Tag Archives: canon 17

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:

Thus,

  • 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.

 

LifeSite runs patently false arguments to defend Bergoglio’s claim to the papacy

REPRINTED FROM FEB. 2019

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

February 14, 2019 A. D. — Today Diane Montagna’s article, entitled, “Did Benedict really resign? Gänswein, Burke and Brandmüller weigh in,” was published at Life Site News.

First, let me say a big thank you to Diane Montagna for bringing the controversy to the greater attention of the general public. In this way, all Catholics, who have a right to know of its existence, can at last be informed.

However, I do not praise the article’s author for the article itself, which in all frankness, I must say is full of sophistic arguments:  that is false manners of argumentation, and even false assertions, all marshaled in an attempt to demonstrate that Pope Benedict XVI did validly resign, and that everything His Holiness and his private secretary have said about this, is to be ignored!

I find it shocking that two Cardinals, to defend the validity of the resignation, have resorted to telling the whole world not to pay attention to what the Pope has said about the meaning and effect of his own act!  This is tantamount to rebellion against the papacy, in my mind!

I also wish to contradict the attempt by the article to smear Catholics who hold that the resignation is invalid as persons who are NOT knowledgeable about Church Law, the text of the papal resignation, or who are excessively scandalized by Bergoglio. As I pointed out in my previous article on How Usurpation of the Papacy leads to Excommunication, all those involved in asserting an invalid resignation is valid are risking excommunication for schism and positing acts which only a pope can do.  So they have a lot of reasons to ignore a serious and just consideration of the facts, especially if they just went along to get along.

But enough of preamble. let’s examine the sophisms in Montagna’s Article, in order of their appearance.

  1. Archbishop Gänswein dismisses the argument as making no sense.  So since he confesses not to understand it, there is really nothing proved by quoting him. I will observe that in German, which is the Bishop’s ancestral tongue, there is no equivalent of ministerium, munus and officium except by one word. So its easy for a German thinker to miss the problem of saying ministerium instead of munus. What the Archbishop says previously contradicts what he says now, so he probably was thinking in German then or is now. But surely he can understand the controversy, seeing that I sent him last month, with proof of delivery, a printed copy of my entire Disputed Question on the topic. But then again, maybe he cannot read English?
  2. Later on in the article, after quoting Archbishop Gänswein as saying openly that Benedict did NOT resign the PAPAL OFFICE, Montagna quotes an anonymous theologian as sustaining,

    supporters of this opinion need to show that Pope Benedict understood the munus and the ministerium as referring to two different realities.

    Ugh, what can one respond to such ignorance? Other than that Canon 17 requires that Canon 332 §2 be read in accord with the meaning of canon 145 §1 and canon 41, which reading amply demonstrates that the Supreme Legislator Himself, Pope John Paul II, in promulgating the new Code of Canon Law requires that ministerium and munus be understood as referring to two different things. — Those who are faithful Catholics, therefore, already know they refer to two different things, because the Pope orders us to do so!

  3. Then the same anonymous theologian quotes canon 15 §1 (actually he quotes §2, but I think that is an error), as saying that the resignation must be presumed valid. But that canon says that a law, which expressly invalidates an act, invalidates even if the one positing the act is ignorant of the law. Thus this canon argues against the validity of the resignation, not for it!
  4. Then the same anonymous theologian confuses the annulment process with this controversy, saying that Catholics who think the resignation is or may be invalid, must wait for the judgement of the Church!  Actually, canon 188 says that resignations made in substantial error are invalid by the law itself. That means, they are invalid before any sentence of any court determines the facts: they are null, void and never had any legal effect.
  5. Then, the article quotes Dr. Roberto de Mattei, who cites Canon 124 §2. — As an aside, I would ask that Dr. de Mattei respond to my criticism of his previous error of attempting to raise an opinion of late scholasticism to the level of an interpretative principle of canon law, in contradiction to the obligation of canon 17 — But that canon also contradicts Dr. de Mattei, because it regards only acts which are manifestly conform to the obligations of the law, when in the present controversy one deals with a prima facie non conformity! That is, with the fact that at first glance at the Latin of Non solum propter (Text of apparent resignation) and canon 332 §2, they are not speaking of the same things! For the former renounces the ministerium, but the latter refers to resignations of munus.
  6. Then Dr. de Mattei attempts again to flip a canon. This time its canon 1526 §1, the burden of proof is upon him who asserts.  Seeing that it is the Cardinals and Dr. de Mattei who long ago asserted first of all that the resignation is valid, the burden of proof is rather on them! That is why, the mere fact that the Cardinals and the entire Vatican have never published a canonical affirmation of the validity is a strong argument they have NEVER examined if it was. But in the case of a resignation, a Cardinal Elector is gravely bound to personally verify that the resignation is valid, because otherwise he will participate in an illicit Conclave and elect and Anti-Pope!
  7. Then, Cardinal Brandmuller attempts to flip two sound dicta: de internis non iudicat praetor (a praetor does not judge of things internal) and quod non est in actis, non est in mundo (what is not in the act does not exist in the world). I say this, because he cites these to argue that those who doubt the validity of the resignation are in error. However, since those who doubt the validity, as I do, do not base our arguments on interior intentions, nor on suppositions, but on the text of the act of renunciation itself, we are acting in perfect harmony with those dicta. Nay, rather, its Cardinal Brandmuller and Burke and Gänswein who violate these, because they say the Pope intended to resign the munus, therefore he did resign the munus, and that ministerium means the munus which is not renounced in the text, because the Pope intended to resign the munus, they judge the Pope’s intention not the act itself!
  8. Then, Cardinal Burke is quoted as saying: “I believe it would be difficult to say it’s not valid.” This, I will admit — for those who have not read the Code of Canon Law and studied this question of substantial error on account of not saying munus nor referring to the office — might be difficult to prove, because many are ignorant of the Canon Law and its obligations. But for those who do, or should know it, it is not!  — Just see my disputed question on it. You can find it in Spanish translation here. In that Question, I carefully examine and refute the 19 reasons alleged for the validity and marshal 39 arguments, drawn from Canon Law, Theology, Philosophy, etc. against the validity.
  9. Finally, Cardinal Burke is quoted as saying: “It seems clear to me that Benedict had his full mind and that he intended to resign the Petrine office.” — Having given no argument but his speculation about the intention of what Pope Benedict XVI intended to say, other than to deny what he expressly has said on other occasions, the opinion of this eminent Canonist must be disregarded as any gratuitous unproven declaration which runs counter to the facts is disregarded.

In conclusion, I would ask these three eminent prelates to read Canon 17. Therein, Pope John Paul II obliges all Catholics to understand canon 332 §2 in a specific manner. In that manner, it can be seen that there is no question at all that the renunciation of Benedict is invalid by reason of substantial error (canon 188) in thinking that a renunciation of ministerium effects a renunciation of the papacy.

I believe that the Cardinals in particular, perhaps out of their familiarity with the Annulment process which focuses on the intention as the formal principle of the validity of the bond of Matrimony, are missing the point of the teaching of Pope Boniface VIII (Decree of Boniface VIII (6th vol), 1.1, T.7, Chap. 1: De Renunciatione:) that papal renunciations deal formally with the verbal signification of the act, not on the intention of the one renouncing. Also, they differ significantly in this, that the power to tie the bond of marriage consists in the ones who take marriage vows. But the power to remove the munus of the papacy is held exclusively by Christ the Lord in glory, who has promised Peter to uphold the letter of Canon Law promulgated by his successor, Pope John Paul II, in canon 332 §2, and Who cannot act unless the renunciation expressly conform itself to that canon.

