Tag Archives: Saint Alphonsus dei Liguori

There is no moral obligation to observe Corona Control per se

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Saint Alphonsus dei Liguori is one of the Doctors of the Church. He was named such by Pope Pius IX on account of the excellence of his teaching on morality. In his writings nearly every possible situation in which one has to make a moral judgement is explained by the principles he so clearly taught from Scripture, Tradition, the teaching of the Saints and great theologians.

One question he dealt with is the case of whether one is obliged to observe a merely positive law.  A law is a norm which regulates behavior and which is promulgated by a legitimate authority. A positive law, is a law which emanates from a human authority and is in written form. A merely positive law is a positive law which has no fundament or basis in the Divine, moral, natural or evangelical law. Having no basis, here, means that it is not based on, nor incorporates, nor is derived from, nor applies any pre-existing law from God, from the Gospels, from the laws of nature or from the laws of morality, understood in the Catholic sense of the term, “morality”.

Take for example, the laws which regard the speed at which you can travel on the road with your automobile. These are merely positive laws. Likewise, consider the rule in a Public Library about returning a book within so many days. These are merely positivie laws.

Saint Alphonsus says that the observance of a merely positive law is based on our moral obligations to God and to our superiors and to others with whom we have bonds of fidelity or justice.

For example, in borrowing a book from a Library, while it is not a sin to keep it longer than the time permitted, it does breach fidelity with the authorities of the library, to whom we pledged to return the book. Likewise, the book is the property of the Library, and so we have a moral obligation to return it, not to keep it, because that would be theft, which is contrary to the Divine, moral, natural and evangelical law. So to neglect to return in on time is not a mortal sin, per se. But to neglect to return it for several years and then return it, would be a mortal sin against fidelity. It might also be a mortal sin of scandal, if one were a father of a family and by such gave  bad example to one’s children. But to return it late by a day may be no sin at all, if we simply forgot and were not otherwise negligent. And so, since the rules about returning books are merely positive law, whether it be sinful or not to return a book late is determined not by the rules themselves but by reference to these higher laws of God, the Gospels, morals and nature. — In this case, I assume you have not signed a contract with the library to observe its rules, because if you have, then it might be a mortal sin of injustice by breach of faith, to not observe them. It depends on the terms of the contract.

The laws regarding the speed at which it is permissible to travel on a highway are similar. It is not a sin per se to go 1, 5, 10, or even 100 miles per hour faster than the the speed limit, however, you have to understand what “per se” means, to understand rightly this principle.  “Per se” means considered by itself or through itself. In the present context, since the speed at which your automobile moves is not a moral act, whether it moves at 1 mph or 10,000 mph has nothing to do with sin, when we consider the velocity by itself or according to itself.

However, if we consider the speed of an automobile in respect of its physical proximity to other things, and the capacity of a driver to control the automobile at the given speed at which it is traveling, then we consider the speed no longer per se but inasmuch as it is the occasion or circumstance of a moral decision, which must always take into account the Divine, Evagelical, moral and natural laws.

In fact, laws about speeding are imposed for public safety, because when everyone knows what to expect from everyone else, then all can travel on the road in safe expectation of how the other automobiles will move on that road. This is a artificial harmony by consensus of free agents, where the legitimate authority establishes a velocity as a maximum or minimum for the utility and safety of all. And since automobile accidents can be and are frequently dangerous at high speeds, it is very reasonable and a proper exercise of jurisdiction that a legitimate authority exercise foresight and establish such rules.

So if the highway is deserted with no other cars at all on it, it is not a mortal sin to drive too slow or too fast, unless your ability to control your vehicle at that velocity on that road, in those weather conditions is impaired. And if it is impaired you should adjust your speed to reach a velocity where you can control your vehicle. Otherwise you are putting yourself, and any passengers, in mortal danger, and that is a mortal sin of imprudence and as regards passengers, of breach of faith.

But in the case of the Corona Control decrees in many nations, there are many difficulties. In many nations, these decrees are unlawful, since they are emanating from legitimate authorities which do not have constitutional or legal authority to issue such decrees or to issue such decrees which so contravene the natural rights of citizens to free movement and action and work.

