Tag Archives: Canon 332 §2

LifeSite runs patently false arguments to defend Bergoglio’s claim to the papacy

REPRINTED FROM FEB. 2019

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

February 14, 2019 A. D. — Today Diane Montagna’s article, entitled, “Did Benedict really resign? Gänswein, Burke and Brandmüller weigh in,” was published at Life Site News.

First, let me say a big thank you to Diane Montagna for bringing the controversy to the greater attention of the general public. In this way, all Catholics, who have a right to know of its existence, can at last be informed.

However, I do not praise the article’s author for the article itself, which in all frankness, I must say is full of sophistic arguments:  that is false manners of argumentation, and even false assertions, all marshaled in an attempt to demonstrate that Pope Benedict XVI did validly resign, and that everything His Holiness and his private secretary have said about this, is to be ignored!

I find it shocking that two Cardinals, to defend the validity of the resignation, have resorted to telling the whole world not to pay attention to what the Pope has said about the meaning and effect of his own act!  This is tantamount to rebellion against the papacy, in my mind!

I also wish to contradict the attempt by the article to smear Catholics who hold that the resignation is invalid as persons who are NOT knowledgeable about Church Law, the text of the papal resignation, or who are excessively scandalized by Bergoglio. As I pointed out in my previous article on How Usurpation of the Papacy leads to Excommunication, all those involved in asserting an invalid resignation is valid are risking excommunication for schism and positing acts which only a pope can do.  So they have a lot of reasons to ignore a serious and just consideration of the facts, especially if they just went along to get along.

But enough of preamble. let’s examine the sophisms in Montagna’s Article, in order of their appearance.

  1. Archbishop Gänswein dismisses the argument as making no sense.  So since he confesses not to understand it, there is really nothing proved by quoting him. I will observe that in German, which is the Bishop’s ancestral tongue, there is no equivalent of ministerium, munus and officium except by one word. So its easy for a German thinker to miss the problem of saying ministerium instead of munus. What the Archbishop says previously contradicts what he says now, so he probably was thinking in German then or is now. But surely he can understand the controversy, seeing that I sent him last month, with proof of delivery, a printed copy of my entire Disputed Question on the topic. But then again, maybe he cannot read English?
  2. Later on in the article, after quoting Archbishop Gänswein as saying openly that Benedict did NOT resign the PAPAL OFFICE, Montagna quotes an anonymous theologian as sustaining,

    supporters of this opinion need to show that Pope Benedict understood the munus and the ministerium as referring to two different realities.

    Ugh, what can one respond to such ignorance? Other than that Canon 17 requires that Canon 332 §2 be read in accord with the meaning of canon 145 §1 and canon 41, which reading amply demonstrates that the Supreme Legislator Himself, Pope John Paul II, in promulgating the new Code of Canon Law requires that ministerium and munus be understood as referring to two different things. — Those who are faithful Catholics, therefore, already know they refer to two different things, because the Pope orders us to do so!

  3. Then the same anonymous theologian quotes canon 15 §1 (actually he quotes §2, but I think that is an error), as saying that the resignation must be presumed valid. But that canon says that a law, which expressly invalidates an act, invalidates even if the one positing the act is ignorant of the law. Thus this canon argues against the validity of the resignation, not for it!
  4. Then the same anonymous theologian confuses the annulment process with this controversy, saying that Catholics who think the resignation is or may be invalid, must wait for the judgement of the Church!  Actually, canon 188 says that resignations made in substantial error are invalid by the law itself. That means, they are invalid before any sentence of any court determines the facts: they are null, void and never had any legal effect.
  5. Then, the article quotes Dr. Roberto de Mattei, who cites Canon 124 §2. — As an aside, I would ask that Dr. de Mattei respond to my criticism of his previous error of attempting to raise an opinion of late scholasticism to the level of an interpretative principle of canon law, in contradiction to the obligation of canon 17 — But that canon also contradicts Dr. de Mattei, because it regards only acts which are manifestly conform to the obligations of the law, when in the present controversy one deals with a prima facie non conformity! That is, with the fact that at first glance at the Latin of Non solum propter (Text of apparent resignation) and canon 332 §2, they are not speaking of the same things! For the former renounces the ministerium, but the latter refers to resignations of munus.
  6. Then Dr. de Mattei attempts again to flip a canon. This time its canon 1526 §1, the burden of proof is upon him who asserts.  Seeing that it is the Cardinals and Dr. de Mattei who long ago asserted first of all that the resignation is valid, the burden of proof is rather on them! That is why, the mere fact that the Cardinals and the entire Vatican have never published a canonical affirmation of the validity is a strong argument they have NEVER examined if it was. But in the case of a resignation, a Cardinal Elector is gravely bound to personally verify that the resignation is valid, because otherwise he will participate in an illicit Conclave and elect and Anti-Pope!
  7. Then, Cardinal Brandmuller attempts to flip two sound dicta: de internis non iudicat praetor (a praetor does not judge of things internal) and quod non est in actis, non est in mundo (what is not in the act does not exist in the world). I say this, because he cites these to argue that those who doubt the validity of the resignation are in error. However, since those who doubt the validity, as I do, do not base our arguments on interior intentions, nor on suppositions, but on the text of the act of renunciation itself, we are acting in perfect harmony with those dicta. Nay, rather, its Cardinal Brandmuller and Burke and Gänswein who violate these, because they say the Pope intended to resign the munus, therefore he did resign the munus, and that ministerium means the munus which is not renounced in the text, because the Pope intended to resign the munus, they judge the Pope’s intention not the act itself!
  8. Then, Cardinal Burke is quoted as saying: “I believe it would be difficult to say it’s not valid.” This, I will admit — for those who have not read the Code of Canon Law and studied this question of substantial error on account of not saying munus nor referring to the office — might be difficult to prove, because many are ignorant of the Canon Law and its obligations. But for those who do, or should know it, it is not!  — Just see my disputed question on it. You can find it in Spanish translation here. In that Question, I carefully examine and refute the 19 reasons alleged for the validity and marshal 39 arguments, drawn from Canon Law, Theology, Philosophy, etc. against the validity.
  9. Finally, Cardinal Burke is quoted as saying: “It seems clear to me that Benedict had his full mind and that he intended to resign the Petrine office.” — Having given no argument but his speculation about the intention of what Pope Benedict XVI intended to say, other than to deny what he expressly has said on other occasions, the opinion of this eminent Canonist must be disregarded as any gratuitous unproven declaration which runs counter to the facts is disregarded.

In conclusion, I would ask these three eminent prelates to read Canon 17. Therein, Pope John Paul II obliges all Catholics to understand canon 332 §2 in a specific manner. In that manner, it can be seen that there is no question at all that the renunciation of Benedict is invalid by reason of substantial error (canon 188) in thinking that a renunciation of ministerium effects a renunciation of the papacy.

I believe that the Cardinals in particular, perhaps out of their familiarity with the Annulment process which focuses on the intention as the formal principle of the validity of the bond of Matrimony, are missing the point of the teaching of Pope Boniface VIII (Decree of Boniface VIII (6th vol), 1.1, T.7, Chap. 1: De Renunciatione:) that papal renunciations deal formally with the verbal signification of the act, not on the intention of the one renouncing. Also, they differ significantly in this, that the power to tie the bond of marriage consists in the ones who take marriage vows. But the power to remove the munus of the papacy is held exclusively by Christ the Lord in glory, who has promised Peter to uphold the letter of Canon Law promulgated by his successor, Pope John Paul II, in canon 332 §2, and Who cannot act unless the renunciation expressly conform itself to that canon.

Bishop Schneider, your Essay is a porridge of falsehood and presumption!

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

French Translation

The Angelic Doctor, Saint Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Theologica hands down the Catholic Tradition on the duties of the Catholic Faithful in matters where the Faith itself is put into public doubt or danger by the actions or statements of prelates, even of one’s own Bishop, when he writes:

To withstand anyone in public exceeds the mode of fraternal correction, and so Paul would not have withstood Peter then, unless he were in some way his equal as regards the defense of the Faith. But one who is not an equal can reprove privately and respectufully. Hence the Apostle, writing to the Colossians (4:17), tells them to admonish their prelate: “Say to Archippus, Fulfill thy ministry!”. It must be observed, however, that if the Faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly. Hence, Paul, who was Peter’s subject, rebuked him in public, on account of the imminent danger of scandal concerning the Faith, and, as the gloss on St. Augustine says, on Galatians 2:11, “Peter gave an example to superiors, that if at any time they happen to stray from the straight path, they should not disdain to be reproved by their subjects.” (Summa Theologica, II II, Q. 33, a. 4, ad 2)

Thus, I take up my pen to publicly rebuke Mons. Athanasius Schneider for statements made in his Essay published today at LifeSite News,  entitled, On the question of the true pope in the light of the opinion of the automatic loss of the papal office for heresy and the speculations about the resignation of Benedict XVI.

First, I find remarkable, that the Monsignor has doubled down on his opinion that the canonical crime of heresy publicly posited does not cause one to lose immediately every office in the Church, both theologically and canonically. He has sustained this opinion before, against all the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, as has been shown by several other writers (refuted ably here). His attempt to do so again, by arguing that a particular passage of Gratian is spurious is simply an absurd recourse to an absurd argument. Gratian was never a magisterial authority, so whether a particular passage is authentic or not, does not change the fact that notable authors, including Pope Innocent III, before and after Gratian held the opinion that heresy causes the loss of office, for anyone whomsoever. — Is he really saying, that Innocent III taught error, because of a faulty gloss? I say that he himself, that Bishop Schneider, is teaching error on the basis of a bad hermeneutic. To claim that the Church can lose Her Faith because She cannot discern that an unauthentic gloss presents false teaching, is to say the Church has no grace of discernment in matters of the Faith, but I, Bishop Schneider, know better than them all. Who do you think you are, your Excellency? Do you think you are greater that Saint Robert Bellarmine, S. J., who is as Doctor of the Church, and who disagrees with you?

Canon 1364 makes no exceptions whatsoever for a pope. The principle of The First See is judged by no one, which is enshrined in canon 1404, regards cases before a tribunal and acts of the Roman Pontiff. It does not regard the man who is the pope, in the case of his personal faith. Because just as a man who is a heretic, is not a member of the Church, a man who is a heretic holds no office. And thus a man considered or judged on account of heresy, is not considered or judged on account of any office. This is why Canon 1364 has no exceptions and imposes an excommunication upon each and everyone who commits a public crime of heresy, schism or apostasy.

Second, as regard the Declaratio of Pope Benedict: Your excellency shows that you either do not understand Canon Law or that you do not understand causality itself. If you had apprised yourself of even some of the documents sent to you by many Catholics round the world, you can see that the Code of Canon Law — an authentic Magisterial Document which you have no right to disregard or misrepresent — itself requires for a valid papal resignation, that the act posited by the man who is the Roman Pontiff, be an act of renunciation of petrine munus. But Pope Benedict XVI never posited such an act. Statements made before or after such an act, regarding intention or signification of the act, have no bearing whatsoever on the nature of the act. If your excellency had done as much due diligence as I have, when you were in Rome, and paid a visit to Mons. Arrieta, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legal Texts, you would have understood that an act of papal renunciation has to be clear in itself, it cannot be subject to the interpretation of anyone, not even by the pope. For if it needs interpretation or explanation, then it is not clear, and not valid. And if the man has validly resigned, any interpretation he gives is not authoritative. Nor can a pope resign, by authoritatively interpreting an invalid act as valid, after the fact. Because Canon 332 §2 requires an act of renunciation of petrine munus: and by such it does not permit an act of resignation by means of a post-factum papal interpretation of a not clearly manifest act.

