Tag Archives: Canon 332 §2

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.

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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.

____________

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/

____________

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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Answering questions from Ryan Grant

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

I appreciate a good debate, because I want everyone to know the truth and that requires exposing falsehood and bad arguments. Many know this, and so often the Catholic faithful who accept the teaching of the Church write to me and ask what I think about arguments used by others to support the Apostasy which is ongoing in the Church.

One such argumentor is Ryan Grant, and he bravely makes his argument on YouTube in the comment section of some video — where I do not know — but I have been sent screen shots of it, and will use them to make a further reply.

Ryan Grant is the translator of some of the writings of Saint Alphonsus. I do not think he has studied Canon Law, but then I do not know anything more about him.

So here we go… The context of his comments is the contents of PPBXVI.org the banner site for the Movement for Pope Benedict XVI, which does not have a comment section, . . ..

Screenshot_20200131-134548

 

Here is my reply, which I was solicited for by Grant’s interlocutor, who is a frequent commentator here at FromRome.Info:

While it is true that the Supreme Legislator is the Roman Pontiff and that he has the right and capacity to authoritatively interpret his own acts, Mons. Arrieta, Secretary to the Pontifical Council for Legal Texts, affirmed on Dec. 11, 2019, that the act of a papal renunciation is not subject to the interpretation of anyone, because it must be clear in and of itself, and no on has the right to interpret it, not even the one who makes it. And as Saint Alphonsus, who held a doctorate in both civil and canon law, says in his tract on Legal Interpretation, to interpret a word to mean that which it does not in normal parlance or legal tradition mean is an act of interpretation which can only be done by the legislator in a second and subsequent act. Therefore, though you are correct to say that the Roman Pontiff can normally interpret his acts, this is one act of which even an interpretation issued in forma specifica cannot correct via an interpretation. Indeed, as Mons Arrieta affirmed there never was a papal interpretation made of the act before Feb 29, 2013. So your objection is unfounded as to the matter and erroneous as to the form of your claim. This is how canon law really works, if you knew anything real about it.

Grant rebuts my argument, thus:

Screenshot_20200131-195557

Grant makes the common fallacy of thinking that the one who resigns the papal office is the Pope. Nope! An act of papal resignation, as affirmed by Dr. Ghirlanda, S.J., professor of Canon Law here at Rome, in an article he published in March of 2013, affirms correctly that an act of renunciation of office is an act whereby one separates himself from the office he holds. — But the office cannot separate itself from itself.  — While it is true Canon 332 §2 speaks of that man as the Roman Pontiff, that is simply because prior to the act of renunciation the substance of the one acting bears that exalted dignity.

So Grant misapplies the principle, The First See is judged by no one, because he failed to notice that the one who resigns is not the See nor the Pontiff, but the man who holds the latter and occupies the former. Otherwise, if we are NOT talking about a papal resignation, then the principle applies to the Pope at all times. So Grant’s argument begins with a fallacy of fact and proceeds to a fallacy praeter rem. Thus it is invalid on two grounds.

Having been defeated on the point of legal interpretation, by my first reply, Grant, next, attempts to argue that the behavior of Pope Benedict XVI after Feb. 28, 2013 manifests his intention and his mind, and thus serves as an interpretation of the act. This is an argument which no canonist would ever make, since behavior is not a juridical act. But even common sense can see that since the Canon requires a Renunciation, and as all good Latinists know, a renutiare is an act which is verbal, not one made by gestures or actions, his argument is also praeter rem, and presupposes a fallacy of not reading the Canon in its precise terms. For the canon says, “If a Roman Pontiff renounce,” not, “If a Roman Pontiff separate himself from his office.”