If the decree is unlawful, there is no question of obligation in observing it. It must be considered by all, citizen and policeman, simply not to exist.

However, if the decree in some things is lawful and in other things is not lawful, then a citizen must consider whether it be based on truth. Because even a legitimate authority, which has the legal right to issue a decree, cannot morally obliged the citizen to its observance in those things which are not lawful.

Moreover, if the decree is not founded on truth, then it is not obliging in anything even if it is otherwise lawful.

And this appears to be the case with the Corona Control. Because, though many are SAID to be dying with Coronavirus, how many are actually dying FROM COVID-19 is not being accurately reported. And the authorities issuing unprecedented decrees to control the lives of citizens are showing NO concern that the numbers of those who die FROM Coronavirus be accurately reported. And that is sufficient grounds for the citizen to doubt the legitimacy of even lawful orders.

Furthermore, the statistics which have been published both in China and in Italy and all over the world, are in agreement, that COVID-19 is not as lethal as the winter flu is for the general population, even if it is more lethal than the winder flu for a very small segment of the population (compromised immune systems with existing pathologies).

The arguments that the CORONA CONTROL decrees must be or should be observed because a very small fraction of the whole population is put at risk by being infected by the whole population is simply irrational and cannot be sustained by any notion of justice. Because the risk to a very small part of the population cannot outweigh all the rights of the rest of the population to live. It is the question of the lives of a very few compared to the lives of everyone else, their livelihood, work, education, etc..

For this reason, since the CORONA CONTROL decrees are merely positive laws and lack a foundation in truth, justice, and common sense, there is no moral obligation whatsoever, from Christians or non-Christians that they be observed.

However, Saint Alphonsus does say, that inasmuch as merely positive laws may be enforced with heavy fines or severe penalties, then inasmuch as the person who is contemplating not observing them has some duty to care for others, he should restrain himself for their sake so that he can continue to care for them. This applies to parents and those who care for the sick, aged, infirm or needy. And this is why many priests are not risking their violation, because they want to provide the Sacraments after the Corona Control ends. — If it ever does.

This does not mean, however, that anyone should be careless about hygiene, especially in the presence of anyone who is at high risk from this infection. That is why, I say, there is no moral obligation to observe these CORONA CONTROL decrees per se, but there in specific cases may be an obligation to observe some aspects of them.

And this is why good mothers teach their children to blow their nose in a handkerchief or with a facial tissue, to wash their hands frequently, and to use bathrooms in a sanitary way, as well as, to stay home when sick. These instructions of our mothers or fathers, are sane rational practices to observe our duties of fidelity and charity to all around us.

Above, I have expounded the Catholic position. Compare it with the New World Order position, expounded here, without reference to God.

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Saint Alphonsus: When it is morally licit to receive the Sacraments from unworthy ministers?

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Many Catholics, who remain in communion with Pope Benedict, but have no clergy in their area who do so, ask me whether it be morally licit for them to receive the Sacraments from these clergy. I also get this question from Catholics who live in the Mid-East, where many Catholics receive the Sacraments in both the Catholic and the Orthodox Churches, which for long centuries have not been in communion with the Apostolic See.

Here I will present the doctrine of the Doctor of the Church, Saint Alphonsus dei Liguori, C.Ss.R., from his Theologia Moralis, by citing what he says on diverse questions. The Roman Church, by raising Saint Alphonsus dei Liguori to the dignity of a Doctor of the Church in questions of moral theology, gives at least a tacit approval to those opinions. This does not mean that they are the teaching of the Church or that they are, by that fact alone, opinions which form part of the ordinary magisterium. But it is a strong indication that if the Church ever judge such questions, that she will likely side with the opinions of the Saint, even though on one of his opinions, She has expressly withdrawn her approval — I am told.*

Here is Saint Alponsus teaching, which regards clergy who are public sinners or excommunicated or under some censure. He does not speak of heretics, of whom it is the teaching of the Church at all times, that we cannot receive any Sacrament from condemned heretics.