Your opinion runs contrary to Saint Alphonsus dei Liguori, C. Ss.R., a Doctor of the Church, on legal interpretation. Do you think you know better than he, who held 2 doctorates in Law, one in canon law and another in civil law?

Third, all the quotes you cite, though they have no bearing, nevertheless, do not even prove the case you make with them, as I shall show here, by quoting each and commenting:

“Among you, in the College of Cardinals, there is also the future pope to whom today I promise my unconditional reverence and obedience” (Farewell address to the Cardinals, 28 February 2013).

Since, normally speaking, all Popes were former Cardinals, this statement can be said at any time to the College of Cardinals, whether all of them are present or not. It means nothing. We all should promise our obedience to all legitimate future popes, and past popes, because our obedience is owed to the office.

“I have taken this step with full awareness of its gravity and even its novelty, but with profound interior serenity” (Last General Audience, February 27, 2013).

Howsoever aware one is of an act, does not make an act valid, unless you think you are God or that the one acting is God. Canon 332 §2 by imposing conditions upon a papal resignation and defining it as a papal renunciation of petrine munus, teaches implicitly that Pope John Paul II held invalid a renunciation of ministerium, that John Paul II judged his successor, as the man who was Pope, and that the act itself must be duly manifest, to be valid.  All of which make no provision for full awareness of substantial error or novelty as a cause of validity (cf. canon 188 and 126).

“There is not the slightest doubt about the validity of my renunciation of the Petrine ministry. The only condition of validity is the full freedom of the decision. Speculation about the invalidity of renunciation is simply absurd” (Letter from February 18, 2014, to Andrea Tornielli, published in La Stampa, February 27, 2014).

The controversy over the canonical effect of the Declaratio has nothing to do with the claim that a renunciation of ministerium cannot be valid or is not valid. It has to do with the claim that the renunciation of ministerium effects the same thing as a renunciation of munus, and that it fulfills the requirements of Canon 332 §2, as not being corrupted by substantial error (cf. canon 188).  Moreover, if Pope Benedict XVI thinks that liberty of action alone is the cause of a valid renunciation, then, he shows himself to be in invincible error as regards his own act, because clearly in Canon 332 §2 there are 2 causes of validity of a renunciation of munus: freedom and due manifestation. And if you think you can transpose those 2 causes of validity for an act of renunciation of munus to an act of renunciation of ministerium, to make the renunciation of ministerium a renunciation of munus, then clearly you are in error, grave error! Then your act is invalid either on account of Canons 38 when reading an administrative act in violation of 36 §2, and/or of canon 15 §1 for all such cases of error in juridical acts against canons 188 and 332 §2.

During a conversation with a journalist from the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, the former Pope Benedict XVI said: “The Pope is one, he is Francis.” These words of Benedict XVI were reported in the written edition of Corriere della Sera, June 28, 2019 and anticipated in the Italian version of Vatican News on June 27, 2019.

This statement by Bishop Schneider is amazing of itself, because it is made regarding a report which was debunked by LifeSite News just days later. I suppose, the Bishop does not read the very electronic journal which publishes his Essay. And I suppose the editors of the same electronic journal omitted fraternal correction to help him save face by repeating such a false claim. But again, maybe I suppose too much.

Fourth, your excellency, why do you quote statements by Pope Benedict regarding his intentions to prove the Act of renunciation of ministry means an act of renunciation of papal munus, and then, in the next section of your essay, tell us not to hold that the actions and statements made by Pope Benedict which clearly show his intention to hold on to the papal dignity and office are not to be interpreted thus?

The Church is a visible society. Therefore, what was essential for the fulfillment of Benedict XVI’s resignation was not his possible internal thought but what he externally declared, for the Church does not judge about internal intentions (de internis non iudicat Ecclesia). Pope Benedict XVI’s ambiguous acts, like wearing a white cassock, keeping his name, imparting the apostolic blessing, etc., do not affect the unequivocal meaning of his act of renunciation. Many of his demonstrable and unequivocal words and actions after his resignation also confirm that he considers Pope Francis, and not himself, to be the pope.

Is evidence only to be interpreted to support your theory, and not objective reality? Do you honestly think that a validly resigned pope, should dress as the Pope, sign as the Pope, give blessings as the Pope? Moreover, do you think a real pope would salute a retired pope, at Panama City, saying to the crowds:  Look, Benedict, the pope!

If you want to close your eyes to facts which disprove your allegations, that is your affair, but asking the rest of the Church to do so is the very consummation of pride.

Finally, I must publicly reprove you for blasphemy against the Saints of Holy Mother Church, when you write:

Declaring Pope Francis to be an invalid pope, either because of his heresies or because of an invalid election (for reasons of alleged violations of the Conclave norms or for the reason that Pope Benedict XVI is still the pope because of his invalid renunciation) are desperate and subjectively taken actions aimed at remedying the current unprecedented crisis of the papacy. They are purely human and betray a spiritual myopia. All such endeavors are ultimately a dead end, a cul-de-sac. Such solutions reveal an implicit Pelagian approach to resolving a problem with human means; a problem, indeed, which cannot be resolved by human efforts, but which requires a divine intervention.

Many Councils, not the least of which the Council of Etampes, France, in 1130 A.D., presided over by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, and the Synod of Sutri, approved of by St. Peter Damian and Bl. Pope Victor III and Pope St. Gregory VIII, have pronounced men to be invalid popes. To say that all such endeavors are pelagian and a dead end is not only a historical lie but a blasphemy against these holy men.

For all these reasons, I publicly ask you to withdraw the false assertions of your essay, if you want to be regarded any longer by Catholics as a Bishop who is faithful to the teaching and practice of the Church over the last 2000 years. Your desire to sustain the claim of Bergoglio to the papacy is clearly not based on facts, history or canon law, and is causing grave scandal to the faithful.

The true way forward, is the Catholic way, and it was proposed today by Catholics who know their faith and accept the teaching of the Church in its entirety.

_________

CREDITS: The Featured Image is a screen shot of the page at LifeSite News, where Bishop Schneider’s Essay has been published. It and the citations from his essay are used here in accord with fair use standards for editorial commentary.

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How to remove Bergoglio

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

What follows here are the canonical steps by which Bergoglio can be peacefully, easily and lawfully removed from his position of power.

First, any Catholic Bishop or Cardinal, whether holding jurisdiction or not, whether of the Latin Rite or not, in his capacity as a member of the College of Bishops needs to make this public declaration, or its equivalent:

As member of the College of Bishops, whose unity with the Successor of Saint Peter is essential to its proper function in the Church for the accomplishment of the will of Christ, to continue His Salvific Mission on Earth, I hereby declare that I have examined the official Latin text of Pope Benedict XVI’s act of renunciation of February 11, 2013 A.,D., which begins with the words Non solum propter, and I have found that it is not in conformity with the requirement of Canon 332 §2, that states explicitly that a papal resignation only occurs when the Supreme Pontiff renounces the Petrine Munus.  Seeing that Pope Benedict renounced only the ministerium which he received from the hands of the Cardinals, and seeing that he did not invoke Canon 38 to derogate from the obligation to name of the office in a matter which violates the rights of all the Faithful of Christ, and even more so, of the members of the College of Bishops, to know who is and who is not the Successor of Saint Peter, and when and when not he has validly renounced his office, I declare out of the fullness of my apostolic duty and mission, which binds me to consider first of all the salvation of souls and the unity of the Church, that Pope Benedict XVI by the act expressed in Non Solum Propter never renounced the Papal Office and therefore has continued until this very day to be the one and sole and true and only Vicar of Jesus Christ and Successor of Saint Peter.  I therefore charge the College of Cardinals with gross negligence in the performance of their duties as expressed in Canon 359 and n. 37 of Universi Domini Gregis by proceeding in February and March of 2013 to the convocation and convening of a Conclave to elect Pope Benedict’s successor when there had not yet been consummated a legal sede vacante. And thus I do declare the Conclave of 2013 was uncanonically convoked, convened and consummated and that the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergogio as Successor of Saint Peter is null and void and irritus by the laws themselves of Holy Mother Church, as established by Pope John Paul II.

Second, Catholic Bishops and Cardinals and indeed all the Faithful should personally examine the text of February 11, 2013 according to the norms of Canons 332 §2, canon 17, canon 38, canon 145 §1, canon 41, canon 126, and in particular canon 188. (see ppbxvi.org for more information.)

Third, the Cardinals and Bishops should hold spontaneous regional or universal Synods to confirm the same and publicly affirm the same.

Fourth, the Bishops and Cardinals should call on the Swiss Guard and Vatican Police to arrest Cardinal Bergoglio and detain him and obtain from him public affirmation of the same.

Fifth, the Cardinals should approach Pope Benedict XVI and ask if it is now his intention to resign the Petrine Munus or not. If not, they should convey him to Saint John Lateran’s and acclaim him with one voice as Pope and ask his forgiveness publicly for having defected from him and elected an antipope. If so, they should ask him to redo the renunciation, this time renouncing the Petrine Munus; and then they should convene a Conclave to elect Benedict’s legitimate successor.

How Cardinal Sodano robbed the Papacy from Pope Benedict!

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

As I have reported before, in February 2013 there was a de facto coup d’etat at the Vatican, the result of which was the imprisonment of Pope Benedict XVI, and the convocation of an illegal, illicit and invalid Conclave, which resulted in the illegal, illicit and invalid election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

Now, I invite the entire Church to examine more carefully what happened in the 58 minutes after the Consistory of February 11, 2013, which ended just before noon, Rome time, on that day.

According to Canon Law, it was the grave and solemn duty of the Dean of the College of Cardinals to approach Pope Benedict and ask for a written copy of his act of Renunciation.

Here are the relevant Canons of the Code of 1983 which regulate what should have been done:

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.

Can. 41 — Exsecutor actus administrativi cui committitur merum exsecutionis ministerium, exsecutionem huius actus denegare non potest, nisi manifesto appareat eundem actum esse nullum aut alia ex gravi causa sustineri non posse aut condiciones in ipso actu administrativo appositas non esse adimpletas; si tamen actus administrativi exsecutio adiunctorum personae aut loci ratione videatur inopportuna, exsecutor exsecutionem intermittat; quibus in casibus statim certiorem faciat auctoritatem quae actum edidit.

Needless to say, I have added some color to the letters of the text to make it clear that, in the very 2 Canons which Cardinal Sodano should have carefully read and acted upon, there is made by the Code itself the distinction between munus and ministerium. And yet for 6 years, and especially during the last 12 months, those who have sustained that the renunciation was valid, dared use the argument that there no distinction between the terms!

It seems so true, that it is almost a law, that whatever one investigates about the Pontificate of Bergoglio, one uncovers nothing but lies and frauds. This is clearly the greatest.

The Laws which governed what Cardinal Sodano should have done

Because in that key moment, before Sodano through Father Lombardi gave the Sig.ra Chirri the go ahead to publish to the world that Benedict had resigned, He will leave the Pontificate on Feb. 28 (B16 è dimesso. Lascia il Pontificato Feb 28), he HAD TO read these 2 canons, or at least recall them.

