How Bergoglians want Canon 332 §2 to read

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

I find it very useful in arguments over legal interpretations, to restate the law verbatim and then state the law as each side wants it to read. So let’s do that with Canon 332 §2, the canon from the Code of Canon Law promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 1983: a Code which all parties to the controversy recognize as binding and authoritative and backed up by the authority of Jesus Christ, Who said to Saint Peter: whatsoever you bind on Earth, shall be bound in Heaven.

First, how the Canon is wanted to be in the minds of those who say Benedict is not the pope. I will give all the versions I have seen presented in the arguments or assertions I have seen published. Please note: no one claims that the Canon’s text is as what follows, they just argue as if it means that which what follows would explicitly say:

If it ever happens that the Pope stops being the pope, the only thing required for validity is that afterwards he says he did it freely.

If it ever happens that the Pope gives up being the pope, the only thing required is that all the Cardinals agree he is no longer the pope.

If it ever happens that the Pope resigns, there is required for validity that he says he is longer pope, but not that he stops dressing as the Pope, signing as the Pope, and giving blessings as the Pope.

If it happens that the Roman Pontiff renounce, there is required for validity that he did so freely, used the verb renounce, resign, give up, or leave etc., but not that he names what he renounces, resigns, gives up or leaves.

If it happens that the Cardinals say the Roman Pontiff has resigned, there is required for validity only that the Pope also say he is no longer the pope.

I think you can understand what their argument is.

Now here is that same canon, according to the arguments of those who say Pope Benedict XVI is still the pope.

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

Now here is the actual text of the Canon in good English:

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

If you do not trust my translation, see the Latin:

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

I hope you see the significance of these comparisons.

But Canon 332 §2 does not require the Pope to say, “munus”!

This is becoming a more and more common assertion. My response to it, is, prove your case. For it is a gratuitous assertion.

I do not therefore have to disprove it. But I will disprove it.

In Latin the verb renuntiare means to announce something in a sense contrary to what was previously announced. As such it requires a verbal statement and a complete negation.

Now what did the man who is pope accept which in a renunciation he obviously must negate to make a real renunciation?

Most cannot answer this question with precision, and for that reason they cannot understand the controversy nor evaluate it precisely.

The correct answer to my question is his acceptance of that to which he was elected.

Now, what is that to which a man is elected when in accepting he become the pope?

This second question has to be answered with precision, or else one does not understand the controversy, which is a canonical controversy, not a political, moral, religious, or textual controversy, in its essence.

The correct answer to this, my second question, can only be made by having recourse to the Code of Canon Law to see what is that which a man who is pope has or receives or accepts when he becomes the pope.

Surprisingly, the correct answer is not what you think. In the Code of Canon Law the pope is not called the pope! He is called the Roman Pontiff. See canons 331, 332, 333 and 749 if you do not believe me.

And what is it that he accepts, receives or has to make him the Roman Pontiff?

Again, the answer is not obvious. That is why this controversy is badly understood by many.  The correct answer is the petrine munus. If you do not believe me, see canons 331, 332, 333 and 749, where the word munus is found every time for the papal office.  The Code of Canon Law never calls the office of the pope the “papal office” nor the “papacy”. That is why all those canonists who say that for a valid renunciation a pope needs to signify the renunciation of the papal office are wrong ACCORDING TO THE CURRENT NORMS OF CANON LAW. Before 1983, when the 1917 Code of Canon Law was in force, their opinion was correct. But no longer, because in canon 332 §2, John Paul II added a word to NAME that which the Pope has to renounce: munus.

But Pope Benedict XVI HAS NEVER SAID: I renounce my munus, the petrine munus, or the munus of the Roman Pontiff. Rather, by continually claiming to have the papal dignity he makes it quite clear that he never even intended to renounce that.

Also, from any exhaustive study of the Code of Canon Law, one can see that the word munus does NOT mean ministerium. So even if Canon 332 did not require the pope to say the word munus, it cannot be denied that it required him to renounce that which munus signifies. But ministerium does not signify that. Therefore the renunication is invalid to effect the loss of the munus. And therefore Pope Benedict XVI is still the pope.

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4 thoughts on “How Bergoglians want Canon 332 §2 to read”

  1. Ok, Benedict never resigned the munis. Fine, but, he did step down from active ministry and shows no signs of wanting to divide the Church further by challenging Francis. Do you expect the College of Bishops to act on this? Highly unlikely in my view. Even Francis is unlikely to commit heresy ex cathedra.
    I practised law in Canada for over 30 years, became a Catholic through divine intervention, attend daily mass, lead or am active in many ministries and try to serve my brothers and sisters, but, I will not risk scandalizing my pastor, the Archbishop or my fellow Catholics over the niceties of Canon Law.
    Again, I ask you, is not faithful prayer for divine intervention the best way forward?

    1. Dear Jim, I submit you do not have yet a Catholic understanding of what Canon Law is. It is not merely positive law. It is backedup by the words and promise of God, saying to Peter, Whatsoever you bind upon Earth shall be bound in Heaven. That is why, when there is a canonical problem, it is a scandal NOT to speak about it with others and remain silent, not a scandal to speak about it! Because the Code of Canon Law and the Divine Will are always in harmony. Rectifying canonical problems, then, is a matter of eternal salvation for all parties.

  2. Schismatic-Schneider and Trad Inc. can’t wait until pope coronavirus abrogates Canon 332 p. 2 in his new fake code of canon law, in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised they are already petitioning him to do so.

    They’ll argue that Canon 332 p. 2 is causing division among the flock and it needs to be abrogated for the sake of “universal acceptance” and “visible unity” with pope coronavirus – LOL That way, in their minds, it never mattered whether Benedict resigned according to Canon 332 p. 2 because pope coronavirus got rid of it in his newly altered code of canon law. I really hope none of this comes true or they’d really reach a new low…

    1. Trad inc and the Cardinals are becoming like a novel, Dune: the spice must flow, that is, they money must keep flowing. They are all making decisions on the basis of money arriving in their pocket. None of them is interested in taking the position of truth, because they do not see money in it.

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