor, not the bishop, who can set Mass schedules. I have won and lost cases because of that jurisprudence. That being true, it would be the pastor, not the bishop, who is entrusted with making decisions about what is essential and what is not. He should do so with guidelines from the bishop, but not prohibitions. This is the principle of subsidiarity at work. The pastor should also prudently weigh the circumstances, risks and benefits associated with his decision.

2. What are the canonical issues involved with a bishop shuttering churches and suspending all public Masses?

For a bishop to do this, he must issue a decree that is motivated in fact and specific to the circumstances he is addressing. The decree must be properly promulgated and thereby actionable; that is, open to challenge. More at issue is that the faithful have a Divine Law right to the sacraments. Personally, I do not believe such a directive is legitimate but the circumstances for appeal would be too burdensome and probably not resolved until after the pandemic has passed. For this reason, the Faithful are encouraged to find other, more favorable ways to obtain the sacraments while also petitioning their bishop to provide the sacraments. The Faithful should also use acceptable means to persuade a bishop to allow public Masses with prudent measures implemented.

3. What canonical arguments exist in favor of a pastor continuing to celebrate the sacraments for his people?

See #2 above. The vocation of a pastor is to minister to the spiritual needs of his people out of the Word of God and the Sacraments. Just as a parent’s obligations to children are not suspended when a crisis occurs, neither is a pastor’s. The Faithful have a right to receive the sacraments, and this places an obligation on a priest to provide them. In danger of death, the obligation to provide is extended to those priests who no longer have ordinary faculties.

4. Can a person be required to receive Holy Communion in the hand during the Coronavirus?

No, not legitimately. This will be disputed, and the person refused Holy Communion will likely not see a decision in their case until after the crisis is past. A greater concern is that such refusal will become normative. If a person is refused Holy Communion on the tongue, that person will be faced with a hard decision to appeal or not. The SJF is ready to assist anyone in making that discernment.

5. What is necessary to confect the Eucharist, as opposed to what may be in the rubrics or a part of custom?

As per any sacrament, to confect the Eucharist requires valid matter, form, and intention. For the Eucharist, valid matter is unleavened bread (in the Latin Church and most Eastern Catholic Churches) and pure grape wine. The form is the words, “This is My Body” and “This is My Blood” said at the appropriate time. The priest must intend to confect the Eucharist. The “breathing” on the species during consecration is a beautiful custom but is not obligatory. Consequently, a priest who wears a mask during the celebration of Mass, or distributes Holy Communion with gloves, or uses other precautions that do not affect the matter, form or intention, do not harm the validity of the Mass. Such precautions should be taken in collaboration with the bishop.

6. Can a priest use soap or hand sanitizer during the purification of his hands during Mass?

The rubrics call for water. Adding lemon juice or even isopropyl alcohol to the water as a disinfectant would not, in my opinion, affect the liceity of the act. Doing so would be far less offensive to the rubrics than wearing gloves to distribute Holy Communion, which itself could be reasonable during this crisis.

7. Can extraordinary ministers be used in lieu of the presiding priest so the priest can remain socially distant and lessen the risk of being exposed to the virus? Can extraordinary ministers self-communicate for the same reasons?

Yes to both. These measures should be taken in collaboration with the bishop, but if such collaboration is not possible, a presiding priest can make those decisions in extraordinary circumstances. None of those examples affect the validity of the Sacrament.

8. Should a priest disobey his bishop if his bishop orders that all public sacraments are to cease?

This is a tricky question for some and easy for others. The answer should not be taken lightly. A priest vows obedience to his bishop, so the question behind the question is, “What is the obedience he vowed?” As a virtue, obedience flows from Justice. It is giving to authority what is due that authority. As Christians, all of us must be obedient to lawful authority. It’s part of what we believe. On the other hand, all authority has limits, and the first limits that must be respected are the limits imposed by Faith and Morals. When that authority acts in a manner contrary to Faith or Morals, we have no obligation to obey. He may have the power to act, but such acts are illegitimate insofar as they violate Divine Law, either Positive or Natural. The right of the Faithful to receive the sacraments is a matter of Divine Law. Whether providing them at a particular time is appropriate or not is something the minister of that sacrament must determine at that time. If a bishop prohibits the public exercise of sacraments during this crisis, and a priest has concerns, the priest should prayerfully consider the circumstances of the prohibition as they relate to him and the people under his care. He must consider the norm of Canon 18 and other applicable laws, what faculties the Church provides, what opportunities for grace exist for the people, and what his options are. He should express his concerns to his bishop, even asking the bishop to reconsider if necessary. If he chooses not to obey the directive, he must be certain in his conscience that he is being obedient to God. Put another way, a priest should always obey a legitimate directive from his bishop.

