The Key to Unlocking Pope Benedict’s Attempted Partial Resignation: The Miller Dissertation

Some really fine work below from “Marcus Veritas,” an anon Trad layman lawyer from Colorado. He and I have had previous exchanges on the BiP theory. His treatment here of a “Reader’s Digest” version of the Miller Dissertation is hugely helpful, because most people who should have keen interest on this subject haven’t bothered to read one page of this document, a document which is absolutely key to understanding the papacy, the office, and the ministry, down through the ages to the present day, and what other forms it could and might take, according to the greatest Nouvelle minds of the twentieth century. For those too lazy to read the book, Marcus hands it all to you on a platter in less than 15 minutes. Enjoy, and please share.

Miller’s Dissertation: The Key to Unlocking Benedict’s Incomplete Resignation

Posted on  by M. Veritas

The reason most Catholics and the rest of the world incorrectly assume Pope Benedict XVI resigned the Papacy in February 2013 is because they do not view his attempted resignation through the prism of the Nouvelle théologie, which is necessary to understand what really was going on.

What’s becoming more and more clear to me every single day is that this debacle that Pope Benedict XVI caused in February 2013 when he erroneously attempted to resign only his “active” role in the Papacy, while remaining in a “passive” or “contemplative” role, is 100% a product of the Modernist theological errors and the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II).

One of the most important keys, almost a Rosetta Stone so to speak, to understanding both the mind and text of Pope Benedict’s attempted resignation in February 2013, and why he remains the current Pope to this day, can be found in Archbishop J. Michael Miller’s 1980 dissertation penned for the Gregorian University in Rome. He is now the Archbishop of Vancouver. If you want to read the dissertation in its entirety you need to buy a copy here.

Ann Barnhardt originally turned me on to this academic exercise in post-Vatican II ecumenism and piqued my interest enough to purchase a copy. After I read it, my mind was blown away. Because this is so important to understanding why Benedict and not Antipope Bergoglio (Francis) is Pope to this day, I will summarize the contents of the Miller dissertation for the reader but with sufficient detail so you understand the full context to what can best be described as a summary of Modernist thought concerning the Papacy.

I will do my best to objectively summarize the material and refrain from making personal comments throughout the summary. However, I will tie Miller’s conclusions back to Benedict’s actions in February 2013 after the summary so you can see why this is so relevant and important. Before I begin the summary, keep the following in mind:

When Pope Benedict attempted to resign a portion of the Papacy, he made an effort to distinguish between a Papal office (Munus) and ministry (Ministerium). While some commentators said this is not a big deal because of the multiple/ambiguous meanings associated with these Latin terms Benedict used, after you understand the Miller dissertation, it becomes obvious that Benedict was not just being lazy and sloppy with his terminology in his resignation speech. He actually chose his words very carefully.

When he could have just said “I hereby resign the Office of the Papacy in its entirety with all its rights and privileges effective immediately,” he chose not to do that. The Miller dissertation explains the WHAT and the WHY behind what Benedict was doing in February 2013, at least theologically.  


Title: The Divine Right of the Papacy in Recent Ecumenical Theology

Author: J. Michael Miller

Date: November 21, 1980

PART I: Historical and Theological Background

In this Part, Miller summarizes the history of what he refers to as the “classical” presentation. The history he is referring to is the historical justification for the Papacy. And this justification was based on the notion of “divine right” or ius divinum. For the remainder of this summary, I will just refer to this concept as divine right.

In this first Part, Miller mentions Pope Leo the Great noting that Leo based his theory on Papal Primacy on evidence from Holy Scripture. Papal Primacy refers to the concept of primacy of jurisdiction, which means the possession of full and supreme teaching, legislative and sacerdotal powers in the Catholic Church. Other later Popes and general Councils agreed with Leo. With some minor differences, the history of the Church’s teaching reinforced the notion that the Papacy was instituted by Christ as found in Holy Scripture. The Papacy, according to this “classical” line of thought says Miller, did not originate from a Council, the Apostles or other types of synods.  

Fast forward in time to the First Vatican Council (Vatican I). Here, Miller concedes that the Council in Pastor Aeternus condemned those who denied that Christ gave Peter alone a true and proper primacy of jurisdiction. Vatican I also confirmed that Peter received authority immediately and directly from Christ and not through the Church. Vatican I accepted what had always been taught previously that Peter was the rock upon which Christ built His Church, the power of the keys was given to Peter alone, and Peter was directly vested with jurisdiction (authority).  In other words, Peter was given his unique authority by divine right.

Vatican I also taught that there are perpetual successors to Peter’s primacy, also by divine right. Although Miller notes the that the Bishop of Rome succeeds Peter, that is not itself by divine right. Miller says, “Before Vatican II, nearly every twentieth century treatise on the papacy adopted the structure of Pastor Aeternus: Petrine primacy promised and conferred by Christ, the perpetuity of succession in the primacy, and the legitimacy of the Roman bishop’s claim to be successor of Peter.” Miller says that the Vatican I fathers “paid no attention to the difference between that which the historical Jesus instituted and that which originated from the Risen Christ.”

And because the Papacy was instituted by divine right, the classic view was that the papacy itself was unchangeable. This classic view began to be challenged after Vatican I, according to Miller. Some theologians began to suggest that if the structure of the papacy came to exist over the course of time due to historical circumstances, then the structure of the papacy was not by divine right, even if the Papacy itself was.