A 7th Anniversary of shame!

March 13, 2020

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Today is the seventh anniversary of a day that will live in infamy.

A day of wickedness and flippancy.

A day wherein the Cardinals of the Catholic Church showed their utter contempt for:

  1. Pope Benedict XVI
  2. The Catholic Faith in the Papacy
  3. The Canons of the Catholic Church
  4. The Papal Law on Conclaves
  5. Common sense

Let me explain why I say this, point by point, in reverse order.

The Cardinals betrayed common sense 7 years ago today

It is obvious by now, that if anyone on the planet ,who had common sense, sat down and talked to Bergoglio for 15 minutes, he would realize that he is not a fit candidate to be Roman Pontiff.

But the College of Cardinals had been housed together with him for two weeks prior to March 13, 2013.

Therefore, the last 7 years proves that God certainly did not approve of their judgement in selecting such a man. Indeed, it was an epic failure of the College of Cardinals, as I wrote, in 2015.

The Cardinals betrayed John Paul II’s law on Conclaves

The Cardinal Electors violated the papal law on conclaves, in several ways.

First of all, they violated the Law, Universi dominici gregis, as regards the requirement in n. 37, of that law, when they held a Conclave without verifying whether there was a legal sede vacante.

A legal sede vacante means that either the previous pope is dead, and they confirm that with a funeral, or the previous pope resigned according to the norm of Canon 332 §2.

I have it from no less than the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legal Texts, Mons. Arrieta, whose commentary on the Code of Canon Law I keep at by desk, that there never was any meeting of canon law experts to verify if the Declaratio of Pope Benedict, of Feb. 11, 2013 — commonly called Pope Benedict’s Renunciation — was in conformity with the norm of canon 332 §2.

Second, the Cardinals violated n. 81, of the same papal law, by entering into agreements and promises to vote for Bergoglio, as Cardinal Daneels of Beglium admitted in his Biography composed of interviews he gave. But the College has never acted on the self admission, which in Canon Law tradition is an indisputable act of self imputation of a canonical crime. I have covered this issue in an extensive Chronology of Events, which still remains the most authoritative collection of facts on the matter, on the net.

Thrid, the Cardinals rushed to elect Bergoglio by violating the same Papal Law on the number of ballots permitted on each day: four, as is specified in n. 63, of the same papal law, regarding limit on the number of ballots to be taken on the 2nd day of balloting and all subsequent days.  Because, as has been confirmed by several testimonies in the last 7 years, Bergoglio was elected on the 5th ballot. And this has never been denied.

Fourth, while there has been much controversy over whether the Cardinals could proceed to a fifth ballot in the case of a 4th balloting which contained 1 more vote paper than the number of Electors present, there remains 2 legal questions which have never been addressed about this:

  1. The Cardinals could not lawfully proceed to a 5th Ballot unless they paused the election and held a discussion on the interpretation of the papal law, using the right conceded to them in that same law, in n. 5, for this purpose. If they proceeded to a 5th ballot without such a discussion and vote, then even if they interpreted it as valid, that omission made their interpretation illicit, and hence the entire election invalid.
  2. Whether the Auditors of the Papal Conclave, as specified in n. 70 of the same papal law, held any meeting or discussion in accord with the norm, there specified, regarding the auditing of the final vote. Because in the case that there was no meeting in accord with n. 5 of the same papal law, in regard to whether to proceed to a 5th ballot when only 4 ballots were permitted, then likewise if the Auditors did not meet, the election was canonically invalid. And if they did meet, they had to declare in the case of the lack of a vote in accord with n. 5, that the election was invalid.

Since the multiple reports about a 5th balloting are all silent about what should have happened as regards nn. 1 and 2, here above, it can be rightfully doubted the election was valid. Because a doubtful pope is no pope.

The Cardinals Betrayed the Canons of the Catholic Church

Seven years ago today, the Cardinals consummated their betrayal of the Canons of the Catholic Church promulgated by Pope John Paul II, in 1983, in the text known as the Codex iuris canonicis, or the Code of Canon Law.

First, the Cardinals violated canon 40, which required them not to take any decision in regard to Pope Benedict XVI’s Declaratio of Feb. 11, 2013, until they had the Latin text in hand in its final corrected version. Since the Vatican Press office in the days following February 11 published at least 3 versions of the text, there is sound canonical evidence that Cardinal Sodano, through Father Lombardi, violated canon 40 in instructing Giovanna Chirri at 11:58 AM, on that morning, to announce to the world that Pope Benedict has announced his resignation from the Pontificate on Feb. 28.  Canon 40 declares invalid any act taken by a subordinate, before he has in hand the integral text of the act of his superior.

Second, the Cardinals violated canon 41, which required them to examine if the legal act contained in the Declaratio was an act specified by the Code of Canon Law and was in all its particulars a command to do something opportune.  But since in the entire Code of Canon Law there is no mention of an act of renunciation of ministerium, the act posited by Pope Benedict XVI was clearly an an actus nullus, and thus canon 41 required them not to act upon it. Also since a renunciation of ministerium does not effect the loss of the papal office, the fact that the Declaratio speaks of calling a Conclave is an inopportune detail or provision. Canon 41 requires that those with mere ministry of execution, in such a case, have recourse to the superior to correct these issues. Once again, according to Mons. Arrieta, nothing of the kind happened.

Third, the Cardinals violated canon 38, which required them not to interpret the Declaratio of Pope Benedict as being in conformity to Canon 332 §2, on the grounds that by naming the ministerium instead of the canonically required munus, the act would gravely injure the rights of the Faithful to know if the pope had validly resigned or not, would cause doubt and risk schism in the Church. For in such a case, Pope Benedict XVI would have had to granted a derogation of canon 332 §2 in his Declaratio, in conformity with canon 38, otherwise the act would have been irritus. He did not, so the act was irritus — a technical canonical term which means having not effect in law, void, on account of having not followed due procedure (ritus).

Fourth, the Cardinals violated canon 36 §1, which requires them to interpret strictly any papal act which violates the norm of any canon, let alone Canon 332 §2. To interpret strictly means that they had to read ministerium as exclusive of any signification of munus, and thus hold that the Declaratio was prima facie incapable of causing Pope Benedict to validly resign the papal munus, the papal office and the papal dignity.

Fifth, the Cardinals violated canons 126 and 188, which require that a juridical act of renunciation of office contain the proper or essential act specified in the law.  As is clear from the Code of Canon Law, which speaks of the Papal Office in canons 331, 332, 332, and 749, the proper term for the papal office is the petrine munus, not the petrine ministerium.  Hence, they were required in accord with canon 188 to judge the renunication irritus on the grounds of substantial error.

Sixth, the Cardinals violated canons 17 and 145 §1, which require respectively that the terms of all canons be understood in their proper sense, that ministerium and munus, when mentioned in any canon be understood thus, and to undertake a study of the entire Code of Canon Law and canonical tradition, in the case of the doubt as to whether ministerium can suppose for munus. They did no such thing in February of 2013, as Mons. Arrieta affirmed to me.

