Tag Archives: papal renunciations

It’s like divorce, but it isn’t

By Br. Alexis Bugnolo

I love a good debate, but it’s disappointing to see one side with no arguments. It’s even sadder to see grown men attempt to craft an argument from an assertion which does not fit the case. It’s like someone claiming the world is flat, because ships disappear partially and totally as they head off the horizon!

Anyone with the slightest conception of three dimension geometry knows that that argument proves the world is not flat!

Just so the latest refuge of the “Bergoglio is definitely the pope” crowd. And such it merits a refutation, although I hate knock outs, there is nothing dramatic in them.

It’s like divorce, but it isn’t

Their argument goes like this:

Just as a married man must presume his marriage is valid,
until an annulment tribunal decrees otherwise,
so Catholics must presume the Renunciation is valid,
until the Church decrees otherwise.

Except that is not an argument. That is an analogy or comparison.

An argument, for anyone who knows logic, has a major premise and a minor premise and a conclusion. When you put your thoughts into arguments, then you can see immediately whether they are valid or not, because the human mind has a natural capacity — when not being forced by bad will — to see the truth.

So let’s do the homework of the opposition, and put their analogy into logical form:

Major premise: Every juridical act must be presumed to be valid unless judged otherwise by a legitimate court of law.

Minor premise: Marriage vows are a juridical act.

Conclusion: Marriage vows are to be presumed valid unless judged otherwise by a legitimate court of law.

So let us imagine that Johnnie is doing his homework and shows this to Mommy, who happens to have a Ph.D. in Logic and a J.C.D. in Canon law. (My hypothetical is obviously contrary to fact).

MOMMY: Johnnie that is wonderful. But you are not finished yet. Your conclusion has to be about Papal renunciations, not marriage vows.  Perhaps use another syllogism which combined with the first, will arrive at the right conclusion!

And Johnny goes to work.

Major premise: Every juridical act must be presumed to be valid unless judged otherwise by a legitimate court of law.

Minor premise: A Papal renunciation is a juridical act.

Conclusion: Every papal renunciation must be presumed to be valid unless judged otherwise by a legitimate court of law.

And Johnny shows his work to Mommy.

MOMMY: Johnny, now you have the correct conclusion, but the weakness in your minor premise.

JOHNNY: How is that Mommie?

MOMMY:  Because in accord with Canon 332 §2, a papal renunciation is only a juridical act if it is a certain kind of act. Otherwise it is an actus nullus, invalidus or irritus.

JOHNNY: Which kind?

MOMMY: The kind which is a renunciation of munus.

JOHNNY: But that is what the whole controversy is about.

MOMMY: Are you trying to resolve the controversy or just trying to make it look like you won! Remember what I told you about growing up. You have to stop with the juvenile — I am right, shut up! — behavior which got you that bloody nose last year in elementary school.

JOHNNY: This home work is too hard!

MOMMY: I want to encourage you, Johnny, but the major has a problem too.

JOHNNY: What is that!

MOMMY: Your argument does not say why a juridical act is presumed valid, or why an act of matrimony and renunciation are the same species of act.

JOHNNY: Mommy, can’t you just tell me?

MOMMY: Well, Johnny, I cannot do your homework for you! — But I will help by asking questions, ok?

JOHNNY. O.K.

MOMMY: When you presume something is valid, you presume first of all what?

JOHNNY: That something is pre-existing.

MOMMY: What is pre-existing between a married man and his wife?

JOHNNY: The marriage vows.

MOMMY: What is pre-existing in a Papal Renunciation?

JOHNNY: The papal vows, that is, the agreement by the man who is the pope, to be the pope.

MOMMY: That’s right! So if you are to presume marriage vows are valid, until proven otherwise, then you are to presume WHAT is valid until proven otherwise?

JOHNNY: The pope’s decision to be and remain the pope, of course!

MOMMY: That is right!

JOHNNY: But, Mommy, that is not the conclusion I want to present in class, because I hate Annie and Alexie and Marky, who are all supporting that side of the argument!

MOMMY: Johnny, what did I tell you about being juvenile?

A Real Case that is not a Real Case

Screenshot_20200215-152043_Chrome

The problem with the argument used in the Tweet shown to the Left, is the same.

The more fundamental legal principle which is the Major Premise of all arguments in this matter is that the cessation of power or of right is not presumed. Therefore, it has to be proven and juridically established. Otherwise, you are saying that a man who is certain in his own opinion that the marriage he entered into before Church witnesses, is invalid, can act as if his marriage never existed,* when he is thus certain, without first obtaining an annulment, if he is even eligible.

