Shut Up, Part Two: “You don’t have the authority to offer corrections to heretics in high places.”

Jennifer Roback Morse had a piece at the Register yesterday HERE. Go read the whole thing, because she does make some good points about making a mess to shake things up and shape your local Catholic environment. Yes, you should do that, I have done that, and it can be effective. None of what I’m about to lay out is to diminish the work she does and has done in other areas, although it’s exactly this sort of “conservative” middle ground that has become completely untenable under the New Paradigm. She’s not the enemy, she’s just oblivious to the fact that she’s trapped herself in the Maybe the Crocodile will Eat Me Last strategy. She also made sure to categorize the antipope position as “outrageous”…in her very first sentence.

She then talks a bit about the importance of recognizing legitimate authority. I don’t want this to get derailed into the whole “legitimate” thing, because an antipope exercises exactly ZERO legitimate authority. But let’s stick with Jennifer’s position that “Francis” is pope, he has legit authority, and this authority binds the faithful to… shut up:

I don’t have the authority to correct the Pope, or my bishop or even my parish priest.

Excuse me? You not only have the authority, you have the duty. This is a precept, folks, and it goes way beyond Galatians 2:11. You are bound by Charity to offer correction, even publicly if necessary, no matter what your rank and no matter what the rank of the offender. Aquinas laid this out quite clearly, as you will see in a moment. She does have some salient points about the importance of respecting authority in the broader sense. But applying this reasoning to the situation at hand actually compels one to act, not shut up.

Now that I’ve got my hackles up, later on we get this:

…we can’t go around yelling at the Pope. That is the path of trying to control others, which is, in the end, a fool’s errand. I can’t make him resign or change. Neither can you.

Fraternal Correction is a fool’s errand? Seriously. You can’t make him change? So it’s not even worth trying? With the platform you enjoy, you really don’t think you could have any impact in this area? Or would it just be TOO RISKY FOR YOU? What about prayer? Do you believe in the power of prayer? Do you understand you are duty bound to pray for “Pope Francis” to change? To pray for his conversion, his repentance, his return to the gospel?

We don’t have time to spin our wheels and wring our hands over things we can’t control.

Because, there are more important things like hospitals, volunteering at the school, and getting rid of bad hymns. Go read the full piece; I’m not making this up.

Which don’t get me wrong, go ahead and do those things. but you’re going to draw a false dichotomy there?  Why, because all the “good” “conservative” red hats are already busy with the corrections stuff? Come on.

The root of her error is in failing to distinguish between the twofold nature of fraternal correction: Charity and Justice. By the law itself, only prelates can offer/impose correction out of justice. But the laity are duty bound to offer correction out of charity, and we actually commit sin ourselves, a sin against charity, if we do not offer it.

Here is the relevant teaching from St. Thomas Aquinas, ST II II 33 3-4 SOURCE.  Focus on Articles 3 and 4. Be sure to share it within your Catholic circle.

Thank God for the tiny handful of bloggers and journalists who are doing their duty.

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Question 33. Fraternal correction

Article 1. Whether fraternal correction is an act of charity?

Objection 1. It would seem that fraternal correction is not an act of charity. For a glosson Matthew 18:15, “If thy brother shall offend against thee,” says that “a man should reprove his brother out of zeal for justice.” But justice is a distinct virtue from charity. Therefore fraternal correction is an act, not of charity, but of justice.

Objection 2. Further, fraternal correction is given by secret admonition. Now admonition is a kind of counsel, which is an act of prudence, for a prudent man is one who is of good counsel (Ethic. vi, 5). Therefore fraternal correction is an act, not of charity, but of prudence.

Objection 3. Further, contrary acts do not belong to the same virtue. Now it is an act of charity to bear with a sinner, according to Galatians 6:2: “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so you shall fulfil the law of Christ,” which is the law of charity. Therefore it seems that the correction of a sinningbrother, which is contrary to bearing with him, is not an act of charity.

On the contrary, To correct the wrongdoer is a spiritual almsdeed. But almsdeeds are works of charity, as stated above (II-II:32:1). Therefore fraternal correction is an act of charity.

I answer that, The correction of the wrongdoer is a remedy which should be employed against a man’s sin. Now a man’s sin may be considered in two ways, first as being harmful to the sinner, secondly as conducing to the harm of others, by hurting or scandalizing them, or by being detrimental to the common good, the justice of which is disturbed by that man’s sin.

