Tag Archives: Pope Benedict XVI’s Renunciation

Father Z’s Dares Righteousness but needs some major guidance

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Father John Zuhlsdorf, who is known on the Net simply as, “Father Z”, from his famous blog by the same name, did something the other day which only a handful of Catholic priests have dared to do in the last 8 years: he spoke publicly about the controversy over the “resignation” of Pope Benedict XVI.

His post is entitled, “The Question of Two Pope Bothers a lot of people. Some Thoughts” and it was published on June 29, 2021.

I know at least 4 priests who would not have the courage, even though they privately recognize Benedict XVI as the true pope.

And so, for that daring, Father Zuhlsdorft deserves praise and applause from all Catholics everywhere.

We live in a time when the clergy, alas, have fallen nearly totally silent about the truths of the Faith and about the errors and falsehoods of our day. And of the greatest of these errors is that which regards understanding what happened — or, as Ann Barnhardt rightly says in a more correct language, what did NOT happen — on Feb. 11, 2013, in the Sala Clementina, from approximately 11:30 AM local time until about 11:40 P.M..

The Vatican announced that Benedict XVI had resigned. Benedict XVI three years later, in his official biography interview by Peter Seewald, however, would explicitly deny that he had abdicated. In other words, he is still the pope, but some sort of revolution or coup d’etat has taken place at the Vatican. A thing which is undeniable by all, since there are two “Popes” at the Vatican.

But since Father Zuhlsdorf has publicly opined upon the matter, and since he has in true humility admitted, as a prologue, that he is not an expert on the controversy, I will make some comments here about what I see are the grave errors which pepper his discussion and keep anyone reading it from arriving at a certain and true conclusion regarding which is the true pope.

Where Father Hunwicke got mislead

Father Zuhlsdorf opens by citing a historical example of a case in which there were two popes, believing by such reference to obtain some light on how to explain the current situation.  So he cites another rather well known Catholic priest blogger, Father Hunwicke, a convert, who lives in the United Kingdom.

Here I follow the citation of Father Zuhlsdorf:

Over at his splendid blog, Fr. John Hunwicke had an engaging piece provoked by the whirling of your planet back to the annual Feast of St. Silverius, Pope and Martyr (+537).

Fr. H used this occasion to look into a question which vexes many a thoughtful Catholic these days: two popes at the same time.  Possible?  Fact: Francis is going around doing pope things while Benedict lives in the Vatican Gardens still looking a lot like The Pope.  It’s a head-scratcher.

NB: Some people wave away questions about “two popes” or an invalid resignation.  To my mind, it is wrong-headed to gloss over hard questions that vex people, to turn a blind eye to them and whistle a happy tune with fingers deep into one’s ears.  There are people who are really upset by this situation.  We have an obligation to tackle these questions head on in order to put people at ease about them.   Let’s do that.

Back to Fr Hunwicke’s piece.

Background first:  In 537, the Byzantine general Flavius Belisarius entered Rome and deposed Pope Silverius who had been elected the previous year.  Belisarius brought in his own guy, Vigilius, and made him Pope while Silverius was still alive (for a few months, at least).  So, who was the real Pope?

Father Zuhlsdorf’s recourse to a historical example seems a reasonable way to proceed. But I submit that it is colored by the fact that he has grown up in the United States and come to believe that the Common Law principle of precedent is a good principle to apply in a dubious legal case of two popes.

Here Father gets it completely wrong in his presumption. Because the Roman Church has always chosen Roman Law not Common Law — which by the way did not even exist for some 800 years after the faith came to Rome — as Her legal system.  In Roman law, precedent has nearly no worth. What matters is what is the statuary law at the time a dispute arises, not what happened in past cases when the laws where different.

And such is the case of the example brought up by Father Hunwicke. Thus, whatever happened in that case, simply has no bearing whatsoever in regard to a solution in the present case.  This is true because in the present case, the laws which bear on determining whether the renunciation of Pope Benedict XVI was valid or not, were promulgated in 1983 in the New Code, which expressly abrogated and obrogated all past laws. Whereas, the case cited by Father Hunwicke took place some 1400 years before when there were no canons or laws regarding papal resignations, forced or otherwise.

Dom Guéranger’s quip is worthless and misleading in this debate

Now, in a controversy over law or rights, it is important to cite authorities. No one denies that. But the value of the authority depends on whether he has said anything pertinent to the debate.

Now there is no doubt that Dom Prosper Guéranger is a man worth citing. But since he died before the canons of the Church were codified in 1917 by Pope Benedict XV, he obviously approached the problem of a papal schism differently than we do today.  He had to, because there was no law to appeal to.

