Which is the true Pope? — The Canonical Question which cannot be ignored

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Recently, I had the opportunity to have as a guest a fellow Franciscan hermit. And in the course of our discussions, we came to the topic of who is the Pope. He gave me his reasons, mostly drawn from a canonist whom he respects.

Since our discussion would be helpful if it be known by the entire Catholic world, I share it here:

That canonist replied to me in this vein — this is not a direct quote:  If Br. Alexis Bugnolo is correct about the meaning of the term, “munus” then Benedict is still the Pope.  But until the Church comes to an agreement about this, we should not risk schism by breaking from Bergoglio. We must be very careful not to presume to say one word means this or that, especially when by error in this matter we could separate ourselves form the true Church.

Having received this reply, I explained to my guest, how wrong this answer is, and this for several reasons:

  1. This argument is guilty of a petitio principii, that is, of presuming that that which it attempts to prove is true and arguing back to that truth, without ever putting it into question.  For it presumes that Bergoglio is the vicar of Christ, the Roman Pontiff, and then argues that since he is, we would be risking our eternal salvation by breaking from him on our own judgement of whether munus means or does not mean the papal office. And it concludes by saying we should stick with Bergoglio unless the Church decides otherwise.
  2. This argument pretends that what “munus” means is merely a question of opinions, and that since there is no authority which has declared it, we should refrain from making a judgement and follow the consensus of our ecclesiastical superiors.
  3. This argument also errs in ignoring the proper canonical procedure in resolving the doubt of a juridical question.
  4. This argument should conclude with the call for a Council to declare one way or another who is the Pope, but by resting in indecision shows that it pretends to honesty while, rather resting in dishonest indecision, which is in fact a form of intellectual and moral sloth, and this, in a matter which touches upon the salvation of the entire Church and of billions of souls now and in the future.

Here is my response to the comment by the canonist:

It is not a matter of opinion as to the meaning of munus, as if it were possible to sustain both that meaning by which munus means the papal office in a formal or substantive sense and that meaning by which munus can be named through the term ministerium.

Nay, rather, since no one has the right to interpret a papal act, and since Monsignor Ignacio Arrieta, President of the Pontifical Council on Legal Texts says, that no one has the right to interpret a renunciation — since if it is to be interpreted it is dubious and not manifest — the only way to understand the meaning of an act of renunciation is to have recourse to the obligation of the Code of Law, canon 17, which obliges us to understand the words of a juridical act as the Code of Law uses them.  For in understanding a papal renunciation according to the obligation of law, we remove our method from every opinion of men and submit our own personal judgement to the declared authority of the Church:


  • Given that in canon 145 every ecclesiastical office is a munus
  • Given that in canons 331, 332, 333, 334, the only word for the office of the Roman Pontiff is munus
  • Given that in canon 1331, n. 2, iv, an excommunicated person cannot attain any dignity, office or munus but can obtain a ministerium
  • Given that the members of the Roman Curia assist the Roman Pontiff in the execution of his office, that is, his ministerium, but do not share in his office, that is, his munus,
  • And given that in renouncing X one separates himself from X, whereas, if X be that which can be had by one who is not the pope or not in communion with the Church, then its renunciation by the Pope cannot have the consequence of causing him to lose that which he shares with no other man, namely, that which makes him the pope,
  • That Canon 12 declares that ALL are bound by the canons of the Church, when a canon has been promulgated for them, and thus in renouncing the man who is the pope is not above Canon Law
  • Canon 332 §2 declares, that a pope renounces when he renounces his munus as pope, not his ministerium
  • That to fulfill canon 332 §2, the man who is pope is obliged by canon 124 §1, which requires him to make an act of renunciation which regards the same essence of act specified in canon 332 §2, and that if he does NOT, then canon 124 §2 says that there is no presumption as to its validity, nay rather, in accord with canon 188, if the act contains a substantial error, it is irritus by the law itself (ipso iure), that is, it must be considered to have never been posited.
  • If the act of renunciation of ministerium is not a juridical but only an administrative act, it must be understood in accord with canon 36, which reaffirms the same principles as canon 17.

Hence it results that in renouncing the ministerium and not the munus, the man who is Roman Pontiff cannot be understood to have meant to have renounced the munus without imposing an interpretation upon his words.

And therefore we must assume that the Renunciation made by Pope Benedict as Ratzinger on 11 Feb. 2013 does not mean a renunciation of the papacy, the office, nor the dignity or munus of the Roman Pontiff.

And therefore it does not appear that such renunciation produces a sede vacante.

Hence, We are obliged to hold that such renunciation is dubious and therefore invalid to produce the effect of the loss of office

Therefore by virtue of the words declared by the lips of the Living Incarnate God, Jesus Christ, Head of the Church, and sole Teacher of all, given to Simon Peter: “What you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven,” which directly refer to the Code of Canon Law, we must ALL hold that Jesus did not transfer the grace and office to another, since He Himself has bound Himself to the Code of Canon Law promulgated by His Vicar, John Paul II.

