Ten years ago today, Pope Benedict explained to everyone that he wasn’t really resigning, and in fact wasn’t going anywhere…

“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 thisI 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 Popewill 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.”

FAQ: Did Pope Benedict reveal his intent to bifurcate the papacy in the actual Declaratio?

Originally posted

Answer: He absolutely did.
It’s far more subtle than the devastating evidence shown previously, but it is clearly visible when read within the context of Benedict’s erroneous ideas about the papacy, which we shall review as a primer. Also, the subtlety within the Declaratio is strategic, due to the criticality of this particular speech/document.
Before I explain this, we need to go over a couple things just to make sure you are framing this up properly in your mind, working from a true premise, and allowing linear thinking to do its work. The majority of reader comments I’ve received, whether they be positive or negative, reveal a disturbing level emotive reasoning. Don’t fall into this trap. Wishing  for Francis not to be pope cannot play any role in your search for truth. Arriving at the conclusion that Pope Benedict failed in his attempt to bifurcate the papacy, therefore rendering his abdication invalid by reason of substantial error, cannot in any way be influenced by your dislike of Francis or out of a desire to see him removed/expunged. That’s called intellectual dishonesty. The flip side of this, and equally dishonest, is resisting the truth out of fear of ridicule or being seen as some sort of freak. PLEASE STOP… THIS ISN’T ABOUT YOU.  Your feelings don’t have any bearing on what’s true, and the truth doesn’t care about your feelings. So put Francis out of your mind, demand absolute objectivity from yourself, and start with the Substantial Error supposition. Work through the available evidence, rationally judge the weight, and make your conclusion based on where the weight lies.
Before we get to the Declaratio, we need to review the smoking gun. This is from Benedict’s final general audience of 27 February 2013, the day before his invalid resignation did not become effective, where he exposes his erroneous notion of the indelible nature of the Petrine Ministry. In doing so, he directly contradicts all those previous statements where he claimed he was “renouncing”, “leaving”, and would then be Pontiff “no longer, but a simple pilgrim”. This is the lens through which we must evaluate the Declaratio (comments/emphasis mine):

Here, allow me to go back once again to 19 April 2005 (Ratzinger’s elevation to the papacy). The real gravity of the decision was also due to the fact that from that moment on I was engaged always and forever by the Lord. Always – anyone who accepts the Petrine ministry no longer has any privacy. He belongs always and completely to everyone, to the whole Church. In a manner of speaking, the private dimension of his life is completely eliminated. I was able to experience, and I experience it even now, that one receives one’s life precisely when one gives it away. Earlier I said that many people who love the Lord also love the Successor of Saint Peter and feel great affection for him; that the Pope truly has brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, throughout the world, and that he feels secure in the embrace of your communion; because he no longer belongs to himself, he belongs to all and all belong to him.

The “always” is also a “for ever” – there can no longer be a return to the private sphere. (<in his mind> the papal coronation indelibly anoints the pontiff in a distinct way, which is different from, and more profound than, the priestly or episcopal ordination/consecration). My decision to resign the active exercise of the ministry does not revoke this. (the indelibility is <in his mind> irrevocable – Benedict is pope forever, but <in his mind> now exercising only part of the Petrine ministry). 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. HERE

“I remain, so to speak, in the enclosure of Saint Peter.” I wish I could find video to see if he winked when he said that.

In summary, Benedict erroneously believes that acceptance of the papacy itself confers an indelible and irrevocable character on the man who accepts it (similar to the indelible marks of ordination to the priesthood and consecration to the episcopate, except in the case of becoming pope, there is no such thing). Therefore <in his mind> he (Benedict) remains pope even after he “resigns” the governing office and passes the throne to the next “pope”.

This is SUBSTANTIAL ERROR. Honestly, I don’t understand how anyone doesn’t see it already at this point. But let’s press on.

In the original post where I declared with moral certainty the invalid abdication, we also entered into evidence as Exhibit B, Benedict’s decision to retain the papal title as an “emeritus”, to retain the vesture, to physically remain at the Vatican, etc etc. We also reviewed Exhibit C, Abp. Ganswein’s comments last year where he dropped the bombshell of an “Expanded Petrine Ministry.” These were not off the cuff remarks, but rather a formal, well-prepared speech on Benedict’s papacy, given at the Greg in Rome on 20 May 2016:

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. “It is and remains the foundation of the Catholic Church; and yet it is a foundation that Benedict XVI has profoundly and lastingly transformed during his exceptional pontificate.”