Saint Alphonsus de Liguori

Theologia Moralis

Tome III, Book VI

Tract I — On the Sacraments in General

Doubt II

n. 88 — There is asked 2nd.: Whether it be licit to receive the Sacraments from an unworthy minister? — Here it is necessary to distinguish between a minister who is unworthy because of some censure and/or inability, and a minister and one unworthy because of mortal sin.

I respond 1st.: If a minister is unworthy through a censure etc., and is not to be tolerated, most of all if he be excommunicated as one to be avoided and/or publicly and by name suspended, or irregular through a judicial sentence, certainly it is not licit to seek the Sacraments from him, except in extreme and/or in the greatest of necessity in which all say it is licit to receive Baptism and Penance … {Editor’s note: here follows a citation of authorities from whom the Saint drew his opinion. I will omit these in this translation with the symbol …}.

Likewise, probably also the Sacrament of the Eucharist as say … . And adhering to this opinion is Tournely, who citing Pope Innocent III, in Gratian, chapter Quod in te, de poenitent. et remission, who though he denied Extremunction to the dying in the time of a general interdict, did not deny Penance and Viaticum.

Likewise, concerning the Sacrament of Extremunction think … by this that such a Sacrament can be the cause of grace. But better do those not admit this with … except when the infirm is not able to receive any other sacrament.

Equally, say … that it is licit to receive the Sacrament of Orders from a Bishop who is excommunicated, when in some remote province, he alone can be found, and such an ordination redounds to the common good.

Likewise, the aforesaid authors say regarding the Sacrament of Matrimony, in the case in which it would be necessary either for the spiritual salvation of one who is dying and/or for the great temporal utility of the children, and when no other minister is at hand.

But whether a  priest who has been excommunicated as one to be avoided can minister the Sacrament of Penance in extreme necessity? This is to be denied, see …

I respond 2nd.:  But if the minister is excommunicated and/or suspended, as one to be tolerated: there is a question among the doctors whether it be licit to receive the Sacraments from him without grave cause. — Some deny this. — But more truly is it to be affirmed, because the Council of Constance conceded in an absolute manner to the faithful that they could receive communion with those to be tolerated. See ….

n.89 — I respond 3rd. But when the minister is unworthy on account of mortal sin, Saint Thomas seems to indistinctly concede that the Sacraments can be received from someone whose sin is hidden from us, saying:  So long as he is tolerated by the Church in ministry, the one who receives the Sacraments from him does not share in his sin. — And the same is had in Gratian, in the chapter, Vestra 7, de cohabitatione clericorum etc., where there is said:  Without a doubt . . . hold that from clerics and bishops, even though they be fornicators, so long as they be tolerated and there not be had evidence of their works (that is, as the Gloss has, they have not been condemend nor have they confessed before the law), the Divine Mysteries are licitly heard and the other Sacraments of the Church are received. But this must be sanely understood, to be valid only to excuse from sin, not to contravene the prohibitions of the Church.

Otherwise, to receive the Sacraments from a sinner, always requires a reasonable cause, in accord with the words in Gratian, Book II, n. 47, v. Secunda et n. 49; and as is otherwise taught by Saint Thomas, where he says: Besides the occasion of necessity, it would not be safe, that he induce him to fulfill anything of his Order, while having such knowledge that that one be in mortal sin.  Moreover, under the name of “necessity” the Continuator of Tournely rightly explains that in this case one is to understand a moral necessity. — Wherefore, to excuse (from sin) there probably also suffices a causae of grave utility; as is most commonly taught by … .


As can be seen, Saint Alphonsus speaks of priests who are either public sinners or who have been punished with a decree of excommunication or censure. When he speaks of those to be tolerated, he is referring to the previous discipline, before Vatican II, which distinguished between those who were to be shunned or not to be shunned, on account of the punishment imposed upon them. Holy Mother Church imposed the punishment of shunning, since the time of Saint Paul the Apostle, when She judged that the person was very dangerous or because their conscience required this punishment to bring it back to a right state. In the new Code the punishment of shunning as been abolished, so all excommunicates and censured persons are to be considered to be tolerated, under Saint Alphonsus’ classification.

