Timely reminder: “An act of deception, no matter how cleverly conceived or convincingly executed, cannot change the objective reality of a given situation”

One is reminded of the brilliant post from Louie Verrecchio at the akacatholic blog from 12 June 2017, which I have already linked to previously. This was about three weeks before I made my public declaration of moral certitude regarding the invalid resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the subsequent Bergoglian Antipapacy:

Consider, if you will, the following hypothetical scenario:
A Catholic man and woman are validly joined in holy matrimony.  At some point, the man abandons his wife. No annulment is obtained. The man, still validly wed, proposes marriage to another woman; managing to deceive even their pastor into believing that he is single. Marriage vows are exchanged at the altar with the pastor as witness, and the “newlywed” couple is widely embraced by the entire community as man and wife.
QUESTION: Is the couple validly married?
ANSWER: No, the conditions for a valid marriage, in spite of the convincing outward appearance to the contrary, did not exist. We might sum up the general principle being applied in this case as follows:
An act of deception, no matter how cleverly conceived or convincingly executed, cannot change the objective reality of a given situation.

Indeed. Louie then moves on to a not so hypothetical scenario:

A certain cardinal is validly elected pope. At some point thereafter, enemies of the pope secretly pressure him via threats of harm, perhaps either to himself or to the Church, in order to force his resignation.  The pope acquiesces to this pressure and declares his intent to resign the Office of Peter.  The resignation is invalid, of course, given that “it is required for validity that the resignation is made freely.” (See 1983 Code of Canon Law, Canon 332 §2) Alternatively, the pope could have attempted only a partial resignation, which also would render his resignation invalid under Canon 188.
The pope, still the valid occupant of the Office of Peter, manages to convince the faithful – both laity and hierarchy – that the See of Rome is vacant.  A conclave assembles and promptly elects another cardinal who is then presented to the world as the new pope, and he is widely embraced by the entire community as the Holy Roman Pontiff.
QUESTION: Is cardinal #2 the pope?
ANSWER: No, the conditions for a valid conclave, in spite of the convincing outward appearance to the contrary, did not exist.  

I brought this up back in May in relation to comments from Abp. Ganswein as he explained why Pope Benedict still asks to be addressed as “His Holiness.” The archbishop’s response was, “He considers that this title corresponds with reality.”
Since there is suddenly now a great deal more interest in this topic, and since some people continue to insist there just isn’t any evidence, that it’s all conjecture and nothing else, I’ll just paste the whole thing here:

“He considers that this title corresponds to reality.”

That headline was the response given by Abp. Ganswein to the question of certain irregularities in the papal abdication. Pope Benedict had supposedly decided to resign, yet had chosen to retain his vesture, retain his title as pope, albeit with ’emeritus’ added (which is impossible), retain his residency within the Vatican enclosure, and his form of address as remaining “His Holiness”. HERE
The press questioned, “Why?”
The answer, “He considers that this title corresponds to reality.”
In Pope Benedict’s mind (“he considers”) that the title “Pope (Emeritus)” and the formal address “His Holiness” corresponds to reality.
But hey, I’m the crazy one for pointing out obvious stuff. Just go ahead and try to suggest on the interweebs that Pope Benedict thinks he retained some portion of the papacy. YOU’RE TWISTING HIS WORDS! YOU’RE NOT A MIND READER! After all, we clearly had a conclave, and “Francis” was clearly elected, and this result seems to have been clearly greeted by peaceful universal acceptance by the cardinals, right?
Do you know what is coming up this Saturday? Everyone is talking about it… The Royal Wedding! Harry and Meghan! It will be televised all around the world, and tens of millions of people will watch. It will look spectacular. All the rituals will play out, the ceremony will unfold, vows exchanged, and the prince and princess will be husband and wife.
Except they won’t be. You see, Meghan is still married to her first husband, because divorce doesn’t exist. Divorce is anti-reality. So all that will take place on Saturday is the appearance of a wedding, but in reality is simply fancy formalized adultery and fornication. Even though everything will be done correctly according to formula, nothing will actually happen. It doesn’t matter that all the attendees and everyone watching on television will believe that a wedding just took place. The metaphysical reality of the situation is that nothing happened, because a prior event (her actual wedding) nullifies the “result” of Saturday’s proceedings. In the words of Louie Verrechio, an act of deception, no matter how cleverly conceived or convincingly executed, cannot change the objective reality of a given situation.“ HERE
Which is exactly why the 2013 conclave didn’t actually happen. It looked like it happened, everyone believed at the time it was real, but now we know that the weight of the evidence points towards a prior event nullifying its occurrence: Pope Benedict intending to hold on to at least part of the papacy. And if that is true, which I believe with moral certainty to be the case, then he didn’t resign any of the papacy, because Canon 188 says he didn’t. No resignation, no conclave.
“He considers that this title corresponds to reality.”
Out of error, truth.

“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.” – Pope Benedict

Archbishop Gänswein…said that Pope Francis and Benedict are not two popes “in competition” with one another, but represent one “expanded” Petrine Office with “an active member” and a “contemplative.” “Therefore, from 11 February 2013, the papal ministry is not the same as before,” he said. “…before and after his resignation” Benedict has viewed his task as “participation in such a ‘Petrine ministry’. (Not in its “Office”, the governance of the Church in the world, but in its “essentially spiritual nature”, through prayer and suffering.) “He left the Papal Throne and yet, with the step he took on 11 February 2013, he has not abandoned this ministry,” Gänswein explained, something “quite impossible after his irrevocable acceptance of the office in April 2005.”

And lastly, Professor de Mattei: “Benedict XVI had the ability to renounce the papacy, but consequently, would have had to give up the name of Benedict XVI, dressing in white, and the title of Pope emeritus: in a word, he would have had to definitively cease from being Pope, also leaving Vatican City. Why did he not do so? Because Benedict XVI seems to be convinced of still being Pope, although a Pope who has renounced the exercise of the Petrine ministry. This conviction is born of a profoundly-erroneous ecclesiology, founded on a sacramental and not juridical conception of the Papacy. If the Petrine munus is a sacrament and not a juridical office, then it has an indelible character, but in this case it would be impossible to renounce the office. The resignation presupposes the revocability of the office, and is then irreconcilable with the sacramental vision of the Papacy.”


5 thoughts on “Timely reminder: “An act of deception, no matter how cleverly conceived or convincingly executed, cannot change the objective reality of a given situation””

  1. A couple things, one minor, the other more serious.
    First minor, & as it were in passing: Charles Coulombe argues that Harry’s whosit was never baptized until the Anglicans did so prior to her formalities with Harry, & that she by virtue of the Pauline privilege is accordingly legitimately married to Harry. Lot of potential holes there of course, & even if finally true doesn’t contradict thrust of your argument despite that t’wouldn’t be a valid analogy.
    The second is that re-reading Ganswein’s famous Gregorian lecture, I note he says: “I was present when Benedict XVI, at the end of his mandate, removed the Fisherman’s ring, as is customary after the death of a pope, even though in this he was still alive.”
    Didn’t you once post an article indicating BXVI was still wearing that ring?

    1. Yes, I did. Instead of having the ring destroyed, as is done at the end of a pontificate, Pope Benedict intervened, and instead had an “X” carved over the insignia. The ring still exists and he appears to wear it.

  2. Grazie Doc. Tho in re-reading your earlier post, note the commenter said t’was not an X, but a cross scratched onto His Holiness’s ring. Albeit, if an ‘x,’ presumably of that ministerium part he’s refusing to exercise, even while holding to the Munus the ring represents. And – any further news, after that post, as to whether His Holiness still wears that ring?

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