Seventh, the Cardinals violated canon 332 §2, which requires them to recognize a papal renunication only if the Pope renounces his munus, and does so freely and manifests this duly.  But since a good number of the Cardinal Electors were present in the Consistory of Feb. 11, 2013, they heard with their own ears that he made errors in Latin and that he said ministerium not munus, in the crucial core section of the Declaratio. They also heard him say munus twice before that. So they had indisputable canonical evidence that the Pope knew what he was doing, knew how to distinguish munus from ministerium, and did NOT intend to renounce his munus.

The Cardinals violated the Catholic Faith in the Papacy

Seven years ago, today, the College of Cardinals violated the Catholic Faith in the papacy. First, in the strict sense of the Faith, namely, that there can only be one pope. Because, it was clear already by March 3, 2013, that Pope Benedict XVI by his own decision was going to retain the papal dignity by using the title “Pope Emeritus”. There was at least one scholarly refutation of the validity of this published on March 3, 2013 by Father Gianfranco Ghirlanda, S. J., former rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University at Rome. So they could not be ignorant of the fact. The same canonical scholar that week affirmed that a heretical pope loses office immediately. So in choosing an obvious heretic as Pope they also violated the Catholic Faith.

The Cardinals showed their utter contempt for Pope Benedict XVI

Seven years ago, today, the Cardinals consummated their utter contempt for Pope Benedict XVI, in that they responded with glee at his renunciation, and not with consternation and respectful attempt to dissuade him from it.

As reported in the press, in February of 2013, only one Cardinal, Cardinal Pell went on record as saying that the resignation should not happen. He said this before Feb. 28, 2013. He was also the first Cardinal the Vatican allowed to be prosecuted after February of 2013. Hmm.

Respect and reverence for the Holy Father, especially when frail and aged, requires first of all that the Cardinals assist him in executing his will, not obstructing it nor allowing it to be executed in an invalid manner.

Yet it also requires, out of gratitude, that they attempt to convince a good man not to resign. If they omit that, they are basically saying he is not a good man or that they despise him.

And they showed their contempt, not only in sentiment, but by positive canonical ommissions, in seemingly in several ways, because in February of 2013 none of them were under a pontifical secret, yet in 7 years they never have confirmed — to my knowledge — in any interview that they did not do the following:

  1. They did not ask Pope Benedict to explain to them why he made his decision or what it meant, to make sure he was resigning freely.
  2. They did not ask Pope Benedict to correct the 40 errors in the Latin text which he read, before it was published, so as to prevent the shame of such a thing staining the last act of his papacy and the Apostolic See.
  3. They did not investigate or question Archbishop Gänswein and those around the pope as to the circumstance of the act to be certain that he was not manipulated or coerced.
  4. They did not ask one another what they knew about the matter. If so, they would have discovered that Pope Benedict did not seek the counsel of others (according to Archbishop Gänswein) or refused the counsel of his better advisers (according to Archbishop Gänswein and Cardinal Brandmuller). If they had done this, they would have been altered to the necessity to examine the act further.
  5. The consummated their disrespect through all these things and for not treating the Holy Father with that due respect for an aged man, in which one presumes frailty and therefore double checks everything to make sure it is done rightly.

Conclusion

For all these reasons, I think it can be said, objectively, that today marks the 7th anniversary of a day which will live in infamy in the history of the Church until the end of time and for all eternity. The Cardinals gravely failed in their duty as Cardinals and as Electors and as Bishops and Catholics. They failed also deliberately and by omission. Their failure also was canonically imputable, since the Code of Canon Law holds as presumptive, the responsibility of men with such high office to know the law and follow it.

Hence, it is objectively and canonically certain, that Bergoglio is not the pope. Because a man whose claim to the papacy is vitiated by so many canonical doubts, is not the pope, according to the ancient maxim of St. Robert Bellarmine, S. J.: a doubtful pope is not the pope.

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CREDITS: The Featured Image is a detail of the photograph by Tenan, which is used here in accord with the Creative Commons Atribution-Share Alike 3.0 unported license explained here.

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An Index to Pope Benedict’s Renunciation

So much has been written about Pope Benedict’s renunciation of Feb. 11, 2013, that it is easy to forget or miss important articles. Since a lot of visitors who come to The From Rome Blog want to read about Benedict’s renunciation, it is helpful to have in one post, a list of all the Articles published here.

This is a topical, not chronological list: that is, it lists articles according to what aspect of the controversy they principally deal with, not according to the date they were published.

Before reading any of the Articles, see this public notice about FACTS VS CONJECTURE

And make sure to read the last section, which is the MOST important: What we must now do!

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An Index to our Articles on Pope Benedict’s Renunciation

The Renunciation of Feb. 11, 2013

Latin Text of Non Solum propter

Vernacular Translations of Non solum propter

The History of the Claim that the Text means Benedict resigned the Papacy

Why Pope Benedict Renounced the Ministry which He had received from the Cardinals

What Pope Benedict says His resignation means and meant

  1. Pope Benedict XVI says that it was never his intention to resign the Veranvortung (Munus, spiritual Mandate)
  2. Pope Benedict XVI in Feb. 2013 said in every way possible that He had not resigned the Papacy
  3. Pope Benedict XVI on Feb. 14, 2013 explained to the Clergy of Rome how to see that He had not resigned the Papacy
  4. How the Vatican’s attempt to get Benedict to call Bergoglio the Pope failed in June 2019
  5. Dr. Mazza’s study of Pope Benedict’s writings shows conclusively he knew what he was doing, and that he never intended to resign fully, which is explained in the analysis of Dr. Mazza’s study.
  6. Pope Benedict XVI explains to Seewald that He never resigned the munus.

What in truth does the Act of Renouncing the Ministry mean or effect?

  1. Jesus Christ’s Point of view on this.
  2. Pope John Paul II admitted that a Papal renunciation could be invalid.
  3. The 6 Canonical Errors in the Act of Renunciation, which deprive it of all effect.
  4. The Canonical Argument that the Act does not cause the loss of the Papacy (ppbxvi.org)
  5. Video Explanation, prepared by Brian Murphy with input from Br. Bugnolo
  6. Ann Barnhardt’s authoritative Video on Substantial Error
  7. L’argomento canonico che dimostra che la Rinuncia non effettua la perdita del papato
  8. What Pope John Paul II taught about Munus and Ministerium, and how it binds the whole Church.
  9. The Magisterial Teaching of Pope Boniface VIII regarding the necessity of renouncing the Munus
  10. Why Saint Alponsus dei Liguori would say that the Renunciation, as written, is invalid.
  11. Why, on account of only resigning the Ministry, Pope Benedict made it dogmatically impossible that Bergoglio be the Pope
  12. Why, on account of only resigning the Ministry. Pope Benedict made it canonically impossible that Bergoglio’s election as pope was valid.
  13. VIDEO: 7 Part Documentary by Br. Bugnolo investigating the meaning, significance and effects of the Renunciation: Pope Benedict XVI’s Renunciation: the Facts, the Laws, and the Consequences.

A Scholastic Investigation into the Canonical Meaning of the Resignation

Here Br. Bugnolo has gathered all the major arguments for and against and shows which side has the better argument.