Consequently the correction of a wrongdoer is twofold, one which applies a remedy to the sin considered as an evil of the sinner himself. This is fraternal correction properly so called, which is directed to the amendment of the sinner. Now to do away with anyone’s evil is the same as to procure his good: and to procure a person’s good is an act of charity, whereby we wish and do our friend well. Consequently fraternal correction also is an act of charity, because thereby we drive out our brother’s evil, viz. sin, the removal of which pertains to charity rather than the removal of an external loss, or of a bodily injury, in so much as the contrary good of virtue is more akin to charity than the good of the body or of external things. Therefore fraternal correction is an act of charity rather than the healing of a bodily infirmity, or the relieving of an external bodily need. There is another correction which applies a remedy to the sin of the wrongdoer, considered as hurtful to others, and especially to the common good. This correction is an act of justice, whose concern it is to safeguard the rectitude of justice between one man and another.

Reply to Objection 1. This gloss speaks of the second correction which is an act of justice. Or if it speaks of the first correction, then it takes justice as denoting a general virtue, as we shall state further on (II-II:58:5, in which sense again all “sin is iniquity” (1 John 3:4), through being contrary to justice.

Reply to Objection 2. According to the Philosopher (Ethic. vi, 12), prudence regulates whatever is directed to the end, about which things counsel and choice are concerned. Nevertheless when, guided by prudence, we perform some action aright which is directed to the end of some virtue, such as temperance or fortitude, that action belongs chiefly to the virtue to whose end it is directed. Since, then, the admonition which is given in fraternal correction is directed to the removal of a brother’s sin, which removal pertains to charity, it is evident that this admonition is chiefly an act of charity, which virtue commands it, so to speak, but secondarily an act of prudence, which executes and directs the action.

Reply to Objection 3. Fraternal correction is not opposed to forbearance with the weak, on the contrary it results from it. For a man bears with a sinner, in so far as he is not disturbed against him, and retains his goodwill towards him: the result being that he strives to make him do better.

Article 2. Whether fraternal correction is a matter of precept?

Objection 1. It would seem that fraternal correction is not a matter of precept. For nothing impossible is a matter of precept, according to the saying of Jerome [Pelagius, Expos. Symb. ad Damas]: “Accursed be he who says that God has commanded any. thing impossible.” Now it is written (Ecclesiastes 7:14): “Consider the works of God, that no man can correct whom He hath despised.” Therefore fraternal correction is not a matter of precept.

Objection 2. Further, all the precepts of the Divine Law are reduced to the precepts of the Decalogue. But fraternal correction does not come under any precept of the Decalogue. Therefore it is not a matter of precept.

Objection 3. Further, the omission of a Divine precept is a mortal sin, which has no place in a holy man. Yet holy and spiritual men are found to omit fraternal correction: since Augustine says (De Civ. Dei i, 9): “Not only those of low degree, but also those of high position, refrain from reproving others, moved by a guilty cupidity, not by the claims of charity.” Therefore fraternal correction is not a matter of precept.

Objection 4. Further, whatever is a matter of precept is something due. If, therefore, fraternal correction is a matter of precept, it is due to our brethren that we correct them when they sin. Now when a man owes anyone a material due, such as the payment of a sum of money, he must not be content that his creditor come to him, but he should seek him out, that he may pay him his due. Hence we should have to go seeking for those who need correction, in order that we might correct them; which appears to be inconvenient, both on account of the great number of sinners, for whose correction one man could not suffice, and because religious would have to leave the cloister in order to reprove men, which would be unbecoming. Therefore fraternal correction is not a matter of precept.

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Verb. Dom. xvi, 4): “You become worse than the sinner if you fail to correct him.” But this would not be so unless, by this neglect, one omitted to observe some precept. Therefore fraternal correction is a matter of precept.

I answer that, Fraternal correction is a matter of precept. We must observe, however, that while the negative precepts of the Lawforbid sinful acts, the positive precepts inculcate acts of virtue. Now sinful acts are evil in themselves, and cannot become good, no matter how, or when, or where, they are done, because of their very nature they are connected with an evil end, as stated in Ethic. ii, 6: wherefore negative precepts bind always and for all times. On the other hand, acts of virtue must not be done anyhow, but by observing the due circumstances, which are requisite in order that an act be virtuous; namely, that it be done where, when, and how it ought to be done. And since the disposition of whatever is directed to the end depends on the formal aspect of the end, the chief of these circumstances of a virtuous act is this aspect of the end, which in this case is the good of virtue. If therefore such a circumstance be omitted from a virtuous act, as entirely takes away the good of virtue, such an act is contrary to a precept. If, however, the circumstance omitted from a virtuous act be such as not to destroy the virtue altogether, though it does not perfectly attain the good of virtue, it is not against a precept. Hence the Philosopher (Ethic. ii, 9) says that if we depart but little from the mean, it is not contrary to the virtue, whereas if we depart much from the mean virtue is destroyed in its act. Now fraternal correction is directed to a brother’s amendment: so that it is a matter of precept, in so far as it is necessary for that end, but not so as we have to correct our erring brother at all places and times.