His next argument is drawn from my published notes on my meeting with Bishop Arrieta. You can read my notes for yourself here. — This means that Grant does read FromRome.Info, even if he is ashamed to admit it. — Well, then, Grant is confused. Because you cannot admit principles and then try to undermine them by personal testimony. Bishop Arrieta and I agreed on many principles, and in my notes I pointed out that my questions regarding where we disagreed were never answered. So Grant is saying that since Bishop Arrieta does not agree with me but refused to give me a reason for his disagreement, which is in accord with any principle of law, that that means that I am wrong and Arrieta is correct. I do not think sane people argue this way, but that is not a valid argument, because it cites no reason.

Screenshot_20200131-195609

Next, Grant admits that no one can interpret the Act of renunciation, and then argues that since Barnhardt and I say it means what it says, but Arrieta says it means something else, that clearly Barnhardt and I are wrong. This is the same kind of mental argumentation I see often by those who say Benedict is not the pope. It is called gaslighting, because Grant is insisting on something contrary to the basic laws of language, namely when you explain anything using different words you are interpreting the statement which you are explaining. Ann and I do not do that. Grant and Arrieta do. So they are condemned by the very principles they admit, even if they insist that others view reality in their own distorted manner. This is so like the Left!

Finally, Grant gets into big ontological problems with his assertion that ministry and power flow from the munus and thus to renounce them is to renounce the munus. I guess he cannot understand my Scholastic Question, which was all about the distinction found in all the Scholastics like Saint Thomas Aquinas, that the substance holds all the potentia of the being of a thing, and thus to renounce anything which flows from the substance is not and cannot be a renunciation of the substance, just like when you renounce staying awake and thus fall asleep, you still have the power and being to wake again in the morning. Once again, then, Grant argues against reality itself. What can I say? I do not have to refute him, reality itself does that more eloquently.

As for his assertion that canonists all agree with him, that is gratuitous. I do not know of any canonist in the entire Church who has marshaled an argument for Grant’s position. Not even Bishop Arrieta. All you get in reply is assertions without arguments. And in logic, that means you have conceded that your position is irrational, and thus untrue, unless of course you are an idiot who cannot think or reason, which none of these men are.

There is another error in Grant’s argument, and Mons. Arrieta made the same error: they both hold that the Canon says, “If a Roman Pontiff renounce his office.” But that is not what it says; it says, “If a Roman Pontiff renounce his munus.” Canon 1331 in section 2, n. 4, shows that the Code of Canon Law distinguishes between munus and office. That means that the specific act essential to a papal renunciation does require the renunciation of munus, and that means, that both the liberty and due manifestation required, also regard the renunciation of the munus. This is a very important point, and is the key argument to use against all of Pope Benedict’s opponents. They have to use this fallacious reading, because they can see that the text of the Declaratio is not in conformity with the Canon.

Now I understand why Grant does not want to argue with me directly. I have challenged everyone to a debate, even 3 Pontifical Faculties of Canon Law, no one takes my offer, because they do not want to expose that their position is irrational and not sustained by the principles of law. — However, I grant this to Ryan, he has had the integrity to argue it in public. I respect him for that.

POSTSCRIPT: I have be subsequently informed that these comments by Mr. Grant are found in the comment section of this video.

____________

CREDITS:  The Featured Image is a photo taken by Br. Bugnolo of one of the bas relief in the Basilica of Saint John, here at Rome. The screen shots of Grant’s comments taken from a public forum on Youtube are in the public domain and used according to fair use practice for editorial commentary.

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Separated from the True Pope, you won’t remain Catholic for long

By Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Pubblicato in Italiano a ChiesaRomana.Info

Saint Paul warned us long ago: Beware, he said, for not all men have the Faith! He said this at the end of his Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, to whom he revealed so many things about the last days and the Anti-Christ(s) to come. Here is the Douay Rheims English version of 2 Thess. 3, which the Modernists do not preach on any more. But which I want to speak of in this article. The Apostle writes:

For the rest, brethren, pray for us, that the word of God may run, and may be glorified, even as among you; And that we may be delivered from importunate and evil men; for all men have not faith. But God is faithful, who will strengthen and keep you from evil. And we have confidence concerning you in the Lord, that the things which we command, you both do, and will do. And the Lord direct your hearts, in the charity of God, and the patience of Christ. And we charge you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother walking disorderly, and not according to the tradition which they have received of us.For yourselves know how you ought to imitate us: for we were not disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nothing, but in labour and in toil we worked night and day, lest we should be chargeable to any of you. Not as if we had not power: but that we might give ourselves a pattern unto you, to imitate us. 10 For also when we were with you, this we declared to you: that, if any man will not work, neither let him eat.