Let us therefore take a closer look at these 2 canons, which regard what is to be done when someone, with mere Executive authority, receives notice from someone, with the jurisdiction to posit an adminstrative act, that he is to take an action.

My English translation of the Canons:

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.

Canon 41: The executor of an administrative act to whom there has been committed the mere ministry (ministerium) of execution, cannot refuse execution of the act, unless the same act appears to be null from (something) manifest [manifesto] or cannot be sustained for any grave cause or the conditions in the administrative act itself do not seem to be able to have been fulfilled: however, if the execution of the administrative act seems inopportune by reason of place or adjoined persons, let the executor omit the execution; in which cases let him immediately bring the matter to the attention of (certiorem faciat) the authority which published the act.

What Cardinal Sodano did

First, as Canon 40 states, Cardinal Sodano’s first duty was to ask Pope Benedict XVI for a written copy of the Act of Renunciation. This is because, as read out-loud, anyone fluent in Latin, as Cardinal Sodano is reputed to be, would have noticed multiple errors in the Latin, most grievous of which was the enunciation of commisum not commiso by the Holy Father. This touched upon the integrity of the act.

Second, in receiving the Act of Renunciation in the authentic Latin Text, and finding that it was as it was intended to be read, he was obliged to examine if the act was in conformity with Canon 332 §2, which reads:

Canon 332 § 2. Si contingat ut Romanus Pontifex muneri suo renuntiet, ad validitatem requiritur ut renuntiatio libere fiat et rite manifestetur, non vero ut a quopiam acceptetur.

My translation:

Canon 332 §2. If it happen that the Roman Pontiff renounce his office (muneri suo), for validity there is required that the renunciation be done freely and duly manifested, but not that it be accepted by anyone whomsoever.

And thus, in this examination, the Cardinal had to confront the very Distinction between munus and ministerium that was founded in the Act of Renunciation, which contains the terms munus and ministerium, but renounces only the ministerium!

Clearly anyone reading Canon 40, would see that munus means office or charge! And in reading canon 41 that ministerium means execution of the duties of the office. Clearly he would as Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals realize that it is one thing to have a munus to do something, quite another to put into motion his ministerium to execute it. — He was acting on the very basis of that distinction, because before he acted, he held the munus to act, and in acting he executed the ministerium to act!

For this reason, Cardinal Sodano must be questioned if not publicly accused of having closed his eyes! That is, of having ignored the distinction and his own grave duty and invalidly executed his office, by declaring the act a valid act of renunciation of the papal office!

This is especially true, because Canon 41 forbids (“let him omit the execution“) and Canon 40 invalidates the action of the executor to proceed to any action, not only because the core act of renunciation was invalid, as per canon 188 (for substantial error), to effect the loss of papal office, but also because, being invalid, the Cardinal Dean could NOT recognize that the command to call a conclave was opportune.

There are other anomalies in the Act of Renunciation which also should have caused the Cardinal to stop and refer to Pope Benedict, namely:

  1. The Act of Renunciation is not an act of renunciation, but the declaration of an act of renunciation. As such it lacks the formal quality of a canonical act per se, since it is one thing to announce, another to enact!
  2. The Act of Renunciation contains what appears to be a command to call a conclave. But this command is NOT a command, because it is a declaration not a command, and it is made in the First Person singular, which signifies the man who is the pope, inasmuch as he is the man, NOT the man who is the pope, inasmuch as he is the pope. But the man who is the pope, inasmuch as he is the man, whether he has renounced or not cannot call a Conclave, since he has no authority to do so!
  3. The Act of Renunciation contains no derogation of any terms of canon law which it violates as is required by canon 38.
  4. The errors in the Latin demonstrated clearly that the Holy Father had prepared the Act in secret without the counsel of canon lawyers and Latinists, and that therefore, it may lack formal interior consent or be based on other errors of fact or law or comprehension of Latin.

Thus, for Cardinal Sodano to proceed to act as if the renunciation were valid, violated the general principle of law, that the validity of the renunciation of power or right is NOT to be presumed.

This is a general principle of jurisprudence and is even found in Canon Law, in an applied form, in Canon 21:

Can. 21 — In dubio revocatio legis praeexistentis non praesumitur, sed leges posteriores ad priores trahendae sunt et his, quantum fieri potest, conciliandae.

Canon 21In doubt, the revocation of a pre-existing law is not presumed, but later laws are to be compared with prior ones, as much as can be done, be reconciled to them.

In a word, Cardinal Sodano by acting was claiming a munus to act (Canon 40) and using that authority to exercise a ministry (Canon 41) to deny that the Pope had a munus which had to be renounced (Canon 332 §2)!

Thus the Act of Renunciation appeared to be null from MANY manifest aspects of the terminology and grammatical structure. Canon 41 therefore required that he confer with the Pope to have them corrected! Canon 40 invalidated any action he took prior to recognizing the act as authentic and integral, that is, not canonically invalid, irritus or null. — And in Canon Law, as per canon 17, to recognize something as valid, does NOT mean insisting it is valid, when it is not! That is fraud.

By omitting the honest fulfillment of his duties, he acted with reckless disregard for his own office as Dean. He exploited the canonical defects in the Act to perpetrate a horrible crime of misrepresentation. This was tantamount to robbing the Roman Pontiff of his office by exploiting his authority, so as to declare valid what was invalid to produce a papal resignation!

Thus, according to the terms of Canon 40 and 41, Cardinal Sodano should have acted differently. The act of renunciation was of ministry, not of munus, and therefore was NOT an act of resignation. Therefore the declaration of a resignation, which had to have emanated from Cardinal Sodano’s desk, was a canonical lie and fraud! And since, ignorance of the law in those who should know the law is not presumed, Cardinal Sodano cannot be excused from an abuse of his office (munus).

What Cardinal Sodano should have done!

Upon receiving the document of Renunciation, and noticing that the renunciation of ministerium was not the act specified by Canon 332 §2, he should have spoken with Pope Benedict in the presence of 2 credible witnesses and brought this to his attention, as Canon 41 requires. Then he should have asked whether it was his intention to renounce the Petrine munus or simply to renounce the Petrine Ministerium. In the latter case, he should have (1) asked the Holy Father to issue a Motu Proprio naming someone to be his Vicar extraordinaire who would have the potestas executionis but not the office of the Pope, during the remainder of his life, OR, (2) in the case that he indicated that it was his intention to resign the papal office, he then should have asked him to sign a corrected copy of the act, containing the word muneri instead of ministerio and correcting all the other errors, whether of form, of Latin, or grammatical structure etc.. To have done anything less would be a grave sin of disrespect for the Office of the Successor of St. Peter, to which the Cardinal was bound by solemn vow to protect and defend.

Simple. Easy. Legal, Legit. By failing to do that, he convened an illicit, illegal and invalid Conclave, and made Bergoglio an Antipope, not the Pope!

(Photo Credits: CTV)

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.

__________

* 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.

 

Msgr. Nicola Bux rewrites Canon 332 §2

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Denial in times of shock is a human experience and a frequent response, though not virtuous, when the truth of the pain, suffering or threat is so great it cannot be admitted to exist even in the mind. The denial is the escape.

But denial of the truth of reality and of the facts of history or law is simply wrong, and in a scholar it is glaringly dishonest.

Such is my amazement then at the comment attributed to Msgr. Nicola Bux, in the article of Aldo Maria Valli, entitled, Benedetto XVI: “Ho rinunciato, ma sono ancora papa sotto il profilo spirituale”, which was published yesterday, here in Italy.

Apart from the fact that the title of the article repeats in Italian the same exact title of Maike Hickson’s report at LifeSite News — a thing which in itself is a giornalistic faux pas if not unseemly — the article presents nothing new in respect to her article.  Valli is one of the leading journalists here in Italy, on national television. It is clear that he could have done better, in my opinion.

But the end of the article is the real insult to the intelligence of the reader. There, Valli writes:

Se la persona eletta non è un vescovo, prosegue monsignor Bux, deve essere immediatamente consacrata vescovo perché il papato comporta l’esercizio dell’ufficio episcopale, ma è papa dal momento in cui acconsente alle elezioni. “Se la stessa persona, a un certo punto, dichiara di non poter più adempiere alla chiamata di essere il vicario di Cristo sulla terra, perde l’ufficio papale e ritorna alla condizione in cui si trovava prima di dare il consenso a essere il vicario di Cristo sulla terra”.

Which in English would be:

If the person elected is not a bishop, continues, Msgr. Bux, he should be immediately consecrated a bishop because the Papacy requires the excercise of the episcopal office, but he is pope from the moment in which he assents to the election. “If the same person, at a certain point, declares to no longer be able to fulfill the call to be the Vicar of Christ on earth, he loses the papal office and returns to the conditions in which he was found before giving his consent to being the Vicar of Christ on earth”.

Valli is too professional a journalist to be suspected of having invented or distorted the words attributed to Msgr. Bux, which I have highlighted in red.

That being the case, I do not know what the Monsignor is trying to do, pull the wool over the heads of the entire Catholic world?  I say this because Bux has clearly rewritten Canon 332 §2, to mean that which Pope Benedict XVI did on February 11, 2013, when, on the contrary, Canon 332 §2, being a papal law, which according to Christ Jesus, Who is God, Eternal Truth, our Savior, and the only Head of the Church, declared to be bound in Heaven just as on earth, says something entirely different:

If it happen that the Roman Pontiff renounce his munus, there is required for validity that the renunciation be freely done and duly manifested, but not that it be accepted by anyone whomever.

Msgr. Bux obviously wants badly to accept the Renunciation as valid, but in doing so he has not only violated the final clause which says his acceptance does not make it valid, and the first clause which says that it happens when the Pope Renounces his petrine munus, not when he says, at any time, that he is no longer capable to fulfill the office.

Bux is in denial, and it is not one which arose out of fear. It is one which arises out of a malign desire to deny the truth.

I never paid attention to anything Bux said until the summer of 2012, when Pope Benedict XVI appointed Mueller to head the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and there immediately irrupted the shock and objections of the Catholic world, here in Italy, on account of Muellers speculation that Our Lady was not always a physical virgin, only a spiritual virgin, and that in the Sacrament of the Altar, Jesus is present in His Divine and Human Nature, but not with His hands and feet and heart.

It was then that Bux spoke in Mueller’s defense, even though the latter’s opinion regarding Our Lady was condemned in the Synod of the Church of Rome in the 7th century as heretical.

Bux, evidently, still has not learned when it is just better to remain silent.

As an aside, Msgr. Nicola Bux sustains that the Code of Canon Law needs to be changed to provide a canonical status for a pope emeritus, because he wants to hide the reality of what happened over the fig leaf of words. I am told this effort is currently in the works in the Roman Curia.

_____________

CREDITS: The Featured Image above is a screen shot of Google Images search for Nicola Bux, to show that it is a good search engine for finding images of the many faces of the Monsignor.

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Don Enrico Bernasconi declares for Pope Benedict XVI

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Don Enrico Bernasconi, assistant pastor of Santa Maria della Strada, Torremaggiore, Italy has declared for Pope Benedict XVI!