Miller explains that after Vatican I, there was a shift in how theologians perceived the concept of divine right. Rather than being directly instituted by Christ, the meaning began to expand to include more generally the notion of “God’s will.” This becomes important as we shall see.

PART II: Lutheran and Anglican Thought

Because the purpose of this dissertation is to promote ecumenical dialogue, presumably in the spirit of Vatican II, Miller summarizes the modern position of the Lutherans and Anglicans with respect to the Papacy. I will not dive into this too deeply in the summary, but just enough to allow the reader to see why changing the idea of the Papacy is needed for ecumenical dialogue in Miller’s mind.

The Lutherans, according to Miller, believe that if a concept has no salvific importance than it cannot be of divine right. However, if a concept is of divine right, then it is going to be found in Holy Scripture. Man-made law is going to be developed over time in history. Lutherans admit there is a need for a “Petrine function” that serves Christian unity. Lutherans have seen this “Petrine function” carried out in different ways such as councils, theology schools and even the Pope. They just don’t believe any particular structure is of divine right.

Therefore, Lutherans will agree that Christ established a “Petrine function” or “ministry” that can be fulfilled in different forms. The Papacy could be one of those options, but not necessarily the only one.

The Anglicans also agree that something like the Papacy would be beneficial to the universal Church to help unite all Christians. However, it is not absolutely necessary. They agree a Petrine “function” was established in the New Testament and that the development of this concept has been divinely guided since the time of Christ in history.

PART III: Modern Catholic Thought

Here, Miller looks at the opinion of modern Catholic theologians. This is important because these ideas form the basis for Miller’s conclusions. Many of the names are familiar ones because they played a very important role in Vatican II. They are part of the Nouvelle théologie. They focused on changing the meaning and/or just removing from ecumenical discussion the concept of “divine right” when it comes to the Papacy.

Gotthold Hasenhüttl and Hans Küng argued that if something was not instituted by Christ directly then it was not of divine right and anything else that developed afterwards over the course of time in history was man-made and therefore reversible. They deny that many institutions Catholics used to think were of divine right were actually instituted by Christ. Rather, they were man-made institutions developed over time, and therefore are changeable.

Other modern theologians take the position that an institution could still be of divine right, even if not instituted directly by Christ, because they developed over time under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Karl Rahner, for example, argued that “if historical circumstances call for it, as in the case for a pastoral synod, an institution of human right shares in the Church’s constitutional structure of divine right; as such it is not simply dispensable.”

According to these theologians, “the Church is constantly led to create new structures to which respond to its needs.” These developments have “as much right to be considered the work of the Spirit as those of the past…[w]hen new structures are needed to fulfill this [missionary] role, and if former ones no longer serve, the Spirit is there to provide the necessary organization.”

Miller says that Catholics are divided as to whether divine right means an institution within the Church needed to be established during the apostolic age or could have been developed over time. This matters because some theologians hold that only those of divine right are irreversible and not subject to change or being abolished.

Unless, of course, Christ intended those divine institutional structures to be only temporary. This was the argument of Cardinal Avery Dulles. Dulles argued that even if institutions were established by divine right that does not mean they could not be changed over time.

Another theologian who believed that what Christ instituted could be changed if historical circumstances called for it was Edward Schillebeeckx. He argued that even though it was divinely instituted, the Church must reorganize the Church’s tripartite apostolic ministry structure. According to Miller, Schillebeeckx argued “the present-day Church cannot limit itself to only the hierarchical form of ministerial structure, even those it is based on ius divinum.”

If the notion of divine right applies to institutions that have changed over the years, the meaning of Papal Primacy must also be reexamined. What matters, according to Küng, are not papal rights or the chain of succession, but how the Petrine ministry is carried out.

Theologians such as Küng use the distinction between Petrine ministry and the papacy in their explanations as to why the Papacy can be abolished or changed. The Petrine ministry is a permanent function of the Church given to it by Christ. “Someone, or some institution, must be entrusted with assuring the unity of the universal Church.”  While admitting most theologians associate this Petrine ministry with the papacy as we know it today, referring to these theologians like Küng, Miller notes

 “this small group does not insist on a necessary continuity between the primacy in its papal form and all future forms of the Petrine function.  For them it is at least conceivable that the Petrine function be fulfilled in the episcopal college, a synod, or any other number of structures designed for that purpose.”

In a footnote to this discussion on the distinction between the Petrine ministry and the Papacy, Miller quotes from Rahner:

“In this case the Petrine function would exist iure divino, but it need not be exercised by a single individual.”

In the same footnote, Miller notes Cardinal Dulles makes the same point at Rahner:

“In theory, the Petrine function could be performed either by a single individual presiding over the whole Church or by some kind of committee, board, synod or parliament—possibly with a ‘division of powers’ into judicial, legislative, administrative, and the like.”

Miller, then, takes an interesting turn to discuss the notion of “Church as sacrament,” a teaching resulting from Vatican II. With respect to the Papacy, the idea is that the Papacy should be considered “quasi-sacramental.” The reason for doing this, according to the theologians that Miller refers to, is that it avoids juridical terminology—it is more ecclesiological than canonical. This, in turn, provides a “new context” for the discussion of the theological justification for papal primacy. This concept of “quasi-sacrament” attached to the Papacy actually aids in ecumenical dialogue with protestants because they accept the idea of an invisible grace from Christ made available to man through outward visible forms such as the Papacy. The Papacy could symbolically represent Christ’s unifying action in this sense.