11 For we have heard there are some among you who walk disorderly, working not at all, but curiously meddling. 12 Now we charge them that are such, and beseech them by the Lord Jesus Christ, that, working with silence, they would eat their own bread. 13 But you, brethren, be not weary in well doing.

14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed: 15 Yet do not esteem him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

16 Now the Lord of peace himself give you everlasting peace in every place. The Lord be with you all. 17 The salutation of Paul with my own hand; which is the sign in every epistle. So I write.

18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Bad Company makes bad companies

God made us to know the Truth and the Truth will set us free, because God our Creator is the Truth. It follows then, that we exercise our minds and wills in that which is most essentially directed to our own perfection and destiny when we assent to any truth and will to find it and keep it and put it into practice.

But any member of the Clergy, religious or laity — any hermit — who would hide the truth from you, then, is clearly not being honest, is not doing that which the Creator wants. This is especially true if the truth they are hiding is a truth revealed by God or the importance of which depends directly from what God has said.

The enemies of Peter are the enemies of Christ

Christ said to Peter that whatsoever he would bind on Earth would be bound also in Heaven. All true Catholics accept that. All fake catholics ignore it.

The Catholic Church for more than a 1000 years took this doctrine as so central to true Christianity that it was willing to leave a schism with the Greeks in place and not back down on the duty of all Christians to regard the doctrinal and disciplinary decrees of the Roman Pontiff as obligatory, in virtue of these very words of Jesus Christ.

That is why, you cannot be honestly a Christian, if you are not honestly a Catholic who submits to the Roman Pontiff. And that is also why the enemies of Peter are the enemies of Christ, because if you refuse the one you are calling the other a liar or regarding Him as not God.

Peter has told us when Peter is and is not Peter

And lest anyone be confused, it is the Roman Pontiff who has established in Canon Law the terms by which all can objectively and easily know when a man is the Roman Pontiff and when he is not.  To ignore these rules of Canon Law is just as grave as to disobey the Roman Pontiff and go off into schism, because it is an act whereby you say, “Let’s make up our own way of being Christian, apart from submission to the Roman Pontiff.”

This is why we can be 100% absolutely and supernaturally certain that  Christ Jesus does not regard any man His Vicar on Earth, if that man’s claim to be pope is not in accord with the norms of Canon Law and papal law.

The corrollary is that, we can be 100% absolutely and supernaturally certain that Christ Jesus does not regard any Vicar of His on Earth no longer His Vicar, if that man’s renunciation is not in accord with the norms of Canon Law and papal law.

Because this is the Catholic Faith, I have extensively investigated both questions, the first in regard to Bergoglio, the second in regard to Benedict. I did not do this on a whim, I did it out of supernatural faith.

There is no doubt about this principle: A man is or is not pope, or is or is no longer the pope, based on the laws of the Church at the time he begins or ceases to be the pope. This legal principle was recognized in the antipapacy of Anacletus II and his defeat by Pope Innocent II, a defeat which was secured by Saint Bernard of Claivaux, who came to Rome to preach the facts of law about the disputed election of 1130 A.D..

All the books printed in the Catholic Church since 1130 up until Feb. 2013 were in agreement. Pope Innocent II was the valid pope, Anacletus was the antipope, because Pope Innocent was elected in accord with the law of his predecessor, who changed the terms of a papal election in the last weeks of his life. But Anacletus claimed to be elected to the prior norm.

