Tag Archives: Canon 1331

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.

 

Why Revolutionaries call their opponents Extremists

Or How one Eminent Canonist at Rome
Just Admitted that Bergoglio is a Usurper

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

The salvation of souls is the most important thing. That is why in the time of perfidy and falsehood it is a grave moral obligation to warn the faithful of the imminent danger to their souls, from whatever quarter that threat comes.

I too, personally, cannot comprehend or contemplate the prudence that would keep silent while letting wolves gobble up sheep and ship them off in boat-loads to Hell.

That is why, I think every catholic who is struggling with the question of whether Berogoglio is the Pope or whether Benedict did not really resign, needs to read the report I file here below.

I say this because I have just had the occasion to talk with one of the most eminent and respected canonists in the Church and show him my Disputed Question on the Renunciation. He holds a doctorate in Canon Law and a very important position in the Academic world here at Rome. I met with him this morning, as he graciously granted me an audience despite knowing something about my writing on the subject.  I respect that.

And for that reason, since I am interested in truth, and not in damaging reputations, I won’t mention his name. But since what he said is important and needs to be heard by everyone in the Church, I will summarize as best I can remember. (I did not record the conversation, and what follows is not a transcript.)

I explained my academic background and preparation. Then I mentioned the comment of Mons. Nicola Bux, last year in October, about the possibility that in the Renunciation of Pope Benedict there was a substantial error which made it invalid to cause him to lose the office of the Papacy, then we discussed the problem according to canonical principles.

This eminent canonist in the course of our 20 minute conversation, agreed with me on the following points of law:

  1. A papal resignation falls under the category of legal acts which pertain to the cessation of power.
  2. The cessation of power is never presumed, it must be manifest in the legal act.
  3. The Roman Curia assists the Pope in the exercise of the Petrine Ministry, but no one in the Curia, not even the Secretary of State shares in the Petrine Munus.
  4. During a sedevacante there can be no innovation in the law.
  5. If Ratzinger did validly resign, then from the moment he did, there was a sede vacante.
  6. During a sede vacante the entire Church is obliged to judge who is not pope and who is pope based on the norm of the law, not on the hearsay or claims of anyone, let alone journalists.
  7. Canon 145 §1 does define every ecclesiastic office as a munus.
  8. Canon 332 §2 does require the Church to recognize that a papal renunciation takes place when there is a free and manifest renunciation of the Petrine Munus.
  9. Canon 1331 §2, n. 4, does not forbid an excommunicate to exercise or hold a ministry in the Church, and does not equate ministerium with dignity, office or munus.
  10. Christ’s promise and prayer for the Successor of Saint Peter is infinitely more important of a support for the Pope than all the prayers and good works of the Church for the Pope.
  11. It is necessary that the entire Church take care that a Petrine Succession, that is, the passing of the office of the papacy from one man to another, takes place in the way canon law and the will of Christ intend it.
  12. Our concern for the solution of this problem should be based on the highest charity and justice for both Benedict and Francis.
  13. There is no canon in the Code of Canon Law which says that ministerium = munus.

So much for what we agreed on. It was very substantial, and I much appreciated the occasion to speak with such a brilliant mind on the law.

However, we had fundamental disagreements. Here I will list those which I remember. These are positions which I do not hold, but represent substantially those of the canonist:

  1. Any questioning of the legitimacy of Pope Francis for the purpose of taking from him a legal claim to the Papacy is the greatest evil in the Church.
  2. Any canonical study or investigation which so questions Pope Francis’s claim if it is motivated by such a motive, is to be entirely refused before even being heard.
  3. Scholastic theology is not the mind of the Church and it does not determine reality.
  4. Canon Law does not determine reality.
  5. Munus is contained in ministerium, so he who exercises ministerium holds a munus.
  6. Canon 17, which establishes the legal norm for the interpretation of every canon, is not operative in any discussion of Pope Francis’ legitimacy or Benedict’s resignation.
  7. Catholics investigating either issue should read and accept the scholarly works of only those authors who sustain that Bergoglio’s claim is valid and the Benedict’s resignation is valid.