So citing this very learned Benedictine, as Father Zuhlsdorf does in citing Father Hunwicke, is again simply useless, even if the argument sounds good:

Hunwicke provides something from dom Gueranger concerning Silverius and Vigilius (my emphases):

“The inevitable play of human passions, interfering in the election of the Vicar of Christ, may perchance for a while render uncertain the transmission of spiritual power. But when it is proved that the Church … acknowledges in the person of a certain pope, until then doubtful, the true Sovereign Pontiff, this her very recognition is a proof that, from that moment at least, the occupant of the Apostolic See is as such invested by God himself.”

Do you get that?   No matter how strange a path by which some fellow became the one with his “bum in the chair”, when “the Church” acknowledges him, then he is the legitimate Pope.

It is simply useless, because we cannot pretend today that there is no law determining whether Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation is valid or not or makes him no longer the pope or not!  Nearly all who claim Bergoglio is the pope do entertain such a pretense, because if you don’t then you have to recognize that the law gives you no leg to stand on.

But that is not the only error, implicit in the citation of Dom Guéranger. Because, when we cannot know the facts of a case or the moral or legal principles by which it can be solved with certitude, we are forced to resort to reflex principles which indicate a probable or more probable solution.

So Dom Guéranger was right to resort to a reflex principle in a case in which he could not have known the facts well or personally. But we are wrong to do so, since we can easily have the facts of the case with certitude and can easily find the code of canon law in Latin which sets out the principles by which we can arrive with certitude at the correct answer.

A Shameful error in reading Latin

Now if anyone sees the Latin term, which is key in this controversy, and mistranslates it as office — for wont of a better term — I as a Latinist can excuse him, because I have done the same. But since Father Zuhlsdorf is rather famous for his Latinity, I will have to say that when he renders munus as office, it is a shameful error.

Admittedly Father Zuhlsdorf claims no expertise in this debate, and so perhaps does not know that Canon 17 explains how to understand the word munus, but after all that has been written, which is not hard to find on the internet, it is simply irresponsible to cite a translation of munus as office without at least pointing out the translation is wrong or insufficient to understand this controversy.

For if munus meant office, then in canon 145 §1, the Code would not define officium as a munus, under a certain sort of specification. It would simply say they mean the same thing. But it does not, therefore, in the mind of the legislator we must understand, as Canon 17 requires us, that the words do NOT mean the same thing.

And if you want to know what munus means, you can avail yourself of the only academic paper every submitted in a Conference at Rome, which followed the norm of canon 17 to discover what it means. And you can read it here. It was delivered 21 months ago and has never been refuted by anyone, anywhere.

Father Zuhlsdorf then wanders into quacksand

At this point, the learned Father Zuhlsdorf, who evidently does not know the principles of Canon Law, wanders off into speculating that the Office of the Pope can be separated from the Office of the Bishop of Rome.

This speculation has found favor and pleasure among some who are participating in this debate. But out of respect for them, I will not mention them by name.

Suffice it to say, that the office of Peter cannot be separated from the Bishopric of Rome, when both are understood properly, that is, according to the correct understanding of their terms.  We can know this with certainty, because Vatican I infallibly declared that the Pope has no authority over the deposit of the Faith. And the Deposit of the Faith includes Apostolic Tradition. Apostolic Tradition means what the Apostles handed down, left to us, for our instruction.  And obviously the office of St. Peter was left to the Church of Rome BY THE APOSTLE PETER. Hence it cannot be alienated from it by anyone.

To say otherwise is simple heresy. For it implies that Apostolic Tradition can be overthrown, corrected or changed. Now that is the doctrine of Bergoglio (e. g., in regard to the Our Father), but it is not Catholic.

And to imply that Pope Benedict XVI intended that, is not only unsubstantiated by any explicit statement, but requires a reading of his Declaratio of Feb. 11, 2013 which is artificial and strained at the best, and totally imaginary at the worst.

You do not have to play games of theological speculation, to find out whether the renunciation of Pope Benedict XVI is valid or not.  Simply read canon 332 and the text of the Declaratio and it is clear enough, if you want to see it, and if you are not a priest who is naming Bergoglio as the pope in the canon of the mass.

In Conclusion

Father Zuhlsdorf’s exposition of the controversy does contain some accurate parts, where he lays out the basic argument for the invalidity of the Declaratio to cause Benedict XVI to no longer be pope.

But for the most part his exposition is rambling and confusing and seems inconclusive.

I object strongly at his blasphemy of the Holy Ghost, in saying that that Divine Person might rig a papal election with the intent of giving us a bad pope.  God cannot will evil. To say so, is to call God the Devil.

And I demure at the entire post by Father Zuhlsdorf, because I think that if a priest open his mouth, he should at least give clear doctrine and not muddle the waters.

But what is lacking is grave also in this, that Father seems to think, by his noticeable omission, that if a priest names someone he doubts is the pope in the Canon of the Mass that he is not gravely sinning, or that if he names someone whom God knows is not the pope, he is not gravely sinning.  This omission in the article is very shocking, because it pretends to a form of Catholicism in which the manner of the offering of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is one which is acceptable to God when it is rubrically correct, regardless of whom it is offered in communion with, a true or false pope. And that makes a mockery of the Divine Majesty.