In this Part, Miller summarized various proposals that ecumenical commissions among Catholics, Lutherans and Anglicans put together. The point of these commissions, and indeed the point of Miller’s dissertation, is to find ways that the Papacy can be considered that harmonizes the teaching of the Church with various protestant “communities”. I will avoid summarizing all these proposals and discussions in effort to move on to Miller’s final conclusions.


In this final part, Miller puts all of these strains of thought together with the purpose of opening the door for further “dialogue” with protestants on the Papacy. Miller’s ultimate thesis seems to be that if you replace the use of the term “divine right” with regard to the institution of the Papacy, then this opens the door of dialogue with protestants (especially Lutherans and Anglicans).

Moving away from classical notions of divine right (of which the Papacy was traditionally considered at Vatican I), Miller sees an opening for ecumenical dialogue with protestants because modern Catholic theologians have broadened the notion of what divine right actually means. While the Petrine ministry or function was established by Christ, it’s form (structure) is really a product of the Holy Spirit working in conjunction with human factors over time, which means the structure of the Papacy is subject to change.

The key is the use of the term “Petrine function”, which refers to the “Petrine Ministry” given to Peter by Christ. When viewed in a broader way, this provides an opportunity to Catholics for “considering changes in the way the Pope fulfills the Petrine function.”

Miller proposed to stop using the term “divine right” when referring to the Petrine function and instead use divine institution (institutio divina) and divine design (ordinatio divina).   Using these terms permits emphasizing the elements of human decision and historical factors in the development of the Papacy as we know it today. These terms affirm that the Petrine function is of divine origin (divine institution). But the structure of the papacy involves human decision making with the Holy Spirit (divine design). These terms avoid misunderstandings when Catholics use the term “divine right” because that term implies that the form (or structure) of the Papacy cannot be changed since Christ instituted it.

In conclusion, Miller recommends avoiding the term “divine right” because of its “association with past polemics” and that it should be replaced so that the Petrine function can be distinguished “from its realization in the historic papacy.”

Second, Miller argues the action of the Holy Spirit must always be taken into account when describing the emergence of the Papacy rather than focusing on the Christological origins that cause so much conflict in ecumenical dialogue.   “New perspectives” are opened when considering the Spirit’s guidance in continuing the work of the Church.

Third, the use of the term “Petrine function” allows non-Catholics “to reconsider their present experience of a need for a ministry of unity directed to the universal Church, without limiting their reflections to the present form of papacy.” In turn, Catholics must ask themselves, says Miller “What really belongs to the Petrine function of the Pope?”

Finally, distinguish between the Petrine function as a divine institution and its realization in the historic papacy as divine design. “Contemporary discussion can benefit from making this distinction between the dominical institution of Petrine primacy and the divine design of its concrete realization in the papacy.”


Implication of Miller’s Dissertation

After reading this summary of Miller’s dissertation, I hope the reader is able to see why the distinction between the munus and ministerium is so important to understanding Benedict’s actions in February 2013.

Benedict, along with the Nouvelle théologie, do not look at the Papacy the same way most Catholics do. Most of us look at it the way Vatican I taught us to look at it—consistent with what the Church always taught. He doesn’t, which is why this is so confusing to others and Benedict is given a pass for his drawn-out resignation speech and needless use of confusing terminology. No one bothered to look at the ecclesiology behind what Benedict was doing. If you understand the Papacy like Benedict, it wasn’t needlessly confusing at all, it actually makes perfect sense if you happen to be well versed in Catholic “new” theology.  

Viewing the Papacy as a broad quasi-sacramental Petrine ministry instituted by Christ subject to ongoing guidance from the Holy Spirit over the course of history, as opposed to a rigidly defined juridical office, opens the door for many changes.  It makes possible the notion that Christ did entrust St. Peter with a special ministry but that the structure or form that this ministry takes remains changeable over time. For Miller, this was very important for purposes of ecumenical dialogue with protestants who rejected the idea that the Bible teaches Christ instituted an office to be held by one man, the successor of Peter with supreme juridical authority over the Church.

For Benedict in 2013, this is important because while he believed the Petrine ministry was “forever” in the nature of a sacrament (essentially precluding his ability to give up that ministry entirely)(this is the “munus“), the Petrine ministry is not so limited to preclude the possibility of dividing up the particular functions of the ministry among others (this is the ministerii). Benedict could still, therefore, resign the administrative duties or active component of this Petrine ministry, while still retaining a more passive role or function.

Now, this notion of an expanding Petrine ministry to allow for potentially two or more different participants serving different functions at the same time may all seem contrary to what the Vatican I fathers taught in Pastor Aeternus. And it is, which is why Benedict was in substantial error when he attempted to pull this off. But, you see, this is what Miller’s dissertation was all about.  

Miller was trying to find a way to square the “classical” teaching of the Church concerning the Papacy (set forth in Vatican I) with the Modernist ecumenical ideas taught by the Nouvelle théologie. Almost like he was engaging in a hermeneutic of continuity!

Because Vatican I kept using this phrase “divine right,” which implied that Christ instituted a papal office with one man (the successor of Peter) holding supreme juridical authority that could never change, Miller saw an opening and honed in on the use of that term and concluded the best thing to do is to just stop using it.  

