Well, it’s been quite interesting the past few days as reaction rolled in about the MORAL CERTAINTY that Pope Benedict failed, by reason of Substantial Error as anticipated by Canon 188, in his attempt to partially resign the papacy.
I deleted 98% of the online comments, because I don’t have time to moderate/reply to all those, and much of it was such total nonsense that it made my head hurt. So what I thought I would do is present the most common misperceptions about what I presented and concluded, and what it all means. It might get a little harsh.
- “But but but there CAN’T be two popes. There can only be one pope. So if Benedict is pope then we have two popes.” Do you imagine you are arguing against my position with this? Of course there cannot be two “supreme” pontiffs, nor can there be two men each occupying different roles within an “expanded Petrine ministry”. You don’t need to send me links to articles explaining this, I linked to an older blog post that already explained it. Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, perfect and immutable, divinely instituted the papacy perfectly and immutably. No man, not even a pope, can alter the intrinsic nature of the papacy. Benedict’s attempt to do just this was one of the most egregious acts of hubris in the history of mankind.
- “You just like Benedict better because of his orthodoxy and Summorum Pontificum and fancy vestments and and and.” Again, the question of who is the “better pope” has ZERO impact on the reality of who “is pope.” Benedict being viewed as better, based solely on the fact that he’s not a full blown Marxist heretic intentionally leading souls to Hell on a daily basis, is true as far as it goes. But it’s also true that Benedict is a Modernist through and through, which ultimately makes him part of the problem, not part of the solution. Thinking at one point that he was part of the solution was a mistake made by many, myself included, who thought there was a way forward if only Vatican II was “properly implemented”. Not gonna happen.
- “You just like Benedict better so you’re making stuff up so that Benedict can be pope again.” Right. I am such an intellectually dishonest person, that I would knowingly advance a grave falsehood in order to mislead the faithful to make myself feel better.
- “Must you really drone on with all this legalistic mumbo jumbo?” You’ve been spending too much time on twitter if anything longer than 140 characters seems like mumbo jumbo to you. Go back and read it again, and then try to dispute the structured thought and evidence-based conclusion. I’m all ears, but please bring facts. Arguing from emotionalism, the epidemic of the day, only shows that you think reality is influenced by your feelings.
- “But if this is true, and Benedict is the sole Roman Pontiff, what happens next? What if Benedict dies before Francis? What if Francis dies before Benedict? How will we ever get back to apostolic succession? You turned Sede!”
Can we please focus on the evidence? We can’t know the future, nor does it have any bearing on determining the situation at hand. I have no idea what happens next. Dwelling on the implications is a distraction from studying the evidence. None of this has anything to do with the moral certainty that Pope Benedict is still reigning as the sole Roman Pontiff. The only thing that matters are the OBSERVABLE FACTS, which when viewed objectively are the best lens on REALITY.
The beautiful thing about being Catholic is never having to be afraid of the truth. Catholicism is the central truth of the universe. Wherever our current conundrum leads, we rely above all on Christ’s promise to the Church. Divinely instituted as the Bride of Christ, upon which the gates of Hell will not prevail, She teaches us to place all our concerns at the foot of the Cross. What have we to worry in sight of so great a sacrifice?
4 thoughts on “The failed partial resignation of Pope Benedict: Reader Commentary”
I agree with you .Obviously the choice by Pope Benedict to retire, fully vested in white as pope emeritus, is a novelty never before seen in the history of the church .His reason for doing so is probably due to law suits associated with clerical sexual abuse and he could no longer travel or wish to leave the Vatican, none of which is a valid reason to opt out of the papacy. He knew this of course hence his position as the piano playing praying ex pope.
The very least he could have done is what Our Lady has asked numerous popes to do by consecrating Russia to Her Immaculate Heart as God wills it .He failed and we are suffering the consequences as the church is thrust deeper into the diabolical mess that is the synthesis of all heresies.
Only She can help us ,Her Immaculate Heart will triumph.
I have been with the SSPX for more than 30 years and I thank God for Archbishop Lefebvre’s wisdom in founding a traditional society for priests. My son is one and it is a miracle of grace that we are able to worship God as true Roman Catholics as the world around us dismantles everything that was once sacred .I am thinking particularly of marriage and the descent into hell that so many people are facing as countries go the way of Sodom and Gomorrah.
I pray it will end soon .
Thank you .
I agree that your conclusion based on the facts is possible. I don’t yet have moral certitude that it is the proper conclusion however. If Bergoglio appears to solemnly pronounce error ex cathedra then we’ll know you are correct. Think of how many would lose the Faith if that happened! Spare us, O Lord!
My question is nothing at all like the objections you’ve listed above.
Namely: if we set aside all the confusing words and gestures (the white cassock, for instance) surrounding the abdication of Benedict XVI and concentrate instead on the actual act of abdication, I think we can agree that this canonical act (“canonical” in the sense of Canon Law) was the actual instrument or means by which the abdication was meant to be effected–not the public addresses or second-hand interviews or choices of vesture, title, and what have you.
My question: what in this actual canonical act (Benedict’s Declaratio) rendered the abdication invalid? Here is the crucial section:
“[W]ell aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant ….”
Thank you for your time and consideration!
Oh, there is plenty of evidence in the actual Declaratio itself. One piece is in the part that you quoted, There are five other places as well. The subject of a future post.