A: While it is impossible to know or judge his intent DIRECTLY, we most certainly can and should examine the EXTERNAL MANIFESTATION of the act which he attempted to execute in the Declaratio.
Can. 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.”
After he manifestly did NOT resign his office in the Declaratio, the external manifestation that unfolded in the sad spring of 2013 included things like his Fisherman’s Ring was not destroyed, he kept “Pope” in his title, he kept the form of address “His Holiness,” he continued to wear the white cassock, and live inside the Vatican, giving his Apostolic Blessing. Don’t be gaslighted. Pope Benedict obviously still considered himself in some way papal, which means he was in substantial error about the thing he was resigning.
Can. 188. “A resignation made out of grave fear that is inflicted unjustly or out of malice, substantial error, or simony is invalid by the law itself.”
In fact, since the external manifestation points so obviously to substantial error, this manifest evidentiary proofset counts more than Pope Benedict’s own denials. It is claimed that Benedict said at various times that his act was made with completely free will, and any notion of a failed abdication is “absurd.” But since our charge is substantial error as it relates to the essential nature of the act, and further to the nature of the papacy itself, the mind of Pope Benedict, far from being the arbiter of reality, is actually the thing that is on trial here! Not his personal motivation, mind you, but rather the objective facts of what he did or didn’t do. What is clear in the Declaratio is that he intended to resign something… the words suggest resigning the active ministry, and remember he explicitly did NOT resign the office. Then two weeks went by whilst he explained to everyone how HIS resignation wasn’t going to MANIFEST like any other resignation in history.
Nothing to see here…
All of this and more is artfully explained in Chapter Two of Dr. Mazza’s new book, The Third Secret of Fatima and the Synodal Church, Volume I: Pope Benedict’s Resignation, which you should acquire forthwith.
Now enjoy another fact-filled essay from 2014…
Now even the “Corriere” and Messori have discovered that there are two Popes. Repeating what we had written three months ago, but pretending not to know the consequences (“they hide their hand after throwing the stone”)
Libero, May 29, 2014
Yesterday a page written by Messori in the “Corriere della Sera” (with the title: “Here is why we truly have two Popes”) disclosed a sensational revelation: Benedict XVI, in renouncing his mandate by using certain expressions, left: “only his power of government and command over the Church.”
Nevertheless he maintains” the munus, the papal office” which “is irrevocable”. He renounced only “its concrete exercise.” Which means that the Church would really have “two Popes” – a diarchy.
This revelation is truly sensational. It is a shame that it was already made and commented upon – many times, with plenty of argumentation – three months ago, here in the columns of “Libero” (four installments of my inquiry, starting on February 9).
Three months later, Messori and the “Corriere” presented all of it as if it were their own scoop (taking as a pretext one of the essays by a canon lawyer which came out recently), without referring to everything that had happened between February and March.
THE SWISS GUARDS
Indeed, my inquiry into the demission of the Pope, a year after the renunciation, caused a great row: and the “Swiss Guards” of Vatican Insider- La Stampa” immediately protested, scandalized.
On February 14, the most zealous of them, Andrea Tornielli, after the first three installments of my enquiry, excommunicated it with these textual and surreal words:
“(a year after the demission) we have read many comments and analyses. Some – I must confess – reading them made me shudder – the idea almost of a diarchy is outlined, and even the notion that the “true” Pope is still Ratzinger. And unfortunately I am not referring only to the galaxy of prophecy followers – or of the false, apocalyptic prophecies – but also to writers, whose positions, nobody would have been able to imagine a year ago. Not to mention the many, who sensing they are no longer as “confirmed” in their vision, cultural battles, pastoral strategies, patterns of thought and their presence everywhere as “first of the class ” – instead of a healthy examination of conscience, end up by being nostalgic and oppose – more or less subtly – the magisterium of Benedict to that of Francis.”
Will Tornielli shudder also this time because of Messori’s article? Last February, such was the horror of the Vatican journalist, investing himself in the role of tutor in the public order of ideas, that he felt it his duty to bother even poor Benedict XVI in order to ask him to deny or confirm my theses – despite knowing well that he had chosen the cloister.
THE IRONY OF RATZINGER
The “Pope Emeritus” obviously could not evade this petulant request, otherwise who knows what insinuations would have been made. Neither could he talk about what he had remained silent about until then. So he gave a fantastic answer…
“La Stampa” displayed – as a worldwide scoop, launched all over the globe – that strange note by Pope Ratzinger wherein –as the Turin newspaper reported – he denied my argumentation. In a particular way – according to Tornielli – Ratzinger denied being “ Pope number two – he is not part of a “diarchy.”
In reality, that note was not at all about a diarchy. Primarily his note however, contained a single piece of real news: it was in an enigmatic, exquisite response given by the Pope Emeritus, which by itself, should have made the “insiders” jump up onto their chairs!
Having to explain why he had kept the title of “Pope Emeritus”, the name “His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and the white cassock, Ratzinger wrote verbatim: “at the moment of my renunciation there were no other clothes available.”