Likewise, in regard to the Renunciation, you would be saying as Grant seems to be saying, that a man who is certain in his own opinion that the Renunciation ended the holding of the papal office, can presume the man is no longer the valid pope, when he is thus certain, without first obtaining a judgement of the Church. But that contradicts the principle ‘the cessation of power and right is not presumed’.

We do not presume a marriage made is invalid. And we do not presume a pope made is un-poped. We must have certain and juridical proof.

Canon 332 §2 is the only authority and tribunal of that certitude. Grant wants it that it be the Cardinals or Bishops, or the agreement of everyone alive or of his friends, like Steve Skojec. But that is expressly denied in the final clause of Canon 332 §2.

But there is a deeper problem with Grant’s approach. And it is this: matrimony is a Sacrament not simply a contract ad libitum, voluntarily separable as much as enterable. As a Sacrament it can never be broken. Those who enter into it have the power to enter, but no one has the power to end the contract, except Sister Death. But the Papacy is not a contract, but it is severable. A man accepts his election according to the norm of law, and can be separated from what he accepted according to the norm of law.

But it has to be according to the norm of law. Otherwise, a pope might accidentally un-pope himself after drinking too much wine, during a fever, while being threatened with death, or after being convinced his health is so bad, by those around him, he cannot go on for another seven years. — And it must be according to the norm of law, not according to the opinion of men. Otherwise, you would have anti-popes elected when popes still lived, simply because Cardinals wanted it so. And nearly all anti-popes in the last 1000 years were caused by wanton Cardinals.

Something sounds familiar about that…if you have eyes to see.

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FOOTNOTE

* The case of the marriage that never was, but was ratified in Church and is presumed in law to be valid, is a bit more complex. Though there are cases in which a marriage might be objectively invalid, but sanable, that is, able to be made valid — e.g. your wife did not get an annulment prior to marrying you and concealed this, but was eligible to get one. However, if there is objective verifiable cause that the marriage is invalid, and contrary to divine law — e. g. you discover that your wife was adopted and that she is in fact your sister — then you must cease to cohabit with her. So there are cases of invalidity which can morally oblige one to sever marital relations in fact, privately at least, until an annulment is obtained, though there is no case in which one can proceed to act in the external forum as an unmarried spouse with liberty to engage another in a romance or marriage, prior to such an annulment regardless the cause, on account of the obligations of all parties to obedience to the Church, justice, modesty and humility as well as avoiding giving scandal and harming the reputations of others.

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CREDITS: The Featured Image is a photo of a bas-relief at the Lateran Basilica, taken by Br. Bugnolo

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My Letter to Cardinal Re

By Br. Alexis Bugnolo

In January, it was announced by the Vatican, that Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re was named Dean of the College of Cardinals. Since it it the duty of the Dean to convoke the College, I wrote him a Letter in Latin to express my concerns, in accord with Canon 212, regarding the canonical status of Pope Benedict XVI, in the assumption that he may not be aware of them.

Here is the text of my letter, which he received more than 2 weeks ago:

Sua Eminentia,

Vobis scribo ex iure mihi concesso ab papa Ioanne Paolo II in canone 212, ad Vobis manifestandas inconvenientias graves in declaratione quae emissa est ab papa Benedicto XVI in Festo B. V. M. Lapurdensis anno Domini 2013.

In primis, ministerii eius renuntiatio non est conformans normae canonis 332 §2 qui renuntiationem muneris petrini requirit et hinc est actus nullus qui secundum canonem 41 neminem constringat.

Secundo, nemini licet ut interpres sit actus renuntiationis papalis, et hinc omnis interpretatio actus istius invalida ac illicita esto qui munus legat ubi ministerium scribatur.

Tertio, in dicendo ministerium et non munus vir qui est papa Benedictus XVI actum validum non ponere potest sine concessione derogationis secundum canonem 38 et hinc quia aliquid tale non fecit ut Romanus Pontifex actum irritum posuit ut vir qui est Pontifex.

Quarto, in ministerii renuntiatione et non muneris actus apparens papalis renuntiationis irritus est secundum canonem 188 per errorem substantialem quoniam essentia actus necessaria penes canonem 332 §2 est renuntiatio muneris non ministerii.