Reply to Objection 1. In all good deeds man’s action is not efficacious without the Divine assistance: and yet man must do what is in his power. Hence Augustine says (De Correp. et Gratia xv): “Since we ignore who is predestined and who is not, charity should so guide our feelings, that we wish all to be saved.” Consequently we ought to do our brethren the kindness of correcting them, with the hope of God’s help.

Reply to Objection 2. As stated above (II-II:32:5 ad 4), all the precepts about rendering service to our neighbor are reduced to the precept about the honor due to parents.

Reply to Objection 3. Fraternal correction may be omitted in three ways.

First, meritoriously, when out of charity one omits to correct someone. For Augustine says (De Civ. Dei i, 9): “If a man refrains from chiding and reproving wrongdoers, because he awaits a suitable time for so doing, or because he fears lest, if he does so, they may become worse, or hinder, oppress, or turn away from the faith, others who are weak and need to be instructed in a life of goodnessand virtue, this does not seem to result from covetousness, but to be counselled by charity.”

Secondly, fraternal correction may be omitted in such a way that one commits a mortal sin, namely, “when” (as he says in the same passage) “one fears what people may think, or lest one may suffer grievous pain or death; provided, however, that the mind is so dominated by such things, that it gives them the preference to fraternal charity.” This would seem to be the case when a man reckons that he might probably withdraw some wrongdoer from sin, and yet omits to do so, through fear or covetousness.

Thirdly, such an omission is a venial sin, when through fear or covetousness, a man is loth to correct his brother’s faults, and yet not to such a degree, that if he saw clearly that he could withdraw him from sin, he would still forbear from so doing, through fear or covetousness, because in his own mind he prefers fraternal charity to these things. It is in this way that holy men sometimes omit to correct wrongdoers.

Reply to Objection 4. We are bound to pay that which is due to some fixed and certain person, whether it be a material or a spiritual good, without waiting for him to come to us, but by taking proper steps to find him. Wherefore just as he that owes money to a creditor should seek him, when the time comes, so as to pay him what he owes, so he that has spiritual charge of some personis bound to seek him out, in order to reprove him for a sin. On the other hand, we are not bound to seek someone on whom to bestow such favors as are due, not to any certain person, but to all our neighbors in general, whether those favors be material or spiritual goods, but it suffices that we bestow them when the opportunity occurs; because, as Augustine says (De Doctr. Christ. i, 28), we must look upon this as a matter of chance. For this reason he says (De Verb. Dom. xvi, 1) that “Our Lord warns us not to be listless in regard of one another’s sins: not indeed by being on the lookout for something to denounce, but by correcting what we see”: else we should become spies on the lives of others, which is against the saying of Proverbs 24:19: “Lie not in wait, nor seek after wickedness in the house of the just, nor spoil his rest.” It is evident from this that there is no need for religious to leave their cloister in order to rebuke evil-doers.

Article 3. Whether fraternal correction belongs only to prelates?

Objection 1. It would seem that fraternal correction belongs to prelates alone. For Jerome [Origen, Hom. vii in Joan.] says: “Let priests endeavor to fulfil this saying of the Gospel: ‘If thy brother sin against thee,'” etc. Now prelates having charge of others were usually designated under the name of priests. Therefore it seems that fraternal correction belongs to prelates alone.

Objection 2. Further, fraternal correction is a spiritual alms. Now corporal almsgiving belongs to those who are placed above others in temporal matters, i.e. to the rich. Therefore fraternal correction belongs to those who are placed above others in spiritual matters, i.e. to prelates.

Objection 3. Further, when one man reproves another he moves him by his rebuke to something better. Now in the physical order the inferior is moved by the superior. Therefore in the order of virtue also, which follows the order of nature, it belongs to prelatesalone to correct inferiors.

On the contrary, It is written (Dist. xxiv, qu. 3, Can. Tam Sacerdotes): “Both priests and all the rest of the faithful should be most solicitous for those who perish, so that their reproof may either correct their sinful ways. or, if they be incorrigible, cut them off from the Church.”