He said that “before and after his resignation” Benedict has viewed his task as “participation in such a ‘Petrine ministry’. (Not in 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.“ (Do you see how this echoes Benedict’s erroneous idea of the papal coronation being an irreversible event, creating an indelible/irrevocable mark on the recipient forever? It’s exactly the same idea Benedict put forth in his final general audience).

“Therefore he has also not retired to a monastery in isolation but stays within the Vatican — as if he had taken only one step to the side to make room for his successor and a new stage in the history of the papacy.” With that step, he said, he has enriched the papacy with “his prayer and his compassion placed in the Vatican Gardens.” HERE

Not that we need any additional evidence, but many are clamoring that they just won’t accept reality unless it can be shown that these ideas/intentions can actually be found in the Declaratio itself. So let’s have a look at that, shall we?

As I said at the top, the evidence in the actual Declaratio is far more subtle, out of necessity. Benedict, knowing the extraordinary nature of what he was about to do, would have spent an enormous amount of time writing this short speech. Every single word would have been chosen with great care. Keep in mind, the actual Declaratio was written and read out by Benedict in Latin, so you need to take a look at that as well. But the point is this:


So it’s not surprising that Benedict did not speak of the false bifurcation as openly in the Declaratio as he did several weeks later, in his final general audience, at which point he knew his plan had worked, all the wheels in motion, conclave convened, etc. But he also couldn’t help himself, and made sure his meaning was clear if we look with eyes to see.

So now let’s break down the Declaratio of 11 Feb 2013 in its entirety, bathed in the light of the aforementioned evidence. English, Latin, and seven other languages  HERE .

“Dear Brothers,

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.

He’s saying he is inadequate. His faculties are insufficient to fully execute the entire Petrine Ministry.  He needs help.

“I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, 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 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.

He’s still up for the prayer and suffering part, but not the words and deeds.  The governance part will need to go to someone else, a new participant in a new “expanded Petrine ministry”, because he feels inadequate for the governance role.

Now comes the money quote. This is the part that Benedict absolutely had to get right, to ensure the resignation looked so rock solid that no one would question it. But yet even within the same sentence we can, with hindsight, see what he did here.

“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.

“In such a way?” Why are those words in there? Those words are a qualifier. He didn’t renounce completely, he renounced in a certain way. Because as we’ve already seen from his own lips, Benedict doesn’t believe it’s possible for him to completely renounce the Petrine ministry, due to its <in his mind> permanent and irrevocable nature. So he is <in his mind> vacating the “See of Rome”, such that a successor must be named to administer the governing office, while Benedict retains the spiritual role of the prayerful suffering servant pope. Nowhere in this sentence, in any language, will you find the words, “I fully renounce the Papacy,” because in Benedict’s mind, that’s not possible.

“Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry 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.”

So there you have it. Come join the party.  The truth will set you free.

31 thoughts on “Ten years ago today, Pope Benedict explained to everyone that he wasn’t really resigning, and in fact wasn’t going anywhere…”

  1. The resignation due to substantial error proves too much. Being in “error” of what the papacy IS would also prevent him from BECOMING pope in the first place, nevermind his other well documented heresies.

    Don’t be fooled into the false sedevacantism of ’22 and
    remain attached to the false religion of VII.

    Sede Vacante ’58 is the only position which explains the great apostasy as prophesied by St. Paul in his second letter to the Thessalonians.

    1. “It’s easier to fool someone than convince him he’s been fooled.”- Mark Twain

      You left the Church. Whatever you say, that’s a fact. Sedes LEFT the Church and established their own. You didn’t try to figh the evil from within Christ’s Church, you got mad and left.

      The problem with Sede Vacante ’58 is that it’s founder isn’t Christ, and its leader isn’t Peter. Just mere humans who , outraged, left the Church instead of fighting the good fight from within.

      It’s cowardly, actually.

      Years from now we may see the Vatican 2 period as a heresy and an error. And those who remained in the Church and fought for truth will be rewarded. Those like you who jumped ship are not fighting any fight. You’re just cosplay TLM Catholics.

      Find something else to do.