What is lacking in Saint Alphonsus is any question regarding what is to be done during a schism in the Church.  I think we can extrapolate from the present Code of Canon Law which imposes excommunication upon all schismatics ipso facto, and thus classify them as excommunicated but to be tolerated.

However, the present case of the Bergoglian schism has to do also with public heresy and immorality. And so if the clergy who are schismatic are also heretics, then one should under no condition receive the sacraments from them. The Council of Trent holds as to be excommunicated, also, those who say or teach or practice the giving of the Sacraments of the Eucharist, to those who are public sinners: which certainly applies to the author of Amoris Laetitia and all who accept that doctrine. I would hold such a teaching also to be heretical, but since the Council of Trent did not classify it as heretical, I think we cannot on our own authority regard it as such, until a Council so condemns it.

However, the Bergoglians teach many other heresies. And so the determination if this or that minister is unworthy or not on account of heresy, depends on each individual case of each minister. And in cases in which you do not know if the minster agrees with or accepts any particular heresy, Saint Alphonsus says elsewhere, that you should presume that he is not a heretic.

Regarding, the question of mere schism, however, if a priest has not accepted that Benedict validly resigned, but simply goes by that opinion, he is probably not a formal schismatic, just in error. But if he is shown the evidence that Benedict is still the true pope and examines it, and rejects it publicly or privately to your knowledge, he should be presumed to be formally a schismatic. However, if he refuses consideration without examination, he is more likely just lazy or as of yet psychologically indisposed to consider that such a great lie or error was made, as I was for 6 years. Likewise, if he rejects the arguments that Benedict is still the pope, but does not refuse you the Sacraments, whom he knows publicly or privately to be in communion with Benedict, then he is probably not a formal schismatic, because by his behavior he shows that your opinion is one which can be licitly held.

What Saint Alphonsus does not explain here, is the duty to avoid public scandal. If you are not known to be in communion with the true Pope, and attend the liturgy of schismatics, then no scandal is given, because scandal is only a sin on account of someone knowing of it and being scandalized. But if you are known to be in communion with the true pope and go to the liturgies of Schismatics, and on that account even one poor soul would take scandal and consider it not important for salvation whether they be or not be in communion with the true pope, then you must omit going to those liturgies. Because as Saint Paul teaches in his letters to the Corinthians, we should prefer the salvation of the weak to any desire we have of liberty.

What Saint Alphonsus says here is mostly the repetition of others opinions, though he makes some personal judgement on the questions. However, these principles should be used with prudence and precision, and not taken to be license for the lax or exaggerated in their severity by the super-scrupulous. That is, if you are inclined not to follow rules and do as you please and fudge on definitions of words, then what Saint Alphonsus says should not be interpreted by your conscience, but you should follow the interpretation of a more prudent and upright man of good counsel who respects the Divine and moral law as a minimum duty of every Christians. However, if you are inclined to consider everything a sin or every sin a mortal sin, then you should not follow your understanding of what St. Alphonsus says here, but that of a man with a better understanding of the proper ability to distinguish between what things are and what things might be according to one’s fears.

Finally, what Saint Alphonsus does not discuss is what is the holier or more perfect thing to do. I think that testifying to the truth, right now, in the Church, is a grave necessity for the salvation of all souls. Each of us should do that. How we do it, God leaves to our own initiative. But we should not conceal the truth under a bushel basket, especially on account of only caring for ourselves and the reception of sacraments by ourselves, and not caring for the salvation of priests and our fellow brothers and sisters in the Faith. That is why I write all that I write. And that is why I wrote a Handbook for Converting Priests back to allegiance to Pope Benedict.

That being said, Saint Alphonsus gives us good counsel as to when and under what circumstances we can act without hiding the truth, and avoiding sin, when we have to make personal decisions about receiving the Sacraments.