You see, according to Miller and other Modernists, if you just stop using phrases like “divine right” that they used in Vatican I (and Council of Trent and what all Catholics used to use for that matter) then it makes it easier to split hairs and justify new concepts of the Papacy without doing violence to the teachings of Vatican I. Changing terminology and redefining accepted concepts is a key weapon for the Modernist. It’s just another sleight of hand.

Avoiding the use of “divine right” and replacing it with other terms that recognize a Petrine ministry (the munus) instituted by Christ while at the same time recognizing smaller changeable components (the ministerii) that make up the structure of that larger Petrine ministry opens the door to changing how the Papacy is exercised without really changing the Papacy.

When viewed in this way, it is possible to associate the “office” of the Papacy with the Modernist notion of the “Petrine Ministry” (the overarching, quasi-sacramental concept instituted by Christ) and then distinguish it from its component and changeable parts or structure. Such components while not strictly defined could, just for example, include an administrative function, spiritual function or suffering function not limited to one person. These components could properly be described as “ministries” within the Papal office or overarching Petrine ministry.  

Application to Benedict’s Resignation

With this background from Miller in mind, now let’s go back and review the text of Benedict’s resignation letter on February 10, 2013 with my comments in BOLD RED:

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry [here he is talking about the “munus” or enlarged Petrine ministry instituted by Christ.] I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature [he sees this as a spirtual office or quasi-sacramental duty, not just a juridical one], must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern [that’s a juridical term] the barque of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well 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, [he uses “ministerio” here to make it clear he is resigning the smaller administrative or “active” component of the larger “munus” he was talking about above. It’s interesting he connects the Bishop of Rome with this administrative function of the Papacy, which implies he does not believe the Bishop of Rome and Papacy are inseparable. This was touched on in the Miller dissertation] 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 [that is the administrative component], will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is. [It makes sense that a conclave would be needed because remember he is trying to expand the Petrine ministry/office. If he is appointing a delegate to handle administrative functions, it would not be an expansion of the Petrine ministry or change of structure.]

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry [he uses “ministerii” here because he is still talking about this smaller administrative/active component not the Petrine ministry/office] and I ask pardon for all my defects.  And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

And then be sure to check out a portion of his Papal audience on February 27, 2013. I will not add additional commentary. It speaks for itself.

“The “always” is also a “forever” – 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. I do not return to private life, to a life of travel, meetings, receptions, conferences, and so on. I am not abandoning the cross, but remaining in a new way at the side of the crucified Lord. I no longer bear the power of office for the governance of the Church, but in the service of prayer I remain, so to speak, in the enclosure of Saint Peter. Saint Benedict, whose name I bear as Pope, will be a great example for me in this. He showed us the way for a life which, whether active or passive, is completely given over to the work of God.”


Miller’s dissertation was written for ecumenical purposes with the goal of rethinking the Papacy in such a way that protestants would find acceptable. In normal times, this would just fly under the radar as another post-Vatican II attempt to water down the Church’s perennial and unchanging dogmas–in this case the Papacy.

However, these are not normal times. This dissertation contains the theological keys for making sense of what Benedict attempted to do in February 2013. Of course, these ideas are all erroneous and contrary to the teachings of Vatican I. And as a result, Benedict was in substantial error according to Canon 188 when he attempted to resign only a portion of the Papal office, leaving an administrative/juridical function to be filled by someone else after a “conclave” was called.

All of this information is in the public sphere and available to those who actually care to look into it. I invite all those who insist Jorge Bergolgio is the Pope right now to do just do a little work and read the documents for themselves and use a basic level of logic to piece two and two together.

37 thoughts on “The Key to Unlocking Pope Benedict’s Attempted Partial Resignation: The Miller Dissertation”

  1. I say this without having read the attached article … yet. It is a general observation on this topic. It fully struck after reading Barnhardt’s similar re-post on this article.
    – Miller Thesis v Cionci Thesis –
    One thesis, if true, Pope Benedict XVI is perhaps the most evil man that has ever lived, if you stop and really think about what he did.
    The other thesis, if true, Pope Benedict XVI is perhaps one of the bravest men who ever lived, if you think through the risks and evil he faced, before doing what he did.
    I tend to favor the Miller Thesis, as an explanation for *why* Benedict did what he did. But think about it: that means he was most likely planning on destroying the Papacy for decades … perhaps his entire ordained and consecrated life, given that he was CDF Prefect since the ’80’s and knew of this thesis better than anyone alive. AND … he most certainly knew, when he was elected Pope what his intentions for the Papacy were. AND … when he resigned; after his resignation to silence, prayer, contemplation – he knew full well what his intentions were for the Papal Office. Yet at no time did he say anything to the Catholic Faitnful. At no time, even to this day, has he said one word of explanation for why he did what he did. IF he intended to transform the Papacy into a functional synod to make it more ecumenically acceptable … but especially BECAUSE he did this silently, surreptitiously … my conclusion is that IF that is true, THEN this man is the most evil force the world has ever known – given that the Office belongs to God, and given that the Office is the direct link between heaven and earth established by Jesus Christ Himself. My mind boggles at the implications of that.
    I leave open the possibility of the Cionci Thesis, because neither are “proveable”, at least yet. I hope for the Cionci Thesis, because the other is incomprehensibly bad.

    1. It isn’t true that he has not said one word about it since 2013. Dr. Mazza has reviewed the Seewald interviews and other commentary from Benedict which backs up this thesis, big time.