Discussion

The usurpation of power is an act whereby someone who does not have claim to a right, claims that right. We live in an age of usurpation, as can be seen from the daily news. But when you encounter a canonist who takes the position that the holding of power makes legitimate the claim to power, you are face-to-face with proof that there is no reason or legal obligation to support their revolution.

So, though we did not discuss the opinions of Cardinal Burke, when I consider that Cardinal Burke called all who question the legitimacy of Pope Francis’ claim to the papacy, “extremists”, I wonder what he would say on these same points. Because what is extremism, in the bad sense of the word, anyhow? Is it claiming that 2+2 must = 4, and that those who say it does not are wrong? Or is it saying that anyone who questions a legal claim, because it lacks a foundation in law and right, is nuts?

The most egregious affirmations made by this canonist are contained in nn. 5 and 6.  To reject the norm of canon 17 in the reading of the Code is basically to throw in the dust bin any obligation to hold that the Code means what Pope John Paul II said it meant and what it itself or canonical tradition says it means.

To claim that munus is contained in ministerium is pretty much to reject the entire Incarnation, because that is the doctrine of those Christians who claim that the doing of a ministry gives you authority. It’s the protestant principle of office, as a very eminent historian of the comparison of ecclesiastical office in the Catholic Church and the churches of the Reformation recently affirmed to me in a private chat.

So, basically, if munus is contained in ministerium, then if anyone starts dressing like the Pope and acting like the pope, nominating bishops and consecrating them, THEN HE IS THE POPE! Because, after all the papal office is contained in the papal ministry, do the ministry and you have the office!

Finally, for a canonist to say that Canon Law does not determine reality in a discussion on the question of the canonical validity of the Renunciation is basically to concede that the Renunciation is clearly and manifestly NOT IN ACCORD WITH THE NORM OF CANON 332 §2.

So the next time anyone tells you that you must accept Pope Francis as the pope BECAUSE OTHERWISE you are a sinner or a heretic or a schismatic, maybe you should reply,

“In the Catholic Church only he is pope who has been canonically elected after the death or canonical resignation of the previous man. If one of the most eminent canonists of Rome, who supports Pope Francis, admitted to Br. Bugnolo on Nov. 19, that the Renunciation is not in conformity with the canonical requirements of the law, then I think I have an UNSHAKEABLE RIGHT by baptism to refuse Bergoglio as a usurper, for clearly, Bergoglio’s own supporters after nearly 7 years should have a canonical argument which proves his claim! And if they do not, there is none! And if there is none, why in Heaven or Earth, to I have to accept him without such a claim?”


POSTSCRIPT: It is VERY noteworthy that this eminent Canonist did not use certain arguments. He did Not:

  1. Cite the maxim referenced in Canon 1404, the First See is judged by no one (Prima sedes a nemine iudicatur), because he recognizes that an act of renunciation is of the man who holds the office, in as much as he is the man who accepted the office, not inasmuch as he is the man who holds the office.
  2. Appeal to universal acceptance: a crazed notion invented by some English speaking laymen, who having selectively quoted from John of Saint Thomas, want to apply a reflex principle, developed in an age before there was a Code of Canon Law, for troubled consciences in the time of a valid election, to silence honest inquiries into an invalid election which the principles of the Code of Canon Law clearly put it in doubt.
  3. Employ any ad hominems. That is, he did not insult me or question my motivation.
  4. Appeal to any meeting held in the Vatican after Feb 11, 2013 12 pm, noon, and before Feb. 28, 8 pm, when Benedict left the Vatican, in which there was an official determination or discussion of the canonical validity of the act to determine it was valid. Being an expert canonist at Rome, he would have heard of any, after nearly 7 years.
  5. And most importantly, perhaps, he made NO appeal to anything said by Benedict after Feb. 28, 2013, evidently because as a sane canonist, he recognizes that no testimony after the fact, regarding liberty or intention, has any bearing on the validity of a past act. Both need to be manifest in the act itself at the time of the act.