The Dubious Arguments and outright Falsehoods used to defend that the renunciation caused Benedict to lose the Papacy

CONFIRMATIONS FROM ROME THAT BENEDICT IS STILL THE POPE

WHAT CATHOLICS SHOULD DO IN RESPONSE

Why Revolutionaries call their opponents Extremists

Or How one Eminent Canonist at Rome
Just Admitted that Bergoglio is a Usurper

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

The salvation of souls is the most important thing. That is why in the time of perfidy and falsehood it is a grave moral obligation to warn the faithful of the imminent danger to their souls, from whatever quarter that threat comes.

I too, personally, cannot comprehend or contemplate the prudence that would keep silent while letting wolves gobble up sheep and ship them off in boat-loads to Hell.

That is why, I think every catholic who is struggling with the question of whether Berogoglio is the Pope or whether Benedict did not really resign, needs to read the report I file here below.

I say this because I have just had the occasion to talk with one of the most eminent and respected canonists in the Church and show him my Disputed Question on the Renunciation. He holds a doctorate in Canon Law and a very important position in the Academic world here at Rome. I met with him this morning, as he graciously granted me an audience despite knowing something about my writing on the subject.  I respect that.

And for that reason, since I am interested in truth, and not in damaging reputations, I won’t mention his name. But since what he said is important and needs to be heard by everyone in the Church, I will summarize as best I can remember. (I did not record the conversation, and what follows is not a transcript.)

I explained my academic background and preparation. Then I mentioned the comment of Mons. Nicola Bux, last year in October, about the possibility that in the Renunciation of Pope Benedict there was a substantial error which made it invalid to cause him to lose the office of the Papacy, then we discussed the problem according to canonical principles.

This eminent canonist in the course of our 20 minute conversation, agreed with me on the following points of law:

  1. A papal resignation falls under the category of legal acts which pertain to the cessation of power.
  2. The cessation of power is never presumed, it must be manifest in the legal act.
  3. The Roman Curia assists the Pope in the exercise of the Petrine Ministry, but no one in the Curia, not even the Secretary of State shares in the Petrine Munus.
  4. During a sedevacante there can be no innovation in the law.
  5. If Ratzinger did validly resign, then from the moment he did, there was a sede vacante.
  6. During a sede vacante the entire Church is obliged to judge who is not pope and who is pope based on the norm of the law, not on the hearsay or claims of anyone, let alone journalists.
  7. Canon 145 §1 does define every ecclesiastic office as a munus.
  8. Canon 332 §2 does require the Church to recognize that a papal renunciation takes place when there is a free and manifest renunciation of the Petrine Munus.
  9. Canon 1331 §2, n. 4, does not forbid an excommunicate to exercise or hold a ministry in the Church, and does not equate ministerium with dignity, office or munus.
  10. Christ’s promise and prayer for the Successor of Saint Peter is infinitely more important of a support for the Pope than all the prayers and good works of the Church for the Pope.
  11. It is necessary that the entire Church take care that a Petrine Succession, that is, the passing of the office of the papacy from one man to another, takes place in the way canon law and the will of Christ intend it.
  12. Our concern for the solution of this problem should be based on the highest charity and justice for both Benedict and Francis.
  13. There is no canon in the Code of Canon Law which says that ministerium = munus.

So much for what we agreed on. It was very substantial, and I much appreciated the occasion to speak with such a brilliant mind on the law.

However, we had fundamental disagreements. Here I will list those which I remember. These are positions which I do not hold, but represent substantially those of the canonist:

  1. Any questioning of the legitimacy of Pope Francis for the purpose of taking from him a legal claim to the Papacy is the greatest evil in the Church.
  2. Any canonical study or investigation which so questions Pope Francis’s claim if it is motivated by such a motive, is to be entirely refused before even being heard.
  3. Scholastic theology is not the mind of the Church and it does not determine reality.
  4. Canon Law does not determine reality.
  5. Munus is contained in ministerium, so he who exercises ministerium holds a munus.
  6. Canon 17, which establishes the legal norm for the interpretation of every canon, is not operative in any discussion of Pope Francis’ legitimacy or Benedict’s resignation.
  7. Catholics investigating either issue should read and accept the scholarly works of only those authors who sustain that Bergoglio’s claim is valid and the Benedict’s resignation is valid.

Discussion

The usurpation of power is an act whereby someone who does not have claim to a right, claims that right. We live in an age of usurpation, as can be seen from the daily news. But when you encounter a canonist who takes the position that the holding of power makes legitimate the claim to power, you are face-to-face with proof that there is no reason or legal obligation to support their revolution.

So, though we did not discuss the opinions of Cardinal Burke, when I consider that Cardinal Burke called all who question the legitimacy of Pope Francis’ claim to the papacy, “extremists”, I wonder what he would say on these same points. Because what is extremism, in the bad sense of the word, anyhow? Is it claiming that 2+2 must = 4, and that those who say it does not are wrong? Or is it saying that anyone who questions a legal claim, because it lacks a foundation in law and right, is nuts?

The most egregious affirmations made by this canonist are contained in nn. 5 and 6.  To reject the norm of canon 17 in the reading of the Code is basically to throw in the dust bin any obligation to hold that the Code means what Pope John Paul II said it meant and what it itself or canonical tradition says it means.

To claim that munus is contained in ministerium is pretty much to reject the entire Incarnation, because that is the doctrine of those Christians who claim that the doing of a ministry gives you authority. It’s the protestant principle of office, as a very eminent historian of the comparison of ecclesiastical office in the Catholic Church and the churches of the Reformation recently affirmed to me in a private chat.

So, basically, if munus is contained in ministerium, then if anyone starts dressing like the Pope and acting like the pope, nominating bishops and consecrating them, THEN HE IS THE POPE! Because, after all the papal office is contained in the papal ministry, do the ministry and you have the office!

Finally, for a canonist to say that Canon Law does not determine reality in a discussion on the question of the canonical validity of the Renunciation is basically to concede that the Renunciation is clearly and manifestly NOT IN ACCORD WITH THE NORM OF CANON 332 §2.

So the next time anyone tells you that you must accept Pope Francis as the pope BECAUSE OTHERWISE you are a sinner or a heretic or a schismatic, maybe you should reply,

“In the Catholic Church only he is pope who has been canonically elected after the death or canonical resignation of the previous man. If one of the most eminent canonists of Rome, who supports Pope Francis, admitted to Br. Bugnolo on Nov. 19, that the Renunciation is not in conformity with the canonical requirements of the law, then I think I have an UNSHAKEABLE RIGHT by baptism to refuse Bergoglio as a usurper, for clearly, Bergoglio’s own supporters after nearly 7 years should have a canonical argument which proves his claim! And if they do not, there is none! And if there is none, why in Heaven or Earth, to I have to accept him without such a claim?”


POSTSCRIPT: It is VERY noteworthy that this eminent Canonist did not use certain arguments. He did Not:

  1. Cite the maxim referenced in Canon 1404, the First See is judged by no one (Prima sedes a nemine iudicatur), because he recognizes that an act of renunciation is of the man who holds the office, in as much as he is the man who accepted the office, not inasmuch as he is the man who holds the office.
  2. Appeal to universal acceptance: a crazed notion invented by some English speaking laymen, who having selectively quoted from John of Saint Thomas, want to apply a reflex principle, developed in an age before there was a Code of Canon Law, for troubled consciences in the time of a valid election, to silence honest inquiries into an invalid election which the principles of the Code of Canon Law clearly put it in doubt.
  3. Employ any ad hominems. That is, he did not insult me or question my motivation.
  4. Appeal to any meeting held in the Vatican after Feb 11, 2013 12 pm, noon, and before Feb. 28, 8 pm, when Benedict left the Vatican, in which there was an official determination or discussion of the canonical validity of the act to determine it was valid. Being an expert canonist at Rome, he would have heard of any, after nearly 7 years.
  5. And most importantly, perhaps, he made NO appeal to anything said by Benedict after Feb. 28, 2013, evidently because as a sane canonist, he recognizes that no testimony after the fact, regarding liberty or intention, has any bearing on the validity of a past act. Both need to be manifest in the act itself at the time of the act.