      1. Mazza’s reasoning may be sound, but it is academic and not accessible to the 1 Billion Catholics who have a right to know from the lips of the Holy Father himself and the Cardinals with him – what is his intent, if not Sacred Tradition.
        The deception required to pull this off is not just in a moment, but deception over an entire ordained life; likely a joint conspiracy involving almost the entire line of Bishops and all the Cardinals; likely an essential aspect of the Concilliar Church from the beginning.
        Perhaps you saw this years ago. It hit me, full force, yesterday (and I pay close attention). Most Catholics haven’t given it one second thought, nor will they ever. It has been carefully hidden, even among those who recognized the invalidity of resignation. Even Ed Mazza took some time to come to the Invalid Resignation position, much less expounder of the Miller Thesis as explanation. It took time to get here, but the knowledge and informational truth is now increasing rapidly and exponentiallys is an opposition concensus.
        The Papacy belongs to all the Faithful, throughout time, as given to us by Christ, and the idea that a criminal Junta might have taken something away from us to destroy it in acts of spiritual violence, planned in secret over decades – while pretending at the same time to be Catholic in public – I am referring to that.

  2. Dark Catholic shower thought for the day…
    Benedict is still the Pope, bergoglio is an antipope, and the enemies of the Church know this but will never admit it, and they’re perfectly happy have Ms. Barnhardt being insulted as a lone crazy lady.
    Benedict as Pope still has the protection of the Holy Spirit.
    bergoglio… We’ll let’s just pray for him to convert to the Catholic faith and repent before he dies… He comes out and says “Catholic things” every now and then, like recently called pornography an evil…
    Now I thought, if I were to install another antipope puppet, what would I do how would I do it?
    I’d have bergoglio resign for starters, need to establish that precedent and keep it going.
    I would keep Benedict alive on life support for years, if not decades to come, I would go so far as to keep only his brain “alive.” Keep him alive no matter what.
    As long as the legitimate Pope is still alive, I can put whomever I want in front of the cameras, dress him up in Papal White, and call him “The Pope” and they can create all manner of chaos and scandal in the Church for me.
    One antipope is silent to blessing of sodomite unions, next antipope comments on such blessings, the next blesses one sodomite union, before you know it the Catholic Church is marrying sodomites…
    I don’t think it is in the best interests of the enemies of the Church for Benedict to ever die. (I wouldn’t put it passed them to be planning on advances in medical technology to just keep his brain alive in a jar…) Once he passes on, then I think whoever is elected next is The legitimate Pope, and they’re protected from messing with things and the party for the enemies of the Church stops.

    1. If the Miller Thesis is true, then it is not possible for this Pope to have had Divine protection, given that he took the Papacy *KNOWING* he was going to transform it to destruction; knowing this in fact, long before he became Pope. The level of deception required for this to be true is vast. I think anyone who participated in such a deception would ipso facto be deprived of their episcopal consecrations, due to inner assent to apostasy, which it must be if you reject the Papacy itself.
      That is the bender, as far as I’m concerned.

      1. If it’s not heresy in itself, then it is possible to consider it as an option.
        The contention is (as I understand it) that the functions of the Papacy can be divided into a cooperative synodal type structure. You are saying, that is not heretical?
        What is the problem with the Miller Thesis, if it is not heretical; merely a practical choice?
        Now, I don’t understand what you are saying … And I’m trying.

      2. Are you open to the fact that there might have been a deception like you describe? I think we have to be open to the truth even if it leads to Benedict being a bad guy from the start. We cannot rule that out.

  3. Aqua’s observation would be corroborated by the events surrounding Sister Lucy of the 1990’s and the supposed third secret. He had Lucy’s cell sealed up. And no, the Sister Lucy of the 1990’s does not look like the Saint Lucy of the 1940’s. I am embarrassed to be German ancestry. .

  4. I checked out the author’s web site, whom I’m not familiar with, to check for perspective and credibility. I came away duly impressed.
    For example, it is unusual to get to the root of the problem faced by FSSP, and now exposed by TC. Traditional Catholicism is more broadly affected by their base error (it is not restricted to themselves), which he gets to in this 2 part series –
    Looking forward to spending time with this article on Miller’s Thesis. This was needed.

  5. Re: 1988 Ecclesia Dei moto propio
    So JPII gave traditionalists stones instead of bread….imagine that.
    As I’ve fairly recently discovered the arguments put forth by the author of the links above from Aqua have been available for years at NOW. So even if one is not (yet) ready to accept the sedevacantist position, one can access the arguments much earlier.
    To call one not Peter, Peter…..

      1. I believe I have two options. The sede Mass or the SSPX.
        I’d like to share something I found extremely humorous and very on point for all those who believe the NO Church and her popes are valid: to call a sedevacantist a protestant/heretic/schismatic is a mute point….because the Church and popes you profess to be valid except and worship with protestants/heretics/schismatics.
        So you see, being a sede is a win, win. 😊

      2. Bottom line Aqua, it has bothered me for years since I learned about things like Assisi, koran kissing….years, but I didn’t really look into it too deeply. Like you, I did the Protestant thing, so after my conversion I was (still am) zealous for conversions of family and prot friends. But how in hell do you convince someone the need for conversion, based on the authority issue (after Holy Eucharist) when your own popes are doing and saying things contrary to the faith? “Oh, so you’re more Catholic than your pope”? I should think it even more difficult for an SSPXer …”yeah, we have a pope, but we pretty much disregard half of what he says and does”……”oh, and we’re not “fully” recognized by the Church”. Makes zero sense to me. Sedevacantism does not have this problem, and explains at least somewhat the disunity among Catholics.