He made his declaration in a lengthy interview granted to Samuel Colombo, an Italian vocalist and political activist: the interview was published at Rivelazione.net, here in Italy. FromRome.info has requested permission to translate it, which is required in EU Law.

Don Bernasconi is a late vocation, being ordained a priest only 3.5 years ago. He serves in the Catholic Diocese of San Severino, in the region of Puglia (Apulia), on that part of the Italian Peninsula which looks like the heel of the boot. His parish at Torremaggiore is not far from San Giovanni Rotondo, famous throughout the entire world for the presence and tomb of Padre Pio.

But fair use policy does allow FromRome.Info to cite a small part of the interview, and translate that, for its news worthiness.

Who is the pope to you today? Francis or Benedict XVI?

First of all I would like to say that it is not a question of sympathy or of feeling closer to one pope than another: it is a question of truth. There cannot be two popes at the same time. I believe that, due to the fact that Pope Benedict XVI has not duly renounced the munus petrino, in his declaratio, as required by can. 332 §2 for the validity of the act of his resignation, he remains the Vicar of Christ. As some well qualified scholars have said, Benedict XVI has renounced the active exercise of the ministry but not the Petrine office; in other words, it is as if he has renounced ‘doing’ the pope but not ‘being’ the pope. This fact, from the canonical point of view, is then confirmed by the subsequent attitude taken by Benedict XVI, who did not renounce the name of Holiness, the name, the signature with the acronym that belongs only to the reigning Pontiff, P.P. (Pontifex Pontificum), remained in Vatican territory, kept the white cassock and intervened several times in the last seven years. The title of pope emeritus is something insignificant and all the more so is the concept of ‘extended’ ministry.

Do you say communion with Benedict XVI?

I celebrate in union with Benedict XVI, being still the Vicar of Christ on earth. I have in fact matured in conscience the decision that it would no longer make any sense to celebrate in union with those who are not the legitimate pope, even if they are recognized as such by the majority. And those who celebrate in union with the legitimate pope certainly cannot be schismatics; rather they can be, in this anomalous situation, unjustly sanctioned or excommunicated.

Let us pray for this heroic priest who is loyal to truth and to the Catholic Religion. By his decision he is risking persecution and the loss of not only his entire salary but room and board.

From the rest of his interview, it is clear that he is very well informed about the current state of the Church and the cause of the problems under which She is being crucified with Her Lord, Jesus Christ.

Don Bernasconi’s profession of truth adds to the growing numbers of clergy world wide who are declaring for Pope Benedict XVI:

  • Archbishop Lenga, Poland
  • Bishop Gracida, Texas, USA
  • Several Bishops in Italy, who are still unnamed
  • Don Alessandro Minutella, Palermo, Sicily
  • Don Enrico Roncaglia, Veneto, Italy
  • Don Francesco D’Erasmo, Tarracina, Italy,
  • Several priests here at Rome, who are still unnamed
  • Father Walter Covens, Martinique
  • Father Paul Kramer, USA
  • Many other priests, whose names are  not yet known to FromRome.Info.

To these clergy, there are thousands of laity who could be named. But the following Associations which have declared for Pope Benedict XVI are:

Veri Catholici, which has more than 3000 members world wide.

 

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What does it mean, “To be loyal to the Pope?”, if we do not care who is the pope?

English translation of Italian Original

Che vuole dire, “Essere leale al Papa”,
se non ci sentiamo obbligati a conscere chi è il vero papa?

ChiesaRomana.Info

What does it mean, to be loyal to the Pope,
if we do not consider ourselves obligated
to know who is the true pope?

It is already clear that the whims of politicians has substituted any desire for the truth, and that the Dictatorship of Relativism has exalted itself unto the heavens. Hence, it is necessary duty that we Roman Catholics distinguish now between falsehood and truth.

The criterion of truth differs according to different subjects. In a vote, political truth consists in the final count of the votes. In the empirical sciences, scientific truth consists in what can be observed and demonstrated by repetitive experimentation. In matters of faith, the truth is the teaching which God has revealed. But in questions of who is and who is not the true pope, the truth consists in Canon Law, because the law of the Church regulates whose claim to the papacy is valid and legitimate, and whose is not.

As everyone knows, it is neither whim nor popularity nor a poll which confirms that a man is the Pope. A man becomes pope solely when he is elected in a Conclave. But to be more precise: a man becomes the pope when HE ACCEPTS his canonical election in a legitimate conclave. And a legitimate conclave is a Conclave which observes the papal law of Pope John Paul II, Universi dominici gregis, on the convening of conclaves during a vacancy (sede vacante) of the Apostolic See (see the Latin or English text at Vatican.va).

Obviously, therefore, even if all the Cardinals say the Pope is a man, who was not elected in a conclave which observed the norms of that papal law, he is NOT the pope, because even the Cardinals are obliged to observe the Canon Law of the Catholic Church! In fact, canon 359 says expressly that the Cardinals have no decision making power when the Apostolic See is vacant.

Therefore, to know who is the true pope, it is not sufficient to recognize him who has been elected in Conclave. Every Catholic also has the duty to verify if there was a sede vacante. This, however, is not a problem when a Pope dies, because there is a corpse.

But, how about when a Pope renounces?  There a problem can arise. In fact, Pope John Paul II expressly foresaw the possibility of a invalid renunciation in paragraph 3 of his law on Conclaves, Universi dominici gregis, and indirectly in paragraph, n. 37

Pope John Paul II also foresaw the possibility of an invalid renunciation in the Code of Canon Law which he promulgated in 1983, because in Canon 332 §2, it speaks in these terms regarding a Papal renunciation:

Canon 332 §2 — Si contingat ut Romanus Pontifex muneri suo renuntiet, ad validiatem requiritur ut renuntiatio libere fiat et rite manifestetur, non vero a quopiam acceptetur.

Which in English means:

Canon 332 §2 — If it happen that the Roman Pontiff renounces his munus, for validity there is required that the renunciation be freely made and be duly manifested, but not that it be accepted by anyone whomsoever.

In many translations of this canon, the Latin word munus (which is employed in the dative form, muneri) is translated as office, in accord with the terms of canon 145 §1, which defines every ecclesiastical office (officium) as a munus. This way of translating munus, however, is not faithful, because an ecclesiastical office per se is merely an ecclesiastical dignity. But the munus of the Successor of Saint Peter is a supernatural dignity, an evangelical duty, and a charge imposed by Jesus Himself, by reason of which the law of the Church reckons it as an ecclesiastical office according to the norm of law.

At this point, we need to recognize that in every discussion of canon law, the Latin text of an act is normally the only text which has juridical authority. On this account, Pope Benedict XVI on February 11, 2013, in Consistory with the Cardinals, expressed himself in the Latin tongue, saying in the first person singular (as Joseph Ratzinger) the following:

Quapropter bene conscius ponderis huius actus plena libertate declaro me ministerio Episcopi Romae, Successoris Sancti Petri, mihi per manus Cardinalium die 19 aprilis MMV commisso ​renuntiare ita ut  a die 28 februarii MMXIII, hora 20, sedes Romae, sedes Sancti Petri vacet et Conclave ad eligendum novum Summum Pontificem ab his quibus competit convocandum esse.

A Papal Renunciation is a special kind of juridical act

A papal renunciation of munus is a special kind of juridical act.  As Mons. Arrieta, the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legal Texts, in his meeting with Br. Alexis Bugnolo, on December 11, 2019, affirmed, a papal renunciation is not subject to interpretation by anyone, that is, no one in the Church has the legal right to interpret it. Not even the Pope. Because if the renunciation was valid, then he is no longer the pope. And if it was not valid, his interpretation cannot make it valid. “It has to be certain in itself”, as Mons. Arrieta affirmed.

Hence, as can be seen from the official Latin text of the renunciation, quoted above, Pope Benedict XVI renounced the ministerium (ministery). Hence, it is not legitimate for anyone to say that he renounced anything else. In particular, it is not permitted that anyone say that he renounced his munus or ecclesiastical office, for such an affirmation would be an interpretation which substitutes officio (office) or muneri (munus) where Pope Benedict XVI said ministerio (ministry).

Hence, Pope Benedict XVI is still the Pope. There never was a sede vacante.

The Haste and Imprudence of the Cardinals on Feb. 11, 2013 was historic and extraordinary

According to Mons. Arrieta, there never was, as far as he knows, any meeting of expert canonists to examine the Declaratio of Pope Benedict XVI, before Father Lombardi gave the go-ahead to Giovanna Chirri, an ANSA pool report, to tweet out to the world that Pope Benedict had resigned from the papacy.

Obviously, then, no one in the Church is obligated to follow Father Lombardi or Mrs. Giovanna Chirri or even the Cardinals in their error. Rather, we are obliged by the Divine and Catholic Faith to give our loyalty still to Pope Benedict XVI, as the Pope.

Pope John Paul II took precautions against errors of this kind in his Code of Canon Law of 1983, because in that Code, he as the supreme legislator of the Church, changed the canon which regarded the renunciation of the Roman Pontiff. He did this because, for more than 20 years, theologians had put in discussion the possibility of separating the papal government from the papal office, by means of a sharing of the papal dignity among two or more persons, one charged with the papal munus, and the other with the papal ministerium. He put a stop to any such future possibility by adding the words muneri suo as the object of the verb “renuntiare” (to renounce) — the Code of Canon Law of 1917 has no object to the verb.  Moreover, he impeded the possibility of renouncing by renouncing anything else, through canon 188, which declares every renunciation irritus — invalid or never to have existed — which contains a substantial error as regards what is to be renounced.

Thus, even if Pope Benedict XVI wanted to renounce only the ministry but not the munus, he could not do it. Moreover, Mons. Arrieta affirmed — likewise in his meeting with Br. Bugnolo — that such a renunciation, so as to share the papal dignity with two persons, would be contrary to the Divine law itself.

A Divine obligation for all

Everyone in the Church is obliged to follow the true pope. A man, elected in a Conclave which was convened during the lifetime of a canonically elected pope, is obviously not the pope!  Canon 359 formally forbids the Cardinals to elect another pope during the lifetime of the reigning Pope. And the reigning Pope remains pope until he either dies or renounces in accord with the terms of Canon 332.

If the Clergy has hastily followed the opinion of a journalist or Vatican spokesman who were not qualified in Canon Law, their error obliges no one. If the Cardinals, in haste and without due discretion, presumed the renunciation of ministerium was a renunciation of the papacy, their error obliges no one.  Even if Pope Benedict XVI, with his advanced age, though that he could renounce the power and office of the papacy, without renouncing or even intending to renounce the munus, because he wanted to retain the papal dignity afterwards, this error obliges no one. It obliges no one, because not even Pope Benedict XVI has a power or authority which extends over the papal office.  Only the Creator of that office, Jesus Christ, has that power. Hence, not even the intent expressed in the act (that of vacating the Apostolic Throne) can repair the error of not renouncing the petrine munus.

What are we to do now?

We must insist with our sacred pastors that they stop naming the man, who never received the petrine munus, as  pope in the Canon of the Mass, and return to naming Pope Benedict. Each priest needs to employ canon 41, which gives him the authority to read the text of the Renunciation and to declare it null.

We need to do everything we can to convince the Cardinals to recognize their error and to return their loyalty to Pope Benedict XVI. Finally, we need to insist that the Cardinal Archbishop of Buenas Aires returns home to Argentina.

