“He considers that this title corresponds to reality.”
That was the response given by Abp. Ganswein back in 2014 to the question of certain irregularities in Pope Benedict’s “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. He believed he remained in some way papal… and quite obviously so.
Which means his resignation was invalid and null due to the Substantial Error clause of Canon 188, and he remained the one and only living pope until he went to his eternal reward on December 31st, 2022. In a terrible irony, Benedict remained pope because he thought, in error, that he could give up the active role in governance of the Church while retaining a passive papal role. With canon law being the arbiter of reality, not Benedict’s mind, not the minds of the Cardinals nor the minds of bishops, priests, laity… canon law says the resignation was invalid and null.
Quite obviously, Pope Benedict thought he retained some portion of the papacy. Quite obviously, he viewed himself as remaining in some way papal. Willful ignorance is the only way to unsee this.
But… we clearly had a conclave, and “Francis” was clearly elected, and this result seems to have been clearly greeted by universal peaceful acceptance by the cardinals, right? It seems the whole Church accepted it, right? Good grief, even Pope Benedict accepted it! Doesn’t this override any technical irregularities regarding the abdication?
Nope. Opinions cannot change reality. Appearances cannot change reality. The concept of Universal Peaceful Acceptance curing at the root cannot apply to an event that never actually happened.
Remember the Royal Wedding? Harry and Meghan! Televised all around the world, tens of millions of people watched it. Accepted it. It looked spectacular. All the rituals and rubrics were followed, the ceremony unfolded with precision, vows exchanged, and the prince and princess were proclaimed to be husband and wife.
Except that wasn’t reality. You see, Meghan is still married to her first husband, because God says so. Divorce is anti-reality. So all that took place that Saturday in London was the appearance of a wedding, but in reality was a radification of adultery and fornication. Even though everything was done correctly according to formula that day, nothing actually happened, because a previous impediment rendered the ceremonies null. It doesn’t matter that all the attendees and everyone watching on television believed that a wedding just took place. The metaphysical reality of the situation is that nothing happened, because a prior event (her actual wedding) nullified the “result” of that day’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, yet 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, remaining in some way papal, until his dying breath. And if that is true, 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.”