________

CREDITS: My photograph of the Holy Water fount at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls. The sculpture beneath it shows a cherub inviting the faithful to bless themselves with the Holy Water, while a demon cringes that anyone do something so extremist.

THANKS TO MY READERS: I wish to take this moment to thank all my Readers at this blog for encouraging me in my work and study to study the Renunciation. I would not have been prepared to debate the Renunciation with this eminent canonist, if I had not already learned a great deal from trying to answer your many questions and concerns during the last year.

 

Munus and Ministerium, a Canonical Study

Munus and Ministerium: A Textual Study of their Usage
in the Code of Canon Law of 1983

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

The study of Canon Law is a recondite field for nearly everyone in the Church except Canon Lawyers. And even for Canon Lawyers, most of whom are prepared to work in the Marriage Tribunals of the Church, most of the Code of Canon Law is not frequently referred to.

However, when it comes to the problems of determining the validity of a canonical act, the expertise among Canon Lawyers becomes even more difficult to find, since the circumstances and problems in a single canonical act touch upon a great number of Canons of the Code of Canon Law, and thus require the profound knowledge and experience of years of problem solving to be readily recognized.

For this reason, though popularly many Catholics are amazed that after 6 years there can still be questions and doubts about the validity of the Act of Renunciation declared by Pope Benedict XVI on February 11, 2013, it actually is not so surprising when one knows just a little about the complexity of the problems presented by the document which contains that Act.

First of all, the Latin of the Act, which is the only official and canonical text, is rife with errors of Latin Grammar. All the translations of the Act which have ever been done, save for a few, cover those errors with a good deal of indulgence, because it is clear that whoever wrote the Latin was not so fluent in writing Latin as they thought, a thing only the experts at such an art can detect.

Even myself, who have translated thousands of pages of Latin into English, and whose expertise is more in making Latin intelligible as read, than in writing intelligible Latin according to the rules of Latin grammar can see this. However, we are not talking about literary indulgences when we speak of the canonical value or signification of a text.

For centuries it was a constant principle of interpretation, that if a canonical act in Latin contained errors it was not to be construed as valid, but had to be redone. Unfortunately for the Church, Cardinal Sodano and whatever Cardinals or Canonists examined the text of the Act prior to the public announcement of its signification utterly failed on this point, as will be seen during this conference.

This is because if there are multiple errors or any error, the Cardinal was allowed and even obliged under canons 40 and 41 to ask that the text be corrected.

This evening, however, we are not going to talk about the lack of good Latinity in the text of the Act nor of the other errors which make the text unintelligible to fluent Latinists who think like the Romans of Cicero’s day when they see Latin written, but rather, of the signification of Canon 332 §2, in its fundamental clause of condition, where it says in the Latin, Si contingat ut Romanus Pontifex muneri suo renuntiet, which in good English is, If it happen that the Roman Pontiff renounce his munus….

The entire condition for a Papal Renunciation of Office in the Code of Canon Law promulgated by Pope John Paul II is founded on this first clause of Canon 332 §2.  It behooves us, therefore, when any say that the Renunciation was valid or invalid, to first read this Canon and understand when a renunciation takes place and when it does not take place.

For this purpose, in this first intervention at this Conference, I will speak about the meaning of the two words, Munus and Ministerium, in the Code of Canon Law.  I will speak of both, because, in Canon 332 §2 Pope John Paul II wrote munus and in the Act of Renunciation, Pope Benedict XVI renounced ministerium.

This study is not an idle one, or even only of academic interest. It is required by Canon Law, because in Canon 17, it says, that when there arises a doubt about the signification of a canon, one is to have recourse to the Code of Canon Law, the sources of canonical tradition and the Mind of the Legislator (Pope John Paul II) in determining the authentic meaning.

According to Canon 17 the words of Canoon 332 §2, therefore, are to be understood properly. Therefore, let us examine the Code to see what is the proper meaning of the words munus and ministerium.

Ministerium in the Code of Canon Law

This study is something everyone with the Internet can do. Because there exists an indexed copy of the Latin text of the Code on line at Intratext.com.  In the Alphabetic index of which one can find hyperlinked, all the words found in the Code, in their different Latin forms.

For the word Ministerium, there are 6 forms found:  Ministeria, Ministerii, Ministeriis, Ministerio, Ministeriorum, Ministerium.  Respectively they occur 7, 13, 3, 17, 3, 25 times each in the Code.

Let us take a look at each, briefly.

Ministeria:

The Nominative and Accusative Plural:  Occurs 7 times. In canons 230, 232, 233,  237, 385, 611 and 1035.  Each of these refer to one or more of the sacred ministries or services exercised during the Divine Liturgy, whether by priests, lectors, acolytes etc..

Ministerii:

The Genitive. Occurs 13 times.  In canons 233 twice, 276, 278, 519, 551, 756, 759, 1370, 1373, 1375 1389, 1548.  These refer to the sacred service (canons 233, in canon 271 §2, 1, to the duties of the pastoral ministry (ministerii pastoralis  officia as in canon 276, 278 or 551) which sanctify the priest, and specifically in relation to munus in several canons:

In Canon 519, where it says of the duties of the Pastor of a Parish:

Can. 519 – Parochus est pastor proprius paroeciae sibi commissae, cura pastorali communitatis sibi concreditae fungens sub auctoritate Episcopi dioecesani, cuius in partem ministerii Christi vocatus est, ut pro eadem communitate munera exsequatur docendi, sanctificandi et regendi, cooperantibus etiam aliis presbyteris vel diaconis atque operam conferentibus christifidelibus laicis, ad normam iuris.

Which in English is:

Canon 519:  The parish priest is the pastor of the parish assigned to him, exercising (fungens) the pastoral care of the community entrusted to him under the authority of the Diocesan Bishop, in a portion of whose ministry in Christ (in partem ministerii Chirsti) he has been called, so that he might execute (exsequatur) the munera of teaching, sanctifying and ruling for the same community, with the cooperation also of the other priests and/or deacons and faithful laity assisting in the work, according to the norm of law.

Let us note, first of all, that here the Code distinguishes between the munera of teaching, santifying and ruling from the entire ministry of Christ a part of which is shared by the Bishop.

And again in Canon 756, when it speaks of the munus of  announcing the Gospel, it says, after speaking of the duty of the Roman Pontiff in this regard in conjunction with the College of Bishops:

756 § 2.  Quoad Ecclesiam particularem sibi concreditam illud munus exercent singuli Episcopi, qui quidem totius ministerii verbi in eadem sunt moderatores; quandoque vero aliqui Episcopi coniunctim illud explent quoad diversas simul Ecclesias, ad normam iuris.

Which in English is:

756 §2  In regard to the particular Church entrusted to him, every Bishop, who is indeed the moderater of the whole ministry of the word to it, exercises (exercent) this munus; but also when any Bishop fulfills that conjointly in regard to the diverse Churches, according to the norm of law.