* I was told by Fr. Alphonsus Sutton, STD, my professor in moral theology, that Saint Alphonsus at one time held that if one intended out of revenge to burn down the house of one’s enemy and by accident and confusion or ignorance burned down the house of someone who was not one’s enemy, that one would not be obliged to pay restitution. That opinion was censured in his own day, and he withdrew it. The Church holds with the Fathers of the Church that restitution must be paid by all in all circumstances when they are the cause of the damage, either directly or by intended that which is its cause, especially in cases of arson.

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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, . . ..



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:


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.


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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Why Saint Alphonsus dei Liguori would say the Renunciation was invalid


by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

The Saints who have been canonized are already in the glory of Paradise, and so, baring an extraordinary grace, do not speak to us anymore. But those Saints who have fully explained their opinions or teaching on any point, can be said to speak to us today. This is especially true of Saints who have taught on questions of law and the principles to be followed in controversies.  Of which kind is Saint Alphonsus dei Liguori, Doctor of the Church on all questions of moral theology, and not a few questions of law.

No one has the right to interpret a Papal Resignation

As I reported in my notes for my meeting with Bishop Arrieta, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legal Texts — who is the top Vatican official for questions of legal interpretation — he emphatically declared, that no one has the right to interpret a Papal Resignation. It must be clear in itself.

This statement by Bishop Arrieta clears up the entire controversy over the renunciation of Pope Benedict. Because, it ends it.  That is, since Pope Benedict XVI renounced the ministerium, not anything else. No one has the right to say that he renounced the Papal Office or petrine Munus or even power of governance.  Because to say that something else, requires an interpretation. And no one, not even the man who is the pope, has the right to interpret the act of renunciation.

But the statement of Bishop Arrieta is not of his own making. It is the necessary conclusion of legal principles.  First, that a declaration made by the man who is the pope, inasmuch as he is the man, and not the pope, cannot be judged by anyone except according to the norm of law. And since a declaration by such man when regarding the renunciation of the Office regards the renouncing of the Office, one cannot appeal to the holder of the office to interpret it. Because if it was valid, then the holder is no longer the holder, and thus cannot receive appeals. If it was not valid, then appealing to the holder of the office is tantamount to declaring the renunciation in valid.

Any appeal to Pope Benedict XVI to clarify what he meant means that the Resignation is invalid

This is a very important point, which has been overlooked in this 7 year controversy. Anyone who appeals to anything which Pope Benedict said before or after Feb. 28, 2013, to explain that the Renunciation means the renunciation of the papacy, or of the petrine munus, or of the power of governance IS IMPLICITLY AFFIRMING THAT POPE BENEDICT IS STILL THE POPE AND THAT THE RENUNCIATION WAS INVALID, because they are trying to have recourse to an official interpretation. And if the act needs to be interpreted, then it is doubtful. And if the renunciation is doubtful, then in virtue of canon 332 §2, it is invalid for lack of due manifestation.

What Saint Alphonsus says about the interpretation of a law:

For those who have overdosed on the falsehood of universal acceptance, and quote Saint Alphonsus, let us see what the Saint would say about the games the authors of such sophisms play with the words “munus” and “ministerium,” to make the Resignation say what it does not say.  For this we must have recourse to the teaching of Saint Alphonsus, taken from his great work, Theologia Moralis, Bk. I, tract ii, p. 242, De interpretatio legis. I will first quote the Latin, for those who can read Latin, and then give an English translation:


200. Interpretatio alia est Authentica, alia Usualis, alia Doctrinalis. Authentica fieri potest vel ab ipso legislatore, vel ab eius successore, aut a superiore. Usualis est illa, quae ita ab usu est recepta. Doctrinalis autem est declaratio quaedam mentis legislatoris, quase a quocumque doctore fieri potest.

