Was it Substantial Error or Divine Inspiration?

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

A frequent question that I receive is that which regards why Pope Benedict XVI renounced the ministry which was committed to me through the hands of the Cardinals and not the petrine ministry which he received when he accepted his election as Roman Pontiff.

The First to Answer is Ann Barnhardt

The first to answer this question substantially, was Ann Barnhardt. And she did that in June of 2016, way before anyone else. Her explanation is that Pope Benedict XVI made a substantial error. His declaration, therefore, does not effect the loss of the papal office because this error of naming the wrong thing in the act of renunciation causes the act to be irritus – Ann, however,  nearly always says, “invalid” for simplicity sake — in virtue of Canon 188, which means that it has no legal effect.

Her analysis and argument was the first to break through the Big Lie of our age. And it has rescued countless minds from the lies and propaganda of the Bergoglian party. It was the first convincing argument I ever heard. I watched it in one of her videos in August of 2018 and in October of 2018 I actually made the time to look at the Latin of the Declaratio of Feb. 11, 2013 and the Latin of the Code of Canon Law, canon 332 §2, two things I had never done. I saw she was 100% correct in about 5 seconds.

That is all it should take for anyone to see that she is correct. Because the act of the intellect which is needed to see it is the first act of the mind: that ability — given to us by the Most Holy Trinity who creates our soul out of nothing in the moment of our conception — to recognize the essence of any thing for what it is before comparing it to anything else.

And there is only 3 ways to not be able to exercise that ability. The First is that your are mentally impaired or retarded. The Second is that, in this case, you cannot read.  And the third case is that you allow your will to prevent you from thinking, either by bad will or because you allow yourself to be seduced by an unsubstantiated doubt, gratuitously asserted.

Those who have the first problem are not guilty. Those who have the second problem should study if they can. And those who have the third problem will be damned, because in matter so grave as who is the true Pope, the forcible intervention of will to prevent the mind from seeing what God gave it the ability to see, is a direct attack on the Divine Will for you, and thus a mortal sin.

As regards a substantial error, it can be caused by any number of causes. But that is another thing all together. Regardless of what was the cause, the substantial error is objective. No amout of ink, argument or bluster, no amount of insults or villainy can change the historical fact that Benedict renounced the ministerium, but Canon 332 §2 requires the renunciation of munus.

The Second Answer is Divine Inspiration

I was not the second to give answer, nor was I the first to suggest divine inspiration. Archbishop Gänswein himself said that Pope Benedict XVI was inspired by God to do what he did. I think in the book length interview with Peter Seewald, Pope Benedict XVI confirms this.

But what many do not realize, there are at lest 19 kinds of Divine Inspiration, and not all of them have the same effects. I know this because many years ago, when I was in a library with some ancient manuscripts, I read Saint Bernardine of Sienna’s tract on divine inspiration written in the 15th century, in Latin.

I will not summarize the 19 kinds, but I will simplify the classifications.  There is Divine Inspiration which is perfectly efficacious and is the cause of the whole act. There is Divine Inspiration which is efficacious but requires collaboration in the act by the fallible recipient of the inspiration, and then there is Divine Inspiration which is only motive and puts all the burden of work in the one inspired, infallible as he is.

So, even if it be true that Pope Benedict XVI was divinely inspired to renounce, that does not mean that what he did was Divinely Inspired in every aspect of it.

I have no reason to think Pope Benedict XVI is a liar and thus accept what he says about being inspired by God. And in several articles, here at FromRome.Info I have speculated that he acted to defend the Church from Freemasonry. In this I presume not to judge the Pope, as the Rule of Saint Francis requires me. I also presume that he did not sin in the least.  And in this I am merely obeying charity, which thinketh no evil of any man.

Third Answer is Both

The third possibility is that he was both inspired by God and made a substantial error. And that this happened because God gave him the inspiration to resign, but not the grace to do it perfectly. And that God did this because God wanted to protect the Church from Freemasonry, but did not want Pope Benedict XVI to be guilty of making a fake resignation or of being accused of deceiving anyone.