And that therefore, Benedict XVI remains the pope.

End of the canonical argument.

By the way, IF YOU HAVE NOT NOTICED,  Pope Benedict XVI still

  1. Wears the white of a pope
  2. Signs with his papal name
  3. Adds the abbreviation, P. P, to his name, which only a pope can do.
  4. Gives the Papal Blessing, which only a pope can do.
  5. Lives in the Vatican.

Which is all consistent with the above canonical argument. Hence, it is not even credible to counter argue, by saying, “But until Benedict says otherwise, we must presume Bergoglio is the pope.”

Hence it is entirely without any foundation in reality, that those, who say Bergoglio is the pope, continue to do such. They have been hoodwinked, if they are innocent and without bad will. But God is counting the years and soon His Wrath will fall upon all the slothful and bad-willed, for as it is says in the Book of the Apocalypse, the first to be cast into the eternal pit of Hell are the slothful: those who know there is a problem or something that needs to be done for the salvation of themselves or others, but dismiss taking any action on it.

The correct response from all honest Catholics would simply be to call a council and have all the Cardinals and Bishops of the World expert in theology, philosophy, and canon law to discuss the matter. To fail in that, is to risk the damnation of most of the faithful and the destruction of the Church. And that is the treachery of Judas Iscariot.


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12 thoughts on “Which is the true Pope? — The Canonical Question which cannot be ignored”

  1. A heretic cannot be a validly elected Pope. If it were true that a heretic could be a validly elected Pope, we would all be heretics now.

    This is what Jorge Bergoglio said, in regards to same-sex sexual relationships, and thus same-sex sexual acts, prior to his election as pope, on page 117 of his book, On Heaven And Earth, demonstrating that he does not hold, keep, or teach The Catholic Faith, and he continues to act accordingly:
    “If there is a union of a private nature, there is neither a third party, nor is society affected. Now, if the union is given the category of marriage, there could be children affected. Every person needs a male father and a female mother that can help shape their identity.”- Jorge Bergoglio, denying The Sanctity of the marital act within The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, and the fact that God, The Most Holy And Undivided Blessed Trinity, Through The Unity Of The Holy Ghost, Is The Author Of Love, Of Life, And Of Marriage, while denying sin done in private is sin.

    “1849 Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as “an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law.”121
    1850 Sin is an offense against God: “Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in your sight.”122 Sin sets itself against God’s love for us and turns our hearts away from it. Like the first sin, it is disobedience, a revolt against God through the will to become “like gods,”123 knowing and determining good and evil. Sin is thus “love of oneself even to contempt of God.”124 In this proud self- exaltation, sin is diametrically opposed to the obedience of Jesus, which achieves our salvation.1

  2. Thoroughly disgusted that Cardinals Burke, Mueller, Sarah etc. haven’t considered it absolutely necessary to call for a legal investigation into the authenticity (or otherwise) of PBXVI’s resignation which, as written in Latin, does not adhere to Canon Law on Papal Resignations. They have ignored our many requests to do so just as Jorge ignored their Dubia & consequently we have been left in a state of complete confusion as to which man is the Vicar of Christ & Pope of the RCC. If PBXVI hasn’t resigned the Munus then the election of JB is null & void. The fact that PBXVI still resides within the Vatican precincts, wears all papal garments, gives papal blessings & states he is still the Pope, would signify that the Ministerium & Munus have separate meanings & that a conclave should never have been held. There simply cannot be two Popes, neither a Pope Emeritus, as a properly resigned Pope returns to being a Cardinal & leaves the Vatican. By their silence they are co-operating with Evil One who wants this confusion & for the OHCA Church to be turned into a type of quango, receiving state money & being held in submission to it.

  3. It amazes me, to the point of recognizing in it diabolical induced spiritual blindness, that seemingly orthodox and faithful Catholics not only accept two visible Popes peacefully co-existing within the Vatican walls, for the first time in human history but they simply don’t care. The Pope is the living, visible core, the locus of Christ given unity within the Church and they just don’t care that we see two Popes now, and for all intents could easily see three and many more Popes co-existing together in the future.

    It shocks me that otherwise intelligent and good hearted Catholics who agree on everything else are profoundly and obstinately blind to the clear and definable moment in time when this deviation was born: the resignation of the Papal Ministerium to rule and the objective retention of the Munus. It is an error as clear as the ink on paper. And it will never matter to these.

    I say diabolical because it reminds me if discussions I’ve had with pro-aborts. It doesn’t matter how often and eloquently I deliver the two independent lives argument. I could speak for an hour, channeling Socrates and Cato themselves, and it would always leave me at the end with “Yeah …. but ..,, my body my choice”. “Ok, but … two heating hearts, independent DNA …”. “Yeah …. but …. my body my choice”.

    Round and round we go. I am convinced this is spiritual blindness of a most profound, powerful, and pervasive nature. The devil needs the Papacy right now. And that’s pretty much it. And he will have it as long as Our Lord permits. “This kind can only be cast out with prayer and fasting” (Matt 17:19-21)

    God is good, patient with His foolish disobedient people; merciful. He is the definition of Love. Glory to God whose victory this already us.