Let us note here simply that the Code distinguishes between the exercise of a munus and the ministerium of preaching the word.

Again in canon 759, ministerii is used regarding the preaching of the word. In Canon 1370 it is used in reference to the contempt of ecclesiastical power or ministry. In canon 1373, it is spoken of in regard the an act of ecclesiastical power or ministry. In canon 1548 in regard to the exercise of the sacred ministry of the clergy.

In canon 1389, it is spoken of in the context of power, munus and ministry. Let us take a closer look:

Can. 1389 – § 1.  Ecclesiastica potestate vel munere abutens pro actus vel omissionis gravitate puniatur, non exclusa officii privatione, nisi in eum abusum iam poena sit lege vel praecepto constituta.

2. Qui vero, ex culpabili neglegentia, ecclesiasticae potestatis vel ministerii vel muneris actum illegitime cum damno alieno ponit vel omittit, iusta poena puniatur.

Which in English is:

Canon 1389 §1  Let the one abusing Ecclesiastical power and/or munus be punished in proportion to the gravity of the act and/or omission, not excluding privation of office, unless for that abuse there has already been established a punishment by law and/or precept.

2. However, Let him who, out of culpable negligence, illegitimately posits and/or omits an act of ecclesiastical power and/or ministry and/or of munus, with damage to another, be punished with a just punishment.

Let us note here that the Code in a penal precept distinguishes between: potestas, ministerium and munus. This implies that in at least one proper sense of each of these terms, they can be understood to signify something different or distinct from the other.

This finishes the study of the occurences of ministerii.

Ministeriis

The ablative and dative plural form. Occurs 3 times.   In canons 274 and 674, where it refers to the sacred ministry of the priesthood and to the ministries exercised in parish life, respectively.

And in Canon 1331 §1, 3, where the one excommunicated is forbidden to exercise all ecclesiastical duties (officiis) and/or ministries and/or munera (muneribus) The Latin is:

Can. 1331 – § 1.  Excommunicatus vetatur:

1 ullam habere participationem ministerialem in celebrandis Eucharistiae Sacrificio vel  quibuslibet aliis cultus caerimoniis;

2 sacramenta vel sacramentalia celebrare et sacramenta recipere;

3 ecclesiasticis officiis vel ministeriis vel muneribus quibuslibet fungi vel actus regiminis ponere.

The English  is:

Canon 1331 §1.  An excommunicate is forbidden:

  1. from having any ministerial participation in the celebrating of the Sacrifice of the Eucharist and/or in any other ceremonies of worship
  2. from celebrating the Sacraments and/or sacramentals and from receiving the Sacraments;
  3. from exercising (fungi) ecclesiastical officia and/or ministeria and/or munera and/or from positing acts of governance.

Let us note again, that the Code distinguishes in this negative precept the terms Officia, Ministeria and Munera. This means, very significantly, that in the Mind of the Legislator, there is a proper sense in which these terms can each be understood as excluding the other. All three are named to make the signification of the negative precept comprehensive of all possible significations.

Ministerio

 The Ablative and Dative singular form. Occurs 17 times. Canons 252, 271, 281, 386 refer to the ministries exercised in the liturgy or apostolate. Canon 545 uses ministerio in reference to the pastoral ministry being proffered, 548 likewise in reference to the pastor of a parish, 559 likewise. Canon 713 refers to the priestly ministry, canons 757, 760 and 836 to the ministry of the word. Canon 899 to the priestly ministry of Christ. Canon 1036 speaks of the need a Bishop has to have knowledge that a candidate for ordination has a willingness to dedicate himself to the life long service which is the duty of orders.

Canon 1722, which has to deal with canonical trials, speaks again of the sacred ministerium, officium and munus exercised (arcere) of the one accused. Distinguishing all three terms to make a comprehensive statement of what can be interdicted by a penalty.

This far for the 17 instances of ministerio.

Ministeriorum

The genitive plural form. Occurs 3 times. In canon 230 in regard to the conferral of ministries of acolyte and lector upon laymen. In canon 499 in regard to having members of the Presbyteral Council of the Diocese include priests with a variety of ministries exercised all over the diocese. And in canon 1050, in regard to those to be ordained, that they have a document showing they have willingly accepted a live long ministry in sacred service.

And finally the Nominative Singular form.

MINISTERIUM

Of which there are 25 occurrences in the Code.

First and most significantly in Canon 41, the very canon that Cardinal Sodano had to act upon when examining the Act of Renunciation by Pope Benedict.

The Latin reads:

Can. 41 — Exsecutor actus administrativi cui committitur merum exsecutionis ministerium, exsecutionem huius actus denegare non potest, nisi manifesto appareat eundem actum esse nullum aut alia ex gravi causa sustineri non posse aut condiciones in ipso actu administrativo appositas non esse adimpletas; si tamen actus administrativi exsecutio adiunctorum personae aut loci ratione videatur inopportuna, exsecutor exsecutionem intermittat; quibus in casibus statim certiorem faciat auctoritatem quae actum edidit.

The English reads:

Canon 41: The executor of an administrative act to whom there has been committed the mere ministry (ministerium) of execution, cannot refuse execution of the act, unless the same act appears to be null from (something) manifest [manifesto] or cannot be sustained for any grave cause or the conditions in the administrative act itself do not seem to be able to have been fulfilled: however, if the execution of the administrative act seems inopportune by reason of place or adjoined persons, let the executor omit the execution; in which cases let him immediately bring the matter to the attention of (certiorem faciat) the authority which published the act.

Then, ministerium occurs again in canon 230, in reference to the ministry of the word, where officia is used in the sense of duties. In canon 245, in regard to the pastoral ministry and teaching missionaries the ministry. In Canon 249 again in regard to the pastoral ministry, in 255 in regard to the ministry of teaching, sanctifying etc.., in 256, 257, 271, 324 in regard to the sacred ministry of priests, in Canon 392 in regard to the ministries of the word. In Canon 509 in regard to the ministry exercised by the Canons of the Cathedral Chapter. In Canon 545 in regard to the parish ministry, in canon 533 in regard to the ministry exercised by a Vicar. In canons 618 and 654 in regard to the power received by religious superiors through the ministry of the Church. In Canon 1025, 1041, and 1051 to the usefulness of a candidate for orders for service (ministerium) to the Church. In Canon 1375 to those who exercise power and/or ecclesiastical ministry.

Ministerium occurs significantly in canon 1384, regard to the penalites a priest can incurr.

Can. 1384 – Qui, praeter casus, de quibus in cann. 1378-1383, sacerdotale munus vel aliud sacrum ministerium illegitime exsequitur, iusta poena puniri potest.

Which in English is:

Canon 1384  Who, besides the cases, concerning which in canons 1378 to 1383 the priestly munus and/or any other sacred ministerium is illegitimately executed, can be punished with a just punishment.

The Code explicitly distinguishes between munus and ministerium as entirely different and or distinct aspects of priestly being and action.

To finish off, the Code mentions Ministerium, again in Canon 1481 in regard to the ministry of lawyers, 1502 and 1634 to the ministry of judges, and in 1740 to ministry of the pastor of a parish.

This completes the entire citation of the Code on the word Ministry in all its Latin Forms, singular and plural.