  6. What i find interesting is that God has allowed this thinking of a new form of the papacy to be attempted to be put into action. The form should be infallible, no? It appears that God is allowing this so to liquidate the institutional church quicker. The truth must come out, and hopefully Pope Benedict will realize the impossibility of this different form and say so openly soon.

  7. This is DEEPLY disturbing. At its core, the Miller dissertation is aimed at a schismatic end: ecumenism (I say “schismatic” because to engage in such an end rejects the legitimate authority of Pius IX, Pius XII, Gregory XVI, et al, and is this an act that severs one’s membership with the Catholic Church). All who follow this path as a legitimate end are therefore committing a schismatic act.
    Ratzinger has, in his own words, called V2 a “correction” of the errors of Pius IX’s “Syllabus or Errors”. He was never a theologically orthodox cleric.
    However, if he believes (and it’s hard to say he doesn’t) in this heretical nonsense, then he believes error, error that has been condemned by previous popes and is in direct contrast to the Tradition. Bellarmine, Franzelin, Augustine, and others would say such a man severed their membership with the Catholic Church.
    Again, DEEPLY disturbing.

    1. 🖕🖕🖕
      The (erroneous) Ratzinger Code theory preserves BiP…. Substantial Error, not so much….or so I’ve been thinking the last month or so.

      1. Canon 332.2 stipulates what is necessary for a valid papal resignation. Which means a papal resignation can be invalid, including due to error. An act of attempted resignation is not an infallible act.

      2. Per NOW, because I’m obviously not intelligent enough to figure this out myself, but if Benedict was in error of what the papacy is (with intent to expand it), then he couldn’t validly accept the papacy either. This is what I meant when I said the SE theory doesn’t really preserve BiP…imo.

    2. Aaron said: “Ratzinger has, in his own words, called V2 a “correction” of the errors of Pius IX’s “Syllabus or Errors”
      I would very much appreciate a link to investigate this, or just point me in the right direction so I can find my own info about this. I find this claim interesting, and I would like to know more about it.
      I know sometimes links are not forthcoming, mere memory serves me frequently as well, but I’d appreciate a hint.

  8. “For this reason, and well 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 and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.”
    “entrusted to me by the Cardinals”.
    Actually, no – entrusted to him by God the Most Holy Trinity, by the action of the Person of the Holy Ghost via the Cardinals.
    This sentence alone should be jarring enough that any properly catechised Catholic would ask: “what did he just say?”
    I believe that the Cionci explanation is much closer to the truth than the “substantial error” explanation.
    The Cionci explanation is the charitable position and the only one to date that truly preserves the Papacy intact and unspotted, since, as Kono wrote at 7:10pm, 22 June, “if Benedict was in error of what the papacy is (with intent to expand it), then he couldn’t validly accept the papacy either”.
    Referring to Kono’s earlier points, belief in “substantial error” logically leads to sedevacantism – stemming at least from Pope Benedict XVI’s purported “substantial error” in accepting what he supposedly misconstrued as the Papacy.

    1. Actually no, the Holy Ghost does not elect the pope, the Cardinals do. The guidance of the Holy Ghost is there, of course, but nothing thwarts free will, and so the Cardinals elect whom they freely choose.
      As for the Cionci thesis being the more charitable of the two, how can that be? It would make Benedict a monster who continues to willfully deceive faithful Catholics into believing Bergoglio is true pope and his heresy is authentic Magisterium.

      1. Selection of a Pope currently involves free election by Cardinals, though that is a convention and could (and arguably now should) be changed.
        However, it is not the Cardinals that entrust the Papacy to any chosen individual as they do not have the competence to do so.
        Nowhere in the Tradition of the Roman Catholic Church is there any mention of Cardinal infallibility. That being the case, and given that the Papacy is the continuation of the Apostolic Succession and that the final result must therefore be infallible, only God can entrust the Papacy to any chosen individual on his acceptance of the election, which is another step required that is outside their competence.
        I think from what she has written previously that Ann Barnhardt would agree with this.
        The “substantial error” thesis appears to hang on two major assumptions:
        1. that as editor or contributor to the footnotes in the academic Miller doctoral thesis of 1980, then Archbishop Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger necessarily agreed with it
        2. that he necessarily continued to agree with it for the next quarter century until his acceptance of the Petrine munus in 2005 and beyond until his “resignation” in 2013.
        Estefania Acosta helpfully provided this link to an English translation of another academic paper written by Pope Benedict XVI and published in “Spring 2014”:
        In this, Pope Benedict XVI clearly defends the Papacy as traditionally held by the Roman Catholic Church in at least five short statements:
        1. (bottom of page 119): In his new name, which transcends the historical individual, Peter becomes the institution that goes through history (for the ability to continue and continuance are included in this new appellation), yet in such a way that this institution can exist only as a person and in particular and personal responsibility.
        2. (middle of page 122): In this connection now we ought to ask, historically, what real content can be ascribed to Petrine theology if one does not view the Successor to Peter in the Bishop of Rome as its historical fulfillment. For those passages in the New Testament do exist and demand an explanation. Viewed historically, we can ascertain four answers, and it would hardly be possible to find any more; they exhaust the possibilities, although the details may vary.
        The first answer is the Roman Petrine tradition.
        The second answer was given by early fifth- and sixth- century Byzantine theology, which applied Matthew 16:16–19 and the whole plenipotentiary tradition that is connected with the name of Peter to the emperor; later this answer was hardly ever repeated in such an explicit form, but it reoccurs in fact wherever state-church structures are established.
        [Third and fourth answers omitted for brevity]

        (top of page 123): So we have to say that the only remaining alternatives are the first and the second. But this means that either (as Pole puts it) full and absolute authority on earth has been granted to the state, or else the papacy, as in the ‘‘Roman’’ solution, is established as the powerless yet powerful entity confronting the secular power; the latter applies even when historically this led again and again to an attempt to clothe the powerlessness of this second ‘‘power’’ in worldly power, which obscured and endangered the Church’s authentic character but could not dissolve it.