For the Modernist, even if he claims to be a Trad ….

For the Modernist, there is not fixed nor lasting truth. What was true yesterday, may not and probably is not true today. Everything is in change and development. Everything mus be alive, they say, but they really mean, has to die.

All those who changed their concepts on what makes a true Pope, on Feb. 11, 2013, are deceived by Modernism or are modernists, even if they claim to be a Traditional Catholic. This includes all the publication of the so called Traditional Catholic Movement who hold that Benedict is no longer the pope. Because canon 332 §2 has not changed and it says a pope resigns when he resigns suo muneri, not  ministerio. The Vatican knows this and has tried to hide it, and I have proven that indisputably more than 6 months ago. (See the Index to Pope Benedict’s Renunciation)

Stunningly Ann Barnhardt, in her recent podcast, revealed that even Chris Ferrara, the famous attorney, who writes for several Trad publications, admitted to her, that she is probably right on the points of Canon Law regarding the failed renunciation. That was like back in 2016. But Chris still recognizes Bergoglio as the pope. The only honest assessment is that Chris is not being honest either with the public or his own conscience.

From my work here at Rome, I sense the same is true for all the experts. You just mention that Benedict is the Pope and they do not laugh, they attack. They want you to shut up, or to go away. These are signs of deeply conflicted consciences.

If it is not Catholic, it is not Catholic

Men who want to be seen as Catholics but who won’t be responsibly faithful to the duties of the faith, should not be considered faithful Catholics. Those who knowingly deceive the faithful about who is the true pope and who is not the true pope are NOT involved in a little or small controversy. They ARE ACTIVELY SCHISMATIC AND PROMOTING SCHISM.

Saint Paul warned us of such men, and he told us what to do about it.

The true Pope is the mystical Neck of the Church

If you are separated from the true Pope, you won’t remain a Catholic for long. Yes, these men who act like modernists — I do not imagine they are, but they are being constrained by their love of being accepted by errant men and errant men with money and power — have let go of essential truths of the Catholic Faith. But even you, if you follow those who deceive you in such matters, will soon lose your faith. The Church will become something like what the Anglicans have, an all-is-up-for-grabs Christianity, which keeps the names and outward appearances, but has long ago dumped doctrine, morality and faith.

The same thing we see happening with these fake Trads. They are now trying to reinvent the definition of papal infallibility and have totally ignored the teachings of Christ and the saints about papal indefectibility. They are bending doctrine to invent an excuse to remain in communion with an obvious fake and antipope, while refusing communion with the true Pope who defends celibacy. They even attack the true Pope to justify their falsehoods!

This is why all Schismatics lost the true Faith, because they are no longer in union with the mystical neck of the Mystical Body and hence no longer in communion with Christ the Head. Those who fall into such sins cannot be saved, because there is no salvation for those who die separated from Christ.

________

CREDITS: The Featured Image of the Piazza of St Peter’s at the Vatican, is by Br. Bugnolo.

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Dialogue with a Cardinal, who refused dialogue

By Br. Alexis Bugnolo

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

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

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

Here is my reply to this prince of the Church:

Your Eminence,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely in Saint Francis,

Br. Alexis Bugnolo

_____________

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

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2 Questions that Gänswein violently does not want to Answer

Or, how it happened that the Archbishop called me on the phone

By Br. Alexis Bugnolo

The world has seen two of the most outrageous usurpations of office in the history of humanity, and in the short space of six years, from 2007 to 2013. I speak of the unconstitutional election of a self-proclaimed Kenyan citizen to the Presidency of the United States of America, in violation of the natural born citizen clause (Article II, section 1, clause 5) and of the uncanonical election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Roman Pontiff on March 13, 2013 in violation of canon 359 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law and Pope John Paul II’s law on papal elections, Universi Dominic Gregis, n. 37, which both forbid the election of a Roman Pontiff when a legal sede vacante has not occurred. (A sede vacante occures with the natural death of the Pope, or his resignation of munus in accord with Canon 332 §2). — For all my reports on the Renunciation of Pope Benedict and why that act did not cause him to lose the Papal Office, see my Index to the Renunciation of Pope Benedict.