This is a solemn duty for every Catholic. We can not do otherwise, if we want to attain Heaven, because to obey an Anti-pope is the worst sin of disobedience possible in the Church on Earth.

Note, in this English translation, some of the terms and phrases were rendered according to the custom of English, rather than literally, and some Italian expressions which are clear in the Italian context, were expanded or made more precise, for clarity in English.

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A 7th Anniversary of shame!

March 13, 2020

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Today is the seventh anniversary of a day that will live in infamy.

A day of wickedness and flippancy.

A day wherein the Cardinals of the Catholic Church showed their utter contempt for:

  1. Pope Benedict XVI
  2. The Catholic Faith in the Papacy
  3. The Canons of the Catholic Church
  4. The Papal Law on Conclaves
  5. Common sense

Let me explain why I say this, point by point, in reverse order.

The Cardinals betrayed common sense 7 years ago today

It is obvious by now, that if anyone on the planet ,who had common sense, sat down and talked to Bergoglio for 15 minutes, he would realize that he is not a fit candidate to be Roman Pontiff.

But the College of Cardinals had been housed together with him for two weeks prior to March 13, 2013.

Therefore, the last 7 years proves that God certainly did not approve of their judgement in selecting such a man. Indeed, it was an epic failure of the College of Cardinals, as I wrote, in 2015.

The Cardinals betrayed John Paul II’s law on Conclaves

The Cardinal Electors violated the papal law on conclaves, in several ways.

First of all, they violated the Law, Universi dominici gregis, as regards the requirement in n. 37, of that law, when they held a Conclave without verifying whether there was a legal sede vacante.

A legal sede vacante means that either the previous pope is dead, and they confirm that with a funeral, or the previous pope resigned according to the norm of Canon 332 §2.

I have it from no less than the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legal Texts, Mons. Arrieta, whose commentary on the Code of Canon Law I keep at by desk, that there never was any meeting of canon law experts to verify if the Declaratio of Pope Benedict, of Feb. 11, 2013 — commonly called Pope Benedict’s Renunciation — was in conformity with the norm of canon 332 §2.

Second, the Cardinals violated n. 81, of the same papal law, by entering into agreements and promises to vote for Bergoglio, as Cardinal Daneels of Beglium admitted in his Biography composed of interviews he gave. But the College has never acted on the self admission, which in Canon Law tradition is an indisputable act of self imputation of a canonical crime. I have covered this issue in an extensive Chronology of Events, which still remains the most authoritative collection of facts on the matter, on the net.

Thrid, the Cardinals rushed to elect Bergoglio by violating the same Papal Law on the number of ballots permitted on each day: four, as is specified in n. 63, of the same papal law, regarding limit on the number of ballots to be taken on the 2nd day of balloting and all subsequent days.  Because, as has been confirmed by several testimonies in the last 7 years, Bergoglio was elected on the 5th ballot. And this has never been denied.

Fourth, while there has been much controversy over whether the Cardinals could proceed to a fifth ballot in the case of a 4th balloting which contained 1 more vote paper than the number of Electors present, there remains 2 legal questions which have never been addressed about this:

  1. The Cardinals could not lawfully proceed to a 5th Ballot unless they paused the election and held a discussion on the interpretation of the papal law, using the right conceded to them in that same law, in n. 5, for this purpose. If they proceeded to a 5th ballot without such a discussion and vote, then even if they interpreted it as valid, that omission made their interpretation illicit, and hence the entire election invalid.
  2. Whether the Auditors of the Papal Conclave, as specified in n. 70 of the same papal law, held any meeting or discussion in accord with the norm, there specified, regarding the auditing of the final vote. Because in the case that there was no meeting in accord with n. 5 of the same papal law, in regard to whether to proceed to a 5th ballot when only 4 ballots were permitted, then likewise if the Auditors did not meet, the election was canonically invalid. And if they did meet, they had to declare in the case of the lack of a vote in accord with n. 5, that the election was invalid.

Since the multiple reports about a 5th balloting are all silent about what should have happened as regards nn. 1 and 2, here above, it can be rightfully doubted the election was valid. Because a doubtful pope is no pope.

The Cardinals Betrayed the Canons of the Catholic Church

Seven years ago today, the Cardinals consummated their betrayal of the Canons of the Catholic Church promulgated by Pope John Paul II, in 1983, in the text known as the Codex iuris canonicis, or the Code of Canon Law.

First, the Cardinals violated canon 40, which required them not to take any decision in regard to Pope Benedict XVI’s Declaratio of Feb. 11, 2013, until they had the Latin text in hand in its final corrected version. Since the Vatican Press office in the days following February 11 published at least 3 versions of the text, there is sound canonical evidence that Cardinal Sodano, through Father Lombardi, violated canon 40 in instructing Giovanna Chirri at 11:58 AM, on that morning, to announce to the world that Pope Benedict has announced his resignation from the Pontificate on Feb. 28.  Canon 40 declares invalid any act taken by a subordinate, before he has in hand the integral text of the act of his superior.

Second, the Cardinals violated canon 41, which required them to examine if the legal act contained in the Declaratio was an act specified by the Code of Canon Law and was in all its particulars a command to do something opportune.  But since in the entire Code of Canon Law there is no mention of an act of renunciation of ministerium, the act posited by Pope Benedict XVI was clearly an an actus nullus, and thus canon 41 required them not to act upon it. Also since a renunciation of ministerium does not effect the loss of the papal office, the fact that the Declaratio speaks of calling a Conclave is an inopportune detail or provision. Canon 41 requires that those with mere ministry of execution, in such a case, have recourse to the superior to correct these issues. Once again, according to Mons. Arrieta, nothing of the kind happened.

Third, the Cardinals violated canon 38, which required them not to interpret the Declaratio of Pope Benedict as being in conformity to Canon 332 §2, on the grounds that by naming the ministerium instead of the canonically required munus, the act would gravely injure the rights of the Faithful to know if the pope had validly resigned or not, would cause doubt and risk schism in the Church. For in such a case, Pope Benedict XVI would have had to granted a derogation of canon 332 §2 in his Declaratio, in conformity with canon 38, otherwise the act would have been irritus. He did not, so the act was irritus — a technical canonical term which means having not effect in law, void, on account of having not followed due procedure (ritus).

Fourth, the Cardinals violated canon 36 §1, which requires them to interpret strictly any papal act which violates the norm of any canon, let alone Canon 332 §2. To interpret strictly means that they had to read ministerium as exclusive of any signification of munus, and thus hold that the Declaratio was prima facie incapable of causing Pope Benedict to validly resign the papal munus, the papal office and the papal dignity.

Fifth, the Cardinals violated canons 126 and 188, which require that a juridical act of renunciation of office contain the proper or essential act specified in the law.  As is clear from the Code of Canon Law, which speaks of the Papal Office in canons 331, 332, 332, and 749, the proper term for the papal office is the petrine munus, not the petrine ministerium.  Hence, they were required in accord with canon 188 to judge the renunication irritus on the grounds of substantial error.

Sixth, the Cardinals violated canons 17 and 145 §1, which require respectively that the terms of all canons be understood in their proper sense, that ministerium and munus, when mentioned in any canon be understood thus, and to undertake a study of the entire Code of Canon Law and canonical tradition, in the case of the doubt as to whether ministerium can suppose for munus. They did no such thing in February of 2013, as Mons. Arrieta affirmed to me.

Seventh, the Cardinals violated canon 332 §2, which requires them to recognize a papal renunication only if the Pope renounces his munus, and does so freely and manifests this duly.  But since a good number of the Cardinal Electors were present in the Consistory of Feb. 11, 2013, they heard with their own ears that he made errors in Latin and that he said ministerium not munus, in the crucial core section of the Declaratio. They also heard him say munus twice before that. So they had indisputable canonical evidence that the Pope knew what he was doing, knew how to distinguish munus from ministerium, and did NOT intend to renounce his munus.

The Cardinals violated the Catholic Faith in the Papacy

Seven years ago, today, the College of Cardinals violated the Catholic Faith in the papacy. First, in the strict sense of the Faith, namely, that there can only be one pope. Because, it was clear already by March 3, 2013, that Pope Benedict XVI by his own decision was going to retain the papal dignity by using the title “Pope Emeritus”. There was at least one scholarly refutation of the validity of this published on March 3, 2013 by Father Gianfranco Ghirlanda, S. J., former rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University at Rome. So they could not be ignorant of the fact. The same canonical scholar that week affirmed that a heretical pope loses office immediately. So in choosing an obvious heretic as Pope they also violated the Catholic Faith.

The Cardinals showed their utter contempt for Pope Benedict XVI

Seven years ago, today, the Cardinals consummated their utter contempt for Pope Benedict XVI, in that they responded with glee at his renunciation, and not with consternation and respectful attempt to dissuade him from it.

As reported in the press, in February of 2013, only one Cardinal, Cardinal Pell went on record as saying that the resignation should not happen. He said this before Feb. 28, 2013. He was also the first Cardinal the Vatican allowed to be prosecuted after February of 2013. Hmm.

Respect and reverence for the Holy Father, especially when frail and aged, requires first of all that the Cardinals assist him in executing his will, not obstructing it nor allowing it to be executed in an invalid manner.

Yet it also requires, out of gratitude, that they attempt to convince a good man not to resign. If they omit that, they are basically saying he is not a good man or that they despise him.

And they showed their contempt, not only in sentiment, but by positive canonical ommissions, in seemingly in several ways, because in February of 2013 none of them were under a pontifical secret, yet in 7 years they never have confirmed — to my knowledge — in any interview that they did not do the following:

  1. They did not ask Pope Benedict to explain to them why he made his decision or what it meant, to make sure he was resigning freely.
  2. They did not ask Pope Benedict to correct the 40 errors in the Latin text which he read, before it was published, so as to prevent the shame of such a thing staining the last act of his papacy and the Apostolic See.
  3. They did not investigate or question Archbishop Gänswein and those around the pope as to the circumstance of the act to be certain that he was not manipulated or coerced.
  4. They did not ask one another what they knew about the matter. If so, they would have discovered that Pope Benedict did not seek the counsel of others (according to Archbishop Gänswein) or refused the counsel of his better advisers (according to Archbishop Gänswein and Cardinal Brandmuller). If they had done this, they would have been altered to the necessity to examine the act further.
  5. The consummated their disrespect through all these things and for not treating the Holy Father with that due respect for an aged man, in which one presumes frailty and therefore double checks everything to make sure it is done rightly.

Conclusion

For all these reasons, I think it can be said, objectively, that today marks the 7th anniversary of a day which will live in infamy in the history of the Church until the end of time and for all eternity. The Cardinals gravely failed in their duty as Cardinals and as Electors and as Bishops and Catholics. They failed also deliberately and by omission. Their failure also was canonically imputable, since the Code of Canon Law holds as presumptive, the responsibility of men with such high office to know the law and follow it.

Hence, it is objectively and canonically certain, that Bergoglio is not the pope. Because a man whose claim to the papacy is vitiated by so many canonical doubts, is not the pope, according to the ancient maxim of St. Robert Bellarmine, S. J.: a doubtful pope is not the pope.

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CREDITS: The Featured Image is a detail of the photograph by Tenan, which is used here in accord with the Creative Commons Atribution-Share Alike 3.0 unported license explained here.

