by Br. Alexis Bugnolo
One of the most common canards used to discount that Pope Benedict XVI is still the pope is that, regardless of all the Canonical Evidence that he did not, He has never publicly affirmed that he did anything other than resign the papacy.
This bold assertion is the kind of propaganda used by intelligence agencies to confuse the Enemy. And if you have not yet considered the evidence, you should take note not to be led astray.
In propaganda of the kind which is used in psychological manipulation, the first characteristic sought is to lie and lie boldly. As Rousseau affirmed, “Lie, Lie and Lie, and something will come of it”, or as Adolf Hitler said, the biggest lie is the most effective:
All this was inspired by the principle—which is quite true within itself—that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods.
It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.— Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. I, ch. X
The Big Lie: Benedict Resigned
The Big Lie operative in the Church today says that “Benedict resigned”. As I pointed out in my previous post on the Vatican Coup d’etat of Feb. 11, 2013 (see link here), the Vatican has NEVER affirmed by a canonical document or press release that Pope Benedict resigned or renounced the Papacy. They merely confirmed a TWEET by a pool reporter, who knew some Latin.
This contradicts the expressed obligation of the Papal Law on Elections. Because in Pope John Paul II’s Law, Universi Dominic Gregis, n. 37, the Cardinals are obliged not to act if there has been no lawful vacancy of the apostolic see:
37. I furthermore decree that, from the moment when the Apostolic See is lawfully vacant, the Cardinal electors who are present must wait fifteen full days for those who are absent; the College of Cardinals is also granted the faculty to defer, for serious reasons, the beginning of the election for a few days more. But when a maximum of twenty days have elapsed from the beginning of the vacancy of the See, all the Cardinal electors present are obliged to proceed to the election.
And, thus, obviously, to observe that norm, the Cardinals MUST VERIFY whether there is in fact a lawful or canonical sede vacante.
In the present case, therefore, that means that they must verify that the norm of Canon 332 §2 was fulfilled. But, again, as I have said before, the Vatican has never publicly affirmed that the resignation was canonically in conformity to Canon 332 §2, which is the only canon on papal resignations.
That Pope Benedict never resigned the petrine munus, as Canon 332 §2 requires, is a fact of history. Just read the Latin text of his renunciation and follow the norms of Canon Law on how to read it (see link here, and a discussion here; see an analysis of all the official Vatican translations, all fraudulent, which have attempted to present the Big Lie, here)
But, before we consider the testimonies from our Holy Father, let us first unpack the propaganda, of the Big lie, which is employed by nearly the entire Hierarchy, except Bishop Gracida.
Exposing the Fallacy of Resorting to the Big Lie
Therefore, the canard, that Benedict needs to affirm that he has not resigned the Papacy, before anyone can take seriously the canonical arguments that he did not do so validly are to be accepted — is a complete absurdity! It’s propaganda to support the Big Lie, because it takes as its first premise (though implicit) that the assertion that Benedict did resign has the pride of place, that is, the greater authority.
The international Association of Catholics, which is opposed to the Kasperites, and called Veri Catholici, recently un-packaged the fallacy of resorting to the Big Lie, thus:
THE INSANITY IS UNENDING! — A supporter of Cardinal Burke told VC HQ that so long as Benedict does not confirm that he meant what he said, there is no evidence that what Cardinal Burke THINKS B16 meant is FALSE. Thus VC will discredit its own organization with
The correct forensic principle, which a canonist SHOULD know, is that what someone says is prima facie what he means, and he who claims that the intention was such as to make it other than prima facie IS REQUIRED TO PROVE HIS INTERPRETATION by a first hand DENIAL of the prima facie.
THUS there is no necessity AT ALL that Benedict confirm that he resigned the ministry not the office, NAY there is the necessity for the Cardinals to obtain from Benedict the statement THAT HE NEVER INTENDED TO RENOUNCE THE MINISTRY BUT RATHER THE OFFICE OF THE PAPACY.But this is impossible and contra factum, because FOR SIX YEARS BENEDICT HAS DRESSED LIKE THE POPE, SIGNED AS THE POPE, GIVEN BLESSINGS AS THE POPE DOES, AND ACCEPTED THE HONORS AND DIGNITY OF THE POPE! If that aint confirmatin of PPBXVI.org nothing is!And if anyone should claim that he calls Bergoglio the pope and lets him run the church as a pope, nevertheless, though that could put in doubt the 6 year testimony, IT DOES NOT FORENSICALLY INVALIDATE THE PRIMA FACIE rather it argues for coercion or insanity, not validity!Because FOR THE VALIDITY OF A PAPAL RESIGNATION there is required nothing but the DUE MANIFESTATION OF THE FORMAL SIGNIFICATION OF AN ACT OF RENUNCIATION OF THE PAPAL OFFICE: intentions not expressed are praeter rem!
though (a corruption of) liberty, (or) freedom (as can arise) from coercion or simony can corrupt a valid formal signification, cf canon 332.2 and 188.