________

CREDITS: My photograph of the Holy Water fount at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls. The sculpture beneath it shows a cherub inviting the faithful to bless themselves with the Holy Water, while a demon cringes that anyone do something so extremist.

THANKS TO MY READERS: I wish to take this moment to thank all my Readers at this blog for encouraging me in my work and study to study the Renunciation. I would not have been prepared to debate the Renunciation with this eminent canonist, if I had not already learned a great deal from trying to answer your many questions and concerns during the last year.

 

Meet Giovanna Chirri, mother of the notion that Benedict resigned the papacy

giovannachirri_904617

This is our English translation of the article published by ChiesaRomana.info yesterday.

How did it happen that the entire world
thinks that Pope Benedict XVI
renounced the papacy?

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Behind every great man, there is a woman;
and behind every great act of a man, the insistence of a woman.

Today, nearly the entire world believes that Pope Benedict XVI renounced the papacy on Feb. 11, 2013.

And perhaps, dear readers, you think so too.

But the truth of what really happened that day has been obscured by the psychological presumption induced by the announcement made moments after the renunciation, by Mrs. Chirri. I am not kidding you!

Did you know that? The entire world thinks that way because of a single tweet, from a pool reporter for ANSA, known as Mrs. Giovanna Chirri. and here is that tweet:

In English, that reads:

B16 has resigned. He leaves the pontificate as of February 28.

This tweet is in fact the first announcement of the renunciation. It caused Giovanna Chirri to become immediately the most famous journalist in the world, for that moment. For the sake of posterity she subsequently gave several interviews so that we all might understand better the series of events which took place on that day.  Here is her testimony, given to the magazine, Familiga Cristiana, on the third anniversary of the Renunciation (Italian original here), the English translation of which is our own:

Though the Consistory should have concluded at that moment, the Pope remained seated, and began to read, again in Latin, from a white sheet which he held in his hand.  He said two things first of all: that he had not convoked the Cardinals solely to hear his approval of two decrees for the canonization of saints, but that he had to say something “important for the life of the Church”, and that he was growing old: his precise words were ingravescente aetate.  At these words I felt as if a hand was placed upon my throat and a ball was being inflated in my head: because Ingravescentem aetatem is the document whereby Pope Paul VI took from the Cardinals the right to elect a pope, after they obtained their eightieth year of age: they were words which signified retirement.  Benedict XVI continued to speak in a Latin, which fortunately was much more comprehensible than that of Cardinal Amato; he spoke for some time, saying that he no longer had the strength to govern the Barque of Peter in a world which is increasingly face paced.  He explained that in conscience he had decided to leave, that the Cardinals will have to hold a Conclave to elect a successor and that he was establishing the beginning of the sede vacante at 8 pm on February 28.

I heard what he said but as one who had not heard; I was breathless and my legs trembled as I sat. I could not hold my left hand steady, even when I tried with my right hand.  I began to make telephone calls seeking help and confirmations.  At the Vatican, where obviously, everyone had something else on their mind, no one picked up the phone.  I was prey to a sensation of terror which I had never experienced in my life.  At this point, Pope Ratzinger had finished speaking. Some of the faces of those present grew pale; Monsignor Guido Pozzo, sitting next to him, seem to have turned to stone; different Cardinals had fixed stares and the muscles of their faces were frozen.  In an unreal silence, the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Angelo Sodano, said in Italian: “This news strikes us as a bolt of lighting out of the blue”.

As you continue to read her testimony in Italian, you see immediately that after three years, she has understood in part the error she made that day, for she no longer speaks of a renunciation of the papacy, but expressly now speaks only of a renunciation of ministry.

Hence, if on February 11, 2013, Mrs. Chirri announced to the world one thing, and three years after in 2016, she explains that Benedict had renounced something else, perhaps we can shake off our presumption that what she said first was correct? One thinks so.