It was a poignant moment, then, for the triumph of criminality over law, when Barrack Obama came to the Vatican to meet with Cardinal Bergoglio on Marcy 27, 2014. And in the midst was Father George, Gänswein, at Obama’s right hand (Photo care of the White House).

But the plans of men cannot be hidden from God, nor can they be hidden for long from God’s faithful, moved as they are by the Spirit of Truth who reveals hidden secrets.

Inspired by this Spirit many a faithful Catholic has voiced concerns, criticisms, objections and warnings over the strange happenings of February 2013, when Benedict issued a declaration in the Consistory of Feb. 11th, of that year — called to canonize the Martyrs of Otranto, slaughtered en masse by the forces of the Turks in the 16th century — which was publicized as a renunciation of the papacy, though it was nothing of the kind.

Present on that day, was also George Gänswein, now titular Archbishop of Urbs Salvia.

Mons. Gänswein has been seen as the faithful and devoted personal secretary to Joseph Ratzinger for more than 35 years. Ratzinger spotted him taking coffee at the German Collegium in the Vatican back in the 80’s and asked if he would like to be his secretary, since he needed someone fluent in German and Italian.  Mons. Gänswein holds a doctorate in Canon Law.

For these reasons I have long confided in Gänswein to speak the truth, even if, after his talk at the Gregorian University in 2016, when he clearly said that Benedict XVI still occupied the petrine office and still shared the petrine munus and ministry, I shook my head, because it seems a totally insane thing to say, since at the time, I still operated under the fake news put out that day, that Benedict had resigned the papacy.

But in the Last 18 months, with intense research and investigation, I have come to agree with Gänswein on those same points, because the effect of renouncing the petrine ministry alone, is that Benedict retains the petrine munus and office, and hence, in virtue of these, also the petrine ministry and power of governance, whether he thinks he has or not, and whether anyone else thinks he has, or not.

My Two Letters to Archbishop Gänswein

So, in November, filled with this sense of trust and confidence in the Archbishop, whose personal motto is Testimonium perhibere veritati — To bear witness to the truth — I wrote him a personal letter, in Italian, on the 25th, the English translation of which, I will post here:

I am writing you to request a personal meeting with you so as to put to rest a common doubt, which many Catholics have, who love His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI.

This doubt regards whether He, in saying minstero in his act of Feb. 11, 2013, had the intention to say muneri.

This doubt lingers because, as much as I know, His Holiness has never been asked in public if he had this intention or not.

Many are of the opinion, that in renouncing the ministry, Pope Benedict’s intention was to retain the munus, because He thinks the munus is the grace and the vocation which he received for always.

Others are of the opinion that in renouncing the ministery, His intention was to renounce the papacy, but not having understood that the ministerium is not the munus on account of the error in the German translation of the Code of Canon Law, in canon 145 §1, He made a substantial error in the renunciation (cf. Canons 126 and 188), because Canon 332 §2 constrains the man who is the pope, in renouncing, to renounce the petrine munus.  Since as Pope He did not concede to himself as Ratzinger a derogation by reason of canon 38, the renunciation remains vitiated. This is what they think.

For these reasons, and because I have written extensively on this topic at fromrome.wordpress.com and ChiesaRomana.info, I think a meeting with your Excellency will help all understand better what has happened.

I am not a journalist I am a consecrated person observing the Rule of Saint Francis, which obliges me in its second precept to uphold the Papacy.

Desiring only to know the truth, and dwelling at Rome, only 10 minutes from the Vatican, I am free at any moment to meet you wherever you like,

Sincerely,

Having received no response, I posted another letter to the Archbishop on January 9, at the Vatican Post Office. That letter got a phone response. Here is my English translation of that letter, the original of which was also in Italian:

Your Excellency!