In summation, we can see already that the Code distinguishes between proper senses of ministerium and munus, habitually throughout its canons and uses ministerium always for a service to be rendered by a layman, priest, Bishop, lawyer, judge or to or by the Church Herself. It never uses ministerium as an office or title or dignity or charge.

Munus in the Code of Canon Law

Munus is a very common term in the Code of Canon Law, occurring a total of 188 times.

The Latin forms which appear in the Code are Munus (77 times), Muneris (26 times), Muneri (2 times), Munere (48 times), Munera (20 times) Munerum (6 times) and Muneribus (9 times).

While the length of this conference does not me to cite them all, I will refer to the most important occurrences.

I will omit citing Canon 331, 333, 334 and 749, where speaking of the Papal Office, the code uses the words Munus. In no other canons does it speak of the Papal office per se, except in Canon 332 §2, which governs Papal renunciations, where it also uses munus.

But as to the proper sense of munus in the Code, let us look at the most significant usages:

First as regards predication, where the Mind of the Legislator indicates when any given proper sense of this term can be said to be a another term.

This occurs only once in canon 145, §1

Can. 145 – § 1. Officium ecclesiasticum est quodlibet munus ordinatione sive divina sive ecclesiastica stabiliter constitutum in finem spiritualem exercendum.

Which in English is:

Canon 145 § 1.  An ecclesiastical office (officium) is any munus constituted by divine or ecclesiastical ordinance as to be exercised for a spiritual end.

Second, as regards the canons governing the events of Feb. 11, 2013, there is  Canon 40, which Cardinal Sodano and his assistants had to refer to in the moments following the Consistory of Feb 11, 2013:

Can. 40 — Exsecutor alicuius actus administrativi invalide suo munere fungitur, antequam litteras receperit earumque authenticitatem et integritatem recognoverit, nisi praevia earundem notitia ad ipsum auctoritate eundem actum edentis transmissa fuerit.

In English:

Canon 40: The executor of any administrative act invalidly conducts his munus (suo munero), before he receives the document (letteras) and certifies (recognoverit) its integrity and authenticity, unless previous knowledge of it has been transmitted to him by the authority publishing the act itself.

Third, as regards to the distinction of munus and the fulfillment of a duty of office, there is Canon 1484, §1 in regard to the offices of Procurator and Advocate in a Tribunal of Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction:

Can. 1484 – § 1.  Procurator et advocatus antequam munus suscipiant, mandatum authenticum apud tribunal deponere debent.

Which in English is:

Canon 1484 §1.  The procurator and advocate ought to deposit a copy of their authentic mandate with the Tribunal, before they undertake their munus.

Note here, significantly, that the Code associates the mandate to exercise an office with the undertaking of the munus (munus). Negatively, therefore, what is implied by this canon is that when one lays down his mandate, there is a renunciation of the munus.

Finally, in regard to possibile synonyms for munus, in the Code we have Canon 1331, §2, n. 4, which is one of the most significant in the entire code, as we shall see: There is forbidden the promotion of those who are excommunicated:

4 nequit valide consequi dignitatem, officium aliudve munus in Ecclesia

Which in English reads:

  1. He cannot validly obtain a dignity, office and/or any munus in the Church.

If there was every any doubt about the Mind of the Legislator of the proper sense of terms in the Code of Canon law regarding what Munus means, this canon answers it by equating dignity, office and munus as things to which one cannot be promoted!

Note well, ministerium is not included in that list!  thus Ministerium does not signify a dignity, office or munus!

This study of Munus and Ministerium in the Code thus concludes, for the lack of time. We have seen that the Code distinguishes clearly between the terms of officium, munus, ministerium, potestas and dignitas. It predicates officium of munus alone, It equates dignitas and munus and officium. It distinguishes between potestas and ministerium.

The only sane conclusion is, therefore, that munus and ministerium are distinct terms with different meanings. They cannot substitute for one another in any sentence in which their proper senses are employed. Munus can substitute for officium, when officium means that which regards a title or dignity or ecclesiastical office.

Thus in Canon 332 §2, where the Canon reads, Si contingat ut Romanus Pontifex muneri suo renuntiet. The Code is not speaking of ministerium, and if it is speaking of any other terms, it is speaking of a dignitas or officium. But the papal office is a dignitas, officium and a munus.  thus Canon 332 §2 is using munus in its proper sense and referring to the papal office.

——

(This is a transcript of my first talk at the Conference on the Renunciation of Pope Benedict XVI, which took place at Rome on Oct 21, 2019, the full transcript of which is found here)

La rinuncia di Papa Benedetto è valida, o è viziata da un errore sostanziale?

07-Ratzinger-ciao-OR

Se Papa Bendetto XVI mediante l’atto espresso nella sua dichiarazione, « Non solum propter », ha rinunciato o meno all’ufficio del Vescovo di Roma?

UNA QUESTIONE DISPUTATA

di Frà Alexis Bugnolo

Lo Stato Attuale della Questione

L’eminente teologo vaticano ed ex membro della Congregazione per la Fede, Monsignor Nicola Bux, ha pubblicamente affermato che la questione della validità delle dimissioni di Papa Benedetto XVI andrebbe studiata, e precisamente per ciò che sembra essere un errore sostanziale, contenuto nell formula di rinuncia usata da Papa Benedetto XVI l’ 11 Febbraio 2013.

Il Mons. Bux non è stato l’unico a sollevare questo problema. In effetti, i dubbi sulla validità dell’atto di dimissioni sono stati evidenziati immediatamente dopo la notizia. Flavien Blanchon, un giornalista francese che lavora a Roma, ne scriveva appena 2 giorni dopo, citando un eminente studioso latino che aveva notato la presenza di errori contenuti nel testo della rinuncia, osservando che la presenza di qualsiasi errore, secondo la tradizione canonica, fosse da considerarsi causa di mancata deliberazione, con conseguente nullità dell’atto.

Un anno dopo Antonio Socci ha posto apertamente la questione. Le dimissioni potrebbero non essere valide, per mancanza di voglia, cioè della volontà interiore della quale poteva disporre Benedetto. Nello stesso anno abbiamo il notevole studio di Padre Stefano Violi, Professore di diritto canonico presso l’Istituto teologico di Lugano, in Svizzera: ”La rinuncia di Papa Benedetto XVI tra storia , legge e consapevolezza” , 2014, un esame approfondito dell’argomento dal punto di vista del diritto canonico. Leggere questo contributo è obbligatorio per la ricca citazione tratta dalla storia canonica delle dimissioni papali e tuttavia, pur senza sollevare il problema dell’invalidità canonica dell’atto. Ma, questo studio di Padre Violi, nell’inquadrare la questione delle dimissioni sotto il profilo del ministero attivo, e non riguardo al munus, ha chiarito che la questione dell’Errore Sostanziale è un problema vero, presente nel testo, che riguarda dunque l’atto stesso.

Tuttavia 19 giugno 2016 Ann Barnhardt, dagli Stati Uniti, ha sollevato specificamente la questione del dubbio derivante dal canone 188 , che sottolinea come l’errore sostanziale, in qualsiasi caso, sia base idonea e sufficiente a sostanziare i motivi per una determinazione canonica nel senso dell’invalidità dell’atto. Intervento, questo, successivo ai notevoli commenti del segretario personale di Papa Benedetto, del 20 maggio, ove si affermava che Benedetto occupasse ancora l’ufficio papale. Ancora: Il blogger Sarmaticus, in Inghilterra, ha discusso la questione sollevata dalle parole di Ganswein il 5 agosto 2016, sottolineando il significato di ciò che l’arcivescovo aveva detto all’ Università Gregoriana, in un post intitolato: Il rasoio di Occam trovare : Benedetto ancora papa , Francisco è un papa falso , la Chiesa universale versa in un stato di necessità sin dal 24 aprile 2005.