Quinto, non est libertas ad muneri renuntiandum quo renuntiatio ministerii fiat et hinc actus talis deficit ex debito canonis 332 §2 ad libere faciendum actum renuntiationis muneris et hinc invalidus est.

Sexto, non est ritualis manifestatio ubi non est manifestatio actus debiti, et quia impossibile est quod actus ministerii renuntiationis manifestet renuntiationem muneris, hinc est invalidus secundum canonem 332 §2.

Septimo, quoniam aliquot diebus post declarationis enuntiationem actus integer non habebatur, impossibile est quod actus Cardinalis Decani precedentis validus fuit ad renuntiationem papalis annuntiandam secundum normam canonis 40 et postea ad conclavem convocandam.

Octavo, omnes actiones papae Benedicti XVI per septem annos demonstrant quod Is apprehendat munus ut vocationem et gratiam nunquam abiiciendam et non ut ministerium seu officium ecclesiasticum rentuntiatum, et evidens est quod verum sit, quapropter ille nomen et indumentum et dignitatem papalem adhunc portat ut possessionem personalem, qui demonstratio est clare quod intentionem renuntiationis muneris non haberet et non habeat.

Ex totis rationibus ego supplex Vos precor Ecclesiae Sanctae Dei ut convocatio Cardinalium in praesentiae papae Benedicti XV faciatis in tempore opportuno ad verum quaerendum in materia ista ita ut omne dubium de successione petrina tollatis pro Ecclesia Christi salute. Partibus omnibus in ista controversia eliminatio dubii istius ius et debitum est et nulli vulnera.

Gratias Vobis do pro tempore lectionis litterarum mearum,

In Sancto Francisco servus humilis papatus,

Fra’ Alexis Bugnolo

Here is my English translation of the Letter, for the benefit of the readers of FromRome.Info

Your Eminence,

I am writing you on account of the right granted me by Pope John Paul II in canon 212, to make known to you the grave problems in the Declaratio which was pronounced by Pope Benedict XVI on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, in the year of Our Lord 2013.

First of all, His renunciation of ministry is not in conformity with the norm of Canon 332 §2 which requires the renuntiation of the Petrine Munus, and hence it is an actus nullus which according to canon 41 constrains no one.

Second, it is not licit for anyone to be the interpretor of a papal renunciation, and hence every interpretation of that act of His, which reads “munus” where “ministerium” is written, is invalid and illicit.

Third, in saying “ministerium” and not “munus” the man who is Pope Benedict XVI cannot posit a valid act without the concession of a derogation, according to canon 38, and hence because he never did any such thing, as the Roman Pontiff, he posited, as the man who is the Pontiff, an actus irritus.

Fourth, in renouncing ministry and not munus, the apparent act of papal renunciation is irritus according to canon 188 by means of a substantial error, since the essence of the act necessary under the terms of Canon 332 §2 is a renunciation of munus, not of ministerium.

Fifth, there is no liberty to renounce munus where a renunication of ministerium is made and hence such an act fails from what is due in Canon 332 §2 regarding a free act of renuncaition of munus, and hence is invalid.

Sixth, there is no due manifestation where there is no manifestation of the due act, and because it is impossible that an act of renunciation of ministerium manifest an act of renunciation of munus, hence it is invalid according to Canon 332 §2.

Seventh, since for some days after the pronouncement of the declaration the integral act was not had, it is impossible that the act of the previous Cardinal Dean was valid to announce a papal renunciation, according to the norm of Canon 40 and afterwards to convoke a conclave.

Eighth, all the actions of Pope Benedict XVI throught the last 7 years demonstrate that he understands munus as a vocation and grace never to be rejected and not as a renounced ministerium or ecclesiastical office, and it is evident that this is true, because He bears still that Name and clothing and dignity of a pope as a personal possession, which is clearly a demonstration that he did not have nor has the intention of renouncing the munus.

For all these reasons, I humbly beg you for the sake of the Holy Church of God to call a convocation of the Cardinals in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI, at an opportune time, to seek the truth in this matter so as to bear away all doubt concerning the petrine succession for the sake of the salvation of Christ’s Church. The elimination of this doubt is the right and due to all the parties in this controversy and harms none of them.

Thank you for the time you have taken reading my letter,

In Saint Francis, a humble servant of the Papacy,

– – –

I have published this letter to encourage all of you to write to your own Cardinals and Bishops in your part of the world an urge them to the same thing. You have my permission to copy and paste the test of my Latin or English version of my letter.