Pope Benedict XVI knew what he was doing, and knows he remains the Vicar of Jesus Christ

This is a reblog of the article which is originally entitled, An answer to why Benedict resigned the ministerium not the munus

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

The question has been raised for more than 7 years and numerous scholars have studied it and attempted to answer. The first was Father Stefano Violi, a canonist at the faculty of Lugano. Then, there was Antonio Socci who wrote numerous books on the matter. Then there was Ann Barnhardt who after her famous declaration of June 2016, that Pope Benedict XVI had made a substantial error, in the summer of 2019 published extensive documentation showing Joseph Ratzinger’s participation in discussions about splitting the Petrine Munus from the Petrine Ministerium in a shared papacy.

But the definitive answer on the question why he renounced the ministerium only and not the munus, I think was just given by Dr. Edmund Mazza in his Essay, cited by Edward Pentin yesterday, and republished in full at the suggestion of Dr. Mazza, here at FromRome.Info today and at the Most Rev. Rene Henry Gracida’s blog, Abyssum.org, where Bishop Gracida calls it a “brilliant” exposition.

It is brilliant because its is based only on Pope Benedict’s own words and the norms of Canon law. I will explain why, here, and use the same method.

Dr. Edmund Mazza holds a Ph.D. in Medieval History and was transitory collaborator with me at The Scholasticum, an Italian Non profit for the revival of the study and use of Scholastic method.

The Mind of Pope Benedict

Here I quote the key passage from Dr. Mazza, explaining why ministerium and not munus:

Seewald then observes: “One objection is that the papacy has been secularized by the resignation; that it is no longer a unique office but an office like any other.” Benedict replies:

I had to…consider whether or not functionalism would completely encroach on the papacy … Earlier, bishops were not allowed to resign…a number of bishops…said ‘I am a father and that I’ll stay’, because you can’t simply stop being a father; stopping is a functionalization and secularization, something from the sort of concept of public office that shouldn’t apply to a bishop. To that I must reply: even a father’s role stops. Of course a father does not stop being a father, but he is relieved of concrete responsibility. He remains a father in a deep, inward sense, in a particular relationship which has responsibility, but not with day-to-day tasks as such…If he steps down, he remains in an inner sense within the responsibility he took on, but not in the function…one comes to understand that the office [munus] of the Pope has lost none of its greatness…

Benedict again goes to great lengths to contrast the difference between I. “the office of the Pope” and II. the ministry or “function” associated with it. How to “decode” Benedict? By examining the words he has chosen and the ways he has deployed them before. 

(Blue coloring added for emphasis)

And Dr. Mazza continues, further below, after citing a key passage from a 1978 discourse by Ratzinger on personal responsibility and the Papacy,

This 1977 speech is, in fact, the key to deciphering, not only Benedict’s 2017 interview, but his 2013 resignation speech.

In 2017 Benedict says: “If he [the pope] steps down, he remains in an inner sense within the responsibility” he took on, but not in the “function,” or “day-to-day” tasks.  In 1977 Ratzinger says: “this institution [the papacy] can exist only as a person and in particular and personal responsibility…”  He adds: “He abides in obedience and thus in personal responsibility for Christ; professing the Lord’s death and Resurrection is his whole commission and personal responsibility.” 

For Benedict, “personal responsibility” is the essence of what it means to be pope. To be responsible not as a public official filled with day to day tasks, but metaphysical responsibility for the flock of Christ. In his interview, Benedict says that although he “stepped down,” “HE REMAINS…WITHIN THE RESPONSIBILITY.” Translation: “He remains Pope!”

(Blue coloring added for emphasis)

Far Reaching Implications

Dr. Mazza has ably demonstrated that for Benedict the munus means the personal responsibility which can never be rejected, and the ministerium is the day to take fulfillment of the tasks in  public way.

