Canon 332.2: “If it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is required for validity that the resignation is made freely and properly manifested but not that it is accepted by anyone.”
Pope Benedict never properly and manifestly resigned his office. He just didn’t. And whether or not it was accepted by anyone has no bearing on the validity of the act. Canon 332.2 is clear as day. So the summit of Cardinals who met in Rome nine years ago, culminating with the faux “election” of Antipope Bergoglio on 13 March, 2013, were participating in an invalid conclave, due to the See not being vacant. It doesn’t matter if they accepted the “resignation” not if they accepted Bergoglio as pope… the mind of a Cardinal is not the arbiter of reality. Invalid resignation leads to subsequent invalid conclave. That’s it.
Here are a few reposts to get you in the mood.
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 “Nine years ago today, nothing happened”
I like Edmund Mazza’s analysis best. He says that Benedict believes what he did was correct. He did not attempt to deceive. But his action was in “substantial error”. This makes the ‘resignation’ void
I have often thought that the current *deformed Papacy* (a greater error even than having a “mere”antipope) is similar to a deformed marriage.
God enjoined one man, one woman, who produce and raise children to love and serve Him.
What, if we make it better – improve on the original plan?
One man and multiple women: (1) original wife is barren either through age or biology; (2) God wants children; (3) keep original wife but add additional women who have the biological capacity to produce children as “God intended”.
Multiple men and one or multiple women: (1) original husband is disabled or aged and cannot provide income and physical protection for his wife and children; perhaps he cannot “perform” his child producing duties (2) additional man or men are brought in to the home as productive husband(s), keeping the original husband in a seperate wing of the house to live out his days in peace under the protection of the new fellow(s).
I have always been repulsed by this bifurcated Papacy with two (not restricted to just two, btw) visible Popes. It seems degraded, in a similar way to the “marriages” I describe above – oh so practical in their intent. God endowed the Papacy when He established His Church – who are we to improve upon it for practical reasons in the modern day with its “modern problems”.
One Holy Father. One Man One Wife. Same thing, as far as I’m concerned.
We don’t get to alter the Sacrament of Marriage, established by Christ, even if we think there are very good, practical reasons to do so. If we do it anyway, it is what it is … but what it is is not a marriage.
Similarly, we don’t get to alter the Papacy to meet the needs of the modern day. We can, of course, do what we’ve done … but the result is not the Papacy, but something man made, not Divine; apart from God, not *of* God.
Pray please for the soul of Louis Verrechio’s sister Valerie who died March 4, I believe of cancer and his family also.
What I can’t envision is a way out of the situation, short of an extended sede vacante, likely measured in years. If Benedict dies first, no conclave will be held. But if Bergoglio dies first, another conclave would be equally invalid. The next valid conclave could occur only after both men are dead, even if there were one or more invalid ones in the meantime.