Q&A from the combox regarding Pope Benedict’s ideas about changing the structure of the Papacy

“CJ”2023/10/14 at 3:38 pm: Is there any evidence that Benedict was a proponent of a bifurcated papacy prior to his resignation? (proximity to the Miller Dissertation and its proponents notwithstanding) Just wondering if this was forced upon him by the wolves, or if it was his intent from the outset… which would raise the issue of accepting the papacy in substantial error.

Mark D. in reply to CJ: “The Petrine ministry…while preserving its substance as a divine institution, can find expressions in various ways according to the different circumstances of time and place.” -Cardinal Ratzinger (as Prefect of the CDF), Communionis Notio, 28 May 1992, P.18

From the Latin: “quodque, salva substantia divina institutione definita, diversimode pro varietate locorum et temporum se manifestare potest”

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_2805199

(Link has since been scrubbed by some antichurch quisling)

Also keep in mind, in the book-length version of the Miller dissertation, Chapter 16 is titled, “Facing the Future: 21 Theses on the Papal Ministry.” Twenty-one theses! There was wild and open discussion over different forms the papacy might take.

Miller: “Ratzinger admits that “without a doubt there have been misguided developments in both theology and practice where the primacy is concerned.” A particular way of exercising the primacy might well have been the pope’s duty for the Church’s welfare at one time, without its being so in the future. In the words of Hermann Pottmeyer, “the present juridical and organizational form of the office of Peter is neither the best imaginable nor the only possible realization.””

Lastly, never forget this exchange in Cardinal Ratzinger’s 1997 book-length interview with Peter Seewald, Salt of the Earth, page 257 in the English print:

 Seewald: “Do you think that the papacy will remain as it is?”

++Ratzinger: “In its core it will remain. In other words, a man is needed to be the successor of Peter and to bear a personal final authority that is supported collegially. Part of Christianity is a personalistic principle; it doesn’t get vaporized into anonymities but presents itself in the person of the priest, of the bishop, and the unity of the universal Church once again has a personal expression. This will remain, the magisterial responsibility for the unity of the Church, her faith, and her morals that was defined by Vatican I and II. Forms of exercise can change, they will certainly change, when hitherto separated communities enter into unity with the Pope. By the way, the present Pope’s (JPII) exercise of the pontificate—with the trips around the world—is completely different from that of Pius XII. What concrete variations emerge I neither can nor want to imagine. We can’t foresee now exactly how that will look.”

“What concrete variations emerge I neither can nor want to imagine.”

“Forms of exercise can change, they will certainly change”

But remember, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that Pope Benedict/Ratzinger ever had even once thought about changing the structure of the Petrine Ministry. Shut up, stoopid.

To answer the last part of CJ’s question: Does any of this suggest that Ratzinger’s acceptance of the papacy was invalid, due to these erroneous ideas? I don’t think so, because he never denied anything about the intrinsic nature of the papal office. He wasn’t assenting (in his acceptance) to an erroneous idea of what the papacy is, at its core. His errors were related to FUNCTION: Roles, structures, forms of exercise. The “how it works” not the “what it is.” He makes this distinction over and over.

I hope this helps.

11 thoughts on “Q&A from the combox regarding Pope Benedict’s ideas about changing the structure of the Papacy”

  1. LETTER TO THE BISHOPS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
    ON SOME ASPECTS OF THE CHURCH UNDERSTOOD AS COMMUNION
    https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_28051992_communionis-notio_en.html

    LITTERAE AD CATHOLICAE ECCLESIAE EPISCOPOS
    DE ALIQUIBUS ASPECTIBUS ECCLESIAE PROUT EST COMMUNIO
    https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_28051992_communionis-notio_lt.html

    18. Hoc rerum statu omnes vehementer urgentur ad operositatem oecumenicam fovendam, ut plena redintegretur communio in unitate Ecclesiae; in illa scilicet unitate “quam Christus ab initio Ecclesiae suae largitus est, quamque inamissibilem in Ecclesia catholica subsistere credimus et usque ad consummationem saeculi in dies crescere speramus”[78]. Cui oecumenicae actioni omni studio provehendae praecipui momenti et ponderis sunt oratio, paenitentia, studium, dialogus et actuosa cooperatio, ut, renovata ad Dominum conversione, omnes possint agnoscere Primatum Petri permanere in suis successoribus, nempe Romanis Episcopis, et ministerium petrinum videant ad effectum deductum secundum Domini intentionem tamquam universale servitium apostolicum, quod est praesens vigensque ab intra in cunctis Ecclesiis, quodque, salva substantia divina institutione definita, diversimode pro varietate locorum et temporum se manifestare potest, teste historia.

  2. Personally, I dont see how this helps. Nothing above suggests two-popes. When he is noting “forms of exercise” and the example is a pope that travels vs a pope, why would one think that means 2 people?? It didnt before. Or that “changes” the office to spend less time cloistered in Rome…? That would be a change to the ministry. Why doesnt that suggest that the college start electing younger pontiffs to handle this change if the ministry of the munus requires more travel? Or that the pope needs either more emissaries or that his archbishops be more outgoing…?

    This comes across as quite a stretch to think he intentionally meant 2 people or that he wanted the office (munus) to change, especially when in your same quote, it is clearly noted that “a man is needed to be the successor of Peter and to bear a personal final authority” and “this will remain.” If the whole argument which you have laid out in the past is that Benedict expected two holding the munus and that the munus is what matters, how does it help to quote his discussions about how it is carried out (ministry)?

