by Br. Alexis Bugnolo
In the reactions to the recent declarations of Cardinal Roche, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, we see once again, as in the events which followed the Declaratio of Pope Benedict XVI, that the MSM got it wrong from the start.
For the document published by Cardinal Roche is not a rescript, but a special administrative notice used only in the Roman Curia, called, a Rescriptum ex audentia Sanctissimi, or in English, A Rescript from an audience with the Holy Father.
As such, Rescripta ex audentia Sanctissimi have no legal value per se whatsoever, they are merely notices, or administrative declarations of the fact of an audience with the Holy Father.
When the Holy Father does approve a document with juridical effect, that is, which alters the status quo of some law or grants or removes the rights of others, the Rescriptum ex audentia Sanctissimi will include notice that on such and such a day, the new law will go into effect, the text of which is cited in the Rescriptum ex audientia Sanctissimi.
See the following case, as an example:
When the Rescriptum ex audentia Sanctissimi lacks such information, it is clear that the Holy Father has decided nothing.
Thus, if a Cardinal Prefect goes to the Holy Father and presents a box of chocolates for St. Valentines Day and informs him that his office has been redecorated, he can issue a Rescriptum ex audientia Sanctissimi, saying the Holy Father accepted the chocolates and approves of the redecoration from the photographs shown him on that occasion.
In other words, the Rescriptum ex audientia Sanctissimi has no inherent juridical value whatsoever, and is more an administrative act created by a subordinate who wants to document his meetings with the Holy Father and keep them as collectables.
The real question, therefore, becomes, not the juridical force of such documents, because they have none, but what is the authority of the Prefect of the Dicastery which publishes them.
And this is spelled out in the Regulations of the Roman Curia published by Pope John Paul II on July 1, 1999 A. D., a document which serves only to regulate the internal administrative process of those who serve the Holy Father at the Vatican. They key passages of which are articles 126, I, and II. I will include my own English translation of each section. The Vatican has never published their own.
From what follows, it can be clearly seen that Cardinal Roche has gone from his meeting with the Holy Father with no authority whatsoever to promote his unapproved agenda.
§ 1. Il Dicastero che ritiene opportuno chiedere al Sommo Pontefice l’approvazione in forma specifica di un suo atto amministrativo, deve farne richiesta per iscritto, adducendone i motivi e presentando il progetto di testo definitivo.
The Dicastery which judges it opportune to ask the Holy Father for his approval in forma specifica for one of it’s own administrative acts, must make its request in writing, adducing the motives and presenting the project in a definitive text.
Se l’atto contiene deroghe al diritto universale vigente, esse devono essere specificate ed illustrate.
If the act contains derogations from universal law currently in effect, these must be specified and explained.
§ 2. Analoga richiesta deve essere fatta qualora un Dicastero ritenga opportuno chiedere al Sommo Pontefice speciale mandato per seguire una procedura diversa da quella stabilita dal diritto.
An analogous request must be made whenever a Dicastery judges it opportune to ask the Holy Father for a special mandate to pursue a procedure diverse from that which has been established in law.
Anche in tal caso però le conclusioni non possono essere considerate approvate in forma specifica, a meno che siano poi sottoposte al Sommo Pontefice e da Lui approvate in tale forma.
Even in such a case, however, the conclusions cannot be considered approved in forma specifica, unless they have been submitted to the Holy Father and approved by Him in such a form.
§ 3. In ognuno dei detti casi il fascicolo relativo deve essere lasciato al Sommo Pontefice, in modo che Egli lo possa esaminare personalmente e comunicare in seguito la Sua decisione nel modo ritenuto opportuno.
In each of the said cases, the relative folder must be left with the Holy Father, so that He can examine personally its contents and communicate afterwards His decision in the manner judged opportune.
§ 4. Affinché consti dell’approvazione in forma specifica si dovrà dire esplicitamente che il Sommo Pontefice « in forma specifica approbavit ».
In order to be considered approved in forma specifica the text (of the Rescriptum ex audientia Sanctissimi) must explicitly say that the Holy Father has “approved it in forma specifica“.
Art. 126 bis [VI]
§ 1. Il Dicastero, che ritiene necessario richiedere al Sommo Pontefice speciali facoltà, deve farne domanda per iscritto tramite la Segreteria di Stato, allegando un progetto di testo definitivo, con l’indicazione precisa delle facoltà richieste, la motivazione della domanda e specificando le eventuali deroghe alle norme canoniche universali o particolari, che risulterebbero modificate o in qualche modo disattese.
The Dicastery, which judges it necessary to ask the Holy Father for a special faculty, must make the petition in writing by means of the Secretary of State, including with that the proposal of a definitive text, with precise indication of the faculties requested, the motivation for the petition and specifying the eventual derogations from universal or particular canonical norms, which would be modified or in any manner no longer observed.
§ 2. La Segreteria di Stato richiederà il parere dei Dicasteri competenti in materia e di quelli che ritenga eventualmente interessati, nonché del Pontificio Consiglio per i Testi legislativi per quanto attiene la corretta formulazione giuridica e, se fossero implicate questioni dottrinali, della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede.