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Resigned to the Papacy: Does Benedict still claim he is Pope?

At the request of the author, who was cited incompletely in Edward Pentin’s report, yesterday, FromRome.Info publishes the full essay with its original title

by Dr. Edmund J. Mazza

Ph.D. Medieval History

It’s a safe bet that even if seventy-three-year-old President Trump’s physical stamina suddenly caved, he would still seek re-election rather than allow his Democrat opponent to seize the oval office and reverse all his gains and policies. It is a curious question then why another incumbent Conservative, Pope Benedict XVI, resigned seven years ago citing the frailty of his eighty-five-year-old frame, certain in the knowledge that his successor would be a Leftist ideologue bent on undoing, not only his own legacy, but two thousand years of Catholic tradition. (Benedict may even have been reasonably sure that it would be Jorge Bergoglio, himself, since the Argentinian cardinal came up just shy of the votes needed to unseat Benedict back in 2005.) As George Neumayr writes in the The American Spectator:

In one of his last speeches before abdicating in 2013, Pope Benedict XVI decried the liberalism that had seeped into the Church after Vatican II. To this liberalism, he traced “so many problems, so much misery, in reality: seminaries closed, convents closed, the liturgy was trivialized.” But he then proceeded to hand the Church to the very liberals responsible for these problems and to a successor set upon liberalizing the Church even more. (1)

The recent release of Netflix’s The Two Popes, the seventh anniversary of Benedict’s abdication and the firestorm over his co-authorship of a book advocating the retention of the celibate priesthood—a seeming slap in the face of Pope Francis—all conspire in calling for a reexamination of the infamous resignation. Indeed, ever since February 11, 2013 speculations have circulated that Benedict’s renunciation may have been invalid, that he—in some way—still retains the papacy. These allegations were fueled in part by Benedict’s own rather bizarre measures after formally stepping down, such keeping his name “Pope Benedict XVI,” his title “His Holiness,” his white cassock, imparting his “Apostolic Blessing,” and lastly—never departing the Vatican.

These claims even received an unexpected boost thanks to a speech by Benedict’s Personal Secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Prefect of the Papal Household. At Rome’s Gregorianum in 2016, Gänswein declared “he has not abandoned this ministry at all. Instead, he has complemented the personal office with a collegial and synodal dimension, as a quasi-shared ministry.”  Gänswein adds: “He has not abandoned the office of Peter, a thing which would be completely impossible for him following his irrevocable acceptance of the office…” (2)

Then in 2017, Last Testament: In His Own Words, was published in which journalist Peter Seewald conducted a lengthy interview with Benedict. At one point, Seewald pointedly asks His Holiness: “Is a slowdown in the ability to perform, reason enough to climb down from the chair of Peter?” Benedict replies:

One can of course make that accusation, but it would be a functional misunderstanding. The follower [successor] of Peter is not merely bound to a function; the office [munus] (3) enters into your very being. In this regard, fulfilling a function is not the only criterion. (4) (Emphasis mine)

What “misunderstanding”? A simple “yes,” would do.

But Benedict does not give a “yes” or “no” answer to this straightforward question. All the more bizarre since his answer, in fact, must be a “yes,” or otherwise he is contradicting the very reason he gave for stepping down in his official resignation speech:

I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine office [non iam aptas esse ad munus Petrinum aeque administrandum]… strength…has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry [ministerium] entrusted to me. For this reason…I declare that I renounce the ministry [ministerio] of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter

But in his answer to Seewald, Benedict explains that a physical “slow-down” only affects the “functions” or “ministry” of a pope, his day-to-day tasks like any other official. But being Pope, Benedict insists, is not fundamentally about doing this or that, it’s about being. His answer is an ontological one: “the office [munus] enters into your very being,” not the “function” or “ministry,” but the office.

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.

In October 1977, during the symposium “On the Nature and Commission of the Petrine Ministry” marking the 80th birthday of Pope Paul VI, Ratzinger declared:

In keeping with the three Persons in God, the argument went, the Church must also be led by a college of three, and the members of this triumvirate, acting together, would be the pope. There was no lack of ingenious speculations that (alluding, for instance, to Soloviev’s story about the Antichrist) discovered that in this way a Roman Catholic, an Orthodox, and a Protestant together could form the papal troika. Thus it appeared that the ultimate formula for ecumenism had been found, derived immediately from theology (from the concept of God), that they had discovered a way to square the circle, whereby the papacy, the chief stumbling block for non-Catholic Christianity, would have to become the definitive vehicle for bringing about the unity of all Christians.

2. The interior basis for the primacy: Faith as responsible personal witness

Is this, then—the reconciliation of collegiality and primacy—the answer to the question posed by our subject: the primacy of the pope and the unity of the People of God? Although we need not conclude that such reflections are entirely sterile and useless, it is plain that they are a distortion of trinitarian doctrine and an intolerably oversimplified fusion of Creed and Church polity. What is needed is a more profound approach. It seems to me that it is important, first of all, to reestablish a clearer connection between the theology of communion, which had developed from the idea of collegiality, and a theology of personality, which is no less important in interpreting the biblical facts. Not only does the communal character of the history created by God belong to the structure of the Bible, but also and equally personal responsibility. The ‘‘we’’ does not dissolve the ‘‘I’’ and ‘‘you,’’ but rather it confirms and intensifies them so as to make them almost definitive. This is evident already in the importance that a name has in the Old Testament—for God and for men. One could even say that in the Bible ‘‘name’’ takes the place of what philosophical reflection would eventually designate by the word ‘‘person…

Martyrdom as a response to the Cross of Jesus Christ is nothing other than the ultimate confirmation of this principle of uncompromising particularity, of the named individual who is personally responsible

The Petrine theology of the New Testament is found along this line of reasoning, and therein it has its intrinsically necessary character. The ‘‘we’’ of the Church begins with the name of the one who in particular and as a person first uttered the profession of faith in Christ: ‘‘You are . . . the Son of the living God’’ (Mt 16:16)….

Is Peter as a person the foundation of the Church, or is his profession of faith the foundation of the Church? The answer is: The profession of faith exists only as something for which someone is personally responsible, and hence the profession of faith is connected with the person. Conversely, the foundation is not a person regarded in a metaphysically neutral way, so to speak, but rather the person as the bearer of the profession of faith—one without the other would miss the significance of what is meant…

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

The English Cardinal expresses it in the same way in another passage: ‘‘The office of the papacy is a cross, indeed, the greatest of all crosses. For what can be said to pertain more to the cross and anxiety of the soul than the care and responsibility for all the Churches throughout the world?’’ Moreover, he recalls Moses, who groaned under the burden of the whole Israelite people, could no longer bear it, and yet had to bear it.34 To be bound up with the will of God, with the Word of whom he is the messenger, is the experience of being girt and led against his will of which John 21 speaks. Yet this attachment to the Word and will of God because of the Lord is what makes the sedes a cross and thus proves the Vicar to be a representative. 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, in which the common profession of the Church is depicted as personally ‘‘binding’’ through the one who is bound . . . . This personal liability, which forms the heart of the doctrine of papal primacy, is therefore not opposed to the theology of the Cross or contrary to humilitas christiana but rather follows from it and is the point of its utmost concreteness and, at the same time, the public contradiction of the claim that the power of the world is the only power and also the establishment of the power of obedience in opposition to worldly power. Vicarius Christi is a title most profoundly rooted in the theology of the Cross and thus an interpretation of Matthew 16:16–19 and John 21:15–19 that points to the inner unity of these two passages. No doubt, another facet of the bondage that in light of John 21 can be described as a definitive characteristic of the papacy will be the fact that this being bound up with God’s will, which is expressed in God’s Word, means being bound up with the ‘‘we’’ of the whole Church: collegiality and primacy are interdependent. But they do not merge in such a way that the personal responsibility ultimately disappears into anonymous governing bodies. Precisely in their inseparability, personal responsibility serves unity, which it will doubtless bring about the more effectively, the more true it remains to its roots in the theology of the Cross. (5)

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!”

In 1977, Ratzinger says: ‘‘The office of the papacy is a cross, indeed, the greatest of all crosses. For what can be said to pertain more to the cross and anxiety of the soul than the care and [personal] responsibility for all the Churches…attachment to the Word and will of God because of the Lord is what makes the sedes [chair] a cross and thus proves the Vicar [the Pope] to be a representative [of Christ].” At his last General Audience, Benedict says: “I am not abandoning the cross, but remaining in a new way at the side of the crucified Lord.” Translation: “He remains Pope!”

Dr. Ludwig Ott, famous author of Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, writes: “In deciding the meaning of a text the Church does not pronounce judgment on the subjective intention of the author, but on the objective sense of the text.” But in the objective text of his renunciation, Benedict does not say “I no longer retain the office [munus],” he says instead, “I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry [ministerium] entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry [ministerio] of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter.”

Now weighty matters like papal renunciations are governed by Canon law. And Canon 322 §2 states: “If it happens that the Roman Pontiff renounces his munus, (6) it is required for validity that the renunciation is made freely and be properly manifested (rite manifestatur, i.e. properly according to the norms of law), but not that it be accepted by anyone at all.” However, Pope Benedict did not follow Canon 322—he did not actually “renounce the munus,” but the ministerium, nor did he “properly manifest,” in the objective sense of his text, his intention to renounce the munus, if such was his intention! (7) Legally, it does not matter if everyone believes Benedict has renounced the office of the papacy (or if only one person does), what matters is whether the act was carried out according to the canonical norm, which it objectively was not. Indeed, in his interview with Seewald, Benedict admits his belief in the ontological impossibility of him leaving the office: “the office [munus] enters into your very being.”

To conclude, can there be any doubt that to Benedict’s mind, he retains the essence of the papacy? Why then does he not speak and act plainly—as THE Pope? Quite frankly, this is a subject for a different article. A case can be made, however, that he has outwitted his ideological opponents in much the same fashion as “Superman” in the conclusion of Mario Puzo’s Superman II [SPOILER ALERT]. By entering the crystal chamber, Superman had seemingly been forced by his enemies to strip himself of his powers, when the reverse was really the case! Perhaps Benedict intentionally resigned the “ministry,” and not the “office” of the papacy so that by appearing to all intents and purposes a defeated man, he might actually strip away the validity of every measure Francis takes which departs from Catholic Orthodoxy, of whom Benedict is the Guardian.(8) Why on earth does Benedict not speak and act as THE Pope? Perhaps in defense of celibacy, he finally has.

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FOOTNOTES

1  In the article, The Prisoner of the Vatican, at https://spectator.org/the-prisoner-of-the-vatican/

2  Address at the Pontifical Gregorian University, cited Diane Montagna’s article at LifeSite News: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/did-benedict-really-resign-gaenswein-burke-and-brandmueller-weigh-in

3  In Canon Law, the papal office is called a munus in Canons 331, 332 §2, 333 and 749. And in Canon 145 §1, ecclesiastical office is referred to as a munus. Cf. Munus and Ministerium: A Textual Study of their usage in the Code of Canon Law of 1983, by Br. Alexis Bugnolo, transcript of paper from the Conference on the Renunciation of Pope Benedict, October 21, 2019, Rome, Italy: at https://fromrome.info/2019/10/31/munus-and-ministerium-a-canonical-study/)

4  Peter Seewald, Benedict XVI, Last Testament: In His Own Words, (Bloomsbury Continuum, 2017).

5  “The Primacy of the Pope and the unity of the People of God,” published as “Der Primat des Papstes und die Einheit des Gottesvolkes” in a book Ratzinger edited, Dienst an der Einheit (Service to Unity); it has also been republished in books by Ignatius Press and in Communio Spring 2014.