But he has also demonstrated that for Benedict, the Office of the Papacy is the personal responsibility of a single person. This is clearly seen in a brief quote from the 1977 talk, cited at length by Dr. Mazza in his essay:

The ‘‘we’’ unity of Christians, which God instituted in Christ through the Holy Spirit under the name of Jesus Christ and as a result of his witness, certified by his death and Resurrection, is in turn maintained by personal bearers of responsibility for this unity, and it is once again personified in Peter—in Peter, who receives a new name and is thus lifted up out of what is merely his own, yet precisely in a name, through which demands are made of him as a person with personal responsibility. In his new name, which transcends the historical individual, Peter becomes the institution that goes through history (for the ability to continue and continuance are included in this new appellation), yet in such a way that this institution can exist only as a person and in particular and personal responsibility…

(Blue coloring added for emphasis)

Conclusions of Fact and Interpretation

From this we are forced to conclude, the following:

  1. Pope Benedict XVI knew what he was doing.
  2. Pope Benedict XVI never intended to lay down the personal responsibility or munus
  3. Pope Benedict XVI only intended to leave aside the day to day work of the ministerium.
  4. Pope Benedict XVI therefore is still the pope and he thinks he is the pope.
  5. Pope Benedict XVI considers his act of renouncing the ministerium just as valid as his retention of the munus.
  6. Pope Benedict’s concept of Pope Emeritus signifies, thus, the retention of the munus and dignity in the full sense and of the office in a partial sense.

Conclusions of Law and Right

And from this we can conclude the following according to the norm of law:

Canon 188 – A renunciation made through grave fear, unjustly inflicted, deceit or substantial error, or even with simony, is irritus by the law itself.

Irritus, is a canonical term which means not done in such a way as to fulfill the norm of law. According to Wim Decock, Theologians and Contract Law: the Moral transformation of the Ius commune (1500-1650), p. 216, irritus means “automatically void” (Source)

We can see this from the Code of Canon Law itself, in canon 126:

Canon 126 – Actus positus ex ignorantia aut ex errore, qui versetur circa id quod eius substantiam constituit, aut qui recidit in condicionem sine qua non, irritus est; secus valet, nisi aliud iure caveatur, sed actus ex ignorantia aut ex errore initus locum dare potest actioni rescissoriae ad normam iuris.

Which in English is:

Canon 126 – An act posited out of ignorance or out of an error, which revolves around that which constitutes its substance, or which withdraws from a sine qua non condition, is irritus; otherwise it is valid, unless something else be provided for by law, but an act entered into out of ignorance or out of error, can give place to a rescissory action according to the norm of law.

Rescissory means revoking or rescinding. The final clause here means an act done erroneously can be repaired if the law allows for it by a subsequent act. There is no such provision in law for papal renunciations, they have to be clear in themselves or they have to be redone (source). The sine non qua condition here is found in canon 332 §2:

If it happen that the Roman Pontiff renounce his munus, …..

This is the sine non qua condition. It is a condition because it begins with If, it is sine non qua, because it specifies the form and matter of the juridical act as a renunciation (form) of munus (matter). The form and matter together make the essence of a thing. That essence of a juridical act when posited cause the substance of the thing. Essence is the sine qua non of each thing, because without it a thing is not what it is. An error therefore about the matter to be renounced is thus a substantial error in the resulting act.

And hence, the kind of renunciation posited by Pope Benedict is automatically void, null and of no effect, because it violates the Divine Constitution of the Church, which requires that one and only one person hold both the papal dignity, office and munus. There can be no sharing of the office while there is a retention of the munus and dignity.

This argument is based solely on the words of Pope Benedict XVI and the words of canon law. It has, therefore, the highest authority and probability.

I challenge any Cardinal to refute this argument! — And if they cannot, then if they do not return in allegiance to Pope Benedict XVI, they are ipso facto excommunicated by canon 1364 for the delict of schism from the Roman Pontiff. All of them, each of them. And thus have no right to elect his successor.

I put you all on notice!

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Pope Benedict’s Renunciation: The Documentary — Part 6

What is the canonical value
of what Pope Benedict XVI did on Feb. 11, 2013?