I answer that, As stated above (Article 1), correction is twofold. One is an act of charity, which seeks in a special way the recovery of an erring brother by means of a simple warning: such like correction belongs to anyone who has charity, be he subject or prelate.

But there is another correction which is an act of justice purposing the common good, which is procured not only by warning one’s brother, but also, sometimes, by punishing him, that others may, through fear, desist from sin. Such a correction belongs only to prelates, whose business it is not only to admonish, but also to correct by means of punishments.

Reply to Objection 1. Even as regards that fraternal correction which is common to all, prelates have a grave responsibility, as Augustine says (De Civ. Dei i, 9): “for just as a man ought to bestow temporal favors on those especially of whom he has temporal care, so too ought he to confer spiritual favors, such as correction, teaching and the like, on those who are entrusted to his spiritualcare.” Therefore Jerome does not mean that the precept of fraternal correction concerns priests only, but that it concerns them chiefly.

Reply to Objection 2. Just as he who has the means wherewith to give corporal assistance is rich in this respect, so he whose reason is gifted with a sane judgment, so as to be able to correct another’s wrong-doing, is, in this respect, to be looked on as a superior.

Reply to Objection 3. Even in the physical order certain things act mutually on one another, through being in some respect higher than one another, in so far as each is somewhat in act, and somewhat in potentiality with regard to another. On like manner one man can correct another in so far as he has a sane judgment in a matter wherein the other sins, though he is not his superior simply.

Article 4. Whether a man is bound to correct his prelate?

Objection 1. It would seem that no man is bound to correct his prelate. For it is written (Exodus 19:12): “The beast that shall touch the mount shall be stoned,” [Vulgate: ‘Everyone that shall touch the mount, dying he shall die.’] and (2 Samuel 6:7) it is related that the Lord struck Oza for touching the ark. Now the mount and the ark signify our prelates. Therefore prelates should not be corrected by their subjects.

Objection 2. Further, a gloss on Galatians 2:11, “I withstood him to the face,” adds: “as an equal.” Therefore, since a subject is not equal to his prelate, he ought not to correct him.

Objection 3. Further, Gregory says (Moral. xxiii, 8) that “one ought not to presume to reprove the conduct of holy men, unless one thinks better of oneself.” But one ought not to think better of oneself than of one’s prelate. Therefore one ought not to correct one’s prelate.

On the contrary, Augustine says in his Rule: “Show mercy not only to yourselves, but also to him who, being in the higher position among you, is therefore in greater danger.” But fraternal correction is a work of mercy. Therefore even prelates ought to be corrected.

I answer that, A subject is not competent to administer to his prelate the correction which is an act of justice through the coercive nature of punishment: but the fraternal correction which is an act of charity is within the competency of everyone in respect of any person towards whom he is bound by charity, provided there be something in that person which requires correction.

Now an act which proceeds from a habit or power extends to whatever is contained under the object of that power or habit: thus vision extends to all things comprised in the object of sight. Since, however, a virtuous act needs to be moderated by due circumstances, it follows that when a subject corrects his prelate, he ought to do so in a becoming manner, not with impudence and harshness, but with gentleness and respect. Hence the Apostle says (1 Timothy 5:1): “An ancient man rebuke not, but entreat him as a father.” Wherefore Dionysius finds fault with the monk Demophilus (Ep. viii), for rebuking a priest with insolence, by striking and turning him out of the church.

Reply to Objection 1. It would seem that a subject touches his prelate inordinately when he upbraids him with insolence, as also when he speaks ill of him: and this is signified by God’s condemnation of those who touched the mount and the ark.

Reply to Objection 2. To withstand anyone in public exceeds the mode of fraternal correction, and so Paul would not have withstood Peter then, unless he were in some way his equal as regards the defense of the faith. But one who is not an equal can reprove privately and respectfully. Hence the Apostle in writing to the Colossians (4:17) tells them to admonish their prelate: “Say to Archippus: Fulfil thy ministry [Vulgate: ‘Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.’ Cf. 2 Timothy 4:5.” It must be observed, however, that if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly. Hence Paul, who was Peter’s subject, rebuked him in public, on account of the imminent danger of scandal concerning faith, and, as the gloss of Augustine says on Galatians 2:11, “Peter gave an example to superiors, that if at any time they should happen to stray from the straight path, they should not disdain to be reproved by their subjects.”