As you can see, the reasons for holding that Pope Benedict XVI is still the pope are the most profound and grave and are drawn entirely from Canon Law and historical facts. They are not based on unfounded opinion, misquoted texts or insults, as those of Trad Inc..

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Boniface VIII’s Magisterial Teaching on Papal Renunciations

Translation and Commentary by Br. Alexis Bugnolo¹

boniface
The election of Pope Boniface VIII

Pope Boniface VIII, Quoniam (Sexti Decretalium Liber. I, Tit. VII, chapter 1):

Quoniam aliqui curiosi disceptatores de his, quae non multum expediunt, et plura sapere, quam oporteat, contra doctrinam Apostoli, temere appetentes, in dubitationem sollicitam, an Romanus Pontifex (maxime cum se insufficientem agnoscit ad regendam universalem Ecclesiam, et summi Pontificatus onera supportanda) renunciare valeat Papatui, eiusque oneri, et honori, deducere minus provide videbantur:  Celestinus Papa quintus praedecessor noster, dum eiusdem ecclesiae regimini praesidebat, volens super hoc haestitationis cuiuslibet materiam amputare, deliberatione habita cum suis fratribus Ecclesiae Romanae Cardinalibus (de quorum numero tunc eramus) de nostro, et ipsorum omnium concordi consilio et assensu, auctoritate Apostolica statuit, et decrevit:  Romanum Pontificem posse libere resignare.

Nos igitur ne statutum huiusmodi per ipsis cursum oblivioni dari aut dubitationem eandem in recidivam disceptionem ulterius deduci contingat:  ipsum inter constitutiones alias, ad perpetuam rei memoriam, de fratrum nostrorum consilio duximus redigendum.

My Translation:

Since some debaters curious about those things, which are not very expedient, and desiring rashly to know more than is opportune, against the teaching of the Apostle (1 Tim. 6:4), have seemed to draw forth less cautiously a solicitous doubt, whether the Roman Pontiff (most of all when he acknowledges himself (to be) insufficient to rule the universal Church, and to support the burdens (onera) of the Supreme Pontificate) be able [valeat] to renounce the Papacy [Papatui], and its charge [oneri], and honor [honori]:  Pope Celestine V, Our predecessor, when he presided over the government of the same Church, willing to cut off the matter of any hesitation over this, having held a deliberation with His brothers, the Cardinals of the Roman Church (of whose number We were at that time), established and decreed by (his) Apostolic Authority, from the concordant counsel and assent of Ourselves, and of the same: that the Roman Pontiff can freely resign.

We, therefore, lest a statute of this kind, enacted through the same, be given up to oblivion or the same doubt be drawn forth furthermore in a repeated debate: judge that the same is to be registered among the other constitutions, ad perpetuam rei memoriam, (drawn) from the council of our brother (Cardinals).

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FOOTNOTES

  1. Many thanks to Dr. Cyrille Dounot, Professor of Law in the Faculté de Droit et de Science Politique, at the Université d’Auvergne, France, for making the Latin text of Boniface’s decree, Quoniam (VI, 1, 7, 1), available to me, from the Corpus Iuris Canonici, Vol II, Liber Sextus, Clementinae and Extravagantes, cum glossis, Lyons, France, 1584, cols. 197-199.

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MY COMMENTARY

Benedetto Caetani, the future Pope Boniface VIII, was born around 1235 A. D., of an ancient Roman family. He studied jurisprudence at the University of Bologna and served in the papal government during his long career. Pope Martin IV made him Cardinal Deacon of Saint Nicholas in Carcere, in 1281 A. D., and Pope Nicholas IV, Cardinal Priest of St. Martin in Montibus ten years later. He succeeded Pope Celestine V in 1294, after the former renounced the papacy.

Pope Boniface studied canon law in an age in which its study was confined to gathering the canons of the ancient Church and those decreed in historic synods and commenting on them to deduce the fundamental principles of law by which the Church would be rightly governed. His decree, Quoniam, must be seen in this light, as we can see from the text.

There are two motives for Pope Boniface in writing Quoniam. The historical and the ecclesiological. Historically, inasmuch as he was elected following the resignation of Pope Celestine V, and on account of his untimely demise shortly after being sequestered by Boniface to the Castle of Fumone, Italy, Boniface had good reason to enshrine in Church Law the affirmation that a pope can freely resign. Second, ecclesiologically, Boniface wanted to put to rest doubts that swirled around the nature of the papal office, whether it was a vocation which could only be accepted, and never rejected, or whether it was an office, in the sense of a duty or charge, which could be lain down just as much as taken up.