If such was the case, God also acted perfectly. Because He owes no man grace to be perfect and impeccable in what he does, not even the Roman Pontiff.

In this case, too, it may be that God blinded the minds of the Cardinals and Bishops to not see the substantial error in the act of renunciation because He was completely disgusted with them and wants to cut them off from His Church, or at least to so humiliate them before men as to produce from them a wholesome repentance and conversion which would not be achieved through any other means.

In this third supposition, Pope Benedict XVI may have sinned through pride, imprudence, haste, fear or avarice, depending whether the substantial error was conceived and executed out of vanity, neglect of seeking sound counsel, fear to avoid being assassinated or desire to have something after resigning that he had no right to have.


As can be seen, the First Answer addresses the objective facts and presumes personal fault or error and excludes divine inspiration. The second presumed divine inspiration and excludes personal fault or error. But the third and last presumes in part divine inspiration but in part some personal fault.

Yes, as Pope Innocent II teaches, we cannot judge the Roman Pontiff except when he errs in matters of the faith. And thus, we must say that it was a substantial error and affirm that it is an error to hold that the papacy can be divided. But as the Church has not definitively taught this truth — though it be clear in the Deposit of the Faith — holding this error does not cause you to be a heretic canonically. And acting on the basis of this error is not the same thing as professing the error, because, as I said, the error can arise out of passion and not dissent of mind.

But whatever was the reason answer, (1) we are all obliged to pray for Pope Benedict XVI and (2) urge that the right canonical order be restored in the Church: that he be recognized as the one and only true Pope, that it be affirmed that Bergoglio was  never the pope, and that Bergoglio be publicly reproved for teaching heresy and promoting schism, if not also for usurping the papal office (on the supposition he does know the resignation is invalid).

Both things need to be done: here at FromRome.Info we are not heroes or better than anyone else in the Church, nor even experts. We just advocate that which the Faith teaches all of us should advocate in such a crisis.

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24 thoughts on “Was it Substantial Error or Divine Inspiration?”

  1. Yes, let us agree that all the above is true. Benedict is Pope and Bergoglio is an anti-pope. Hardly anyone buys this idea and condemn those who advocate it. Yes, in the future, all will become clear and Bergoglio will be declared an anti-pope. How does this help us now?

    Those of us agreeing that Bergoglio is an anti-pope should thank God for His blessings of insight and do our best to inform others, point our Bergoglian errors, support those in the front line of fighting for the truth and pray for divine intervention so that more souls will not be lost.

  2. Well now, I guess there is a handful of special people who know better than the Cardinals who not only accepted the resignation as valid, but went ahead and elected a replacement for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, found in the person of Pope Francis who is our Holy Father validly elected and reigning as such. I suppose if you are seeking excuses to excuse yourself from the disciplines of the Church, one being venerating the Holy Office and respecting the man who currently occupies the Sancta Sede, then the above article will tickle your ears in just the right way with its not one, not two, but a third ready-made excuse for withdrawing obedience from the Pope and living a fantasy life in the shadows of what once was your Catholicism. Nuff said. God bless. Ginnyfree.

    1. Ginny Free, I suppose if you refuse canon 332 and refuse to read the Declaratio of Pope Benedict, then you can come to all sorts of rash judgements against your fellow Catholic, because then you are clearly not led by the Spirit of Truth or charity, but adore the Cardinals as your God and dump the Gospel of Jesus Christ into the trash can.

    2. Oh, and here is a short lesson in Discernment 101: if all you can do is insult others instead of engaging the data set — considering the facts — then you have made yourself into a demon of hell, who shreeks curses daily but refuses the truth. You are not acting as an adopted son of God.

    3. @GF: It is truly good to see you here from over at akaCatholic! Is it possible that Louie in his last point-by-point refutation of Bp Schneider’s mistake-riddled smear of St Robert Bellarmine (and by extension those who request an examination of the BiP-evidence) may be reconsidering his own previous support of such a position? That an examination is in order? What are your thoughts?