      1. I’m going to disagree here. Many saints have held that as long as a man intends to offer submission to the bishop of Rome – which I would amend to say “the vicar of Christ”, given recent events – he is not in schism, even if he is mistaken about whom the correct bishop of Rome is.

        I think we can extend that principle to say, even if he is mistaken about there even BEING a valid bishop of Rome – so long as he intends to obey the right Roman Pontiff.

        Other saints have said that it is not wrong to hold the person of the Pope in doubt, so long as there is legitimate reason for doubt. And what is VII and the promulgation of the NO other than legitimate reason? I do not blame men who lived then for believing this COULD NOT be done by a legitimate pope.

        Mind you, I also do not believe the position holds much water now. I myself am convinced that Benedict was Pope, and Bergoglio is not; yet, if seven years from now, we have not a legitimate Catholic Pope – according to this understanding – I consider myself obliged to revisit this conclusion.

        “The gates of Hell shall not prevail.” If I myself consider seven years enough to reconsider, how much more so forty, or even seventy? What does seventy years without a Vicar of Christ look like, if not the Gates of Hell prevailing?

          1. Thank you. I have read the article and will consider it thoroughly. In essence the argument is that the papacy is both the rock of the church and the katechon that prevents error from prevailing, but the papacy was taken away after Pius XII, leading to the modern anti-church. However, at some point in the future the papacy will be miraculously restored. And it would have to be a miracle that restored it, given the length of time between the (in this position) last legitimate pope and the restoration.

            It’s a commendable position, and much in it is in line with my own thoughts. However. I don’t give full credence to this position, for several reasons – including, yes, that the NO is valid (from personal experience), and also that by the authority of our exorcists we know the local ordinaries still have jurisdiction. Finally, there is also the question of visibility. If this argument were to be applied to the case of Benedict XVI – that he was the Pope and the pope was the katechon and that without him chaos will (further) reign – yes, I would agree 100%. But I can’t say the same of John XXIII or the other popes yet.

            Why? Visibility. We know SOMETHING afflicted the Church after the reign of Pius XII. I am of the mind that it was John XXIII’s rejection of the command of Our Lady that was the cause. However, we see only the effects, we do not see the cause. The cause is invisible. We can speculate, but we cannot SEE. We must attempt to extrapolate the cause from the effects.

            Contrast what has happened with Benedict XVI. We SEE two men claiming to be the pope – and is there no one who does not know of the white-wearing Pope “Emeritus” Benedict? It is visible. We can SEE it.

            So while I attempt to keep an open mind on this position, as on many, on balance I myself still believe that Benedict XVI was the Pope, as were the others before him; mostly bad popes, even if a few of them were good men, or at least men attempting to be good.

          2. Thank you urielangeli for your very thoughtful reply. First, I apologize for not if, but when I’ve been over zealous and even mean spirited in my replies on here or other posts. My lack of patience and humility have consequences.

            Your reply here goes a long way in helping to minimize the rifts between Catholics. My gripe is with obvious intelligent, well read Catholics who accuse sedes of Protestantism, Antisemitism, schizophrenia, schismatics…yada yada. Whether one agrees with SVism or not, it is intellectually dishonest to label them as such when it is so very obvious sedes hold the Catholic faith whole and entire to the best of their ability.

          3. You’re not the only one who’s been overly zealous on more than one occasion, so let he who is without sin etc. etc. Far better to be zealous than lukewarm!

            And yes, I used to just think the SV position was plain idiotic back when I was a NO Catholic (that is to say, barely Catholic at all) just like I used to be wary of the SSPX. Thank God I know better now, and I am quite sorry for my own previous attitude towards people in that position… Here’s to continuing to grow in Truth, by God’s grace.

    2. Please check out the Sedevacantist Delusion. The delusion is claiming that because the Church defected in the 60’s suddenly a remnant of Catholics are now the Church, because the Church is indefectible. Only that remnant is incapable of doing what the Catholic Church is capable of doing because it lacks a pope until St. Peter and St. Paul come down from heaven to select one.

      You say that only it can explain the great apostasy, even though a counterfeit synodal church is being built in front of your eyes. According to scripture the false prophet is an individual, not six individuals.