Compare what she said in 2014 on the first anniversary of the renunciation, when she was interviewed by Antonio Sanfrancesco, likewise of Famiglia Cristiana, in an article entitled, La Giornalista che diede la notizia, Non rispiravo, ero terrorizato (qui). A title – which in English, means: The Giornalist who broke the story, I could not breath, I was terrorized – which does not give the reader any confidence that she had a clear mind at the moment of her tweet.

This history and the alteration of the narrative is important for all of us because, according to the norm of Canon Law, there is no canon which regards a renunciation of ministry!  This is because in the Code of Canon Law of 1983, ministry is never associated with power or office, but only with action or the execution of a duty.  Moreover, in canon 1331 §2 °4, ministry is not even listed among those things which an excommunicated person is forbidden to acquire.  Hence, in the Code, an excommunicate can exercise a ministry.

Obviously, if the thing, according to its genus, which Pope Benedict renounced on Feb. 11, 2013 is something which someone not in communion with the Church or with the pope, can exercise, how can it be possible that in renouncing it Pope Benedict separated himself from the papal office? That does not make sense. It’s not even rational to contemplate.

Hence, it appears that in changing her story, Mrs. Chirri no longer agrees with what she wrote on that day:

Indeed, let us read that tweet with precision: it contains the words, dimesso, lascia and pontificato, which in English are resigned, leave and pontifcate.  But no where in the Latin text of the renunciation does Pope Benedict use any Latin words which mean these things!

Hence, if we are to speak properly and with precision, her tweet is not a report of news, but an interpretation of the event, an interpretation which arises out of the state of her mind in that moment in which she rushed to get the scoop on the news before any other journalist.

Now, at last, perhaps the time has come for the Church to recognize that none of us is obligated to understand that act of renunciation according to the state of mind of Mrs. Chirri, the Mother of the Papal Resignation. I call her, “the Mother of the Papal Resignation”, because in the understanding of the world, it was she who gave everyone to understand the act as an act of renunciation of the papacy, not merely of the ministry, an understanding and interpretation which all who study Canon Law are forcing themselves to find in the Code of Canon Law, but fail to do so, because it ain’t there.

ORIGINAL CREDITS: Testo di Famiglia Cristiana citato dall’articolo citato qui sopra. L’immagine in evidenza, della Sig.ra Chirri trovato sulla pagina di Famiglia Cristiana nel articolo di 11 Febbraio 2014, citato qui sopra, ma senza attribuzione di proprietà intellettuale. Si presume fair use per tutti due. Il tweet di Chirri è replicata dal suo conto su Twitter che è ancora in rete.

The Monstrosity of the Allegations against “Team Bergoglio” = Cardinal Bergoglio is not the Pope

Rome, Dec. 12, 1014:  The monstrosity of the allegations made by Dr. Austen Ivereigh in his new book, The Great Reformer: Francis and the making of a Radical Pope boggle the mind.  As this blog has noted in its previous report, the text of the narrative in chapter 9 of that book, implicates as many as 30 Cardinal electors in activity which seems likely to violate the papal law on Conclaves, Universi Dominici Gregis (here after UDG), promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 1996.

In that law, in paragraph 81, all forms of vote canvassing which include vote promising were punished with automatic excommunication (latae sententiae).  Yet canons 1329 and 1331 expand that penalty and indicate the consequences, even if the validity of the Conclave’s vote for Cardinal Bergoglio is not put in question by means of canon 171 §2, as this blog has speculated from the beginning. Let’s take a look then at these 2 canons.

The effects of Canon 1329: not only Cardinal Electors, but all accomplices

The From Rome blog has noted in its reports that the punishment was leveled only against Cardinals who could vote. However, the monstrosity of the allegation grows from the fact that Canon 1329 § 2 extends the effects of the penalty issued in UDG 81.

Canon 1329, § 2 reads, in the Latin:

Can. 1329§2. In poenam latae sententiae delicto adnexam incurrunt complices,qui in lege vel praecepto non nominantur, si sine eorum opera delictum patratum non esset, et poena sit talis naturae, ut ipsos afficere possit; secus poenis ferendae sententiae puniri possunt.