Reply to Objection 3. To presume oneself to be simply better than one’s prelate, would seem to savor of presumptuous pride; but there is no presumption in thinking oneself better in some respect, because, in this life, no man is without some fault. We must also remember that when a man reproves his prelate charitably, it does not follow that he thinks himself any better, but merely that he offers his help to one who, “being in the higher position among you, is therefore in greater danger,” as Augustine observes in his Rule quoted above.

Article 5. Whether a sinner ought to reprove a wrongdoer?

Objection 1. It would seem that a sinner ought to reprove a wrongdoer. For no man is excused from obeying a precept by having committed a sin. But fraternal correction is a matter of precept, as stated above (Article 2). Therefore it seems that a man ought not to forbear from such like correction for the reason that he has committed a sin.

Objection 2. Further, spiritual almsdeeds are of more account than corporal almsdeeds. Now one who is in sin ought not to abstain from administering corporal alms. Much less therefore ought he, on account of a previous sin, to refrain from correcting wrongdoers.

Objection 3. Further, it is written (1 John 1:8): “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.” Therefore if, on account of a sin, a man is hindered from reproving his brother, there will be none to reprove the wrongdoer. But the latter proposition is unreasonable: therefore the former is also.

On the contrary, Isidore says (De Summo Bono iii, 32): “He that is subject to vice should not correct the vices of others.” Again it is written (Romans 2:1): “Wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself. For thou dost the same things which thou judgest.”

I answer that, As stated above (Article 3, Reply to Objection 2), to correct a wrongdoer belongs to a man, in so far as his reason is gifted with right judgment. Now sin, as stated above (I-II:85:1I-II:85:2), does not destroy the good of nature so as to deprive the sinner’s reason of all right judgment, and in this respect he may be competent to find fault with others for committing sin. Nevertheless a previous sin proves somewhat of a hindrance to this correction, for three reasons. First because this previous sinrenders a man unworthy to rebuke another; and especially is he unworthy to correct another for a lesser sin, if he himself has committed a greater. Hence Jerome says on the words, “Why seest thou the mote?” etc. (Matthew 7:3): “He is speaking of those who, while they are themselves guilty of mortal sin, have no patience with the lesser sins of their brethren.”

Secondly, such like correction becomes unseemly, on account of the scandal which ensues therefrom, if the corrector’s sin be well known, because it would seem that he corrects, not out of charity, but more for the sake of ostentation. Hence the words of Matthew 7:4, “How sayest thou to thy brother?” etc. are expounded by Chrysostom [Hom. xvii in the Opus Imperfectum falsely ascribed to St. John Chrysostom] thus: “That is—’With what object?’ Out of charity, think you, that you may save your neighbor?” No, “because you would look after your own salvation first. What you want is, not to save others, but to hide your evil deeds with good teaching, and to seek to be praised by men for your knowledge.”

Thirdly, on account of the rebuker’s pride; when, for instance, a man thinks lightly of his own sins, and, in his own heart, sets himself above his neighbor, judging the latter’s sins with harsh severity, as though he himself were just man. Hence Augustine says (De Serm. Dom. in Monte ii, 19): “To reprove the faults of others is the duty of good and kindly men: when a wicked man rebukes anyone, his rebuke is the latter’s acquittal.” And so, as Augustine says (De Serm. Dom. in Monte ii, 19): “When we have to find fault with anyone, we should think whether we were never guilty of his sin; and then we must remember that we are men, and might have been guilty of it; or that we once had it on our conscience, but have it no longer: and then we should bethink ourselves that we are all weak, in order that our reproof may be the outcome, not of hatred, but of pity.

But if we find that we are guilty of the same sin, we must not rebuke him, but groan with him, and invite him to repent with us.” It follows from this that, if a sinner reprove a wrongdoer with humility, he does not sin, nor does he bring a further condemnation on himself, although thereby he proves himself deserving of condemnation, either in his brother’s or in his own conscience, on account of his previous sin.

Hence the Replies to the Objections are clear.

Article 6. Whether one ought to forbear from correcting someone, through fear lest he become worse?

Objection 1. It would seem that one ought not to forbear from correcting someone through fear lest he become worse. For sin is weakness of the soul, according to Psalm 6:3: “Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak.” Now he that has charge of a sick person, must not cease to take care of him, even if he be fractious or contemptuous, because then the danger is greater, as in the case of madmen. Much more, therefore should one correct a sinner, no matter how badly he takes it.