  4. Another glaring issue with Pope Benedict XVI resignation has to do with Pope Benedict’s resignation announcement on Feb. 11, 2013.

    The papal office is not like a CEO position in some corporation. If Mr. CEO tenders his resignation for some future date — say in a month, all he has to do is clean out his office on that date and leave, and he’s done, and new CEO can take his place. The same would be true for some title or position a Bishop or Cardinal holds such as Secretary of State or one of the various dicasteries of the Roman Curia. Each of these various appointments is simply an disciplinary appointment to some function or authority in the Vatican, as there are no additional sacramental or divine powers beyond that of being a Bishop that comes with these appointments. This is not so with the Seat of Peter, which is a divinely instituted office that carries with it a divine commission and privileges from Christ himself over and above that of just a Bishop.

    It is clear from what took place when Pope Benedict announced his resignation on Feb. 11, 2013 in the Declaratio, that this was an intent to resign at a future date, and not an actual resigning of the papal office on that day. This is so because Benedict was still the Pope the day after this announcement and for the rest of the month. Given this, one can conclude that his announcement on Feb. 11 amounted to an intent to resign at a future date (Feb. 28, 2013) and not an actual resignation on that day. The words and actions clearly show that is what the intent was.

    The issue then becomes whether Benedict actually resigned or left the papal office on Feb. 28, 2013 as he declared on Feb.11. I would maintain that simply cleaning out his suite in the Vatican and moving to a monastery on this date is not sufficient as in the case of the CEO. Likewise, ceasing to do the functions of Pope is also not sufficient to resign the papal office. He still must resign the papal office — as clearly the previous statement amounted to only an intent to resign at a future date. This means that Pope Benedict was still Pope on Feb. 28, 2013 and still had to speak his resignation publicly on that date, which he did not do.

    The Feb. 11 2013 declaration was clearly insufficient to resign the See of Peter. One can’t simple state that the papal office (divine commission and privileges) will leave me at a future date, without some action on that future date that completes it. One either actually resigns the papal office here and now, or he retains it.

    We therefore have no actual resignation of the papal office or See of Peter by Pope Benedict XVI, but only a declaration that the papal office will somehow leave his person on Feb. 28, without any subsequent actions on the part of Benedict. Given this course of action by Benedict, one can only conclude that
    Pope Benedict retained the papal office and remains pope to this day.

    This could be a result of a defect in Benedict’s understanding of the papal office and its divine privilege and commission, but it doesn’t matter as Benedict’s actions were insufficient to resign the papal office given the true and historical Catholic understanding of this office.

    1. In other words, Substantial Error. We could go on & on surmising what PBXVI intention was, but the outcome has been to put the False Prophet on the Throne of Peter & silence from the one who should speak (Our Lady of Good Success).

      I cannot grasp the suggestion that such an intellect as PBXVI’s would unconsciencely make a Substantial Error of this nature – it had to be thought out beforehand & wilfully enacted. As long as PBXVI refuses to clarify this very grave situation he allowed to occur we are left with a bifurcation of the Papacy – Bishop of Rome & Pope Emeritus. Neither title is permissible by Tradition going back to the institution of the OHCA Church by Christ who conferred the leadership of His Church on St. Peter alone. It is also noteworthy that this new developmen has never been ratified. This tells us that the electing Cardinals knew about the canonical errors of both the resignation & the election that followed (+who cast the extra vote of a non-electing Cardinal) but accepted the outcome either due to pressure of actual threats to their person. If this turns out to be the case they are all complicit in a massive criminal act punishable by both civil & canon law.

  5. A questo punto penso che la domanda stessa sia priva di senso: qual è il vero Papa?
    Il dubbio, per chi ancora ce l’ha, su chi sia il Santo Padre dovrebbe essere formulato in un altro senso: chi non è un vero Papa?

    Non è certamente un vero papa che si allea con i nemici dei cattolici, che onora gli idoli e propaga l’idolatria, che sovverte la rivelazione e la tradizione, che altera i sacramenti e che relega il proprio titolo di Vicario di Cristo, e Gesù Cristo stesso.

    Bergoglio non è Papa, è come un virus ingiustificato nel cui nome tutto viene distrutto.

    1. Ciò lascerebbe il CC con un Papa che si rifiuta di agire e parlare come un Papa mentre consente a questo “virus” di cambiare l’intera Storia, Tradizione e Dottrina della nostra eredità che proviene direttamente da Dio. Non c’è posto per il vacantismo seat, quindi l’unica soluzione è quella che abbiamo chiesto da AL, ovvero la denuncia dell’apostata Francesco e un nuovo consiglio per stabilire gli autori e scomunicarli pubblicamente, seguita da un conclave (meno Bergoglion Cardinali eretici) per eleggere validamente un nuovo Papa. Cardinali silenziosi e complici stanno ostacolando questa linea di condotta e non c’è Atanasio tra loro.

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