Shameless Ignorance

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

There is an old saying: When you do not know what you are talking about, it is best to keep your mouth shut, lest by opening it you certify your own ignorance.

Here goes.  From a blog which calls itself, “Shameless Popery” — I kid you not!

So Why Do People Deny That Benedict Resigned?

One of the most obsessive writers on this topic is one Br. Alexis Bugnolo, and his argument is (to put it nicely) a convoluted mess. Basically, canon law talks about resigning the office (munus) of the papacy, and Benedict spoke of leaving the “ministry” (ministerium) of the Bishop of Rome. Bugnolo has written thousands of words about the alleged differences between ministerium and munus, even though Latin dictionaries will tell you that the two words are synonyms.

But even assuming that the two words mean (slightly) different things, what’s the theory here? The only way that Benedict could cease to exercise the ministry of the Bishop of Rome is to cease to be the pope. Moreover, he explicitly announced that he was vacating the See, and that there would be a new pope to whom he pledged his loyalty. There’s no wiggling out of his words there, as if he was somehow unclear.

Resignation isn’t a magical spell that you have to word just right. If you tell your boss, “I’m ending my employment here, effective immediately,” he doesn’t expect you back on Monday because you said “employment” and not “occupation.” And the pope is free to resign however he wants, as long as he’s not doing so under duress or in some way prohibited by divine or natural law.

So that’s the technical argument, and as I said, it’s not much. Reading the advocates’ arguments, it’s easy to get lost in a maze of canon legalese and Latin vocab, but the simple argument they’re making is theologically bankrupt. Canon law doesn’t restrict the pope’s free authority to resign, and no reasonable person can deny that Benedict exercised this authority quite publicly in 2013.

I had no idea this blog existed, until it came to my attention today. I think the readers of FromRome.Info are well instructed enough to reply on their own. I doubt the author of this scribbling, would want me to write him.

Here is the link, if you would like to leave a comment on his blog:

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