      Based on the scandalous things taking place in the Church since Vatican II, you assume these popes are heretics. One of the reason you claim Benedict was a heretic is because he seemed to claim that non-Catholics can be in the Church. But prior to Vatican II, the Church taught that: 1) Everyone who is saved is in the Church: 2) Some non-Catholics are saved. So let’s us assume that no non-Catholic is in the Church. This means that no non-Catholics are saved, This contradicts proposition 2. By the law of excluded middle, we have to conclude that some non-Catholics are in the Church. The only way to avoid this conclusion given the two certain premises is to subscribe to the error of fideism, which says that human reason is not capable of finding certainties in divine matters.

      And in fact, Catholic theology teaches that their are two aspects to the Church: the body consists of people who are external Catholics; the soul consists of everybody in a state of grace, even the just pagan. For some reason it is hard to find discussion about this point on the trad media. You actually have to read dogmatic manuals published before Vatican II.

    3. 58 Sedes…. No thanks. Your position ignores so much truth and logic. An invalid resignation does not prevent one from holding office in the first place. You have no proof V2 is invalid. Sede 58 is NOT the only explanation for 2Thess. Please stop.

      1. “You have no proof V2 is invalid.”

        If the state of the Church and of the world hasn’t given you pause to look into things; I cannot help you.

        I believe it’s in Apocalypse where Our Lord asks upon His Return if He’ll find any faith on earth. Pretty certain this indicates the number will be very small. And if what’s happened the last few decades isn’t the great apostasy, it’s hard to fathom what’s left to apostatize from.

        1. You gave away the game. You said “If the state of the Church”…..you recognize Rome is The Church and is in a bad state. There is ONE Church. And yet you divorced yourself from it.

          You should fight for the Church, not start your own. When Jesus returns, do you think you’ll be one of the faithful? Or will He regard you as a coward who left His Church when it was needed most?

          I have zero respect for sedes. Their premise is wrong. And they exist as a counter to The Church, they don’t try and fight the evil within the church.

          You might as well be Lutheran.

          1. Even if we can’t calm down here… and not saying I agree with you… wouldn’t “you might as well be orthodox” be more fitting?

            Regardless, concerning VII, first, it was NOT an ecumenical council. That is admitted by anyone who knows anything. It was a pastoral council. Crucially, it did not anathematize anyone – and so did not proclaim any binding teaching on the Church.

            Second, it is a matter of historical record that VII was infiltrated and hijacked by forces opposed to the faction led by Cdl. Ottovani, then the head of the Holy Office, who sought a truly Catholic council – one that would unabashedly condemn Communism and Modernism. At one point, they literally unplugged his microphone as he was speaking, and then conspired together – and the conspiracy is recorded – to point and laugh at him, so as to discredit him and his schema for the council.

            Thirdly, it is also a matter of historical record that Bugnini and his co-conspirators had a post-conciliar agenda in ‘interpreting’ the VII documents, which had been subject to deliberate ambiguity, so as to introduce non-Catholic elements into commonly taught “Vatican II” doctrine, and the Novus Ordo Mass.

            So. Yes. VII was not a binding Church council, and it was absolutely disasterous.

          2. Urielangeli what you say here: “”and so did not proclaim any binding teaching on the Church.” is actually not factual. Here is Tradcast #27 from Novus Ordo Watch where he states and documents with links in the show notes the solemn and binding language of the VII documents. The entire podcast is a sound, thorough refutation of Taylor Marshall’s book, “Infiltration ” and is well worth your time. The relevant portion about the binding language can be found at the 1:02 – 1:12 mark if not interested in listening to the entire 1:20 min podcast.

            To jmy1975….God bless you. Thanks for pointing out my error in referring to the VII anti-Church as the Church. Going forward I’ll be sure to state it more clearly. A while back I recall you opining on these threads that your faith was “practically non-existent “. I hope for your sake and for those who may take your rants seriously that you have recovered your faith.

          3. Kono,

            I don’t ever recall using the words “practically non-existent”. But even if I did, what faith I have in Jesus’ Church is more valid than the faith YOU Have in your little cult.

            And of course, your cult leader/founder has zero authority to declare the Church an anti-Church. Indeed, Vatican 2 isn’t dogmatic, which means you’re upset at the outward, rituals, operation, appearance of the Church. As am I.

            One definition of an Anti-Church would be a Church not founded by Jesus claiming to be the “true” Church. I’m looking right at ya.