In its form, Quoniam, is a memorial rescript, that is, its a written document which records what was said and decided in consistory by his predecessor, Pope Celestine V, with the Cardinals. Pope Boniface’s authority to issue the rescript, therefore, is twofold: he was both an eye witness participant in the discussions and as Roman Pontiff he had the authority to determinatively decide upon questions of canon law.

While Boniface’s central purpose was merely to affirm a point of papal power, the matter of his rescript touches upon the nature of the papal office as it was conceived in the minds of Pope Celestine V and his cardinals:  as an office, as a duty, as a dignity.  The office is that of the papacy (papatus), a Late Medieval term derived from the popular address of the Roman Pontiff, pope, in Greek (papas).  The duty is a charge or burden (onus), not only a sober term for the magnitude and importance of the affairs it must conduct, but also a term which implies that this duty is bestowed from on high, a reference to Our Lord’s creation of the office in Matthew 16:18. Finally, the papal office is a dignity (honor), which distinguishes and elevates the one who accepts his canonical election above all others in the Church.

From Boniface’s rescript, by which he establishes Quoniam among the perpetual constitutions of the Church, we can see a direct and faithful reflection in the present Code of Canon Law, in Canon 332 §2, which terms the papal office a munus, affirms that a renunciation of munus is validly effected when the Pope acts freely, and requires a public act. In its final clause, Canon 332 §2 reaffirms that the power of renunciation lies solely in the papal office by denying that its validity arises from the act of renunciation being accepted by anyone at all.

Its clear, then, from the magisterial teaching of Pope Boniface VIII, that the papal office is not a ministry, but rather a unique dignity, office and duty, which in being renounced, must be renounced in its own nature according to what it is. That even those who doubted that a pope had such power, in Boniface’s day, affirmed these things are contained in the context of the doubt they raised, namely, whether a pope could renounce the papacy, its charge, and its honor.

Contrariwise, inasmuch as Pope Boniface affirms that a pope can renounce these things, he affirms that all three must be renounced to effect a papal renunciation, on this account, that in affirming the papal power extends over these, he implicitly asserts that if the papal power does NOT extend over each of these, then the renunciation has not taken place.

This follows from the rules of the science of Logic, which teaches that every negation must be understood strictly. Thus, since a renunciation is a form of negation, a renunciation of the papacy must renounce the office, the charge and the dignity. If one renounced only the exercise of the office and continued to exercise the passive ministry, retain the dignity of being called Your Holiness, giving the Apostolic Blessing, wearing the clothing which only the Pope can wear, it would be clear that one’s resignation had not occurred, because there is no renunciation of all right, unless all right be renounced.

Pope Boniface VIII, eminent legal scholar that he was, obviates these problems which arise from renunciation-law by using the intransitive form of the verb to resign [resignare] in his final affirmation of papal power. This is because, unlike “to renounce” [renuntiare], to resign implies of itself the renunciation of office and all its right, on account of its original meaning to re-signare, or undo the seal which enacted or approved a thing. In Latin, resignare, thus, has the meaning of annul or cancel, as well as resign, and recalls the powers invested in the office of Saint Peter, when Our Lord said: whatsoever you loose ….

The present Code of Canon Law by employing the verb to renounce [renunciare], thus requires that the object of the act munus, be a word which is full of meaning, rich in meaning, and encompassing all that is essential to an act of renunciation of papal office: the office, the charge and the dignity. The brilliance of the Latinity of those who prepared the New Code under Pope John Paul II is seen in this one word, munus, which means both gift [munus in Latin means gift, its used in the Liturgy for the gifts of the Magi], and office [canon 145 terms every ecclesiastical office a munus], charge [munus and onus in Latin share this meaning] and that which up-builds a person [munire in Latin means to build up, or fortify]. In English we see this in the words ammunition and munificence. On this account, if one were to renounce the papal office with any term which is not co-extensive with all three aspects of the Papal office, its clear that the renunciation would be incomplete, and therefore of no effect in law. Nay, since we men are creatures whose understanding is bound up with the words we use to express ourselves, its clear that if one were to use another term with deliberation, his consequent actions would reflect that partial renunciation and incomplete resignation. This should be now obvious to all, who have eyes to see.