Hic dubitur an delcarationes, quae fiunt a Pontifice, vel a principe alicuius legis, indigeant promulgatione, ut obligent. In hoc distinguere oportet declarationes pure tales ab aliis quae sunt non pure tales, sed potius sunt merae interpretationes. Declarationes pure tales sunt, cum ab illis explicatur aliquis sensus, qui usque ab initio iam erat clare imbibitus in lege: ex. gr. si dubium sit, an sub verbo filii intelligatur solus legitimus aut eitam spurius, et legislator declarat intelligi etiam spurium, tunc verum fit quod sensus in lege erat clare imbibitus. Interpretatio autem, sive declaratio non pure talis est illa, cuius sensus non est clare imbibitus in lege, sed circa ipsum variae sunt opiniones, et tantum deducitur ex argumentis, v. gr. quod sub nomine patris intelligatur eitam avus, aut quod sub nomine moartis intelligatur etiam mors civilis, prout est carcer perpetuus, aut simile, recurrendo ad quamdam impropriam significationem.

His positis, dicimus cum Suarez, Castropal. Vasques, Sals, Salm. Holzaman, La-Croix, Supplet Sporger etc. quod declaratio sensus clare imbibiti in lege non requirit promulagationem, sed etiam obliget eos omnes qui illum noverint, cum talis declaratio non sit nova lex. Interpretatio vero alicuius sensus non clare, sed tantum obscure, sive improprie imbibiti in lege, quae est declaratio non pure talis (ut diximus) haec, quia habetur tanquam nova lex, ut obliget, necessario promulgationem requirit, sicut omnes aliae leges juxta dicta. n. 95 et 96. Hinc infertur cum Suar. de Leg. 1. 6. c. 1. n. 3 et Castrop. tr. 3. eod. tit. d. 5. p. 3. §. 1. n. 5 (qui citat pro se Bon. Salas, et Lorca) quod declaratio, quae fit a legislatore alicuius sensus clare in lege imbibiti (juxta exemplum adductum filii legitimi, et spurii) non requirit promulgatioem, ut obliget. Contra vero declaratio sensus obscure imbibiti (juxta exemplus avi sub nomine patris, vel mortis civilils sub nomine mortis) indiget quidem promulgatione; tunc enim ipsa novam constituit obligationem, quae per se non erat prius clare in lege imbibita. Et idem dicunt Suar. loc. cit. et Castrop. n. 2 de illis declarationibus, quae fiunt non ab eodem legislatore, sed ab eius successore, aut superiore; quia legislatoris mens nequit his esse ita cognita, ut erat ipsi legislatori; unde tunc, ut declaretur sensus (quamvis imbibitus in lege) alicuius obligationis, semper opus est recurrere ad argumenta, et interpretationes, quae novam legam constituunt, reddendo certum quod erat dubium; et ideo promulgatio requiritur, alias declaratio nunquam authentica, sed tantum doctrinalis repubabitur.

My English translation:

On the Interpretation of Law

200. One interpretation is authentic, another customary, another academic.  An authentic (interpretation) can be made either by the legislator himself, and/or by his successor, or by a superior. A customary (interpretation) is that, which has been received thus by custom.  Moreover, an academic (interpretation) is a certain declaration of the mind of the legislator, which can be made by any professor.

Here, there is doubted whether declarations, which are made by the Pontiff, and/or by a prince for any law, are in need of promulgation, to oblige.  In this, it is necessary to distinguish those which are purely such from those which are not purely such, but rather mere interpretations.  Declarations are purely such, when by them there is explicated some sense, which was clearly incorporated in the law already from the beginning: e. g., if there be a doubt, whether under the term, “son” there be understood only a legitimate or even an illegitimate son, and the the legislator declares (the word “son” in the law”) is to be understood even as an illegitimate one, then indeed it becomes that (that) sense in the law was clearly incorporated in the law.  But an interpretation, or declaration which is not purely such, is that, the sense of which is not clearly incorporated in the law, but about which there are various opinions, and as much as is deduced through arguments, e. g., that under the term, “father”, there be understood also a grandfather, or that under the term, “death”, there be also understood a civil death, insofar as is perpetual incarceration, or the like, by recurring to a certain improper signification.