            Everything you say about Vatican 2, the Church is invalidated by your participation in a dressed up Protestant Cult. OK? Got it?

          4. Mark, a group that says the Catholic Church today is the Anti-Church , and exists to protest the CHurch, and says it knows how the CHurch really should be, and is founded by mane, such as the sedes, are in every single way protestant.

            You’ll let a sede come on her and insult me, but when I call this person a defacto protestant, that’s a bridge too far? Yeah, ok.

          5. Kono – not trying to reopen the conversation, but thank you for the link. This sounds like something that requires some serious research, and I may or may not have the time to get into that immediately due to personal circumstances. I will attempt to look into it when possible.

          6. Urielangeli, you are very welcome. Just a little anecdote; I made my abjuration last week and it was a very beautiful and moving little ceremony. I had done the Protestant thing for about 10 years or so and when I came back into the Church (NO), I asked my priest about doing an abjuration, no response. Then when ICK came to my area (2017) I started going there and asked the Canon about it, again, no response. I just knew that I knew I had to do this….but no one would do it until my sede priest said I had to.

            Also, FYI, if and when you get the chance to look into things and have questions, Mario Derksen at Novus Ordo Watch is very kind and generous. If he doesn’t have the answer, he’ll point you to someone who does. And of course the sede clergy are very eager to help too.

          7. @kono I will look into that. I have no way of proving whether Ripperger or the others are true or false, but the preponderance of the evidence I have seen comes down on the “true” side. Has there been any testimony of Sede exorcists to counterweigh against theirs?

            But no matter how convincing the arguments were to you the NO is invalid; in truth, it does what it says it does. I know this from reason; from personal experience; from continuing personal experience; and from personal revelation. This will not likely convince anyone but myself but I, myself, give testimony that the NO is valid and true transubstantiation from my continuing personal experience, and that I received a direct communication when I was tormented over this that it was permitted due to the weakness of our faith in a similar manner to the permission to divorce being permitted under the old dispensation.

        2. Kono,
          We agree the Church is in rough condition because of V2 and the NO mass. However, that does NOT necessarily mean the NO mass is INVALID. I trust Father Ripperger when he says demons during exorcisms cannot distinguish between a host consecrated at a NO mass and one consecrated at a TLM. If a host can be consecrated, The Mass cannot be INVALID. Kono, I attend and love the TLM. I wish the NO form would go away, but that doesn’t mean the NO is invalid.

          1. The NO Mass was always sold as an option to the TLM. The TLM was never outlawed, but the Church was taken over by modernists and it was hidden. Now, Antipope Francis is trying to outlaw it, but he can’t. Why? For one, that would end the Church. And the Church will always endure. And 2: He’s not the pope.

          2. Thank you TomG. I understand your reluctance. NO Masses and priests being invalid was a hurdle for me too. But once I read the sede argument, it made sense to me. Even Abp. Lefebvre said episcopal consecrations were invalid and priestly ordinations were doubtful. For me, the lack of graces from so very few valid Masses explains the complete societal breakdown since VII.

            As to Fr. Ripperger, I’ve always felt something was off with him. And that was long before I became sede.

            Blessed and fruitful Lent to all.

  2. When the authority tells you something is true, a good question to ask is why, exactly, does the authority think something is true. It can either be based on facts and logic or simply because it says so. In our modern world, the only institution left that can claim to have authority to tell people that something is true because they say so is the Catholic Church., because the Church speaks for God, the only only One whose claims are 100% true. This is why the masons pulled a coup on the Church.

  3. “In summary, Benedict erroneously believes that acceptance of the papacy itself confers an indelible and irrevocable character on the man who accepts it”

    His error was believing Vatican One then. Because if infallibility is true this must be so. Just another proof Vatican One is heretical.

    1. That would be amazing, except B16’s view of the papacy has nothing to do with infallibility. ANd indeed, his view on its face is correct. But it doesn’t mean you don’t follow Divine Law, as enshrined in Canon Law.

      By Jesus’ own words and actions in freakin’ scripture, Infalllibility is True.

      I’m half crazy and even I can follow reason and logic. You should try it.

  4. I can’t do this anymore. Either way, we can’t follow a tyrant. Keep the faith and pray Jesus comes soon. And pray he is merciful to us confused plebs.

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