Objection 2. Further, according to Jerome vital truths are not to be foregone on account of scandal. Now God’s commandments are vital truths. Since, therefore, fraternal correction is a matter of precept, as stated above (Article 2), it seems that it should not be foregone for fear of scandalizing the person to be corrected.

Objection 3. Further, according to the Apostle (Romans 3:8) we should not do evil that good may come of it. Therefore, in like manner, good should not be omitted lest evil befall. Now fraternal correction is a good thing. Therefore it should not be omitted for fear lest the person corrected become worse.

On the contrary, It is written (Proverbs 9:8): “Rebuke not a scorner lest he hate thee,” where a gloss remarks: “You must not fear lest the scorner insult you when you rebuke him: rather should you bear in mind that by making him hate you, you may make him worse.” Therefore one ought to forego fraternal correction, when we fear lest we may make a man worse.

I answer that, As stated above (Article 3) the correction of the wrongdoer is twofold. One, which belongs to prelates, and is directed to the common good, has coercive force. Such correction should not be omitted lest the person corrected be disturbed, both because if he is unwilling to amend his ways of his own accord, he should be made to cease sinning by being punished, and because, if he be incorrigible, the common good is safeguarded in this way, since the order of justice is observed, and others are deterred by one being made an example of. Hence a judge does not desist from pronouncing sentence of condemnation against a sinner, for fear of disturbing him or his friends.

The other fraternal correction is directed to the amendment of the wrongdoer, whom it does not coerce, but merely admonishes. Consequently when it is deemed probable that the sinner will not take the warning, and will become worse, such fraternal correction should be foregone, because the means should be regulated according to the requirements of the end.

Reply to Objection 1. The doctor uses force towards a madman, who is unwilling to submit to his treatment; and this may be compared with the correction administered by prelates, which has coercive power, but not with simple fraternal correction.

Reply to Objection 2. Fraternal correction is a matter of precept, in so far as it is an act of virtue, and it will be a virtuous act in so far as it is proportionate to the end. Consequently whenever it is a hindrance to the end, for instance when a man becomes worse through it, it is longer a vital truth, nor is it a matter precept.

Reply to Objection 3. Whatever is directed to end, becomes good through being directed to the end. Hence whenever fraternal correction hinders the end, namely the amendment of our brother, it is no longer good, so that when such a correction is omitted, good is not omitted lest evil should befall.

Article 7. Whether the precept of fraternal correction demands that a private admonition should precede denunciation?

Objection 1. It would seem that the precept of fraternal correction does not demand that a private admonition should precede denunciation. For, in works of charity, we should above all follow the example of God, according to Ephesians 5:1-2: “Be ye followers of God, as most dear children, and walk in love.” Now God sometimes punishes a man for a sin, without previously warning him in secret. Therefore it seems that there is no need for a private admonition to precede denunciation.

Objection 2. Further, according to Augustine (De Mendacio xv), we learn from the deeds of holy men how we ought to understand the commandments of Holy Writ. Now among the deeds of holy men we find that a hidden sin is publicly denounced, without any previous admonition in private. Thus we read (Genesis 37:2) that “Joseph accused his brethren to his father of a most wickedcrime”: and (Acts 5:4-9) that Peter publicly denounced Ananias and Saphira who had secretly “by fraud kept back the price of the land,” without beforehand admonishing them in private: nor do we read that Our Lord admonished Judas in secret before denouncing him. Therefore the precept does not require that secret admonition should precede public denunciation.

Objection 3. Further, it is a graver matter to accuse than to denounce. Now one may go to the length of accusing a person publicly, without previously admonishing him in secret: for it is decided in the Decretal (Cap. Qualiter, xiv, De Accusationibus) that “nothing else need precede accusation except inscription.” [The accuser was bound by Roman Law to endorse (se inscribere) the writ of accusation. The effect of this endorsement or inscription was that the accuser bound himself, if he failed to prove the accusation, to suffer the same punishment as the accused would have to suffer if proved guilty.] Therefore it seems that the precept does not require that a secret admonition should precede public denunciation.

Objection 4. Further, it does not seem probable that the customs observed by religious in general are contrary to the precepts of Christ. Now it is customary among religious orders to proclaim this or that one for a fault, without any previous secret admonition. Therefore it seems that this admonition is not required by the precept.

Objection 5. Further, religious are bound to obey their prelates. Now a prelate sometimes commands either all in general, or someone in particular, to tell him if they know of anything that requires correction. Therefore it would seem that they are bound to tell them this, even before any secret admonition. Therefore the precept does not require secret admonition before public denunciation.