Andrea Cionci: Let’s pause on blaming the Council and investigate the Renunciation!

REPUBLISHED FROM THE LETTER TO THE EDITOR

at MarcoTosatti.com entitled,
“Il Dibattito sul Concilio è un Vicolo Cieco. Il Nodo sono le Dimissioni…”

by Andrea Cionci

AUTHORIZED ENGLISH TRANSLATION

It has been several months that, starting from a careful historical analysis of Monsignor Viganò – which I largely share – the criticism of the Second Vatican Council continues to be brought up as if it were the real Magna quaestio and the solution to the current impasse. I think this is a big blunder and as I will show, it leads to absolutely nothing but a claustrophobic dead end.

In the progression of modernism, someone wanted to see in Benedict XVI the step immediately preceding Francis: a bit ‘like comparing a bicycle to a freight train, in my opinion.

Moreover, Ratzinger himself, who, like everyone else, underwent the cultural moment and the influences of the Council period, publicly emended himself from those “sins of youth”. It is often contested that when he was pope he did not excommunicate modernist theologians on the spot, but the management “cum clava” of papal power is quite recent and we tend to forget that the pope, once, was a figure above all of the guarantor of the unity of the Church, even at the cost of tolerating some “red sheep”. No one is perfect and Ratzinger, too, must have had his weaknesses, but, at this point, why stop at the Council and not blame de Lammenais (1782-1854) and liberal Catholicism? Moreover, the erosive tendencies of Tradition began well before the Council, as Sergio Russo has well illustrated in Stilum curiae (Tosatti’s Editorial Series).

Continuously re-proposing the whine about Vatican II provides only two operational solutions.

The first is to get into a time machine, go back to 1962, drug and kidnap Karl Rahner.

The second is to use the criticism of the Council to refound the Catholic Church, leaving the “seat” to the de facto schismatics, at least regaining possession of the “faith”, with a speech such as: “Since, as we have abundantly demonstrated, from Pius XII onwards we have not been able to have a pope worthy of the name, we are tired: the time has come to take back a Roman Catholic Church with a true pope that we will appoint on our own. It is not as if we can remain without a pontiff for the next few centuries.”

I had mentioned that hypothesis here.

Since the solution of the time machine does not seem to be immediately feasible, only from the point of view of ratifying a schism, the paean on the Council would acquire a practical function, but apparently no one has the courage to continue on this path: “it cannot be done”, “it is a sin”, “it does not fit”, “it is uneconomic”, “they must leave”, “it would give scandal”, etc.

And so — excuse me — but to continue with recriminations about the Council is objectively useless and unproductive. It’s like a guy who one day finds himself with a bad office manager and starts complaining about the course of studies he undertook as a boy: either he uses that speech to find the strength to radically change his profession (“ok, I got it all wrong, now I’m going to open a chiringuito in the Bahamas”) or he keeps his office manager and learns to live with him. It’s not that complaining about his old choices solves anything.

What is more harmful, however, is that such speeches distract intellectual and moral energies from the REAL Magna quaestio: the validity of the resignation of Benedict XVI. We know that it is a complex matter, that it is necessary to apply oneself, document oneself and find the courage of lions. But steps forward have been made to clarify and disclose how the resignation was announced – both legally and formally – invalid and how it was never ratified. Even if only 10% of those alleged resignations were challenged, those who really wanted to could probably wipe the slate clean of the neo-church. Perhaps only canon 14 of the Code of Canon Law would suffice: “Laws, even irritating or incapacitating ones, in the doubt of law do not urge”. We have asked 20 canonists of the Rota for confirmation and no one has responded: an indicative sign.

It may displease many people, but objectively speaking, the only one who has gone on the counter-attack in full operation is Don Minutella, who, freed from any impediment thanks to two (!) excommunications (not justified by any canonical process) is in fact the only one to have taken the field with an army: he has founded a social channel, speaks on radio and broadcasts, administers sacraments una cum Papa Benedicto around Italy… in short, he really does “the devil tour de force”. You may or may not like him, but please, let’s stop pretending he doesn’t exist, it’s quite ridiculous. If he has been excommunicated, for anyone who doesn’t like Francis, this can only be a huge credit to him., if it is true, as many claim, that there is an “anti-Christic coup” underway? If you do not like what he says, attack him on the merits: from a loyal, fierce dialectical clash with Don Minutella can only remain on the ground something really useful.

The illusion of many traditionalists is that, once Bergoglio is dead or has resigned, the next conclave can put things back in place, perhaps – given the armored majority – through divine intercession. “You’d have to presuppose insanity”, an authoritative colleague told me, but it is a pious illusion: if Francis is not the pope, not even the next conclave will be valid, with the presence of about 80 invalid cardinals. It seems to me that we can agree on this.

