With a cordial reply by Br. Alexis Bugnolo
(click the image above to read the original article by Mr. Docherty)
Mark Docherty is a close associate of Ann Barnhardt. So as he opens his article you will find no mention of the Franciscan Friar whom she hates with a diabolic passion. Nevertheless, I include myself in that list, and perhaps have the best personal history to respond to Mark, since I wrote an entire Scholastic Question demonstration the substantial error, but also was first to propose the Plan B thesis, which asserts that Pope Benedict XVI did with full knowledge and consent, renounce the ministerium rather than the munus to save the Church from Ecclesiastical Freemasonry.
First, I would ask Mark to have the integrity of a gentleman to stop ignoring my existence, simply because I do good works while remaining faithful to the vows I took in a canonically recognized novitiate while a member of a canonically recognized religious institute, the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. This is especially true, when in the present Essay, you Mark declare: “I greatly respect everyone in this fight who come to it with integrity.” –To do otherwise, casts a dark shadow over all your writings, Mark, because it makes you appear to be someone who is opposed to keeping vows to God, observing the Evangelical Counsels of Our Lord Jesus Christ, or that you have some sort of personal relationship with Ann Barnhardt that would induce you to act inconsistent with such principals. To denigrate anyone or pretend they do not exist — which is the ultimate denigration — for doing good and remaining faithful to Jesus Christ is shameful. — When I think of all the nuns who were driven from their convents because they remained faithful, and who are abandoned by so many shameless pharasaical laity who wont help a consecrated virgin unless she has a stamp on a paper from her Bishop, I who actually do have a stamp on a paper from a Catholic Bishop approving and allowing me to live as I have done since my separation from my former institute, on August 6, 1996, I cannot help sharing the indignation which arises from a perverse laicism and legalism.
Seeing that among all the proponents of Pope Benedict XVI remaining the Vicar of Christ, I alone left my family, country, nation, and language, and traveled to Rome, and did in fact write to more than 2 dozen Cardinals by personal hand-delivered letters, and to every priest of the Diocese of Rome, Italy, I think I am not being unreasonable in saying that I am a leading proponent of this cause. Moreover, I am considered such by all except Ann Barnhardt and Mr. Docherty, who have no authority to determine the rules by which one is or is not a supporter of Pope Benedict XVI, that is, unless they are claiming some authority over the Papal Household, or membership in the Catholic Church, to determine who is or is not. Indeed, such behavior is clearly a form of diabolic narcissism, which vaults its will to define reality and demands others accept that gaslighted reality as the truth.
If anyone is allowed to comment on Mark’s blog, please attempt to open up a candid dialogue about these matters, and I have been banned from commenting on his blog for several years.
And now to Mark’s contra-thesis:
Mark begins by summarizing the position quite well in a form proposed by Andrea Cionci, who deserves the credit for the Ratzinger Code and Impeded See thesis. He presents 4 questions by which he believes those who hold that Pope Benedict XVI intentionally abdicated from nothing and renounced nothing, are in error. I will restate each question by quotation in bold face font, and reply to the objections or quaesita which are raised in them.
Mark writes: Question One: If Pope Benedict executed his non-resignation (grave matter) with full knowledge and full intent, how is it that he is not in a state of mortal sin for doing so? The three conditions have been met (grave matter, full knowledge, full assent of the will). A valid pontiff, crowned by Christ himself, executes one of the greatest deceptions in the history of the Church, and he is a brilliant strategist for doing so? How can that be? While God can and does allow good to come out of evil, God never condones the doing of evil in the hope of a good outcome. God doesn’t do “the ends justify the means,” ever. And while Pope Benedict could have theoretically gone to Confession the evening of 28 Feb 2013, he could not have received valid absolution, because valid absolution requires a firm purpose of amendment, and in cases where the effect of certain sins can be rectified, then rectification is a necessary component of the penance. In which case he persists in mortal sin, NINE YEARS later. Which brings us to…
Respondeo ad primum:
Pope Benedict XVI cannot be guilty of a mortal sin for renouncing the ministerium not the munus, because there is no positive or divine obligation, in grave necessity, for not doing so. In morals, a thing is only immoral if God has precepted that it not be done, either according to its genus, species, circumstances or intentions. Therefore, there is no burden upon anyone to demonstrate that Pope Benedict XVI did not sin, rather, the burden of proof is upon those who claim he did. This is standard Catholic morals, which even children understand. Charity presumeth no evil. Mark you should know that!
Pope Benedict XVI deceived no one. And there is no evidence that he did. That his enemies presented his act as having a significance which it does not have is entirely their moral fault. Cionci has amply demonstrated that for 9 years Pope Benedict XVI is declaring this very thing.
The renunciation of ministerium rather than munus is not an immoral act. Those who presume it is must demonstrate that they are not presuming.
This first Question by Mr. Docherty is simply reducible to an absurd ad hominem: Pope Benedict XVI is a grave sinner, prove that he is not!
Mark writes: Question Two: If Pope Benedict executed his intentional grave deception in order to save the Church from the wolves, what then of the Faithful? Not a word from Benedict about the apostasy of his “successor” who all the world thinks is pope? This is the most grave mortal sin of SCANDAL. Benedict has willfully (according to their theory) lead a billion souls to believe a heretical, blaspheming, demon-worshiping apostate is the true pope of the One True Church. How many people have been led astray, accepted heresy and easy sin, and gone to their eternal reward in such condition? I will tell you how many: 70 MILLION. That’s how many Catholics have died in the last nine years, two months. Pope Benedict is (according to their theory) intentionally sitting by, petting his cat, knowing he is still the only true pope, knowing that Bergoglio is an antipope, perfectly happy to have 70 million souls going to their Particular Judgment thinking Bergoglio was pope and his magisterium authentic. If so, this is an awful test of God’s bounteous mercy, and it makes Benedict a monster.