6  In the official Latin edition of the Codex Iuris Canonicis, 1983, canon 332 §2 reads here: “muneri suo renuntiet

7  “But there is definite uncertainty about the exact meaning of another phrase of canon 332.2 which asserts that a Pope’s resignation has to be ‘properly manifested.’  …In the end, therefore, it wouldn’t really matter, so long as the Pope’s decision was expressed clearly, i.e., neither ambiguously nor secretly.” https://canonlawmadeeasy.com/2013/01/03/can-a-pope-everresign/

8  Cf. https://fromrome.info/2020/01/12/benedicts-end-game-is-to-save-the-church-from-freemasonry/

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CREDITS:  The text of Dr. Mazza is republished here with his kind permission. The Featured Image is a photo of Pope Benedict XVI reading his Declaratio, on Feb. 11, 2013, in the Sala Clementina. Photo by Vatican Press.

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Bishop Schneider, your Essay is a porridge of falsehood and presumption!

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

French Translation

The Angelic Doctor, Saint Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Theologica hands down the Catholic Tradition on the duties of the Catholic Faithful in matters where the Faith itself is put into public doubt or danger by the actions or statements of prelates, even of one’s own Bishop, when he writes:

To withstand anyone in public exceeds the mode of fraternal correction, and so Paul would not have withstood Peter then, unless he were in some way his equal as regards the defense of the Faith. But one who is not an equal can reprove privately and respectufully. Hence the Apostle, writing to the Colossians (4:17), tells them to admonish their prelate: “Say to Archippus, Fulfill thy ministry!”. It must be observed, however, that if the Faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly. Hence, Paul, who was Peter’s subject, rebuked him in public, on account of the imminent danger of scandal concerning the Faith, and, as the gloss on St. Augustine says, on Galatians 2:11, “Peter gave an example to superiors, that if at any time they happen to stray from the straight path, they should not disdain to be reproved by their subjects.” (Summa Theologica, II II, Q. 33, a. 4, ad 2)

Thus, I take up my pen to publicly rebuke Mons. Athanasius Schneider for statements made in his Essay published today at LifeSite News,  entitled, On the question of the true pope in the light of the opinion of the automatic loss of the papal office for heresy and the speculations about the resignation of Benedict XVI.

First, I find remarkable, that the Monsignor has doubled down on his opinion that the canonical crime of heresy publicly posited does not cause one to lose immediately every office in the Church, both theologically and canonically. He has sustained this opinion before, against all the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, as has been shown by several other writers (refuted ably here). His attempt to do so again, by arguing that a particular passage of Gratian is spurious is simply an absurd recourse to an absurd argument. Gratian was never a magisterial authority, so whether a particular passage is authentic or not, does not change the fact that notable authors, including Pope Innocent III, before and after Gratian held the opinion that heresy causes the loss of office, for anyone whomsoever. — Is he really saying, that Innocent III taught error, because of a faulty gloss? I say that he himself, that Bishop Schneider, is teaching error on the basis of a bad hermeneutic. To claim that the Church can lose Her Faith because She cannot discern that an unauthentic gloss presents false teaching, is to say the Church has no grace of discernment in matters of the Faith, but I, Bishop Schneider, know better than them all. Who do you think you are, your Excellency? Do you think you are greater that Saint Robert Bellarmine, S. J., who is as Doctor of the Church, and who disagrees with you?

Canon 1364 makes no exceptions whatsoever for a pope. The principle of The First See is judged by no one, which is enshrined in canon 1404, regards cases before a tribunal and acts of the Roman Pontiff. It does not regard the man who is the pope, in the case of his personal faith. Because just as a man who is a heretic, is not a member of the Church, a man who is a heretic holds no office. And thus a man considered or judged on account of heresy, is not considered or judged on account of any office. This is why Canon 1364 has no exceptions and imposes an excommunication upon each and everyone who commits a public crime of heresy, schism or apostasy.

Second, as regard the Declaratio of Pope Benedict: Your excellency shows that you either do not understand Canon Law or that you do not understand causality itself. If you had apprised yourself of even some of the documents sent to you by many Catholics round the world, you can see that the Code of Canon Law — an authentic Magisterial Document which you have no right to disregard or misrepresent — itself requires for a valid papal resignation, that the act posited by the man who is the Roman Pontiff, be an act of renunciation of petrine munus. But Pope Benedict XVI never posited such an act. Statements made before or after such an act, regarding intention or signification of the act, have no bearing whatsoever on the nature of the act. If your excellency had done as much due diligence as I have, when you were in Rome, and paid a visit to Mons. Arrieta, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legal Texts, you would have understood that an act of papal renunciation has to be clear in itself, it cannot be subject to the interpretation of anyone, not even by the pope. For if it needs interpretation or explanation, then it is not clear, and not valid. And if the man has validly resigned, any interpretation he gives is not authoritative. Nor can a pope resign, by authoritatively interpreting an invalid act as valid, after the fact. Because Canon 332 §2 requires an act of renunciation of petrine munus: and by such it does not permit an act of resignation by means of a post-factum papal interpretation of a not clearly manifest act.

Your opinion runs contrary to Saint Alphonsus dei Liguori, C. Ss.R., a Doctor of the Church, on legal interpretation. Do you think you know better than he, who held 2 doctorates in Law, one in canon law and another in civil law?

Third, all the quotes you cite, though they have no bearing, nevertheless, do not even prove the case you make with them, as I shall show here, by quoting each and commenting:

“Among you, in the College of Cardinals, there is also the future pope to whom today I promise my unconditional reverence and obedience” (Farewell address to the Cardinals, 28 February 2013).

Since, normally speaking, all Popes were former Cardinals, this statement can be said at any time to the College of Cardinals, whether all of them are present or not. It means nothing. We all should promise our obedience to all legitimate future popes, and past popes, because our obedience is owed to the office.

“I have taken this step with full awareness of its gravity and even its novelty, but with profound interior serenity” (Last General Audience, February 27, 2013).

Howsoever aware one is of an act, does not make an act valid, unless you think you are God or that the one acting is God. Canon 332 §2 by imposing conditions upon a papal resignation and defining it as a papal renunciation of petrine munus, teaches implicitly that Pope John Paul II held invalid a renunciation of ministerium, that John Paul II judged his successor, as the man who was Pope, and that the act itself must be duly manifest, to be valid.  All of which make no provision for full awareness of substantial error or novelty as a cause of validity (cf. canon 188 and 126).

“There is not the slightest doubt about the validity of my renunciation of the Petrine ministry. The only condition of validity is the full freedom of the decision. Speculation about the invalidity of renunciation is simply absurd” (Letter from February 18, 2014, to Andrea Tornielli, published in La Stampa, February 27, 2014).

The controversy over the canonical effect of the Declaratio has nothing to do with the claim that a renunciation of ministerium cannot be valid or is not valid. It has to do with the claim that the renunciation of ministerium effects the same thing as a renunciation of munus, and that it fulfills the requirements of Canon 332 §2, as not being corrupted by substantial error (cf. canon 188).  Moreover, if Pope Benedict XVI thinks that liberty of action alone is the cause of a valid renunciation, then, he shows himself to be in invincible error as regards his own act, because clearly in Canon 332 §2 there are 2 causes of validity of a renunciation of munus: freedom and due manifestation. And if you think you can transpose those 2 causes of validity for an act of renunciation of munus to an act of renunciation of ministerium, to make the renunciation of ministerium a renunciation of munus, then clearly you are in error, grave error! Then your act is invalid either on account of Canons 38 when reading an administrative act in violation of 36 §2, and/or of canon 15 §1 for all such cases of error in juridical acts against canons 188 and 332 §2.

During a conversation with a journalist from the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, the former Pope Benedict XVI said: “The Pope is one, he is Francis.” These words of Benedict XVI were reported in the written edition of Corriere della Sera, June 28, 2019 and anticipated in the Italian version of Vatican News on June 27, 2019.

This statement by Bishop Schneider is amazing of itself, because it is made regarding a report which was debunked by LifeSite News just days later. I suppose, the Bishop does not read the very electronic journal which publishes his Essay. And I suppose the editors of the same electronic journal omitted fraternal correction to help him save face by repeating such a false claim. But again, maybe I suppose too much.

Fourth, your excellency, why do you quote statements by Pope Benedict regarding his intentions to prove the Act of renunciation of ministry means an act of renunciation of papal munus, and then, in the next section of your essay, tell us not to hold that the actions and statements made by Pope Benedict which clearly show his intention to hold on to the papal dignity and office are not to be interpreted thus?

The Church is a visible society. Therefore, what was essential for the fulfillment of Benedict XVI’s resignation was not his possible internal thought but what he externally declared, for the Church does not judge about internal intentions (de internis non iudicat Ecclesia). Pope Benedict XVI’s ambiguous acts, like wearing a white cassock, keeping his name, imparting the apostolic blessing, etc., do not affect the unequivocal meaning of his act of renunciation. Many of his demonstrable and unequivocal words and actions after his resignation also confirm that he considers Pope Francis, and not himself, to be the pope.

Is evidence only to be interpreted to support your theory, and not objective reality? Do you honestly think that a validly resigned pope, should dress as the Pope, sign as the Pope, give blessings as the Pope? Moreover, do you think a real pope would salute a retired pope, at Panama City, saying to the crowds:  Look, Benedict, the pope!

If you want to close your eyes to facts which disprove your allegations, that is your affair, but asking the rest of the Church to do so is the very consummation of pride.

Finally, I must publicly reprove you for blasphemy against the Saints of Holy Mother Church, when you write:

Declaring Pope Francis to be an invalid pope, either because of his heresies or because of an invalid election (for reasons of alleged violations of the Conclave norms or for the reason that Pope Benedict XVI is still the pope because of his invalid renunciation) are desperate and subjectively taken actions aimed at remedying the current unprecedented crisis of the papacy. They are purely human and betray a spiritual myopia. All such endeavors are ultimately a dead end, a cul-de-sac. Such solutions reveal an implicit Pelagian approach to resolving a problem with human means; a problem, indeed, which cannot be resolved by human efforts, but which requires a divine intervention.

Many Councils, not the least of which the Council of Etampes, France, in 1130 A.D., presided over by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, and the Synod of Sutri, approved of by St. Peter Damian and Bl. Pope Victor III and Pope St. Gregory VIII, have pronounced men to be invalid popes. To say that all such endeavors are pelagian and a dead end is not only a historical lie but a blasphemy against these holy men.

For all these reasons, I publicly ask you to withdraw the false assertions of your essay, if you want to be regarded any longer by Catholics as a Bishop who is faithful to the teaching and practice of the Church over the last 2000 years. Your desire to sustain the claim of Bergoglio to the papacy is clearly not based on facts, history or canon law, and is causing grave scandal to the faithful.

The true way forward, is the Catholic way, and it was proposed today by Catholics who know their faith and accept the teaching of the Church in its entirety.