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Verb. Dom. xvi, 4) on the words, “Rebuke him between thee and him alone” (Matthew 18:15): “Aiming at his amendment, while avoiding his disgrace: since perhaps from shame he might begin to defend his sin; and him whom you thought to make a better man, you make worse.” Now we are bound by the precept of charity to beware lest our brother become worse. Therefore the order of fraternal correction comes under the precept.

I answer that, With regard to the public denunciation of sins it is necessary to make a distinction: because sins may be either public or secret. On the case of public sins, a remedy is required not only for the sinner, that he may become better, but also for others, who know of his sin, lest they be scandalized. Wherefore such like sins should be denounced in public, according to the saying of the Apostle (1 Timothy 5:20): “Them that sin reprove before all, that the rest also may have fear,” which is to be understood as referring to public sins, as Augustine states (De Verb. Dom. xvi, 7).

On the other hand, in the case of secret sins, the words of Our Lord seem to apply (Matthew 18:15): “If thy brother shall offend against thee,” etc. For if he offend thee publicly in the presence of others, he no longer sins against thee alone, but also against others whom he ‘disturbs. Since, however, a man’s neighbor may take offense even at his secret sins, it seems that we must make yet a further distinction. For certain secret sins are hurtful to our neighbor either in his body or in his soul, as, for instance, when a man plots secretly to betray his country to its enemies, or when a heretic secretly turns other men away from the faith. And since he that sins thus in secret, sins not only against you in particular, but also against others, it is necessary to take steps to denounce him at once, in order to prevent him doing such harm, unless by chance you were firmly persuaded that this evil result would be prevented by admonishing him secretly. On the other hand there are other sins which injure none but the sinner, and the personsinned against, either because he alone is hurt by the sinner, or at least because he alone knows about his sin, and then our one purpose should be to succor our sinning brother: and just as the physician of the body restores the sick man to health, if possible, without cutting off a limb, but, if this be unavoidable, cuts off a limb which is least indispensable, in order to preserve the life of the whole body, so too he who desires his brother’s amendment should, if possible, so amend him as regards his conscience, that he keep his good name.

For a good name is useful, first of all to the sinner himself, not only in temporal matters wherein a man suffers many losses, if he lose his good name, but also in spiritual matters, because many are restrained from sinning, through fear of dishonor, so that when a man finds his honor lost, he puts no curb on his sinning. Hence Jerome says on Matthew 18:15: “If he sin against thee, thou shouldst rebuke him in private, lest he persist in his sin if he should once become shameless or unabashed.” Secondly, we ought to safeguard our sinning brother’s good name, both because the dishonor of one leads to the dishonor of others, according to the saying of Augustine (Ep. ad pleb. Hipponens. lxxviii): “When a few of those who bear a name for holiness are reported falsely or proved in truth to have done anything wrong, people will seek by busily repeating it to make it believed of all”: and also because when one man’s sin is made public others are incited to sin likewise.

Since, however, one’s conscience should be preferred to a good nameOur Lord wished that we should publicly denounce our brother and so deliver his conscience from sin, even though he should forfeit his good name. Therefore it is evident that the precept requires a secret admonition to precede public denunciation.

Reply to Objection 1. Whatever is hidden, is known to God, wherefore hidden sins are to the judgment of God, just what public sins are to the judgment of man. Nevertheless God does rebuke sinners sometimes by secretly admonishing them, so to speak, with an inward inspiration, either while they wake or while they sleep, according to Job 33:15-17: “By a dream in a vision by night, when deep sleep falleth upon men . . . then He openeth the ears of men, and teaching instructeth them in what they are to learn, that He may withdraw a man from the things he is doing.”

Reply to Objection 2. Our Lord as God knew the sin of Judas as though it were public, wherefore He could have made it known at once. Yet He did not, but warned Judas of his sin in words that were obscure. The sin of Ananias and Saphira was denounced by Peter acting as God’s executor, by Whose revelation he knew of their sin. With regard to Joseph it is probable that he warned his brethren, though Scripture does not say so. Or we may say that the sin was public with regard to his brethren, wherefore it is stated in the plural that he accused “his brethren.”

Reply to Objection 3. When there is danger to a great number of people, those words of Our Lord do not apply, because then thy brother does not sin against thee alone.

Reply to Objection 4. Proclamations made in the chapter of religious are about little faults which do not affect a man’s good name, wherefore they are reminders of forgotten faults rather than accusations or denunciations. If, however, they should be of such a nature as to injure our brother’s good name, it would be contrary to Our Lord’s precept, to denounce a brother’s fault in this manner.