Respondeo ad secundum:
Pope Benedict XVI by consistently signifying that he is the one true pope to those who pay attention to him, has deceived no one and has led no one to believe that Bergoglio is the Pope. Moreover, the Faithful, who have a living faith, are guided by the anointing of the Holy Spirit which they received in the Sacrament of Confirmation to discern truth from falsehood and true pastors from false pastors. To say therefore, that the Faithful are abandoned is to reduce the order of grace simply to the visible papacy, as if the Church has no supernatural principle of life or discernment.
All Catholics know the Faith cannot change and that no one not even the Pope can teach contrary to the Deposit of the Faith. So it is impossible for Catholics, who are materially deceived, to fall into formal apostasy from that faith, if out of their own negligence they adhere to the false narrative that Benedict abdicated. Moreover, since that narrative is not the responsibility of Benedict, but is crafted by his captors, he cannot be held responsible for it. Likewise, the Faithful have a duty to follow canon law and give intellectual attention to the principle canonical acts of the Magisterium, not the least of which is an alleged papal resignation. Failing to do this, if they are deceived, they are solely responsible for God.
Mark writes: Question Three: What was it, exactly, that Benedict did actually resign (or intend to resign) when he read out the Declaratio? It is clear from the text that he intended to resign something, leaving aside the question of whether or not it was effective. In the key phrase of the document, he is clearly resigning, or intending to resign SOMETHING. Look at the English, look at the original Latin, or watch the video. “I renounce the ministry” … while we can argue whether or not the words took effect, we cannot claim he did not say those words. Canon Law demands that we respect the meaning of words, the context, and the mind of the legislator:
Can. 17. Ecclesiastical laws must be understood in accord with the proper meaning of the words considered in their text and context. If the meaning remains doubtful and obscure, recourse must be made to parallel places, if there are such, to the purpose and circumstances of the law, and to the mind of the legislator.
Respondeo at tertium:
Pope Benedict XVI actually renounced nothing effectively, but he did declare that he was going to renounce the ministerium, which however, he never did do by a canonical act. This has been explained at great length by nearly all those writing and speaking about this matter, and to ask it now is really a weak point in the argument.
But perhaps Mark, you misunderstand how a text is to be read. When one says in a letter, to another person, “In my will, I will leave you all my property”, and yet the Will when disclosed, has only these words, “I love you as a true son and heir”, but specifies nothing as bequeathed, then the alleged heir receives nothing, zippo as Ann Barnhardt might say, and the deceased has deceived no one. He has deceived no one, because we cannot know whether his failing ability prevented the bequest being written into the Will or if some other cause intervened by which the meaning of his words were not to be taken at face value. For example, if the recipient of the letter had said to the soon to be dead donor: “If you don’t make me your sole heir I will murder you sometime in the next year!”
As a matter of fact, Pope Benedict XVI was informed on Feb. 12, 2012, that he would be assassinated if he did not resign within a year. This is not a facetious claim. It was published in a leading Italian daily newspaper.
To claim a man under threat of death is morally culpable for deceiving anyone, is beyond the pale of right reason and any Catholic notion of the obligation to speak the truth without mental reservations.
Mark writes: Question Four: Since Gnosticism is heresy, how are the faithful to approach the “Ratzinger Code” in an orthodox manner? The evidence for the Substantial Error theory is all out in full view for anyone to see, not just for those with eyes to see, if you know what I mean. We all agree on the visual evidence; a five year old could see it. We all know how Benedict’s further writings, and his words in the Seewald interviews, point to something other than what is commonly accepted, but that much is evident from the actual meaning of his words, not code words. Saying that the common lay faithful need access to a secret code to discern who is true pope seems… rather problematic. Implying that knowledge of this secret code is necessary to find and follow the true Church and achieve one’s salvation is… you see what I mean. So how to approach this in an orthodox manner?
Respondeo ad quartum:
Gnosticism is a heresy, but the Church has never condemned as Gnostic the decision by anyone under duress to speak in code so as to communicate to friends and allies and not enrage further his enemies or captors.
That the matter is called the Ratzinger Code by Cionci is his journalistic flair. It is not a code, it is merely a refined and erudite manner of speaking of a man who is very meek and has reasonable grounds to fear for his person otherwise.
The more substantial question, which needs to be asked, instead, Mark, is: Whether Catholics are obliged to listen attentively to the voice of the Vicar of Christ upon Earth in a matter which touches upon their eternal salvation?
And the answer to that question is clear: yes they are. Because it is one of the laws of the Church that we obey the laws of the Church. And to obey them, we must know them, and act in accord with them. So, now after 9 years, when anyone hears that the renunciation may be invalid, they need only read canon 332 § 2, to find that it is not. That is not difficult.
However, if they care for the sake of keeping some material or temporal favors to ignore that investigation or deny the facts which they find, they have judged themselves and brought judgement upon themselves.
I have amply demonstrated that Mark Docherty’s 4 Questions are easily dispatched with Catholic answers and are reducible to doubts arising from someone who presumes Pope Benedict XVI is at moral fault, without any attention whatsoever to the known facts of the case which are excusing causes of the charges leveled against his person.