_________

CREDITS: The Featured Image is a screen shot of the page at LifeSite News, where Bishop Schneider’s Essay has been published. It and the citations from his essay are used here in accord with fair use standards for editorial commentary.

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Adoration of the Eternal Word requires the recognition of Benedict XVI as the Pope

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Alas we live in an age of disbelief, of denial, of every sort of ideology invented to pretend that disbelief and denial are not godless excuses against the Lord and Creator. How right Our Lord was when He pronounced the parable of the Owner of the Vineyard who after many attempts to obtain due reverence and respect from his tenant vine-dressers, send his only son thinking that would convince them.

Our Lord and Creator has entrusted to us a beautiful and fruitful vineyard in His Creation, in this planet, Earth, in the human nature with which each of us is wonderfully made and gifted into existence. In gratitude we are obliged to render back to Him His due.

The First and Greatest Commandment is the adoration of God with the entirety of the being which He gave us: in truth, in love, in faith, in hope, in service which above all begins with worship.

The Adoration of the Eternal Word

There are three Divine Persons in the Most Holy Trinity, and the middle one, Who became Man for our salvation is called rightly by Saint John the Apostle: the Word of God. Of Himself, He said: I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.

If we believe, then, in Jesus Christ — not just with our lips or our public actions — but in our minds and hearts, we must therefore adore the Eternal Word. Not just as Incarnate, but as coming forth from the Mouth of God from all eternity and containing in Himself all Truth, all Wisdom, all Light, all Knowledge: saving Truth, redeeming Wisdom, clarifying Light and illuminating Knowledge.

It follows then, since by Faith we know that all that is good in this world is a reflection, distant though it may be, of the goodness of God, that every word by which truth can be signified is a reflection or distant similitude to the Word of God.

This, more than anything else, is the great reason behind the Catholic Religion’s fidelity to words, to writings, to documents: to their preservation, to their faithful translation, to their assiduous study and to their printing and publication.

All this is the consequence of the adoration of the Eternal Word which lies at the center of the Catholic Faith: in the hearts of every Catholic, in every liturgy of the Church, and in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar: Jesus Christ present really, truly and substantially: a Presence proclaimed and defended throughout the ages with words.

Words are the touchstones of fidelity

If there is one constant in all of Catholic history it is this: every Saint, Doctor or Father of the Church and every Catholic hero has been faithful to words: to their meaning, to their intent, to their purpose. They all have been men and women of their word. They all have been men and women who believed the words of those who came before them, whether as Apostles or Evangelists, Fathers of the Church, Popes speaking as popes.

This is why, if we want to know the truth, we have the simple and quick solution: believe the words the Church gives us, hold fast to them, perceive their meaning and put that into practice, make it the rule of your life and the itinerary of your journey. Trust in them and never look back.

Every temptation is against the Word

Contrariwise, every temptation which can be brought, has been brought or will ever be brought against the Will of God for any creature will be manifest in an attack on words, on their meaning and signification, on their intent or purpose. When you see this in action you can be certain that the spirit behind the speaker, the voice in his throat and hand in his mind is from the netherworld: the world where there is no meaning, no light, no wisdom, no knowledge of the good and above all no truth, or similitudes of It.

This can be clearly seen in the controversy over the Declaration made by Pope Benedict XVI. It all turns upon words, with one party saying they do not mean what they say, and the other party saying they mean exactly what they say. One party wants them to mean more than what they say, because they already have — here I use a metaphor — their hand in the cookie-jar, and they do not want to stop shoving the cookies in their mouth. Their mindset is of the juvenile who never grew up, of the egomaniac who sees no meaning but in what returns to himself, of the sociopath who denies any moral law which has authority to govern his passions, and of the psychopath who denies there is anything to defend what is right or wrong.

The other party is truly faithful to the Eternal Word. It does not presume that words mean other than what they say. It does not presume that the Code of Canon Law is not operative and does not mean what it says. It does not presume John Paul II was ignorant in promulgating it, nor does it presume that Pope Benedict XVI intended something other than what he did.

This other party has nothing to gain by their position, because not only are they universally reviled for it, but they never intended to get anything personal out of it. That is why they do not see the controversy as a personal fight. They have nothing personal to defend in it.

I have written this short reflection to help those who are confused by the liars and tricksters and those with personal skin in the game, as they say: the ones who want you to pay them to tell you to shut up, stop thinking, buckle under, go along with apostasy, because they who deny and attack words, know what is best for you!

For us who are Catholics, we know that we shall be judged on every idle word we say, because God the Word considers words important. That is why He founded His Church upon words and through words transmits salvation to all who receive them, faithfully and humbly.

WHY IS BENEDICT XVI STILL THE POPE?

Canon 332 §2 reads:

If it happen that the Roman Pontiff renounce his munus, for validity there is required that the renunciation be made freely and manifested duly, but not that it be accepted by anyone whomsoever.

But Pope Benedict’s Declaratio reads, in part:

… I declare, that I renounce the ministerium entrusted to me through the hands of the Cardinals..

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CREDITS:  The Featured Image is of the Tabernacle in the Basilica of Saints Boniface and Alexis at Rome, on the Aventine. Photo by Br. Bugnolo.

 

Where Chris Ferrara goes bonkers

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Frank Walker just published Chris Ferrara’s response to Ann Barnhardt’s claim, that he once told her that he thinks she may be right about substantial error causing the resignation to be invalid. If you do not know who Ferrara is, there is a long Wikipedia article about him, which I presume is mostly accurate, because otherwise Attorney Ferrara would have rectified that.

But what Mr. Ferrara says is such a cartload of natural fertilizer, that I have to respond and put the man in his place. — I admit though, that as regards the man, I am reluctant, because I have been edified by many a thing he has written over the last 3 decades.

Moreover, I will leave aside the argument over the fact of whether he said what she quoted him to say. My experience, inclines me to believe Ann, because she has been a truth teller from the beginging. As for Chris, he is an attorney I think.

In a note to Canon212, Ferrara responds to Ann:

I don’t know who “Chris Ferrera” is, but I, Chris Ferrara, never said anything of the kind.  If I said anything it would be something like “You can certainly make that argument, but we have no competence to judge the matter.”  As I said on Taylor Marshall’s show, a future Pope or Council might determine that the last conclave was invalid, but that is a matter for the Church, not any Tom, Dick or Ann to determine.

Furthermore, the only time I have ever spoken face-to-face with Ann Barnhardt, at least that I can remember, was at Lake Garda, and the entire conversation involved my objection to her claim that the “data set” shows Bergoglio is not the Pope.  We have no competence to assemble “data sets” and declare that the Chair of Peter is vacant.

First, the mention of a typographical error is quite inappropriate, because Mrs. Barnhardt gave her testimony on a Podcast, verbally, here. And, being an Italian, I know that non Italians easily mis-spell or mis-pronounce Italian surnames. You have to get over that in your youth, if you grew up in the United States of America, because it would not be polite to keep harping on it.

So I will respond to what Christ Ferrara does say in his statement to Canon212.com.

If I said anything it would be something like “You can certainly make that argument, but we have no competence to judge the matter.”

Chris may be a fine Attorney of U.S. Law, but he shows here that he has never read Canon 41, or at least, never under stood it. So, he is patently wrong in what he says, here, when he say, we have no competence to judge the matter.

If you listened to Barnhardt’s podcast to understand the context of her testimony, it was in regard to whether there was substantial error in the Renunciation of Pope Benedict XVI. It did not regard the legitimacy of the event, called a Conclave, in 2013, out of which poped Jorge the wrecker. — So I will presume Chris is an accurate and intelligent man, who went to the source, listened to the podcast, and then responded to the matter: which is the Declaratio of Feb. 11, 2013.

And thus, reading Ferrara’s comment, I say he is dead wrong. Because in Canon 41, everyone with a merely executive ministerium in the Church, upon receiving the administrative act of his superior — the Pope is the immediate superior of us all — has the right, not just the competence, to refuse an act which is juridically nullus, and the right to have recourse to the superior before executing the act, if the act appears to be inopportune, that is include matters which if executed would harm the rights of others or disturb the common good or order of the Church.

So Chris, that is strike one. If you are going to publicly disavow something, disavow it, but if you add a legal reasoning, and you have not checked the law first, you make your disavowal look dubious, because as a lawyer you should not speak unless you first read the law. A lot of Catholics, therefore, especially women, who tend by nature to have excellent auditory memories for when men say shocking or insulting things, are going to conclude that Ann has a better memory than you.

Next,

As I said on Taylor Marshall’s show, a future Pope or Council might determine that the last conclave was invalid, but that is a matter for the Church, not any Tom, Dick or Ann to determine.

I am not impressed by the reference to Marshall. Marshal went so far into absurdity that he said that ministerium and munus name the same thing, and that therefore the Renunciation was valid. Marshall pontificated. He did not even read the law, he could not have, because it never says such a thing. He could not have been answering as a Catholic, because Catholics know that you found what you say on the teaching of the Church, not on your own magisterium. So, Ferrara is in bad company.

Ferrara is also way off in left field. Because Barnhardt’s podcast was not about the Conclave. Strike two, for Ferrara getting his facts right.

As a matter of law, Canon 359 says a conclave is invalid if it is called during the lifetime of the reigning pontiff. It should be obvious to anyone who is sane — I exclude gaslighting apologists — that you do not need a Council to determine if the Pope is still alive, or if he is dead. And the Church does not teach in Canon 332 §2, that you need a council to make a determination. As a matter of law, it expressly denies that in its final clause.

That means, you can only know if a Pope has resigned from objective reality, the facts of the statement, witnessed duly. And how do we know if the statement is of the right genus and species so that it be recognized as a papal renunciation?  Once again, because the law declares that, when in the same canon it says, If it happens that the Roman Pontiff renounce his munus … .

Did Benedict renounce his munus? No. He said, I declare that I renounce the ministry which was confided to me through the hands of the Cardinals…

Oops. That means he did not resign. AND no one has the right to say otherwise, because to say otherwise you have to make what Benedict said mean something other than the words which he said. And you need the authority to do that. And Chris, you do not have that authority! So that means that Canon 359 was violated in March 2013 by the convening of a Conclave in the lifetime of a pope who had not resigned and was still alive — two objective facts of the real world which do not need a Council or any authority to verify, as they are visible to the naked eyes of all, who have eyes to see.

I will call this one as a foul ball, for mercy sake.

Next,

and the entire conversation involved my objection to her claim that the “data set” shows Bergoglio is not the Pope.  We have no competence to assemble “data sets” and declare that the Chair of Peter is vacant.

Here, I, in charity, have to assume that Chris, being Italian, has got himself into a fluster and simply exaggerated. Because obviously, if I have a “data set” — do we really have to gaslight at this point and stop using the words, “facts” or “evidence”? — that tells me the Pope is dead: namely I see his funeral on EWTN broadcast live from the Vatican; then I think I can conclude that the see is vacant, and that I have the right to conclude the see is vacant.

I must presume he exaggerated, or otherwise I might start connecting the dots in his entire statement and conclude that he has a problem with admitting reality as a basis for evidence in a legal proceeding. But he is a lawyer, and a lawyer would never do such a thing!

____________

CREDITS:  The Featured Image is of Lago di Garda, the shores of which are the annual destination of traditional Catholic conferences. This photo is used according to Creative Commons License 3.0, and more information about its author can be found here.

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