      I do hope you will partake of the grace of the virtue of justice being proffered to you that you reconsider either a first-time examination of the BiP-evidence or perhaps a reexamination of your own.

      In as much as it is clear that you will to reject the visibility of Christ’s Bride through, perhaps, mistaken interpretations of what constitutes “visibility” of that same Bride, maybe your will to not thoroughly examine BiP-evidence can be moved? Maybe?

  3. Surely when Jesus instituted His Church on the Rock that was Peter he clearly indicated that the ordinance of spreading His Word (Great Commission) & keeping true to His Commandments, Deposit of Faith etc. were firmly grounded in Peter & his rightful successors & that no earthly force could meddle with His Will. Whilst PBXVI did say at the time of his abandonment that he had a ‘mystical experience’ he did not expand on what that entailed. Was he given an order to resign &, if so, did he carry out instructions meticulously? It seems incongruous that Our Lord would order him to resign without any instructions as to how this could be accomplished in accordance with Canon Law. His refusal to speak while still wearing the papal regalia (unlike PF who doesn’t & hasn’t spoken ex cathedra either) & the silence of the prelature seems to indicate Our Lord’s intolerance of the imposters that have taken over His Church especially since VII & this chastisement (similar to the one given by God to Zachary for his disbelief) will not end before PBXVI & sufficient Cardinals decide to call out PF & cronies & carry out a public repentance for the sins that led to this utter catastrophe.

      1. Ha! Exactly, Br. Bugnolo!

        It is written in Canon Law how to resign the munus and not how to resign the active ministry, but renouncing the ministry is exactly what Pope Benedict told us he was intending to do and that he was freely doing it.

        Can’t we take him at his word that what he said he freely renounced is what he did in fact renounce–the active ministry? For this kind of “novel” renunciation, there is no instruction in Canon Law (as there shouldn’t be), but that is what he said that he intended to do and he did it even though it is a metaphysical(?) impossibility; so he is not lying about what he told us he freely intended to renounce. (It’s kind of like freely choosing one’s own gender. It doesn’t realistically change one’s gender, but that doesn’t stop people from trying AND GETTING OTHERS TO GO ALONG WITH THEM is part of how they try to impose the ‘change’.)

        That the Cardinals have the opportunity to practice humility, repent and return to supernatural Faith, and recognize their negligence is a blessing. Well they do this? God alone knows. Negligence on their part, does not necessitate agreement on my end.

        Divinely inspired or not, the official renouncement is what it is–an irritus–AND what it isn’t–a papal resignation in accord with Canon Law. The evidence needs to be examined.

        I know! We should request an inquest! LOL

  4. Good, clarifying article, brother. If I may, I’d like to add an obvious thought that in either case, whichever answer we are agreeing with nothing what happened happened without God’s control. We can try to guess what the reasoning was but what we have to do is sticking to the truth.

    To ginnyfree,
    you said, Pope Francis who is our Holy Father validly elected.

    That is the whole point.
    Can you proof validity of election or you just relay on opinion of others? If you read this blog you will find argumentation that this is not the case at all, that ‘Pope Francis’ was not validly elected. You are welcome to show how we are wrong or present your own arguments. Forcing your opinion on others leads to nowhere.

  5. ouch, forgive me grammar and spelling errors in previous post. English is my second language. I should spend more time before sending.
    I only hope those errors did not completely blocked meaning of the message.

  6. ginnyfree — a very lost sheep, stolen from the sheepfold (with so many others) by those who have in the darkness “climbed up another way” and entered the Church and positions of authority “to steal and to kill and to destroy.” –Jesus Christ in John 10:1-10
    Pray that these who have lost their ability to hear the voice of the TRUE shepherd recover what they have lost.

  7. These are very valid questions you pose, Brother Bugnolo, and they can only come from Catholics who are truly seeking to understand the signs of times as Our Lord said we should. Trad Inc. is still trying to figure out what finger goes where or what hand they must place above or beneath the other hand to receive Holy Communion.