The official English translation of this, from the Vatican website is:

§2. Accomplices who are not named in a law or precept incur a latae sententiae penalty attached to a delict if without their assistance the delict would not have been committed, and the penalty is of such a nature that it can affect them; otherwise, they can be punished by ferendae sententiae penalties.

Thus, not only are the Cardinal Electors who sought vote-promises and those Cardinal Electors who promised votes in danger of excommunication from UDG 81, but also all those who assisted in this, such as:

  1. The aged Italian Cardinal, whom Ivereigh alleges tallied the votes, since without his assistance the conspiracy could not measure its success and by means of this count were encouraged to engage in the alleged illicit activities.
  2. A Cardinal-non-Elector, such as the alleged ring-leader, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, since in providing direction and organization for a conspiracy, the head of it assists in a manner in which the crimes could not have been committed as regards specific acts or their numerosity.  This is true even if the head of a conspiracy does not do the act which is criminalized.
  3. Any Cardinal, Bishop, Priest, or layman who assisted as messengers or solicitors between those asking for votes and those promising them.
  4.  Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, inasmuch as if he knew of the conspiracy, could have prevented it by signifying his unwillingness to allow such a campaign to go forward, which he could have done by merely threatening to reveal it during the Conclave; for knowledge of a conspiracy from which one benefits along with omission of all acts sufficient to bring such a conspiracy to naught or gravely obstruct it, is complicity before or during the act.  And no such conspiracy could succeed, without such at least tacit consent, since every Cardinal Elector upon being asked for his vote, could have confirmed the consent of Cardinal Bergoglio to such a campaign by asking him personally and directly.  That the alleged campaign go forward, therefore argues that it had some sort of consent from the Cardinal.

This might explain why in both denials of Dr. Ivereigh’s narrative, the spokeswoman for Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor and the spokesman for the Holy Father, Fr. Frederico Lombardi, S. J., have explicitly denied that Cardinal Bergoglio was asked by any of the Cardinals for his consent to the vote-campaigning.

The enormity of this implication is seen when we apply the effects of Canon 1331.

Canon 1331 requires that an excommunicated Pope-elect never exercise or hold office

Canon 1331 explains the effects of all excommunications latae sententiae. In the official English version, from the Vatican website this canon reads:

Can. 1331 §1. An excommunicated person is forbidden:

  1. to have any ministerial participation in celebrating the sacrifice of the Eucharist or any other ceremonies of worship whatsoever;
  2. to celebrate the sacraments or sacramentals and to receive the sacraments;
  3. to exercise any ecclesiastical offices, ministries, or functions whatsoever or to place acts of governance.

§ 2. If the excommunication has been imposed or declared, the offender:*

  1. who wishes to act against the prescript of §1, n. 1 must be prevented from doing so, or the liturgical action must be stopped unless a grave cause precludes this;
  2. invalidly places acts of governance which are illicit according to the norm of §1, n. 3;
  3. is forbidden to benefit from privileges previously granted;
  4. cannot acquire validly a dignity, office, or other function in the Church;
  5.  does not appropriate the benefits of a dignity, office, any function, or pension, which the offender has in the Church.

Which means, that if Dr. Ivereigh’s allegations are true, and if Cardinal Bergoglio had knowledge of the conspiracy and expressly or tacitly consented to it, then he would be incapable of holding the office of Pope, or making any acts which pertain to that office, such as nominate bishops, call Synods, or name Cardinals!

______________________

* That penalties of excommunication which are leveled automatically (latae sententiae) by a general decree are imposed in the very act of the commission of the criminalized activity, can be had from canon 1314. Some canonists wish to restrict the term “imposed” [imponere] only to penalties leveled by a specific written decree naming the individual(s) — but that violates the signification of the Latin verb, which means “to place upon” (in the same sense as we say in English, “leveled”), not “declared or indicated in by a specific decree” — not to mention it also ignores the patent distinction made in canon 1314.  In any case, the Church could not endure such a situation, and the Sacred College of Cardinals in a special consistory would have the necessity, in virtue of the authority granted them in UDG 5, of resolving the matter and/or proceeding to a new election.