The canonical judgement required by the norms of the 1983 Code of Canon Law

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Pope Benedict’s Renunciation: A Documentary Series

From Rome Info Video will be producing a multi part series on Pope Benedict XVI’s Declaratio of Feb. 11, 2013: What happened? The Facts. The Laws. The Consequences.

Just go to https://www.youtube.com/FromRomeInfoVideo and look for videos which begin with this image. Br. Bugnolo will start producing them during the Triduum. The individual videos will also be published at FromRome.Info. Anyone can embed them on their own blog, if they wish.

Screenshot_2020-04-09 Feb 11, 2013

In this series, Br. Bugnolo will explain in detail and from the start the events of that day, what Pope Benedict XVI actually said. What it meant, and answer questions from the public.

You can post your question here, in the comment boxes.

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Two grave errors of Canon Peters in the Corona Panic

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

The Big Lie becomes the premise which the small minded will never question, and what his mind consequently thinks or judges on that basis will be utterly corrupted.

A case in point is Canon Peter’s opinions on Sacraments during the Corona Panic, as expressed in his post entitled, Canonical deep breath time. Canon Peter’s accepts all 3 Big Lies which I recently listed: that the Church in conforming Her pastoral practice to modern times does not risk damaging the traditio fidei, that Pope Benedict in renouncing the ministerium renounced the office of the  papacy, and that the Coronavirus is 340 times more deadly than the common cold.

So consequently, do not expect Canon Peters to be any more accurate about canonical or sacramental questions than a man with 1/340th of the IQ of a normal person, or 1/340th of the eyesight of a normal person, or 1/340th of the memory of a normal person. We should not compare persons to cellphones, but no one would want to use a cellphone with 1/340th capacity.

I bluster in words, of course. Because the problem is much worse than a 340x reduction.

Because when you accept any false premise, all your conclusions are 100% false.

So now I will address Canon Peter’s false conclusions and show what the truth is:

First Canon Peters says:

1. Do not assume that some wrong, even stupid, policies being announced by various levels of Church government are necessarily canonically illegal policies. Christ, who foresaw COVID19, nevertheless gave considerable authority to his Church, specifically to his bishops and popes, to formulate how the Church would carry on his mission in these days. People should be very wary of concluding that a given a local Church policy is canonically illegal and can therefore simply be disregarded.

Here is your classical positivist. Throw the book of the Gospels in the trash, shut up, and presume like a good Catholic under the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler than your local Fuhrer is probably acting lawfully. Don’t even dare think that other considerations make that presumption invalid!  — But that is not Catholicism. That is clericalism.

Catholicism is this: the Faith trumps obedience to a visible superior, so when a Bishop dumps the Gospel in the trashcan and acts contrary to the Gospel, the presumption that he is acting legally can be dumped likewise in the trashcan!

Next Canon Peters writes:

Consider, e.g., that for most of Church history the institution of “territorial interdict”, whereby Church authority could shut down access to sacraments for the innocent as well as the guilty in whole countries, was practiced. See most recently 1917 CIC 2268-2277. There were, of course, efforts over the centuries to mitigate the impact of territorial interdicts on the innocent but, in its heyday, though criticized on prudential grounds, interdicts were not attacked as illegal in themselves nor as somehow outside of the Church’s authority to implement. Today, what amounts to territorial interdicts are being imposed (rightly or wrongly, in terms of medical advice) as a way to protect the innocent. Even if such policies are wrong-headed (as some seem to me) that does not necessarily mean they are canonically illegal.

What Canon Peters fails to mention, is that like every canonical penalty, interdicts have to be motivated by some injustice.  That a prince rebels against the Church did merit an interdict against his principality! But that the faithful in what they perceive to be a life-and-death situation want to receive the Sacraments is not an injustice! Nay, it is their divine right! When any penalty is not motivated by injustice, then it is invalidly imposed per se and ipso iure. So there is no question at all that it is legal.

Canon Peter also fails to explain to you, quite conveniently, that an interdict loosed you form all bonds of obedience to your Prince so that you could and should disobey him! But what the Bishops are doing is punishing an entire territory for the fault of no one, and demanding you continue to obey your unjust leaders! This is the complete opposite moral and legal case!