(In this quotation I have corrected some typographic errors and elipsees in Italics)
With this preliminary introduction, let us proceed to the main subject then.
Pope Benedict’s Testimonies that He has not Resigned the Papacy
There are several things Pope Benedict did to signify that he never had the intention to resign and that he never did resign.
1. Normas nonnullas
First of all on Feb 22, 2013, he issued certain modifications of Pope John Paul II’s law on Papal Elections. In that Apostolic Letter, entitled Normas nonnullas (see link here), Pope Benedict did NOT make any changes to suit the occasion of a Papal resignation!
This is significant, because the Papal Law only tangentially refers to a sede vacante arising from a papal resignation, and clearly, if He had resigned the Papacy, he should have addressed that error in the Papal Law modifications which he enacted into law on Feb. 22, 2013! Not only did he NOT do that, but he modified a section of the law regarding PAPAL FUNERALS (n. 49). In this way he was giving a big sign that he was going to hold out as the Pope until death.
2. Final Audience of Wednesday, February 27, 2013: in Saint Peter’s Square
Next, In His Holiness’ final public audience to the Faithful, he confirmed this in extraordinary terms which cannot be reconciled with a papal resignation:
Here, allow me to go back once again to 19 April 2005. The real gravity of the decision was also due to the fact that from that moment on I was engaged always and forever by the Lord. Always – anyone who accepts the Petrine ministry no longer has any privacy. He belongs always and completely to everyone, to the whole Church. In a manner of speaking, the private dimension of his life is completely eliminated. I was able to experience, and I experience it even now, that one receives one’s life precisely when one gives it away. Earlier I said that many people who love the Lord also love the Successor of Saint Peter and feel great affection for him; that the Pope truly has brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, throughout the world, and that he feels secure in the embrace of your communion; because he no longer belongs to himself, he belongs to all and all belong to him.
The “always” is also a “for ever” – there can no longer be a return to the private sphere. My decision to resign the active exercise of the ministry does not revoke this. I do not return to private life, to a life of travel, meetings, receptions, conferences, and so on. I am not abandoning the cross, but remaining in a new way at the side of the crucified Lord. I no longer bear the power of office for the governance of the Church, but in the service of prayer I remain, so to speak, in the enclosure of Saint Peter. Saint Benedict, whose name I bear as Pope, will be a great example for me in this. He showed us the way for a life which, whether active or passive, is completely given over to the work of God.
(In this quotation I have added color to the text)
The Pope could not be more clear, he had resigned the active ministry of the office, not the office. He was resigning the power of governance, but remaining the pope.
All this refers not to a resignation, but a forced abdication or a voluntary retirement of someone who still retains the Papal dignity and office.
3. Pope Benedict leaves Vatican on Feb 28, 2013, as the Pope, not as Cardinal Ratzinger
The Final and loudest visible message was sent by the Pope on the following day, when he left the Vatican, but did NOT lay aside the symbols of the office of the Pope:
Even the New York Times affirmed that the Pope left the Vatican, not Cardinal Ratzinger.
ABC News shows what happened in this video:
Notice the facts, which are indisputable:
- Benedict is dressed as the Pope.
- All continue to treat him as the Pope.
- He is given official escort as a Head of State by the Italian Republic
- He flies, not to Munich, where his brother lives, but to Castel Gandolfo, the private residence of THE POPE.
Any objective observer must therefore conclude, that he remains the Pope, and is signaling that he remains the Pope. Because he is acting as the Pope, retiring from a Vatican that no longer wants him, but NOT as a Pope who has just resigned the Papacy.
NOTA BENE: Someone may say, But Pope Benedict recently said in June, 2019, that “There is only one Pope, and he is Francis”… That report was entirely false, and intentionally so. Here is more about that from Veri Catholici. Click on both links to read the two stories, the false claim by the Catholic Herald, and the debunking of the false claim by Life Site News: