Re-post and commentary from the Tosatti review of Socci’s book

It may be a few days before I get through the Socci book myself, and I have a few other posts that are going to be published first. So below is the Tosatti intervention and book review from the original Italian release of the book, back in November. Enjoy!


Tosatti via Socci: “He has intended to remain still pope”

2018.06.28 Concistoro CPF
The ontological reality is that there can only be one

Marco Tosatti yesterday reviewed, and I excerpt here, (original Italian HERE) the new book from Antonio Socci, The Secret of Benedict XVI, Why he is still pope:  Forgive google translate, and feel free to post corrections in the combox. Emphasis mine.

“So, for Benedict XVI we must ask ourselves: did he really renounce the Petrine ministry altogether? Is he no longer Pope? ” Socci answers: “From the subjective point of view we can therefore say that his intention – which is decisive to define the act he did – was not to be no longer Pope … It is clear that – despite having made a renunciation on the papacy (but what kind?) he has intended to remain still pope, albeit in an enigmatic way and in an unprecedented form, which has not been explained (at least until a certain date) “.
And in fact we must remember that Benedict said, speaking of the Roman pontiff: “The “always” is also “forever”- there is no longer a return to private life. My decision to renounce the active exercise of the ministry does not revoke this “.

“In light of his last speech, one understands why Joseph Ratzinger remained “in the enclosure of Peter “, Benedict XVI is still signed, he defines himself as” pope emeritus “, has papal heraldic insignia and continues to dress as pope”.
So, unlike what happened previously in the history of the Church, today there are de facto two popes; that mutual legitimacy is recognized in a more or less ambiguous way. An exceptional and unprecedented situation. WRONG. No, we don’t have de facto two popes, because that is an ontological impossibility. This is exactly the colossal error of Benedict. Socci and Tosatti both recognize that Benedict only attempted a partial abdication, but then erroneously conclude that he actually pulled it off, and the “expanded petrine ministry” is a real thing.

The conclusion of the canonist is clear: “The object of irrevocable renunciation is the execution muneris through action and speech ( acting et loquendo ) not the munus entrusted to him once and for all”.
And “the limited renunciation of the active exercise of the munus constitutes the absolute novelty of the renunciation of Benedict XVI”.
Items confirmed by the Prefect of the Pontifical House, Msgr. Georg Gänswein according to which the “renunciation” of Benedict XVI – who “decided not to renounce the name he had chosen” – is different from that of Pope Celestine V who – after his abandonment of the papacy – “had once again become Pietro dal Morrone “.
And he continued with one of the most surprising and sensational statements: “Therefore, from 11 February 2013 the papal ministry is no longer the same as before. It is and remains the foundation of the Catholic Church; and yet it is a foundation that Benedict XVI has profoundly and durably transformed into his exceptional pontificate ( Ausnahmepontifikat ) “.
It is the node of the dual ministry, that is, the point where the “collegial dimension” of the Petrine ministry is proposed, “almost a common ministry”.

A concept that is needed sooner or later to be unraveled. But whoever opposes and wants to challenge this conception of facts – would find himself dealing with the question of the validity of a dubious or partial waiver

“Whoever opposes and wants to challenge this conception of facts – would find himself dealing with the question of the validity of a dubious or partial waiver.”

benedict shirt final 2

13 thoughts on “Re-post and commentary from the Tosatti review of Socci’s book”

  1. To say that Benedict “made a mistake” in his Renunciation Announcement, thus attributing stupidity to Benedict, and placing oneself above one of the world’s most knowledgeable and intelligent men is nothing less that pride.
    To say that “he intended to make a mistake” is to make him out to be dishonest. This is cruel and unintellectual. Here is an analysis of two paragraphs of Dom Ganswein’s 20 May 2016 talk at the Gregorian for the release of Roberto Regoli’s new Biography of Benedict’s Pontificate. I challenge anyone to prove wrong what is said here. Please read this carefully
    Paragraph 18
    “The epochal resignation of the theologian Pope has represented a step forward essentially on account of the fact that on the 11th of February 2013, speaking in Latin before the surprised Cardinals, he introduced into the Catholic Church the new institution of “Pope Emeritus”, declaring that his strengths were no longer sufficient “in order to exercise in a suitable manner the Petrine Ministry”. The key word of that Declaration is munus petrinum, translated – as occurs most of the time – by ‘petrine ministry’. And yet, munus, in Latin, has a multiplicity of meanings: it can mean service, duty, guide or gift, even prodigy. Before and after his resignation Benedict understood and understands his duty as participation in a certain “petrine ministry”. He has left the Pontifical Throne and yet, with the step of 11 February 2013, has not absolutely abandoned this ministry. He has instead integrated/supplied the personal office with a collegial and synodal dimension, as if a ministry in common, as if with this he had wanted to validate once again the invitation contained in that motto which the then Joseph Ratzinger took for himself as Archbishop of Munich and Freising and which later on he naturally maintained as Bishop of Rome: “cooperatores veritatis”, which signifies precisely “cooperators of truth”. In fact, it is not in the singular, but in the plural, drawn from the Third Letter of St. John, where at verse 8 it is written: “’We ought to welcome these persons in order that they become cooperators of truth.’”
    After speaking about Benedict’s election and some aspects of his Pontificate related in Professor Regoli’s book, Dom Gänswein centers in on Benedict’s renunciation on 11 February 2013. By this announcement that shocked the entire world, Benedict’s Secretary states that a new “institution” was introduced into the Catholic Church, the institution of “Pope Emeritus”. What was meant by “institution” is that such a title had never been used by any Pope who had retired in the past, but because of the precise mode of his renunciation announcement, he was establishing a new classification for the Papal Office by the use of “Pope Emeritus.” This was no accident, for it was done even against the advice of prominent Canonists; Benedict wanted to tell us something. Then quoting from Benedict’s Declaration, having been made in Latin, Dom Gänswein tells the audience that Pope Benedict’s “strengths were no longer sufficient ‘in order to exercise in a suitable manner the Petrine Ministry’”.
    Notice that Dom Gänswein uses the term “Petrine ministry,” (not “Petrine Office,”) which “ministry” in post-Vatican II language refers to the Office of the Papacy. This novel tactic of denoting the Papacy as a “ministry” seems to be an effort to view the Papal Office as a way of accommodating the new theology of “collegiality,” and implies as well that the Papacy is essentially sacramental rather than juridical. In any case, Archbishop Gänswein immediately appears to equate “Petrine Ministry”, with the Petrine OFFICE (“munus Petrinum”), which term Benedict himself used and meant in his Official Latin Declaration and which, to repeat ourselves, is the formal canonical term used in referring to the Papacy. However, it must be noticed that the Archbishop prefaces “Petrine ministry” with “the exercise of the.” In so doing he distinguishes between the “Petrine Office” and the “exercise of that Office,” (the Office and the exercise thereof being distinct) even though he uses the term “Petrine ministry” redundantly. Only subsequently, Benedict’s Secretary introduces the Latin word “munus”, and proceeds to provide the various meanings of “munus.” He doesn’t translate it as “office” here, which is the canonical meaning, but he does mention the word “duty” which is what office (officium) actually means.
    The Archbishop continues:
    Before and after his resignation Benedict understood and understands his duty as participation in a certain “petrine ministry.” He has left the Pontifical Throne and yet, with the step of 11 February 2013, has not absolutely abandoned this Petrine ministry.
    Keeping in mind that Benedict in his Declaration uses the term “munus” where Dom Gänswein, in order to maintain the modern terminology, uses the term “ministry.” The above literal translation can be rendered in this way, given what was said above: “Before and after his resignation Benedict understood and understands his Office/Duty as ‘taking part in’ a certain ‘exercising’ of the Petrine Office “originally “a certain petrine ministry”). He has left the Pontifical Throne and yet, with the step of 11 February 2013, he has not absolutely abandoned the Petrine Office” (originally “not . . . abandoned this—meaning Petrine— ministry”
    Consequently, Benedict understood his participation (in Italian, “taking part in”) in a “certain ‘Petrine ministry’” (Petrine Duty or Office), before his resignation, as exercising all three Powers (ministries) of the Papacy—Teaching, Governing and Sanctifying. After his renunciation, in his current situation he understands his participation (“taking part in”) in a certain “Petrine ministry” (not having “absolutely abandoned” this Petrine Duty or Office, which includes the Powers Teaching, Governing and Sanctifying) as exercising the Power of Sanctifying. Nevertheless, still possessing the Papacy, he does not exercise the Powers of Teaching and Governing, for he had resigned from the exercise of those Powers, which Powers he still possesses.
    It should be noted that in the first paragraph of Pope Benedict’s announcement he uses the Latin word “vires” literally meaning “strength” or “power” (as opposed to salus, sanitas or valetudo which refer to health), when he speaks about his strength not being suitable (as Gänswein uses) for the “exercise of the Papacy.” The use of the word “vires” must considered in the context of the first sentence of Benedict’s renunciation when he speaks of his “decision of great importance for the life of the Church.” That first sentence actually connects Benedict’s resignation to the Third Secret of Fatima. In making that connection the use of the word “vires” seems to indicate not so much the his weakened powers of old age are not the cause of not being suitable “for RIGHTLY to administering the Petrine Office”, but rather that the enemy within is becoming more powerful.
    In the second sentence of the second paragraph—in the Latin version of the Declaration, Benedict again refers to his “strength of mind and body” [official English translation] having been diminished. But the Latin word used this time by Pope Benedict is “vigor”, which means liveliness, life, activity, vitality or energy. The sense of Benedict’s “excuses” for resigning seem to indicate more a reduced ability due to external rather than to internal influences, although there can be no doubt that the external influences will affect a person mentally and physically internally.
    Also, in the Latin text aeque is used, and though translated in the “adequate” in the English version of the Announcement, aeque can also mean rightly or justly as well as adequately). Thus Benedict had lost his power “for administering the Petrine Office (munis Petrinum in the Latin text) adequately as [his] age advances.” This does not connote weak health of body; it refers rather to one’s physical power, vigor, effectiveness, or influence.
    Now, the sentence beginning with, “[h]e has instead integrated/supplied…..” is enigmatic and seems troublesome. However, after assuring his audience that “[b]efore and after his resignation Benedict understood and understands his duty as participation in a certain ‘Petrine ministry,’” Dom Gänswein is explaining that Benedict has by his renunciation established the appearance of a “collegial and synodal dimension.” He does this by introducing the following phrase and the next clause as well by “as if” and uses the Italian Subjunctive (“quasi” and “come se” with the Subjunctive “volesse”), which as the definition of the Subjunctive mood above states, “expresses an action or a state not as a fact, but as a possible, probable, uncertain or expedient and, most frequently, depending on another action or state expressed or understood.” Thus it is “[a]s if with this [collegial and synodal dimension]” Gänswein continues, “he had wanted to validate once again the invitation contained in that motto which the then Joseph Ratzinger took for himself as Archbishop of Munich and Freising and which later on he naturally maintained as Bishop of Rome: “cooperatores veritatis”, which signifies precisely “cooperators of truth”. The question arises, “Who is he cooperating with?” It is hard to believe that he intends to cooperate with Francis, whom he knew ahead of time to be at odds with Catholic Teaching. There is only an appearance, then, of cooperating with Francis, precisely because Benedict has maintained the Petrine Office but with singular ministry, a kind of exercise of the Office of Sanctifying different from the “personal” exercise of the Office while he occupied the Throne of Peter. This distinct mode of “ministry would be the Benedictine monastic style of praying and doing penance at his residence, Mater Ecclesiae. It was probably Benedict’s intention to have Dom Gänswein as his Secretary in order to by a “cooperator of truth” with him, and who as active as the Prefect of the Papal Household.. But it could also be that Benedict would then through prayer sacrifice “participate” with Our Lord and Our Lady, sharing with them the Passion of the Mystical Body of Christ.
    Paragraph 19
    “From the election of his successor Francisco on 13 March 2013 there are therefore not two Popes, but in fact an expanded ministry – with an active member and a contemplative member. On account of this Benedict XVI has renounced neither his name nor his white soutane. For this reason the proper appellative with which he is addressed is still today “Holiness”; and on account of this, moreover, he has not withdrawn into an isolated monastery, but to the interior of the Vatican – as if he had taken only one step aside to make room for his successor and a new stage in the history of the Papacy which he, with that step, has enriched with the “central” office for his prayer and his compassion in the Vatican Gardens.”
    In Paragraph 19, fifth from the end of Dom Gänswein’s talk, he stresses once again that “there are therefore not two Popes, but in fact an expanded ministry….” That ministry belongs to Benedict, not in union with or in addition to Francis. Rather, it is an expansion of the “exercise of the Power of Sanctifying, by means of a mode distinct from the other “ministries,” or ways of exercising the Office of Sanctifying, which he had while actually active in the Chair of Peter, as will become clear hereafter. Benedict’s situation, or better yet, Pontificate. is only in a minor way different from several other Pontificates which have existed in the past—listed below (mainly because Benedict’s is free, legitimate and official while the others were involuntary), two of which were stressed at the beginning of his talk:
    Pope John Paul II, a Pope incapacitated by illness;
    Pope Gregory VII, a Pope in exile;
    To these can be added:
    Pope Caius, a Pope in hiding;
    Pius VII, a Pope in captivity;
    Finally there is the added “extended” ministry:
    Benedict XVI, a Pope voluntarily and officially reduced to a religious, because due to circumstances while active making it impossible for him to function justly.
    In stating that the expanded ministry has an active and a contemplative member, Dom Gänswein is saying, as indicated above, that Benedict would be the contemplative member exercising in a special way the Office of Sanctifying through prayer and penance and Archbishop Gänswein as the active member, a sort of attenuated and specialized “Curia.” The choice of words MUST be noted, namely, “active MEMBER” and “contemplative MEMBER,” not an “active POPE” and “contemplative POPE.” There can be no mistake that the Archbishop meant what he said; that there are two members, not two Popes but only one.
    Perhaps it could be also be said that he is also the potentially active member—if and when the opportunity appears—such that Benedict could “un-retire” from the exercise of the Office with regard to teaching and governing. Since Dom Gänswein says that there is only one Pope, and that Pope is Benedict, these are the only interpretations that can be given. Perhaps Benedict also understood an “expanded ministry” as the exercise “ministry” of the Office of Sanctifying according to that special mode of a total dedication to prayer, this added mode being something that Benedict could not practice while active.
    The words of Benedict during his homily at the Mass of his installation on 24 April 2013 are quite significant. They shed light on Benedict’s whole Pontificate and perhaps are the most proper interpretation of what Dom Gänswein meant in referring to an “expanded ministry—with an active member and a contemplative member.”
    “Dear Friends! At this moment, there is no need for me to present a program of governance…. My real program of governance is not to do my own will, not to pursue my own ideas, but to listen, together with the whole Church to the word and the will of the Lord, to be guided by Him, so that He Himself will lead the Church at this hour of our history. Instead of putting forward a program I should simply like to comment on the two liturgical symbols which represent the inauguration of the Petrine ministry…..”-
    Benedict’s program is that both he and the Faithful must listen to Christ and that the Lord Himself will lead the Church “at this hour.” Note that whenever Christ spoke of His Passion and Death, He called it His “hour,” (“Behold the hour is at hand” (Mt.: 26, 45) or “my hour is not yet come,” (Jn.: 2, 4), and again “Jesus knowing that his hour was come,” (Jn.: 13, 1), etc.). Benedict most certainly is referring to the Passion of the Mystical Body of Christ; Christ did not put up any opposition when His “hour” had come, and hence when His Mystical Body has Its “hour” Benedict puts up no opposition. Yes, even at the beginning of his Pontificate, Benedict is telling the Church that it must be the Lord who leads the Church, for he (Benedict) seemed to sense that he would be absolutely paralyzed by the diabolical powers within the Vatican, which he sees as the “will of the Lord.” This is not to say the Our Lord does not continually lead the Church, for he is the Invisible Head of his Church.
    Under the conditions Benedict anticipated he would encounter and Christ “lead[ing] the Church”, that is “Governs” and “Teaches” the whole Church, the Faithful as well as Benedict, both “listen[ing] ,….. to the word and the will of the Lord” while both pray and do penance, as Our Lady requested at Fatima, and as Sr. Lucia warned Fr. Fuentes, about not looking to “Rome”, “Father, we should not wait for a call to the world from Rome on the part of the Holy Father to do penance. Nor should we wait for a call for penance to come from the Bishops in our Dioceses, nor from our Religious Congregations.” In other words, Our Lord will as it were enlighten and guide those who have the Sensus Fidei, the Sense of the Faith at this dark hour of the Passion of the Church. Christ was not abandoning His Church by this death on the Cross, nor would Benedict be abandoning the Church in his own passion and death as Pope, both of which he seems to anticipate, both in his homily referenced above, but also by his fixation on martyrdom during the first year of so of his active Pontificate.
    As can be seen from the explanation above and given the situation in the Church, the “expanded ministry” is NOT Francis and Benedict but The Lord along with Benedict in a novel adjustment to his Pontificate. The active member is Christ Himself, while Benedict, who had been rendered powerless for Governing and Teaching, takes on a contemplative role.
    As mentioned earlier, in this same paragraph, #19, we see the use of “as if” with the Subjunctive (“come se avesse”) where Benedict while taking up his new residence within the Vatican “steps aside [as if] to make room for his ‘successor’”—this use of the Subjunctive Mood indicates the conveyance of an impression and not a reality.
    Hopefully, these comments have been sufficient to show that what Dom Gänswein is saying is that Benedict is the one and only Pope of the Catholic Church. It is demonstrated, as will become clear, in the next chapter through an analysis of the Latin text of Benedict’s Declaration that such is what he actually brought about. Benedict, himself by his dress, his name, place of residence and by his various references to abdicating the ministry of the Office of teaching and ruling sees himself as the one Pope.
    Archbishop Gänswein’s absolutely clear-cut statement publicly proclaims that there is only one Pope, Benedict, and that the result of Pope Benedict’s renunciation is only that of an expanded ministry which “ministry” (the new term for the Papacy) Dom Gänswein, in an equivocation, means to say Pontificate, the Papacy of Benedict with an added way of exercising it. The essence of the Petrine Office remains unchanged. The expansion, as indicated above, is an “expanded” EXERCISE of the Office of Sanctifying whereby the Pope takes on an additional role as “hermit” in prayer and penance for the good of the Church and reparation for the filth that fills the Church even to the very top.
    As mentioned already, this will become evident and this is the reality which the Faithful—Prelates, Priests and Lay, should be concerned about. As for how to go about treating that situation, it would be necessary to attempt to meet with those prelates who are known to be troubled by what is going on, especially the various Cardinals, Cardinal Burke perhaps taking the lead and those Bishops as well who are concerned. This is the ONLY SOLUTION (the recognition that Benedict is Pope) THAT IS WORKABLE UNDER THE EXISTING CIRCUMSTANCES! Many Prelates are worried, but it will take some cooperation among those Prelates to know how to proceed from that starting point, and yes, even if it means a division between those who follow Francis and those who follow Benedict. This IS NOT SCHISM!!! For, those who are in power today are absolute enemies of the Church, and one does not create a schism by seceding from the enemy!

    1. Dear Father,
      Your post was an extremely tough read; it was like slogging through knee-deep Play Doh to try to get to your main points. That’s by way of disclaimer in case I have misinterpreted you.
      Just some thoughts on some of those points:
      “To say that Benedict “made a mistake” in his Renunciation Announcement, thus attributing stupidity to Benedict, and placing oneself above one of the world’s most knowledgeable and intelligent men is nothing less that pride.”
      Not necessarily. Knowledge and intelligence in no way guarantee correctness.
      When all of your knowledge sits on top of a foundation of the *false* knowledge of Modernist philosophy, everything is tainted with error at the root.
      When all your intelligence operates upon error, all you get are more complicated errors; more insane insanities.
      What is the point of even quoting “Dom” Ganswein? He has no authority to define the nature of the papacy.
      You speak of the “…Office of Sanctifying, which he [BXVI] had while actually active in the Chair of Peter”. The capitalizations would seem to indicate that you think that there is some power of sanctifying, inherent in the Papal Office *as such*, which is distinct from that which any other bishop has (e.g. the sacramental powers of being able to give Confirmation and Holy Orders). If you do, what is your support for this? As far as I know, the Church has never taught this. As far as I know, the Papal Office (the munus, the duty, the JOB of the pope) consists solely in being the highest authority of Rule and Teaching. As far as I can see, there are only three ways that a special Papal power of sanctifying could exist.
      1) Essentially (i.e. as inherent in the Office itself)
      a) The pope constitutes some kind of eighth sacrament. Somehow, *over and above the power of conferring the seven sacraments which any bishop has*, the pope is a channel of grace by the mere fact of holding the office of pope. Or he has some special charism, given by the Office itself, by which holiness kind of oozes out of him and into the faithful. This would be pietistic nonsense. Nothing supports it, least of all historical fact.
      b) The pope — just by virtue of being pope — is immediately made more holy than other people, so that his prayers and penances give him more clout with God. This too would be pious piffolity.
      2) Per accidens
      That the pope, by using well the only powers that the Papal Office gives to him (i.e. supreme Rule and supreme Teaching authority), thereby *indirectly* sanctifies the faithful, by guiding them well so that they will make better use of the usual means of grace. Thus there is NO separate sanctifying power in the Papacy as such.
      I hold that #3 is the only option supported by Tradition or history.
      “Benedict’s situation, or better yet, Pontificate, is only in a minor way different from several other Pontificates which have existed in the past—listed below (mainly because Benedict’s is free, legitimate and official while the others were involuntary)”
      In ALL the cases of former popes that you list, anyone can see that they *retained* the Office of the Papacy, and ALL its powers. They were simply hindered by circumstances *beyond their control* in excercising them. If they had to leave the practical government of the Church to others for a time, that was recognized as an abnormal situation, and it was also recognized that ALL the Papal powers *as such* remained with the ONE actual pope, even though he was hindered from using them.
      BXVI, on the contrary, claims to be able to *voluntarily* assign, on a permanent basis, some or all of his specifically papal powers to other persons, and this even when he still has the physical and unhindered capacity to exercise them.
      Just how do you justify that there is only a “minor” difference”; that the historical examples you give are essentially equivalent to what BXVI is pretending to do?
      Maria te custodiat.

