by Br. Alexis Bugnolo
The devout and humble desire of a Catholic blogger to wish Pope Benedict “Merry Christmas” has resulted in another significant proof that Pope Benedict XVI is still the pope and that the Prefect of the Pontifical Household recognizes him as the pope.
You can see the evidence yourself at A.J. Baalman’s, Christmas Wishes from Pope Benedict XVI, over at Ordo Militaris Radio Blog.
The blogger sent his Christmas Wishes at the beginning of Advent, and received a reply via the Apostolic Nuncio in Washington, D.C., USA, yesterday in an envelope mailed on January 2, containing the official stationary of Archbishop Gänswein in the form of a two-sided Christmas Card with the foto of a Christmas Creche on one side and these words in Italian on the other:
Un buon Natale e un buon Anno Nuovo 2020 ricco di benedizioni celesti. Georg Ganswein Segretario Particolare di Sua Santita Benedetto XVI, Papa emerito
Which in English is:
Whising you a good Christmas and a good New Year of 2020, rich in heavenly blessings.
George Gänswein, Special Secretary to His Holiness Benedict XVI, Pope emeritus
As anyone knows who writes to the Roman Curia or the Holy Father, a response, if received at all, is sent through official channels, by diplomatic courier to the Apostolic Nuncio in their own country, and then by regular mail to their address. This is the practice outside of Italy, at least, in the USA.
Private individuals do not receive mail through the Apostolic Nuncio. For example, I have on occasion written both Cardinals Sarah and Burke. Their response was NOT mailed to me via the Apostolic Nuncio, since it was private correspondence and not in virtue of their office in the Curia.
To receive a Christmas Greeting in response to one sent to Pope Benedict through the Apostolic Nuncio means that the Vatican has recognized that Benedict is still a member of the Roman Curia in the very least. I have it from the receiver that he did NOT write to Archbishop Gänswein, but to Pope Benedict, as pope.
The words of Archbishop Gänswein are also proof of the failed resignation. Because after a Roman Pontiff resigns, He can no longer be addressed as “Your Holiness”, because that title indicates that the person addressed is still the Pope, the holiness of which is derived from retaining the PETRINE MUNUS, which is first of all a gift of grace and then a vocation and special source of graces.
Why is this important? Because in the 1983 Code of Canon Law, which governs the Roman Church, the papal office is termed a munus in Canons 331, 332 §2, 333 and 749. And in Canon 145 §1, the Code calls an ecclesiastical office a munus. Thus if Benedict is still “His Holiness”, and that unique holiness comes from the unique munus, that means the Benedict still holds the unique office of the Pope. And thus, no one else does, according to the divine institution of the papacy, which no one, not even a pope, can alter.
The statement of the Archbishop also shows the invalidity of the resignation on account of the confusion of substantial error, in that, despite addressing Benedict with the salutation “His Holiness”, the Archbishop nevertheless calls him “Pope emeritus”, which no “Holiness” can be.
Finally, one can safely presume that the Christmas Card received by the American correspondent was not printed up solely for him, but was produced in quantity. This means that Gänswein is sending the same message to all who wrote Pope Benedict. It is nothing short of a universal declaration. The fact that the Apostolic Nuncio is mailing such Christmas Cards out, means that the Nuncio also recognizes Benedict has holding the Petrine Munus, the Papal dignity, still.
There is no other Traditional Catholic explanation of these events. You can only explain it away by jettisoning the meaning of words Catholics have used for centuries. But that would be Modernism to even contemplate!
POST SCRIPT: If any other of the readers of the From Rome blog have written to Pope Benedict and received a reply, please let me know, if you would like to share what you received in reply. This will help the entire Catholic world understand better how the Pope is doing.