  8. Here is the Pope then reigning announcing to the entire world that he quit! Listen and see if what you claim can still hold water. Please, keep in mind that no one can judge the Pope. No matter how he states what he stated, the entire world understood that he had resigned his Petrine Office for his health and that as he clearly and distinctly declared in the video, the See of Peter would be vacant as of February 28, 2013 at 8 PM Rome time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-NJNSBNsyk Is the entire world mistaken? Or as is obvious, a few who for “reasons” of their own, reject the current Pontificate of Pope Francis? God bless. Ginnyfree.

    1. Ginney, you are lying without realizing it, because you are describing what others want you to see and not what really happened. In canon law the renunciation of ministry is an administrative act, the renunciation of munus is a juridical act. Only the latter is a resignation. Open you eyes and see. And stop calling us liars when you are doing whats you are doing.

  9. From the moment I saw the video of the act of renunciation, I knew that something very off was happening, that Benedict was doing something unusual and not what people thought. His face! The faces of the few cardinals who understood! Very strange. (And, no, the Cardinals did not accept the resignation in the proper canonical manner.) Then very quickly came the campaigning, and the conclave, and the visceral reaction when I saw Francis on the balcony.

    And then the news of the campaigning grew, and I read Universi Domenici Gregis. I do not understand why this document has not been closely studied, in light of the campaigning admitted to by cardinals. In any case, from reading UDG it is evident that, whether or not the renunciation was valid, the election was definitely invalid (media was inside, there was a campaign admitted to, and they broke voting rules).

    When I would point this out at the time, I was told that the words about invalidity only referred to actual acts of voting, which is plainly not the case if one reads the document. So from the beginning there was a bias toward accepting the election – calculated in some people, probably, but many people simply couldn’t imagine such a thing, so therefore it didn’t exist. As for me, I concluded that Francis was not pope. I could make that conclusion but I am not the one that needs to declare it. I can see someone commit a crime, but I am not a jury and judge who have the legal authority to declare a person legally guilty. As a matter of fact, JOHN PAUL II actually said there need be NO STATEMENT about the invalidity and that people could ignore the decrees of the person falsely elected. What a comfort! The biggest PR success in history is that no one has noticed this passage.

    So then, I turned from the invalid election to the strange resignation, and it got stranger still. The munus/ministry issue was brought up by Anne, but I didn’t see it as conclusive of substantial error. (A document on the laity had made a big point of saying it was an error to say lay ministry, because ministry was munus). I believed, and still do, that Benedict faux-resigned in plain sight for strategic reasons. He may have erred in that reasoning, but the concatenation of events (the cutoff of financial transactions at the Vatican and the dossier on homosexuals in the Vatican) seemed to bear him out. He may have thought the cardinals were smarter and would recognize what he did. He may have become trapped in his chess corner. But I think he made an apparent but false resignation on purpose for what were to him good reasons. (Or maybe there was deal made, involving lots of pressure, and this was the best he could manage)

    I am not saying he lied. If you study the language, there is no deception. The minds of those who purported to believe Benedict created their own deception, out of ignorance or malice or desire. But he did not lie. He was very careful in his language.

    As for the splitting of the papal munus and ministry, Ganswein’s later statements about Benedict’s intention to bifurcate the papacy I dismissed as unreliable hearsay by a non-disinterested party. At first, Barnhardt’s thesis was based on these alleged statements of Ganswein, and later on Ratzinger’s early writings. But Ratzinger has a long history (which I noticed in the 60’s) of strongly stating the (often wrong) positions of others, much like Thomas Aquinas does. So, no, I don’t accept that Benedict could be a heretic in that way. And I think that he believes that people would not believe that of him.

    Still, all that is by the way. The election was prima facie invalid, and it appears that the resignation didn’t happen. The news of the bad Latin in the text, and the fact that Benedict said his resignation would be effective on a date in the future, both support the faux resignation position. The first because Benedict is a Latinist. The second because a) he got the office by accepting, so he would lose it by renouncing, by the very words – sort of like “I do” is effective immediately and we don’t say “I do, next Tuesday.”