The Secretary of State will ask the opinion of the competent Dicasteries in the manner and of those which he judges to be interested in the outcome, not omitting the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts concerning what regards the correct juridical formulation and, if doctrinal matters be implicated, of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
§ 3. Il fascicolo relativo alle facoltà speciali, che dovrà essere lasciato al Sommo Pontefice analogamente a quanto previsto nell’art. 126 § 3 del presente Regolamento, sarà composto dalla richiesta del Dicastero di cui al § 1, dai pareri ricevuti dai Dicasteri di cui al § 2, dall’eventuale riformulazione del progetto a cura del Dicastero richiedente, congiuntamente al Foglio d’Udienza a cura della Segreteria di Stato.
The folder relative to the special faculties, which must be left with the Holy Father similarly and as much as is foreseen in article 126 §3 of the present Regulations, will include the request made by the Dicastery as mentioned in n. 1, the opinions received from the Dicasteries mentioned in n. 2, and the eventual reformulation of the proposal as presented by the requesting Dicastery, in addition to the Foglio d’Udienza prepared by the Secretary of State.
§ 4. La Segreteria di Stato comunicherà ai Dicasteri della Curia Romana il testo delle facoltà eventualmente concesse dal Sommo Pontefice e, insieme al Dicastero richiedente, valuterà se e come procedere alla sua pubblicazione
The Secretary of State will communicate to the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia the text of the faculties eventually granted by the Holy Father and, together with that sent to the requesting Dicastery, will evaluate if and when to proceed to its publication.
First, as canon 63 says, a rescript which includes a falsehood is invalid by the law itself. As a canon, this is a general principle which affects all rescripts, even those ex audientia sanctissimi.
In addition, since Traditionis Custodes was issued by one who did not have the munus petrinum at the time, it does not exist as a papal document, and therefore cannot be modified.
Thus, by authorizing a rescriptum ex audientia sanctisssimi, to modify the non existent law, rather than a new Apostolic Constitution, as Cardinal Roche wanted, Pope Francis did nothing juridical, and the resulting document is a dead letter on arrival. It is like authorizing the pruning of the rose buds on an apple tree. The authorization effects nothing, because the matter authorized does not exist in reality.
But even for those who are blind, as to the true and authentic value of Pope Benedict XVI’s Declaratio, the statement made in Roche’s rescriptum ex audientia sanctissimi, which states that 2 things are to require dispensation reserved to the Holy See, refers to canon 87 §1, but misapplies this to Traditionis Custodes 3 §2, and 4, which is a general grant, not a procedural law, and thus, returns the same, a totally invalid and in-efficacious decision — and one obviously made in violation to the regulations above translated, which require an intervention of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, in cases of the modification of a universal law, which Council would have pointed out the erroneous ordinance.
In fact, by not having the matter referred to the Pontifical Council, it is clear that Pope Francis has acted on the basis of considering Traditionis Custodes as NOT a universal law, which is it not.
But if one were to insist, then the changes mean that if a bishop wants to act otherwise than in nn. 3 and 4, he needs to obtain a dispensation from the Holy See. But that is a rare case and definitely does not mean that masses should be suppressed or ordinations cancelled.
While I got it wrong in calling this document a simple rescript, on Feb. 20, the results remain the same, however. This document is not one to lament over, rather, it is one to laugh about.
Thus, Christ Jesus, Who as God and Creator, is by nature a Legislator, has intervened twice in this matter to protect the rights of His faithful to use the ancient rites inspired and protected by His Holy Spirit throughout the ages, and by His true vicars on earth. And we should loudly proclaim this to the glory of God His Father.
And for those who do not follow canon law, as true catholics should, we have another and even stronger example to confound them: because if you do not recognize that Pope Benedict XVI never abdicated AND that Pope Francis was validly elected on Jan. 30, 2023, then there is no way to explain what just happened.
12 thoughts on “Roche’s Document is not a Rescript, but a Rescriptum ex audentia Sanctissimi”
Superb analysis & commentary, once again, Brother Alexis!
Your investigative journalism always exposes the TRUTH amongst all the complications of Canon Law & Roman Curial regulations…..
Which is not done by any other English-speaking Catholic media.
As you rightly say, “This document is not one to lament over, it is one to laugh about.”
Now l wait to see if our local TLMs are affected in any way, and if they are, I will have great pleasure in advising the relative diocesan priests and Ordinary that there is absolutely NO authority to restrict the TLMs, and why!
Well nearly none of them read Latin and Italian, so they are like commentators on Mars who have never been there…..
“Blinded by their own ignorance” one might say, and lacking the humility to try and seek the truthful realities……
If they cancelled Mass, would it be a grave sin in the priest’s part?
If they follow a false narrative, because they neglect to consider that their superiors are pathological liars or neglect to investigate the facts, there is some guilt, because a priest should not be gullible.
The legality of evil——“Beware the scribes 📜 “ —Good thing St Paul came with simple speech
This is why the Lord Jesus looked at the spirit instead of the legality of the Law
And thank you Brother Alexis – I don’t know what we’d do without you.
And thanks also to the excellent comments on this article, and elsewhere on this site!
Why has Pope Francis ordered to publish the rescriptum in the osservatore?
Will, I understand that being German, you may not be fluent in English sufficiently well to understand that that link does not contain what you believe it contains. Let the same paper claim that the world ended yesterday, or that the moon is made of cheese, and the question of why they publish what they publish is a curious one, but not one which changes the facts of law.
Can I quote you in the blogs or comments in the social media etc. to defend our Pope and correct these false narrative. Thanks to you Bro. Alexis for all of your enlightenment from my once thought to be good and reliable sources, the FakeTrads
You can always quote me, but I am not a part of the aristocratic club, since I refuse their narratives, so it may not be effective to spell out my name.