      1. Sorry. Should have been “I hold that #2 is the only option supported by Tradition or history”

  2. For the wise and the learned, frdbelland breaks substantial error down into microscopic detail. It is substantial. Epic. They went big.
    For simpletons like me, the picture at the top is enough.

  3. Thanks for posting this valuable info, Mark. Just as an observation, due to the format in which you posted, I sometimes found it a bit difficult to follow who said what – Tosatti, Socci, or you yourself?
    BTW, interesting comments.

  4. To say that Benedict “made a mistake” in his Renunciation Announcement, thus attributing stupidity to Benedict, and placing oneself above one of the world’s most knowledgeable and intelligent men is nothing less that pride.
    I don’t think anyone is claiming he made a “mistake” in the sense of erroneously doing something he did not intend to do. The “mistake” is believing he can split the Petrine ministry. Personally, I do not think he made a “mistake” either way – I think he knows it cannot be split, and I think he intentionally resigned this way to plant a “safety valve” down the road. He was, after all, present at Vatican II and should know all about planting time bombs. When both he and Bergoglio are long gone, this valve can be turned to release the built up pressure from Bergoglio’s inanities. With the wolves closing in, he saw this as a check mate move. But then, I am an incurable optimist.
    Socci and Tosatti both recognize that Benedict only attempted a partial abdication,
    Which, if true, leaves only two possibilities – (1) Benedict fully abdicated because you cannot partially abdicate, and any attempted partial “retention” (the flip side of abdication) is impossible, or (2) the exact opposite – he did not abdicate at all because a resignation must be all or nothing if the thing being abdicated cannot be split. If he did attempt partial abdication, then it appears to me the latter outcome is more likely. For example, if I abdicate my right to taste a one-bite sized lollipop but retain the eating of it, the taste and eating cannot be separated. By retaining the eating (or, abdicating only the tasting) I have abdicated nothing because the tasting is in the eating of it.