    To get bishops or cardinals to declare that the resignation didn’t happen, that Benedict was still pope, we probably would need to have the conclave declared invalid first – at least that would be the easiest and most practical way. Or perhaps everyone will wake up or Benedict will speak clearly.

    Finally, the only evidence I can see that Francis is pope is that he has bent over backwards NOT to solemnly officially infallibly declare error as truth (or has been divinely prevented from so doing). He has declared heresy every which way but Sunday, yes, but not in such a way that invokes the charism of infallibility. I believe, contrary to many papolaters, what Vat I and Vat II taught – the pope is not free from error unless he specifically invokes his Petrine teaching office on faith or morals in a solemn official way, and says he is doing so, just as JPII did in Evangelium Vitae.

    I have also read many commenters saying that the pope is protected from error in general, and that therefore Francis can’t be pope, citing Jesus’ words to Peter that he not fail. But notice two things: Jesus said he “had” prayed that Peter not fail, but then said he would fail – otherwise, why would he have to “turn again”. And we know that Peter did fail. On two occasions. And turned back both times. I think we can say that Peter did not utterly fail, fail forever, or, in terms of our current problem, Peter (if Francis is Peter) was not officially solemnly heretical, but only in his ordinary teaching.

    Others says that acceptance makes the pope. That is disproved by history.

    Others say that canon law says such and so that makes the resignation obviously invalid. As for the election, however, Universi Domenici Gregis was very specific in saying that it alone, and no canons, governed the election.

    So, yes, we pray to the Blessed Mother of the Church to ask the Lord to send the Holy Spirit, and we also spread the alarm as much as we can, as gently and reasonably as we can. I am sorry to see good orthodox people draw the line at even thinking about these things – what are they afraid of?

  10. Why does Ann Barnhardt, in her attempt to drive home that the failed renunciation was done in substantial error, have to compare Pope Benedict’s “intellectual genius” to Lucifer? I don’t find this charitable at all.

  11. I have not learned yer how to put a like ..
    I like what Mary Parks wrote.
    I am an engineer since 1977…and that is in my soul.

    i am not a cannonist nor a doctor in law, and English is my second language, but after reading twice at least Universi Domenici Gregis reached to the obvious Fact that , first of all Benedict was forced to resign , and I also agree (as far I can see) that the renunciation was invalid because violated the canon law.

    But first things first , he was forced, and also was forced ( and this was absolutely necessary in order to “show” a pseudo valid renunciation ) to SAY he was free…so…He is the real Pope , according to Universiti Domenici Gregis.

    I can add that Vigano speaks always with the truth and told us who Ganswein is, and what has he done since at least 10 years after the death of Maria Ratzinger in 1991 , that is from at least 2001.

    In 2001 he managed to expel Ingrid Stampa , Cardinal Ratzinger close secretary for 10 years.

    VIgano is telling us in his January 17th letter that Ganswein had a very tight control on Benedict (details in the letter) .
    He is telling us that Benedict was not (is not ) free…and so he could not renounce at all.

    Supposing , just supposing (because is not true) he renounced to the munus , and there were no latín errors, he could not renounce in a valid way because HE WAS NOT FREE.

    1. Luis, the supposition that he was not free is one thing, but the proof is another. Ganswein might have exaggerated his fears about having poor health to convince him to resign. But that would not be coercion, but it could be another cause of substantial error, resigning for the wrong reason.

  12. Dear Brother:
    I must not do enough reading. Writings of the Saints in reference to Lucifer only when someone with superior intellect does something bad, or is mistaken? Are comparisons of Lucifer’s intelligence made to good people as well (in the writings of the Saints)?

    1. Lucifer has an intellect of the same genus as our Lord, but his brilliant mind did not keep him from falling into error. Likewise, smart men often fall into great error because pride grows in them from being so brililant that they forget in a sense the most obvious things.

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