“La Stampa-Vatican Insider” thought such a surreal answer sounded just right. They were not even aware of the Pope’s sensational irony and how he had elegantly eluded them.
It is obvious in fact, that such an answer meant that the Pope could not or did not want to speak nor explain the reasons for that choice.
You do not need much to understand it, since the renunciation had also been decided a year before and was announced twenty days prior to it becoming official. Therefore, it is impossible that “at the time of the renunciation” there were no “other clothes” available.
Anyway, nobody could believe that one would remain Pope for [purely] sartorial reasons…
In fact, two days after, February 28, the trusted Don Georg Gänswein, Ratinger’s secretary, in an interview to “Avvenire” gave the real answer which Benedict could not or did not want to give in person. Here is how Don Georg explained why he had kept the title of Pope Emeritus: “He considers that this title corresponds to reality.”
Anyone can understand that this statement is of exceptional importance: it means that Ratzinger dresses like a Pope because “he is” Pope.
So Tornielli, who became the fireman that extinguished a fire I caused, ended up involuntarily setting off a bigger one. It was increasingly evident that Benedict XVI did not resign from the Petrine Ministry, but only it from its “active exercise.”
If and how this is possible and what it implies is a completely unresolved question, above all theologically.
In fact, last April 7, Sandro Magister, the most authoritative and reliable of Vatican journalists, on his very well-known internet site, recalled my inquiry and the “answer” given by “Vatican Insider” saying that – in his judgment – it did not respond the questions I had raised.
The TV had broadcast news of the controversy along with the Pope’s extraordinary note; even the “Corriere della Sera” had (although with a superficial and arrogant article).
It is surprising that of all this, in the page of yesterday’s “Corriere”, there was not even the slightest mention.
What is particularly surprising however, is that Messori concludes his article with an (apparently) ingenuous hymn about the beauty of having two Popes “in the enclosure of Peter”. An enclosure – explains Messori enthusiastically – that is not only geographic, but also a theological “place.”
Evidently Messori does not remember his interview of a year ago, precisely with Andrea Tornielli, who never appeared to be enthusiastic about the fact that Ratzinger remained Pope Emeritus. In that interview – spurred by Tornielli’s questions – Messori said he was very perplexed at the fact that Benedict had decided to stay in the Vatican.
And he said it very brusquely:
“What had surprised me at the time was the decision by Benedict XVI to stay “within the enclosure of St. Peter’s”[…] I always remember this motto from the Savoia House: ‘Here we rule one at a time.’ The idea that one can construe being on the outside is that the emeritus may in some way, despite himself, influence his successor.”
Yesterday Messori wrote something that seems to be the exact opposite:
“Would the Church then for the first time, truly have two Popes, one reigning and one emeritus? It appears that this was the will of Joseph Ratzinger himself, with the renunciation of active service only, and that it was “a solemn act of his magisterium” […]If it truly is so, so much the better for the Church: it is a gift that they are near each other even physically – one who directs and teaches and one who prays and suffers for everyone, but most of all to sustain his confrere in his everyday pontifical office.”
Is everything just fine then? Is everybody happy? It is exactly the opposite. Messori in fact, as an “insider” – cannot ignore that this situation – as he outlines it – does not have any theological nor canonical foundation.
Through the Divine Constitution of the Church, in reality only one can be the Pope. And if it is as Messori says – Benedict XVI “did not intend to renounce the pontifical munus” which “is irrevocable” what kind of demission is his?
Messori knows well that his entire article induces one to ask a dramatic question (who is the Pope?), but he avoids carefully formulating it, allowing the reader to pose it. Why? Is this article a signal that many are posing it in Church circles?
4 thoughts on “Q: Mark, everyone knows we can’t judge the internal forum, so how can you argue Pope Benedict’s intent in rendering his resignation?”
It’s clear Mr. Messori is seriously confused and afflicted by this scandal. When he argues against his own logic and in the end states “If it truly is so, so much the better for the Church” the reader is left with a conclusion that is completely inverse from the truth. But to be fair, the majority of human kind has been scandalized by this dubious and disordered subsequent invalid “partial but remaining in” resignation. The hierarchy of order has and always will be one at the top.
Mark, I have been remiss in thanking you for your great work on this blog. Your point about “properly manifested” leads me phrase it this way: the thing manifested is something other than the renunciation of the munus. Therefore he either intended an impossibibased on substantial error OR intentionally did not resign. One or the other. I know you, Ann etc., don’t buy that. But it would not scandalize me if either were true. What is apparent is that, after acknowledging the munus in his declaration, he resigned something other than that.
And thank you for witness!
I present a third alternative: he was too poor to afford new clothes or live in Germany. He himself told us that he dresses in white because he had nothing else in his wardrobe. He was hinting at this, but nobody paid attention, or they misunderstood what he was implying. Instead of giving this poor, elderly man some money, people just collect royalty from publishing unimportant polemics for or against the legitimacy of his resignation. Catholics have failed in basic corporeal acts of mercy for 10 years. But Francis, who loves the poor and the elderly, took him in and gave him the necessities of life.
(Yes, that was tongue in cheek.)