On True Devotion to Pope Benedict XVI

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Lately I have written a series of articles, which begin with the words, “On true Devotion” (if you use the search engine here on FromRome.Info you can find them under this rubric).

But this article is somewhat different, because the object of the devotion is not a Saint, but the Roman Pontiff. So a better title would be, “On True Loyalty to the Roman Pontiff, Benedict XVI.”

I am writing this article because while the battle is fiercest in the defense of the Church when one enters the fray under the banner of Pope Benedict XVI and for his restoration, Satan leaves no stone un-turned to conjure the worse of temptations to take down these most stalwart defenders of the Kingdom of Christ who are routing him on his most undefended flank.

And one such temptation is sectarianism.

You see. When all is written and accomplished, that we have defended Pope Benedict XVI’s rightful claim to the Apostolic Throne, what we have done is no great work of learning or virtue. We are simply putting to use our personal habits of critical thinking and independent thought, and curiosity, which in themselves are neither morally good or evil, but which incline us to be more disagreeable than the average man.

And this is our weakness.

Because in controversies so intense, it is easy to fall into thinking that since we are among very few on the right side of the front, that we are some how something special.

But the truth is not anything like that.

We must fight under the banner of the Holy Father because that is our duty. And it is nothing more than our duty, so we cannot claim at victory’s end to have some special reward.

And we must battle on with pure motives, not to gain anything or prove anything about how important we are. Because we are not.

Canon 1364 imposes ipso facto excommunication upon all who refuse communion with the Roman Pontiff, since they are schismatics. And this applies to those who willingly and intentionally refuse to recognize the probity of his claim, though they cloak their refusal in a thousand excuses and total intellectual sloth.

But excommunication also is leveled against all who refuse communion with those in communion with the Pope. That too is the sin of schism:

See canon 751:

… Schisma, subiectionis Summo Pontifici aut communionis cum Ecclesiae membris eidem subditis detrectatio.

which in English is:

… Schism, the withdrawl from subjection to the Roman Pontiff or from communion with those members of the Church subject to Him.

And there is the rub.

Since, many voices are claiming that if you do not pledge obedience to certain pro-Benedict clergy, you are somehow not a member of the Catholic Church.

This is sheer lunacy.

The only touchstone for unity in the Church is the man who holds the petrine munus.

The visible Church is full of those who claim falsely that that man is Bergoglio. They will even resort to excommunication or threat of excommunication to insist on their unfounded and totally false opinion.

But the last thing the Church needs is another Bergoglio, that is, another man claiming to hold the petrine munus and demanding that every Catholic hold communion with him TO THE EXCLUSION of communion with other Catholics who recognize that Pope Benedict XVI is the true Pope.

This grave error has been brewing some time both in the USA and in Europe. And that is why I have consistently from my first day in Italy to this day never claimed to be a member of any group or a supporter of any exclusive claim to Catholicity among anyone supporting pope Benedict.

This is in part why I have been consistently ignored and attacked by those who supported Pope Benedict XVI before and after me. I take it as a wreath of laurel, because I intend to practice true devotion to Pope Benedict XVI.

Errors on the Mass are causing many to fall into confusion

I have also publicly reproved the now commonly spread grave error in Sacramental theology, which claims that a Mass offered by a validly ordained priest according to the ritual approved by the Church but in communion with an Antipope is invalid.

This opinion is wrong, because a Mass is not measured valid or invalid. The word valid is applied to the confection of a Sacrament. If all that is necessary for the Sacrament to exist, to come into being, has been done by the proper minister, then the confection is called valid. If not, its invalid.

If the confection was done by someone with the power to do it, but without the authority to do it, its call ilicit. If with the authority, conferred by decree or via the principle of Chiesa suppleat, then it is called licit.

If the Mass has a valid consecration, and is celebrated in a public oratory, then it legitimately satisfies your Sunday obligation. If not, then it does not. No mass televised on TV or the internet satisfies your Sunday obligation. Your Sunday obligation is only satisfied by a real mass in communion with the true Pope. There is no obligation to travel more than 1 hour to find such a mass, for when there is none, you have no obligation.

And you can obtain all the graces of weekly communion by simply asking them from the Lord Jesus, if you ask sincerely, devoutly and humbly. So there is no spiritual necessity to do anything else to fulfill your sunday obligation or receive the Sacrament. If you want to make a sacrifice to do this, visit a priest in communion with the true Pope and attend his private or public mass, even if this costs you time and money and much inconvenience. Because Jesus is worth it.

Moreover, a valid mass said in communion with the true Pope is supernaturally efficacious as a propitiatory sacrifice, since it partakes of the Redeeming Sacrifice of Christ upon the Cross. If said in communion with an antipope, it is not efficacious.

These things are true regardless of the personal knowledge of the one who offers the Mass or those attending it. Thus even if you have no idea that Benedict XVI is still the pope, and you attend mass in communion with the Antipope, that mass will not propitiate your sins, does not satisfy your Sunday obligation in the sight of God, and thus God must refuse you all or most of the grace of attending it, even though Jesus does in fact become present on the Altar through a valid consecration.

So, please, stop saying Masses are invalid or valid

That is totally incorrect sacramental theology. And this is not an open question. What I have stated here is the accepted opinion of all Catholic theologians for 800 years.

Anyone claiming to have a inspiration which goes contrary to that is deceived by his own pride or by a devil.

And since the proper sacramental theology is part of the Sacred and Apostolic Tradition of the Church, anyone claiming an innovation or novelty in these matters is simply wrong and certainly in error. Pope Benedict XVI talked about this controversy, which first arose after the persecutions of Decian in North Africa, back in 2006 (here)

The Church has not yet dogmatically defined all the aspects which I just reiterated, so we cannot say that those who espouse such errors are formal, canonically heretics. But I do believe that it is heresy before God to claim a different doctrine. And that it should be punished in a future council.

A Warning to those targeted for spiritual enslavement

Finally, a note on spiritual enslavement. It is a grave vice to use one’s pastoral authority to bind the faithful in spiritual obedience to one’s self. This has always been prohibited by the Church. And no amount of fidelity to Pope Benedict XVI or to any Saint or to Jesus Christ gives anyone the authority to practice spiritual enslavement.

It is consequently also a grave violation of the privacy of your personal spiritual life, that anyone short of the Pope or your bishop, for canonical reasons well proven, ask you to identify your confessor or spiritual director or demand that you take one or worse yet, suggest a specific priest to you as one of these. Fly from such sectarians!

So if anyone tells you to stop thinking, or demands that you join in union with the pastoral approach of anyone, to the exclusion of other Catholics, or sets up any rule as a rule of faith other than what we have received from Christ, the Apostles and the Church, even if he work wonders in the heavens or earth, regard him as a false preacher, and follow him not.

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