    Resigning the ministry is like saying ‘I dont want to travel for work,’ but it doesnt mean that you lost your job. Nor does it suggest that if someone else travels in your stead, that you lost your job or that there are now 2 in your role…. only that someone else traveled. in my opinion….

    1. The issue is one of intention. The entire “resignation” was confusing beyond all get out. “Resign”, but keep the title, domicile, and dignities of the office you resigned? Your “successor” stops by with his “cabinet” picks for your blessing?

      The question, then, is “did Ratzinger intend for that to happen”? To answer that, you need to look at what his thoughts on the papacy were. He was a Modernist, and believed that the office of the papacy could “evolve” into different manifestations (following Teilhard de Chardin, which all Modernists do). While his thoughts do not explicitly say “2 popes”, they DO say that the manifestation of the office can change. In short, Ratzinger as a theologian believed that the manifestation of the papacy could change.

      Now, more critically, I believe that this is related to the heresy in Lumen Gentium that the Church of Christ “subsists in” the Catholic Church. That theology gives rise to the idea that heretics and schismatics, by virtue of the baptism, and Jews, by virtue of their covenant, are part of the “Church of Christ” in an imperfect, yet real way. Benedict, operating under this terrible theology, would hold that Bergoglio has some real part, though imperfect, in the papacy.

      1. Respectfully I disagree. I have his books on my shelf. No they do not say manifest that the office can change, and certainly do not make mention of it expanding beyond one person! We are constantly discussing the importance of munus vs ministeria. It still matters here! He discusses the ministry, as the quotes above even show! People are allowed to grow. Regardless of if he was a modernist earlier, in his works we see during his life a change away from what he was in his youth. And we see Benedict, as he grew from priest to archbishop to DCF to Pope, grow more conservative. By the end he was a defender of tradition and orthodoxy, he rewrote certain NO elements to realign with the Latin, he was also the one who authored Summorum Pontificum, and he remitted the penalty pronounced on the SSPX. And after his faux resignation, that orthodoxy didnt change when he provided commentary in books and other matters. One must be able to square that ‘two-pope view’ with his staunch orthodoxy, in my opinion. And in my opinion, they cant! A life must be viewed in totality, not in snippets.

        The resignation was invalid! He ‘resigned’ the wrong thing. Period. The rest is moot.

  3. Benedict was a Modernist. In his 2019 letter to German priests, he admitted that he and his confrers wanted to create a “new church” to correct the errors of the Catholic Church. He was a fan of de Chardin, and embraced the idea that cultural and historical factors influenced religious institutions and doctrines. As such, it isn’t very difficult to believe that he believed that the papacy could evolve into something different.

    As to the question of accepting with a distorted view of the papacy, I believe that is probable…but only because of the precedent set by John XXIII. Recall, that JXXIII taught innovation (religious liberty) and refused to condemn error, both of which are opposite of what popes are supposed to do (as per Pope Gregory XVI and Pope St. Pius X). That was followed by Paul VI and JPII, both of whom followed JXXIII’s example. Benedict would have had a more experience with a distorted view of the papacy than a real one.

  4. The Cionci thesis seems the most likely to be true and accurate as to what actually happened. B16 intentionally pretended to vacate the papacy but did not,to keep it for the hands of the Modernists. At least for a time.

    1. If the Cionci thesis is true, there needs to be an endgame. If the faux resignation was intentional deception, what’s the endgame? Benedict has been dead for ten months… where is the deadman switch? Why didn’t he write instructions to the “good” Cardinals on how to proceed upon his death? Why didn’t he prepare a statement for +Ganswein to read out at a press conference? The Cionci thesis was only plausible, barely, while Benedict yet lived.

  5. It is undeniable that the Papacy has and will be changed. The Pope used to rule temporally over vast lands, the Kings had a say over who would’ve Bishop and even sometimes Pope. Before Vat 1 the dogma of infallibility was variously the understood. The college of cardinals is a relatively recent phenomenon but who could imagine a Pope being elected by popular acclaim or by the will of a secular monarch as in times past? The things quoted here and in the Miller thesis book to ‘prove’ BXVI’s bifurcated Papacy theory are so ham-handed. Usually Mark and Ann get it, but this is painful. It reminds me somehow of Bergoglios “quoting” St. Thomas. I don’t think it means what you think it means. There are other reasons to reject Frankie. This ain’t it.

    And P. S. Can you think of a single cleric man enough to be the dead man switch? Or a single means of communication available to Pope Benedict that was secure? The man could not even go be with his brother at his deathbed without being drugged and shipped home to Rome. Wolves indeed. Why bother with a flimsy substantial error theory when all the evidence points to coercion? BXVI pulled a Bl. Carl move. And no one was man enough to help him.

  6. Surely BXVI could not trust a soul, no form of communication would be secure, and what cleric do you imagine he could trust to make such a fuss after his death? The poor man could not even stay by his dying brother’s side without being drugged up and bundled back to Rome.

    There is ample evidence for duress and coercion. He pulled a Bl. Carl move to bide some time.

    As for the post, the Miller thesis relies upon the same methods employed the the current bergoglian regime: misquotaton and misinterpretation. (This is how they even misused St Thomas to support AL.) The Papacy has changed much over the years. Peter, Gregory, the Borghese, all the different Piuses, Paul VI, John Paul Ii, they were elected differently, they governed differently, some let Kings choose or reject Bishops, even Popes sometimes. There’s more than one way to Pope, but the Pope will always be a Catholic man and the vicar of Christ on earth. The BXVI quote above refers to this, and is correct.

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