I wish you best wishes on the Seventh Anniversary of your Episcopal Consecration at the hands of Pope Benedict! And I thank you for all that you do for the Holy Father!

I am writing for several reasons:

First, to remind you of my request for a personal meeting with your Excellency to understand better if the Holy Father had intended to renounce the petrine munus or whether he has ever said that he wanted to renounce the petrine munus, as I requested of you in my letter of Nov. 25th.

I make this request for the good of the Church, because I understand that the true pastoral care of the faithful, which save souls, is that which is established on the truth, not on hearsay.

I am also writing you to inform you, that on Dec. 19, I founded The League of Prayer for Pope Benedict XVI.  Catholics all over the world are already signed up, by means of 7 blogs which are spreading the invitation. For an Italian explanation see

For an English version see:

https://fromrome.wordpress.com/2019/12/19/join-the-league-of-prayer-for-pope-benedict-xvi/

Where you can find all the blogs listed who are participating in the English, Italian, Spanish and French speaking worlds.

I founded this League for the reasons described in the announcements and to share with other the grace the Lord gave me the day Pope John Paul II was shot in the Piazza S. Petro years ago, to pray daily for the Holy Father.

Lastly, having had the care of my own mother in her last years of life (she passed away on Nov. 2, 2018, from cortical dementia, her name is Doris) I learned well that the elderly need proper nutrition. I recommend a diet which is rich in protein. In the Bavarian State TV documentary the images of the Holy Father seem to show that he has lost a lot of weight recently, and so I am worried for his health. Also, seeing that my maternal grandfather was a barber, I cannot omit to say that if the Holy Father needs the services of a barber, I am willing to make a donation to pay the barber’s salary.

Sincerely in Saint Francis,

In both letters, at the end, I included contact information. My email and phone number. Little did I think I would ever get a response to my second letter. But I did, and it came by telephone at 10:43 A.M. on the morning of Saturday, January 11, 2020.

Archbishop Gänswein drops me a call

Though I missed the call, the Archbishop was kind enough to leave a message on my voice mail. Since my report here at The From Rome Blog, which is hosted on a website in the USA, is nevertheless readable in the European Union, I cannot share with you the recording of the call, nor give you a transcription of its contents, because that is prevented by privacy laws. However, I can describe in my own words, what I understood by the message left, so that everyone, especially the Cardinals and Bishops, understand how wrong it is to trust in anyone who claims to represent Pope Benedict, and how they need now to go to him in person and ask the most important questions.

I was trained in music as a youth, and so I have a keen ear to musical tones. Everyone’s voice has its own tone, and whether they speak in public or in private, on the phone or before an audience, it is the same tone. For that reason I can say the voice is that of the Archbishop. The voice also identifies itself as such.

My Italian contacts tell me it is clearly the voice of a German, but one which has spoken Italian for quite some time. I think the voice is suffering a little of the influenza that is hitting everyone at Rome right now. So I urge all to pray for the Archbishop’s health of body and soul.

However, sadly, the first thing the voice does is to attempt to gaslight me.

Gaslighting is a trick of mental persuasion usually used by tyrants or manipulators or even pedophiles, whereby the one in the position of power dictates to the one who is a subject how they should view reality. It is usually accompanied by insults or deprecatives which make the person inclined to doubt their own grasp on reality. If the Archbishop knew anything about me, he would know that that trick only works with weak minds who are seeking affirmation from power, which is not me in the least. The comment made also tried to characterize the entirely of my letter in such a light, which is really hard to justify even if you think Benedict is still the pope, because my letter was about much more than that.

To me, the gaslighting was totally uncalled for, and even cruel. I remain shocked that the voice of an Archbishop would be so uncharitable.