Even Bergoglio’s successor, even if he were a hyper-traditionalist holy man, will find himself with a sword of Damocles over his head, the atrocious suspicion, of having been elected by an invalid conclave. That is why the main issue, upon which all Catholic observers should converge, is solely and only the validity of Benedict’s resignation. That is the only really important thing that should be at the heart of even the Bergoglians, since doubt delegitimizes their leader. They should be the first to ask for a “commission of inquiry”, if they have nothing to hide. (Why do they turn a deaf ear?).

Even the tight criticism of Francis and all matters of the neo-church, what is the point? If Bergoglio is not the legitimate pope, and was put there by the modernist Masons, as they say, what do you expect, that he restore the sedes gestatoria and the Noble Guard?

Besides the crux of the resignation issue, the only valid (sideways) topic of debate should be: Why is no one moving? Why aren’t the cardinals speaking out as they should? What are they waiting for? Why aren’t the clergy mutinying en masse? Is it better to ask for enlightenment directly from Benedict XVI, or to organize a synod?

These are the questions that matter: whether Ratzinger is a modernist or not is of no importance, and, in the end, it doesn’t even matter whether he himself has organized a more or less voluntary invalid resignation. That speech may be an encouragement to decide to challenge the resignation, but the point is to establish whether Benedict legally resigned or not, regardless of everything, of his intentions and even of whether Francis is, or is not, a good pope. Before judging him as a pontiff, one must verify that he really is.

Archbishop Viganò: Benedict’s Renunciation might be purposefully invalid

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Good Friday — April, 2, 2021: In a wide ranging interview by Aldo Maria Valli, published yesterday, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has openly conceded that the renunciation of Pope Benedict XVI might be invalid, and intentionally crafted for that purpose.

Click HERE above to read the original.

The comments of the Archbishop regard a question posed by Aldo Valli, in response to the crusade by Andrea Cionci of Il Libero here in Italy (see HERE), who has published numerous articles in March, of this year, exposing the invalidity of the Renunciation and the precise meaning of it in the mind and writings of His Holiness, Pope Benedict. In Cionci’s latest piece, he reports that the Secretary of State had approved the text of the Renunciation with all its errors!

Here is an English of the key passage in that interview:

Valli: You may have seen, Your Excellency, that again the question of “who is pope and who is not pope” has been brought up. Some say: since Bergoglio was elected on the basis of the maneuvers of the Mafia of St. Gallen and perhaps with irregularities during the Conclave, he is not pope. But Ratzinger would still be, who would have renounced the throne not freely, but because forced by strong pressure, and would have deliberately written incorrectly the Latin text of the renunciation to make it invalid. Church-Fiction? Or is there some element to be taken into serious consideration?

Viganò: Several causes – strong and undue pressures from outside the Church and from prominent members of the Hierarchy, as well as Joseph Ratzinger’s personal character – might have led Benedict XVI to formulate a declaration of renunciation in a totally unorthodox way, leaving the Church in a state of grave uncertainty and confusion; machinations of a group of progressive conspirators might have indicated in Bergoglio the candidate elected later during a conclave marked by violations of the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis that regulates the election of the Roman Pontiff: these elements might be such as to render Ratzinger’s abdication null and void, the Conclave of 2013 null and void, and the election of his successor. However, although widespread and undeniable, these elements require confirmation and above all a declaration by the supreme authority of the Church. Any pronouncement made by one who does not have the authority to do so would be reckless. I also believe that, at present, the dispute over who is the reigning Pope serves only to weaken the already fragmented healthy part of the ecclesial body, sowing division among the good.

Let us confidently pray to the Lord to bring the truth to light and show us the way forward. For now, strengthened by the virtue of Prudence that orders the means to the ultimate end, let us remain faithful and jealously guard what the Church has always believed: quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus creditum est.

To the Archbishop’s assertion that, “Any pronouncements made by one who does not have the authority to do so would be reckless”, I can only respond that, not only does every man by natural right have the authority to say munus does not equal ministerium, but every Catholic as a member of the Mystical Body of Christ knows that the only true and authentic unity of the Church is founded upon acknowledging the truth of things and of law, and not upon a political consensus!

But the Archbishop does point out, if in an obscure manner, that all roads now lead to another Synod of Sutri, to which all Catholics, but especially the faithful and clergy of the Diocese of Rome, have a right to ask to be convened and to have an official response.

Finally, however you regard the Archbishop’s position, his statements will leave ever honest Catholic the opportunity to at last put to rest and bury the “Bergoglio is certainly the pope” narrative, pushed by the controlled Catholic traddie media, so shamelessly and with so many fraudulent claims, arguments, reasons, during the past 5 years.