        (bottom of page 125, top of page 126): The only way to participate in Christ’s majesty is concretely through sharing in his lowliness, which is the sole form in which his majesty can be made present and represented in this time. Hence the authentic place of the Vicar of Christ is the Cross: being the Vicar of Christ is abiding in the obedience of the Cross and thus repraesentatio Christi in the age of this world, keeping his power present to counterbalance the power of the world . . . .

        (bottom of page 128): For the papacy and the Catholic Church, criticism of the papacy by non-Catholic Christians remains an incentive to seek an ever more Christlike actualization of the Petrine ministry; for non-Catholic Christians, in turn, the pope is the abiding, visible challenge to achieve the concrete unity to which the Church is called and which ought to be her identifying feature in the world’s eyes.
        There is no ambiguity about bifurcation, shared roles etc in this paper.

      2. Please place this after my reply beginning “Selection of a Pope …”, which seemed it might be getting close to a word or character limit.
        In response to your second point, the page 125/126 quotation from the PDF downloaded from the link above is instructive.
        Pope Benedict XVI recognised that he or any Pope must be humble and suffer as Christ did for the sake of the Church.
        If you could for a minute posit that Pope Benedict XVI did not act with intent to deceive, but actually did intend to put himself in a state of impeded See, due to immense external pressure beyond coercion, how would you (or Ann Barnhardt) suggest that he should have signalled this to the remnant Catholic faithful?
        It seems to me (and Andrea Conci, Estefania Acosta, Patrick Coffin and at least one other, mention of whom may get this posted to comment purgatory) that Pope Benedict XVI has been doing this in an analogous way to Jesus’s own witness to his authority and kingship before the multiple illegal trials he faced before his crucifixion and even during his crucifixion up to his death on the Cross.
        Moreover, one does not have to be even a literate Catholic to notice that he wears Papal white, claimed that no other colour garments were available in the Vatican (surely not a malicious lie, but either a very bizarre joke or an obvious red flag), gives the Papal Apostolic Blessing, stated that the Pope is one, but never named “Francis” Bergoglio as the one and so on.
        Lastly, Pope Benedict XVI continues to restrain “Francis” Bergoglio by writing book endorsements, letters, papers etc that underscore Catholic teaching that “Francis” Bergoglio previously put in doubt or flatly contradicted.
        The most faithful, humble, prayerful and unsophisticated Catholics that I know are currently neither deceived by “Francis” Bergoglio, nor do they condemn Pope Benedict XVI as a monster, nor even as a bad Pope, because they discern that he had no better option and has made his status quite clear to them.

  9. Please can you provide a link to a video in which Pope Benedict XVI refers to “Francis” Bergoglio as “Pope Francis”.
    It would be helpful to know the original source of the video(s).
    I am sure both you and Ann are aware that “deepfake” video and especially audio manipulation technologies have been available for years now and skilled manually faked video and audio for much longer, so even one or more videos without truly independent and thorough forensic video analysis would not be sufficient proof, in my opinion. (My profession is media distribution technologies, and for once only I have provided my website, since it is relevant to support this claim, though I am not a forensic video expert.)
    Moreover, even if Pope Benedict XVI did say this, one has to consider context – for example, had Pope Benedict just been asked who the majority of people say is Pope?
    One should also consider inflection / intonation of the words. In British English, one could signal ones mental reservation about an undeserved title such as “Pope” Francis by raising the pitch of at least the first syllable of the title notably higher than usual – I don’t know how that would be done in German, Italian or Latin.
    I believe you need to consider and reply to the point about Pope Benedict XVI’s “spring 2014” paper in which he defends the longstanding orthodox Tradition of the Roman Catholic Papacy and to the question about how Pope Benedict XVI, in good faith, could have signalled an impeded See more clearly than he has without risking his own or possibly many others’ safety?

    1. “First of all, Holy Father, your goodness, from the first moment of your election, …” Benedict is clearly addressing Bergoglio as if he was Supreme Pontiff, which is exactly what he said a conclave would need to be convoked to elect, in his Declaratio.