With these things posited, We say with Suarez, Castropal., Vasquez, Sals. Salimancans, Holzman, La-Croix, Supplet Sporget etc.., that the declaration of a sense clearly incorporated in the law does not require promulgation, but that it also obliges all those who know of it, though such a declaration is not a new law.  But an interpretation of some sense not clearly, but obscurely, or improperly incorporated in the law, which is not a declaration purely such (as we have said above), this (kind), because it is held to be a new law, to oblige, requires necessarily a promulgation, just as all other laws spoke of in nn. 95 and 96.  Hence, there is inferred with Suarez de Leg. 1. 6. c. 1. n. 3 and Castrop. tr. 3. eod. tit. d. 5. p. 3. §. 1. n. 5 (qui citat pro se Bon. Salas, et Lorca), that a declaration, which is made by the legislator of any sense clearly incorporated in the law (according to the example given above of the legitimate and illegitimate son) does not require a promulgation, to oblige. However, contrariwise, the declaration of a sense obscurely incorporated (according to the example given of a grandfather under the term of “father”, and/or of a civil death under the term of “death”) do indeed need a promulgation; for then it itself constitutes a new obligation, which per se was not beforehand clearly incorporated in the law. And the same is said by Suarez. loc. cit, and Castrop. n. 2, of those declarations, which are not made by the ssame legislator, but by his successor, or superior; because the mind of the legislator is never so known to other as it was to the legislator himself: on which account, then, to declare the sense (though incorporated in the law) of any obligation, it is always necessary to have recourse to arguments, and interpretations, which constitute a new law, by rendering certain what was doubtful; and for that reason a promulgation is required, otherwise the declaration is never an authentic one, but only is reputed to be a doctrinal one.

Thus, Saint Alphonsus.

What the teaching of Saint Alphonsus on Legal interpretation means in regard to the Renunciation

From this text, we can glean three truths.

  1. When the meaning is clearly incorporated into the law, that meaning is the authentic one, and its sense is binding upon all, as for example, when Benedict says he renounces the ministry, all are obliged to understand that as a renunciation of ministry.
  2. When the word which is subject to a possible interpretation is a noun which includes all possible interpretations according to its essential signification, such as “son” includes natural and legal sons, not just legal sons, then the interpretation is a customary one and is obliging upon all, once the legislator declares that his mind was to include all such possibilities.  But before such a declaration it is not binding.
  3. When the word which is subject to a possible interpretation is a noun, which DOES NOT include the possible wanted interpretation, such as “ministerium” in the text of Pope Benedict’s resignation is wanted to mean “munus” or “officium” which are entirely other words, then the interpretation is NOT AUTHENTIC and is not binding upon anyone, and only can become binding, when promulgated by the legislator or his successors.

And thus one can conclude, from the testimony of Bishop Arrieta and Saint Alphonsus, that the interpretation of the Cardinals and Bishops that Benedict’s renunciation of ministry is equivalent in law, or signification, or intention, to a resignation of the Papal Office or Petrine Munus, is not only an illegitimate interpretation, but is an interpretation which is not binding upon anyone!

Moreover, one can conclude, that even if hypothetically any successor of Pope Benedict XVI were to say that such a reading of the text (where ministerium = munus) is the one Benedict intended, then the act itself posited by Benedict was invalid as per canon 332 §2, since it was not duly manifest in itself, but required another promulgated interpretation to make it valid.

And this means that the very existence of the plot to solve the Pope Emeritus problem is not only evidence that the resignation was invalid from the start, but is DOOMED TO FAILURE since as an interpretation of the act, its very promulgation will publicly testify to and canonically establish the invalidity of the renunciation!

In other words, there is no way to fix the invalidity of the resignation by any subsequent act. And what the Cardinals and Bishops are doing is GRAVELY IMMORAL AND DISHONEST and, moreover, is a grave USURPATION OF RIGHT.

One can also honestly say, therefore, that the usurpation of the Papacy by Bergoglio is a moral consequence of the usurpation of the right of interpretation by the Cardinals, and that Bergoglio’s bizarre moral character and state of mind is the perfect fruit of and punishment for their sin.