    1. It would seem he only intended to abdicate partially, while retaining the Munus (violating Canon 188). In the Latin original of the Declaratio, that’s exactly what he did (violating canon 332.2). Since the papacy was divinely instituted as a monarchy, it cannot be bifurcated. Therefore the abdication is rendered fully null, and the situation reverts to the status quo. BiP.

  5. Dear Smith, I appreciate the input very much, but let me provide some background, first. The comment I made above came from a Chapter of my Treatise on Benedict’s resignation. This had been sent to someone who had volunteered to “proof” the text. Apparently, the one to whom I entrusted the proofing was not thorough, and I didn’t read the text before posting it here. I felt very bad when I went back to reread the comment here, and I assure you it WILL be made more understandable. My apologies. But from another angle, one must understand the nature of Benedict’s situation in order to realize what is really at stake there. It is essentially demonic and the intrigue is such that one is always looking over his shoulder to see who’s watching or listening, for Ganswein reveling too much and too openly Benedict’s agenda could jeopardize not only Dom Ganswein’s job, but also Benedict’s effort to keep the Papacy out of the hands of the vicar of Satan.
    Before getting into specifics, it must be stated, and it is something that MUST be believed, that in the Church there are three Powers, two of which Christ first explicitly promised to Peter, but then conferred them, all three, at the time of Peter’s threefold attestation of his love for Christ. Those three Powers are the Power of Governing, the Power of Teaching (which two Powers, truly distinct, one pertaining to the intellect and the other to the will–Tanquerey, in a wide sense are embraced by the Power of Jurisdiction) and the Power of Sanctifying, or if you will, of Orders, and they flow from the threefold Office of Christ as Priest, King and Prophet. These three powers are inseparable from the Petrine Office, but their “exercise” of those Powers cannot be identified with the Powers themselves..
    Now, It must be understood that at no time in the history of the Church, until our own times, has there been a “final battle between Christ and Satan,” indeed, a battle in which as Bishop Sheen mentioned in one of his talks, probably referring to Pope Leo XIII’s vision, Satan was “given [allowed] a very long rope.” And since Satan and his demons are spiritual creatures they must use human beings to do their work, but that doesn’t prevent them from causing havoc according to their own nature which is much more versatile and powerful than ours. As such we mere human being do not usually understand and could not be expected to understand how the devil works, something that even exorcists have a difficult time with. Nevertheless, it does behoove us, upon realizing the demonic nature, to do what we can to understand the machinations of the devil. Beyond that however, I believe that what Cardinal Cerejeira said in 1959 when he told the participants at the opening of a tour of the Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima across Italy in 1959 was in fact a real prophecy, namely, “It is an apocalyptic hour for the world. These are frightening winds from hell which are blowing, and the elect themselves are allowing themselves to be carried away.”
    On another level, however, confusion has arisen from the Dom Ganswein’s very talk. How many interpretations have been attributed to what he said? But the German journalist Paul Badde, not understanding precisely what Ganswein was saying, tried to pin him down in an interview already on 27 May 2016, and just a couple months ago tried to clarify what the Archbishop had actually said–I must say he is pretty slippery, certainly for good reason. In other words, Dom Ganswein had to be very careful how he worded his speech, which was in fact quite in keeping with the Diplomatic practice of the Vatican. Having studied Latin under one of the World’s foremost Latinists, Fr. Reginald Foster, who besides teaching also worked in the Secretary of State’s Office, I have some background on diplomatic techniques.. So, when it comes to an attempt to interpret such a talk, it can be very tricky. Once again my apologies.
    Continuing on, I do admit that “[k]nowledge and intelligence in no way guarantee correctness.” However, there are other circumstances that cannot be ignored. First, the fact that Benedict is privy to the whole of the Third Secret, the Vision as well as Sr. Lucia’s written text of the words of Our Lady. Very few critics of Benedict fail miserably in not taking this into account. In other words they are making what they consider a certain judgment of what he did without allowing him even the possibility that he was acting on that Third Secret. Then too, there is a dreadful attitude among people today, and especially traditionalists, that once a heretic always a heretic, or once a sinner always a sinner, which is nothing more than the position of AA, which makes oodles of money off of alcoholics by making them think that their “illness” in incurable. The tactic is to replace dependence on the bottle with dependence on the group. And when they leave the group, they go back to the bottle. But back to the point, I really maintain that what Benedict wrote and what he did during his active Pontificate provides testimony for a definite, though perhaps gradual, shedding of his so-called errors of his younger years. And thus I think it is wrong to make the judgment on what Benedict did without taking all the angles into consideration, which is what MOST people do.
    Regarding the Power of Sanctifying or the Power or Orders, which is the cause of sanctifying: the “Power of order”, says Tanquerey, “is instituted directly for the sanctification of souls.” Perhaps my use of the phrase of “the Power of Sanctifying” was a source of confusion, but I in no way was trying to posit something added to or by the Petrine, whether one calls it Power of Order or Power of Sanctifying (I use the word “sanctifying” because most people today just don’t understand what Power of Order is), which on the level of the Episcopacy is the same in all Bishops, whether he be Bishop of Rome or Bishop of a Diocese. However, Canon Herve does hold that the Power of Order excels the other Powers of the Church–“by its origin, durability and proximate end”. Hence, the Pope, whoever the true Pope is, has supreme Power, indeed the obligation, to determine what is necessary for the sanctification of the sheep, which is why in Summorum Pontificum Benedict stated: “As from time immemorial, so too in the future, it is necessary to maintain the principle that ‘each particular Church must be in accord with the universal Church not only regarding the doctrine of the faith and sacramental signs, but also as to the usages universally received from apostolic and unbroken tradition. These are to be observed not only so that errors may be avoided, but also that the faith may be handed on in its integrity, since the Church’s rule of prayer (lex orandi) corresponds to her rule of faith (lex credendi).'”
    But, the Pope as Pope must be concerned with the sanctification of the sheep in such a way that, aside from his Episcopal powers, the sacrifices, the prayers, the sufferings the Pope undergoes can all be offered for sanctifying the faithful. The “Power of order”, says Tanquerey, “is instituted directly for the sanctification of souls,”, the Seven Sacraments being the seven direct fonts of grace, but this does not and ought not eliminate whatever else can be used for the sanctification of souls, when the Sacramental Life of the Church has been stunted by the Pope being unable to carry out his official duties in connection with the Power of Orders. In the particular case of Benedict, the forces that be were preventing him from applying in a more universal manner the “usages universally received from apostolic and unbroken tradition,” and were even manipulating him to establish usages contrary to the teaching and practice of the Church. Benedict could not and would not allow himself to be pushed around, so he washed his hands of the “exercise” of those various powers including normal or customary exercise of the Power of Sanctifying, but nevertheless maintaining the Petrine Office to which he has a strict RIGHT. Bereft of the usual “exercise” of those Powers, he still, as Pope could determine to a certain extent how he could not only continue to do what was possible in a personal way to sanctify the faithful but also was fulfilling Our Lady’s request for prayer and penance. Thus, living in a “monastery” within the Vatican in order to do what he can to carry out the end for which the Church was established does NOT change the nature or constitution of the Church.
    But, Smith, you argue: “In ALL the cases of former popes that you list, anyone can see that they *retained* the Office of the Papacy, and ALL its powers. They were simply hindered by circumstances *beyond their control* in exercising them. If they had to leave the practical government of the Church to others for a time, that was recognized as an abnormal situation, and it was also recognized that ALL the Papal powers *as such* remained with the ONE actual pope, even though he was hindered from using them.” Smith, I really don’t understand how you can say Benedict’s situation is essentially different from that of Pope Caius, Gregory VII or Pius VII. If you admit as true what Sr. Lucy told Cardinal Caffarra and what Our Lady told Sr. Agnes at Akita but can’t see how the situation of Benedict today is a thousand times worse than in the times in which those three aforementioned Popes lived then you truly are allowing yourself to be carried away by the winds from hell as Cardinal Cerejeira prophesied. Or perhaps you believe, as so many seem to do, that a vicar of Satan can be a Vicar of Christ. In my view, and I show this in my treatise, Benedict did what he did in order to keep the Petrine Office, against which “the gates of hell will NOT prevail,” from coming under the control of Satan; which if such would happen, it would make a mockery of Christ’s promise and a liar out of Christ. If you had a business, any kind of decent business, would you allow a stooge of Satan to become President knowing he would dismantle everything that is good, true and beautiful?
    I think it better to take the words of Sacred Scripture, which Font of truth is infallible, literally when at Caesarea Philippi Our Lords tells Peter: “And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven” (Matt 16:19). We have reporters, faithful, intellectuals all bending over backwards in the attempt to interpret the “Official” Acts of Francis in a manner that excuses any kind of error or heresy; and heresy aside, what about those “Official” Acts that allow every sort of perversion, especially in connection with receiving the Holy Eucharist. No one is going to tell me that Almighty God is going to bind those evil teachings or horrible liberties in heaven whether they’re heretical or not!!!!!!!!!! How much time, how much ink, how many interviews, how many speeches and how much money has been spent on trying to spin out the heretical content, but allow whatever type of action that leads people to hell. No! I will not get caught up in such craziness.
    But here’s another angle. In several of his talks on the demonic Bishop Sheen speaks of the Scriptural and the Psychiatric characteristics of demonic activity. Briefly put, the Scriptural characteristic of the demonic is deterrence from the Cross, and he refers to that episode of Peter trying to prevent Christ from going to Jerusalem to undergo his Passion and Death. The Psychiatric characteristics Sheen describes are attributed to Dr. Rollo May, a psychologist and psychotherapist who near the end of his life made a study of the demonic and two or three chapters of his last book were dedicated to that study. He described the psychiatric characteristics, in a general way, as being violence, nudity and schizophrenia.
    Now, if one is honest and believes in the basic principle of philosophy that states “Actio sequitur esse”, “Action follows being as well as the principle that “We become what we know,” it is hard to escape how obviously Francis fits those characteristics, both Biblical and Psychiatric. And since it would be rash not to believe Our Lady’s warnings about Satan in the Vatican and at least the possibility that Francis is in fact under the control of Satan, a vicar of Satan.