The second thing the voice does is to denounce my work of investigating the Renunciation. It says I am wrong and mistaken. This is a remarkable comment, since anyone who viewed the URLs in my letters would know that I am very thorough and back up everything I say with facts. I do not interpret facts, I let them speak for themselves. It then demands that I stop my work investigating the Renunciation.

Since I fear God alone, I can assure you that such a demand will have the opposite effect.

The third thing the voice does, as far as I understand it, is to demand that I and everyone in the League stop praying for Pope Benedict. The voice demands that I pray for Pope Francis. It seems to deny that Benedict is a pope or the pope.

And what is most remarkable, is what is not said by the voice. The voice does not say that it is acting at the bequest of Pope Benedict.

The voice is clearly of a man who is acting out of terror, rashness, imprudence. You can hear the anger and terror. There is even one grammatical mistake in the Italian used. From the logs at my blog, I can safely say that the Archbishop looked at, at least, 5 posts before the phone call came in. He was surfing to my blog using a VPN masking itself as being in the EU not the Vatican. (This is a standard practice at the Vatican now, after the computer raids made by the Vatican Gendarmerie in September). There were no background noises. A slam down of a phone handle can be heard terminating the call.

I could say a thousand things about this phone call. But I will conclude by saying, that in my own judgement, it is a lot easier to answer 2 questions than to threaten someone over the phone. I won’t get into the fact that the voice used a burner phone to make the call, that is, a phone which leaves no trace as to which number was used to make the call. What on earth is an Archbishop doing with such a phone? Such things are used by drug dealers and mafiosi!

In the future, I recommend that if you want to write Pope Benedict, do not send your mail to the Archbishop. I myself now consider that Benedict is clearly imprisoned., and that the Archbishop should be considered a prison warden, more than a personal secretary. The purpose of the imprisonment is this: His captors do not want him to meet with the public or with Cardinals in private, where he is free to express himself, PRECISELY because they do not want him to be asked those 2 questions.

I know why. And I think you can guess too. Others, better than I, have already guessed it too:

And that means, that Benedict is still the Vicar of Christ, the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Saint Peter, because the essential act required by canon 332 §2, is a renunciation of the petrine munus.

Please share this article with all Cardinals and Archbishops and Bishops. I think it presents sufficient evidence that they should be concerned about the integrity of information regarding what he did and what it meant, on Feb. 11, 2013.

I will conclude this report by sharing a Video of the Archbishop, June 14, 2017, in which he says clearly the opposite of what he said on the phone to me: I am here principally to share with everyone the greetings of Pope Benedict XVI. (0:17 in the video, in Italian)

POST SCRIPT: Journalists who are in Rome or who come in person to Rome are welcome to hear the recording of the phone call, in my presence. Just leave your contact information in a comment  below. — I have transmitted a copy of the phone call to my private attorney in the USA, so in case anything happens to me, there is legal evidence of the fact.

____________

* In this Article, I have used the English word, “question”, in the sense of a problem which is asked to be responded to, because, as you can see there are no question marks in my letters to the Archbishop.

____________

THIS POST HAS BEEN PUBLISHED SIMULTANEOUSLY IN ITALIAN at ChiesaRomana.info:

https://www.chiesaromana.info/index.php/2020/01/15/due-domande-alle-quali-mons-ganswein-non-vuole-rispondere/

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

By Br. Alexis Bugnolo

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

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

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

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

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

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

He confirmed for me the following facts:

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

He also confirmed for me these points of law:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CONCLUSION

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

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

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

____________

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

 

¡Viva Guadalajara!

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

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

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

Silence.

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

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

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

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

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

Silence.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Except for this one thing.

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

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

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

Ignatius I: I said, ¡Viva Guadalajara!

Tosatti III: Is that all you said?

Ignatius I: Yes.

Tosatti III: Did you not say, Yes?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_____________

The Limits of Discretion

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

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

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

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

¡Viva Guadalajara!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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