Anche il Vescovo emerito del Corpus Domini, in Texas, negli Stati Uniti, ed ex membro dell’Opus Dei, Monsignore René Enri Gracida ha sollevato lo stesso dubbio, ed anche altri, sulla validità delle dimissioni. Sono a conoscenza che il Vescovo abbia scritto a molti membri della Sacra Gerarchia e della Curia su queste questioni per sollecitare l’azione da intraprendere. (cf. abyssum.org : Suggerisci una dichiarazione pubblica di 12 cardinali prima di Bergoglio).

Secondo quanto riferito da Ann Barnhart, l’anno successivo, anche l’avvocato Chris Ferrara e la signora Anne Kreitzer nutrivano lo stesso dubbio. Lo storico Richard Cowden Guido ha detto la stessa cosa l’11 maggio 2017. Il famoso scrittore italiano Antonio Socci , ha citato attentamente il Violi il 31 maggio 2017, ed anche lui ha condiviso e sostenuto la stessa tesi. 11 agosto 2017, in Sud America: lo spettacolo televisivo cattolico Café con Galat in un’edizione in lingua inglese ha discusso i motivi per i quali Papa Benedetto XVI rimane il vero papa. E’ stata sottolineata tanto la mancanza di libertà nell’atto quanto la questione relativa alla mancanza di conformità ex Canone 332 §2 in combinato disposto con Canone 188.

Un po’ prima del marzo 2018 padre Paul Kramer negli Stati Uniti ha ugualmente sostenuto la nullità delle dimissioni ex canone 188, per mancanza di conformità ex al canone 332 §2 , ove viene detto ministerium invece di munus. Ancora: nel Maggio dell’anno scorso al più tardi, il Padre Juan Juárez Falcón in Spagna ha presentato la motivazione canonica dell’invalidità delle dimissioni sulla base dell’errore stanziale, in un articolo intitolato ” Due motivi gravi “. In coincidenza temporale anche Il Dr. José Alberto Villasana Munguía ha svolto le stesse considerazioni il 27 giugno, dal Messico.

Ed infine abbiamo Papa Benedetto XVI che ci offre un indici offre un indizio di interpretazione autentica, anzi zio di interpretazione autentica, anzi qualcosa di più, nelle sue lettere private al cardinale tedesco Brandmüller, pubblicate nell’estate del qualcosa di più, nelle sue lettere private al cardinale tedesco Brandmüller, pubblicate nell’estate del 2018, ove chiede 2018, ove chiede apertamenteapertamente suggerimenti riguardo alla maniera migliore di dimettersi, nel caso suggerimenti riguardo alla maniera migliore di dimettersi, nel caso ciò non fosse giciò non fosse già avvenuto nella maniera corretta.à avvenuto nella maniera corretta.

Dunque sono tanti i cattolici di spicco a sostenere questo dubbio, e poiché il teologo Nicola Bux ha richiesto un’indagine su questo argomento, aggiungerò qui in forma scolastica qualche ragione in favore della nullità, in corso dei quali rifiuterò tutti gli argomenti sostanziali contrari ad esso.

Tutti gli argomenti pro e contro devono intedersi nel constesto di canoni,

124 §1, che legge: “Per la validità di un atto giuridio si richiede che sia postao da una persona abilpersona abile, e che in esso ci sia ciò che costituisce essenzialmente l’atto stesso, come pure le formalità e i requisiti imposti dal diritto per la validità dell’atto.

188,  che legge: La rinuncia fatta per timore grave, ingiustamente indotto, per dolo o per errore errore sostanziale, oppure con simonia, è irritus per il diritto stesso.

332 §2, che legge: Se capita che il Romano Pontefici rincunci al suo munus si richiede per la validità che la rinuncia sia fatta liberamente e che venga debitamente manifestata e al contrario non si richiede che qualcuno la accetti.

È importante anche notare, per le persone di madre lingua tedesca che il Codice di Diritto fornisce una traduzione erronea per munus, come Dienst, in canone 145 §1, dove se la parola latina venisse tradotta si dovrebbe renderla come Verantwortung che è la traduzione del sinonimo giusto per munus in latino, come in latino, come onus (onere).

Per il resto, scaricare il documento intero in PDF.

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(See the English original for the footnotes)

Veri Catholici: An Open Letter to Cardinals Burke and Sarah

Their Eminences, Cardinals Burke and Sarah

The International Association « Veri Catholici » has published this open Letter to the Cardinals, on their twitter feed at @VeriCatholici. I post it here (in its unrolled format) for the sake of those who do not have a Twitter Account.

Here beings the Introduction, with the first paragraph of the Letter subordinated to it:

The rest of the text of the open Letter continues here:

“It’s also evident that canon 124.1 and canon 188 require that the proper object of canon 332.2 be posited, namely the renunciation of the munus, otherwise, in virtue of canon 188, the substantial error of doing otherwise invalidate the act ipso iure!

“Now if a pope should act in violation of Canon 332.2, since in doing so he would injure the rights of the whole Church to know who is and who is not the true Pope, he would have to apply canon 38 derogating from the discrepancy. But Benedict did not do anything of the kind!

“Therefore, he is still the pope, and canon 359 invalidated the Conclave of 2013. Also, on this account, all the Cardinals and Bishops ARE WRONG to reason from their presumption that Francis is the pope toward any conclusion. As he never was. He is an antipope, a usurper.

“Nor can one argue that the Pope, being above canon law, is above Canon 332.2, because that canon enshrines merely the principles of the Natural Law, which are superior to the Pope and from which he CANNOT dispense!

“One aspect of which is the semiotic law, whereby the being of a thing cannot in a forensic act be rite manifestatur by a term which signifies an accident of it.

“Take this example. A pope has the habit of calling the burden of his work, Bananas. And one day while shaving says, I am renouncing Bananas. Can the Cardinals lawfully proceed to elect another, if the Pope says nothing more? No, because Bananas is not a due term for a legal act.

“Even if he said, I am renouncing bananas, during a solemn Consistory of the Cardinals, they could not proceed to elect another. Not even if he commanded them or allowed them explicitly to do so, because until he says I renounce the Papacy, Christ does not remove the office!

“These Cardinals also need to recognize that the criteria employed to determine validity in contractual law is not the same in beneficiary law. For in contractual law, as is used in Annulments evidence regards whether there was a right intention, this is principal.

“But in beneficiary law, which regards bequests, the intention has no force, what matters is only the verbal signification of the act of bequest. Renunciations fall under beneficiary law, not contractual law. This is the fundamental legal error of the Cardinals and bishops.

“For just as it is impossible for anyone to be the Pope unless he succeeds to the Chair of Peter, the office, so it is impossible for anyone to renounce the Papal Office unless in a forensic act there is an explicit renunciation of that office.

“The case is analogous to property law, wherein no one is the rightful owner of the same single property, until the one who holds the property rights renounces them in a legal act. Renouncing only the usufruct (ministerium) does not grant the title to the successor in law.