      1. Dear Mark, I don’t think his, Dr. Rollo May’s, books are available on Amazon, however, you might try or, both of which do sell out of print books–Bishop Sheen does not give the title of the book in his talk but does say it was one of his last books. Otherwise you can listen to one of the talks in which Bishop Sheen goes into more detail; I only gave a brief sketch in my comment. I think every Catholic ought to listen to that talk or any other where he speaks about the Devil and the Diabolic, which is the title of a talk you can find on One really cannot be blamed for not knowing much about the diabolic, for only in our own time have the Church and the world experienced such a massive and powerful attack by Satan and his legions. But every Catholic should be willing to learn more for their own protection as well as for his children and friends. Also, there are talks by authorized Exorcists on YouTube one can view and/or listen to, some of whom have been trained in Rome. Although most Exorcists prefer to remain anonymous, for good reason, some have been tossed into the limelight by force of circumstances or from a genuine sense that people need to know more about the demonic. Also, the books by +Fr. Amorth, the former Chief Exorcist of Rome are most enlightening. God bless you and Our Lady protect you always. Do keep up the great work. Fr. Belland

    1. frdbelland
      Interesting read (I confirm what Smiths said: “extremely tough read”) but I failed to grasp point you are making. Main question we are facing presently (I think) is: “Who is the pope?” or “Is Francis pope or not?”.
      Answer to those questions lays in Code Of Canon Law alone, not in Abp Gänswein’s or Skojec’s or anybody’s else words. Law says that new pope can not be elected while ‘old’ pope still reigns. It also says that to resign pope have to resign from Office not from ministry. Did B16 resign from Office? No, he did not. Sometimes he says he did, but his actions do not confirm his words.
      Now, is it possible that all this confusion about papacy is due to ‘bad latin’, like some canonists suggests? Well, maybe, but this thesis must be rejected in light of facts. If B16 really wanted to resign accordingly to law, he’d correct his ‘latin mistake’ asap for the good of the Church. Maybe he was embarrassed by making such error to the point he prefers not to admit it? Well, in that case he should do everything possible to remove any doubts about his decision, like, for example, completely disappear from public view. He should close door behind in undisclosed location and stay there till today. Instead he talks how he did withdraw from public life… in media interviews, he publicly wears papal insignia, gives apostolic blessings, etc. – all this, again, contrary to the letter of canon law. As you said: “Actio sequitur esse”. Btw, if BaF was the pope he should forcibly forbid such a behaviour, but this is different topic.
      To answer question about papacy we do not need to know or understand B16’s motives. Sure this might be interesting subject to explore, but it is not necessary, or even is harmful do so. Danger is that we may loose from our sight simple truth that papacy can not be divided. (I think we all agree about that.) While on earth, we will never know with certainty anybody’s intentions and if so, then, if we stick to thesis that this knowledge is somehow necessary, we can’t be certain who the Pope is. Does it seems right?
      The same refers to your other words: “fact that Benedict is privy to the whole of the Third Secret,(…) Very few critics of Benedict fail miserably in not taking this into account”. Well maybe, but we do not want to be B16 critics,we do not try to judge B16 if he did right thing or not, if he did God’s Will or not. We just want to know who the Pope is. Answer to this question can not be hidden from faithful or be relate on anybody’s point of view on any angle. I believe that this is reason why Our Lady so many times chosen simple children to convey Her messages. (also see Mt 5,37)

  6. A talk by Mrs. Suzanne Pearson at one of Fr. Gruner’s Fatima Conferences is most enlightening and should also be mentioned. This can be found at The text of her talk was published by the Fatima Crusader, which can be found at In that talk Mrs. Pearson explains three ways Satan can control someone. Being a friend of Fr. Malachi Martin, she learned much about the demonic. Please do view her talk or read the text of that talk, for it will explain what was happening to Benedict.

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