      1. Thank you for posting that video. It is very insightful in ways that you may not have considered.
        I wrote my earlier comment / reply, at about 3am my time. I omitted to suggest that as well as the opinion of experts on video production and on spoken language, one can gain a great deal of insight from body language experts.
        I do not claim to be expert in any of the above, but after two hours of careful study, I can state the following (regarding context, body language and spoken language):
        1. the YouTube video is titled: Honoring Pope Benedict and subtitled: With Pope Francis, retired Pope Benedict XVI celebrated the 65th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood June 28 [2016]. [First question – who requested whom to make this a semi-public occasion with Cardinals, TV media etc? Pope Benedict XVI, or Bergoglio, or third party/ies? Who requested Bergoglio to speak at it? Pope Benedict XVI, or Bergoglio, or third party/ies? Nothing is ever recorded for video distribution so professionally without a purpose.]
        2. the video is heavily edited, with multiple video and audio cuts (not all aligned), so that much – probably most – context is missing [a text without context is a pretext – Venerable Fulton John Sheen]
        3. excepting the first and last few seconds, the meeting appears very formal and diplomatic; rather than friendly and warm [even formal, diplomatic meetings have smiles and handshakes for the cameras and in this case the Cardinals]
        4. excepting these opening and closing “brackets”, which themselves are formalities and thus to some extent acted out, Pope Benedict looks nervous throughout
        5. throughout Bergoglio’s speaking, Pope Benedict XVI:
        a) looks sideways as if observing and paying attention, but does not turn his head towards Bergoglio,
        b) keeps his mouth completely straight, conveying no emotion at all, as if a third party witness, not a partaker, or in fact the subject of Bergoglio’s speech
        6. in the first segment up to 0m46s, Bergoglio begins with quite an obvious put down of Pope Benedict, stressing in a thinly veiled oratorical way that Benedict is:
        a) little
        b) forgotten
        c) throwaway
        d) relegated
        e) aged
        f) losing strength
        7. Pope Benedict, however, was (is) by far the better communicator and orator, apparently not reading from notes, but speaking from memory [extremely unlikely off the cuff, which would take a higher level of brilliance]
        8. in the next segment to 1m30s, Pope Benedict “turns the tables” on Bergoglio in an even more veiled oratorical [but by no means gnostic] way, neither praising nor putting down Bergoglio, nor “defending” himself or his position, but pointing instead to Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist, stressing:

        a) eucharistomen
        b) reality [in contrast to …?]
        c) thanksgiving
        d) new dimension [the traditional Catholic Christian meaning as explained forthwith]
        e) Christ
        f) gave (gift / given / giving)
        g) fundamentally

        h) transformed (transform / transformation)
i) cross
        j) suffering
        k) all of the world’s evil
l) grace and blessing

        m) transubstantiated (transubstantiation)

        n) life and the world
        o) given (gave / gift / giving)
        p) continue
        q) give us each day the bread of true life [allusion to / near direct quotation from the Our Father / Pater Noster]

        r) overcomes (overcame)

        s) world

        t) strength
        u) His [Christ’s]

        v) love

        9. In short, Pope Benedict used the opportunity to preach the meaning and purpose of the Most Holy Eucharist to Bergoglio, to the Cardinals, to the cameras and to any who would watch and listen

        10. In contrast to the previous, what does the poise and facial expression of Bergoglio look like at 1m30s to 1m33s? [Ignore the awkward and uncomfortable looking handgrip] Does Bergoglio look:
a) engaged?
        b) approving?
        c) detached?
        d) moved?
        e) bored?

        11. Pope Benedict XVI’s diction becomes close to unintelligible from 1m34s to 1m36s, where he speaks in Italian the phrase rendered in English subtitles as: “Thanks first of all to you, Holy Father”. I am not an Italian speaker, but playing and replaying that phrase, I can only make out “Santo Vade”; not “Santo Padre”.
        Please can others – preferably fluent Italian speakers – confirm this, or better, suggest what other word may have been said than Padre or Vade. Whether this clause was obscured by Pope Benedict XVI’s mumbling, or by some recording glitch, it is notable that this clause that is so contentious is also so unclear.

        12. At 1m37s to 1m39s, Pope Benedict makes a clear “heart” gesture with his hands [signifying love]. This is facing the camera and us, the viewers, but it is not clear if this is fully visible to Bergoglio, who is turned to his own right to see Pope Benedict XVI, who is glancing sideways to his own left, but not turned towards Bergoglio.

        13. From the English translation only, and because Pope Benedict XVI is not facing Bergoglio while he says these words, there is another plausible context of Pope Benedict XVI’s short thanksgiving starting “Thanks first of all to you, Holy Father” and finishing “I feel protected” – namely that of a direct thanksgiving prayer to God the Father, following Christ’s example, as a true Pope should do. In this case, he would likely be thanking God the Father for his care and protection since He chose Benedict (election) to be Pope (and possibly more). I know no Italian, so it would be helpful if an Italian speaker could confirm whether this meaning is possible or precluded in the spoken Italian. (English is relatively lax with declensions and cases and thus more meanings may be possible in English than the Italian declensions and cases allow for.)

        14. I note also that the term “Holy Father” is not an official title exclusively conferred on Popes although always retained by God the Father. [The Orthodox use it to refer to Church Fathers. I believe that this practice was also Catholic and could still be validly used in certain Catholic contexts, for example when referring to founders of Religious Orders such as St Benedict and St Francis.]
        15. I do not need to make further comments myself, as Andrea Cionci has commented on this video four months ago, here, picking up where I have finished:
        I note that he did not mention the garbled Padre which I hear as Vade. Maybe he had a better recording available, or maybe what I heard is within the acceptable range of pronunciations of Padre?

    2. So now Benedict is being deep faked…I just can’t comprehend the excuses made for his behavior. I understand the desire to see him in the best light but bad behavior is bad behavior. Women who are abused who get into therapy have to learn this valuable lesson to stop making excuses and explaining away bad behavior. We all need to look up the term “cognitive dissonance”.

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