Thus it is a complete and diabolical shell game, Canon Peter’s is playing here. And that is also clericalism of the most depraved kind: to justify the denial of sacraments to 100s of millions of Catholics!

Then Canon Peter’s goes off the deep end, saying:

2. The use of communication devices (e.g., cell-phones, video devices) in sacramental Confession has been an interest of mine for some time and I published a peer-reviewed series of three articles exploring the validity and liceity of such practices.* While I far prefer such matters to be debated in the calm of academe some points apparently need to be made now. …

I won’t quote the theological dribble which follows under n. 2. But suffice it to say that Canon Peters does not know the first thing about Sacramental theology, which requires that for a Sacrament to be valid that it be a sign which is communicated. And here ”’communicated” is the Latin word for shared among persons in the presence of one another. The notion of communication via wires and radio waves etc., that is remotely, is an analogy, it is not the reality of communion. The voice you hear on the TV or cellphone is NOT the voice of a human being, it is the semblance of the voice created by merely inanimate instruments which cannot in the sacramental sense produce an act of personal communion. Remote communication is only the sharing of information, it cannot be or produce the real communion of persons. We are men, after all, not Angels, communion for human beings requires physical proximity of human bodies.

For that reason, no Sacrament can be valid which is done through phones or radios or tv. It is ontologically impossible, just as it is ontologically impossible that two persons by means of such things be physically proximate to commune in the sharing of anything.

In conclusion…

But since the truth is that Pope Benedict XVI has not ordered any Bishop to suspend the Sacraments or close the Churches, and since Coronavirus is not even as deadly as the winter flu to healthy persons, there is absolutely no reason for Canon Peters to try to start figuring out how to solve the problems which result from accept the Big Lies opposed to those 2 truths.

Here we have the classic example of the Pharisee. Straining gnats but swallowing camels. That is, straining canonical problems but ignoring the Big Truths that Benedict is still the pope and that all medical statistics show the Wuhan virus is not a plague.

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教皇ベネディクト16世は今でも教皇です。

This is the famous video, by Brian Murphy, Is Benedict Still the Pope?, now with subtitled in Japanese. Which explains to the Japanese people, what Our Lady of Akita meant when she said there would be a war inside the Church, “cardinal against cardinal” and not “cardinal against the pope”, because Bergoglio is still a cardinal and never was the pope.

A Refutation of Bishop Schneider’s Demagoguery

By Alexis Bugnolo

A lot of Catholics have asked me to refute Bishop Athanasius’ Schneider in detail. I have written a partial refutation, but his position is so absurd I have refrained, but here is a sound refutation on the more principal points:

However, I will point out that there is in the Church no such thing as the Byzantine Catholic Patriarch. The group which produced this has a checkered history, canonically, but at least doctrinally, in this refutation of Mons. Schneider, they take a Catholic position. Synods must be called in every nation to condemn Bergoglio.

The only errors I see in this video are:

First, that the authors of this video hold that if canon law is used to support heresy and apostasy, canon law is invalid. The correct Catholic position is, rather, that when canon law is used to support heresy and apostasy, it is the use which is to be condemned and the interpretation which is to be corrected by canon 17.

Second that they assert that the worship of an idol is a heresy or manifestation of heresy. But it is rather a sin of apostasy, is not directly a sin of heresy, because heresy is the denial of a truth which is revealed by God, but the adoration of an idol is the denial of the entire Deposit of the Faith. Adoration of an idol might include heresy, but it is much more than heresy.

Third, they avoid entirely that Pope Benedict XVI is the true pope. They do this because in certain matters they themselves have usurped ecclesiastical offices and powers, such as, for example, establishing a Byzantine Patriarchate, without any authority from God or Pope Benedict XVI.

Finally,  I would like to point out, for the sake of public record, that back in 2015 I was greatly inspired by the sound and heroic statements of Bishop Schneider against the errors being promoted by Bergoglio. It truly saddens me that he has abandoned the Catholic Faith and Canon Law to insist that Bergoglio is still the pope, despite all his public sins, his pertinacious heresy, his apostasy and his schism mongering. In this he has done a very wicked thing, and I think if he persists in his false position, that he must be reckoned by all Catholics a heretic himself, for denying the constant teaching of the Church that heretics and apostates and schismatics lose office immediately, as canon 1364 states.