Reply to Objection 5. A prelate is not to be obeyed contrary to a Divine precept, according to Acts 5:29: “We ought to obey Godrather then men.” Therefore when a prelate commands anyone to tell him anything that he knows to need correction, the command rightly understood supports the safeguarding of the order of fraternal correction, whether the command be addressed to all in general, or to some particular individual. If, on the other hand, a prelate were to issue a command in express opposition to this order instituted by Our Lord, both would sin, the one commanding, and the one obeying him, as disobeying Our Lord’s command. Consequently he ought not to be obeyed, because a prelate is not the judge of secret things, but God alone is, wherefore he has no power to command anything in respect of hidden matters, except in so far as they are made known through certain signs, as by ill-repute or suspicion; in which cases a prelate can command just as a judge, whether secular or ecclesiastical, can bind a man under oath to tell the truth.

Article 8. Whether before the public denunciation witnesses ought to be brought forward?

Objection 1. It would seem that before the public denunciation witnesses ought not to be brought forward. For secret sins ought not to be made known to others, because by so doing “a man would betray his brother’s sins instead of correcting them,” as Augustinesays (De Verb. Dom. xvi, 7). Now by bringing forward witnesses one makes known a brother’s sin to others. Therefore in the case of secret sins one ought not to bring witnesses forward before the public denunciation.

Objection 2. Further, man should love his neighbor as himself. Now no man brings in witnesses to prove his own secret sin. Neither therefore ought one to bring forward witnesses to prove the secret sin of our brother.

Objection 3. Further, witnesses are brought forward to prove something. But witnesses afford no proof in secret matters. Therefore it is useless to bring witnesses forward in such cases.

Objection 4. Further, Augustine says in his Rule that “before bringing it to the notice of witnesses . . . it should be put before the superior.” Now to bring a matter before a superior or a prelate is to tell the Church. Therefore witnesses should not be brought forward before the public denunciation.

On the contrary, Our Lord said (Matthew 18:16): “Take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two,” etc.

I answer that, The right way to go from one extreme to another is to pass through the middle space. Now Our Lord wished the beginning of fraternal correction to be hidden, when one brother corrects another between this one and himself alone, while He wished the end to be public, when such a one would be denounced to the Church. Consequently it is befitting that a citation of witnesses should be placed between the two extremes, so that at first the brother’s sin be indicated to a few, who will be of use without being a hindrance, and thus his sin be amended without dishonoring him before the public.

Reply to Objection 1. Some have understood the order of fraternal correction to demand that we should first of all rebuke our brother secretly, and that if he listens, it is well; but if he listen not, and his sin be altogether hidden, they say that we should go no further in the matter, whereas if it has already begun to reach the ears of several by various signs, we ought to prosecute the matter, according to Our Lord’s command.

But this is contrary to what Augustine says in his Rule that “we are bound to reveal” a brother’s sin, if it “will cause a worse corruption in the heart.” Wherefore we must say otherwise that when the secret admonition has been given once or several times, as long as there is probable hope of his amendment, we must continue to admonish him in private, but as soon as we are able to judge with any probability that the secret admonition is of no avail, we must take further steps, however secret the sin may be, and call witnesses, unless perhaps it were thought probable that this would not conduce to our brother’s amendment, and that he would become worse: because on that account one ought to abstain altogether from correcting him, as stated above (Article 6).

Reply to Objection 2. A man needs no witnesses that he may amend his own sin: yet they may be necessary that we may amend a brother’s sin. Hence the comparison fails.

Reply to Objection 3. There may be three reasons for citing witnesses. First, to show that the deed in question is a sin, as Jeromesays: secondly, to prove that the deed was done, if repeated, as Augustine says (in his Rule): thirdly, “to prove that the man who rebuked his brother, has done what he could,” as Chrysostom says (Hom. in Matth. lx).

Reply to Objection 4. Augustine means that the matter ought to be made known to the prelate before it is stated to the witnesses, in so far as the prelate is a private individual who is able to be of more use than others, but not that it is to be told him as to the Church, i.e. as holding the position of judge.

Was the Immaculate Conception a proxy for the “Expanded Petrine Ministry?” Archbishop Gänswein seemed to think so.

Happy Feast of the Immaculate Conception and happy Second Sunday of Advent!

We turn again to Archbishop Gänswein speaking at the presentation of a new book by Roberto Regoli entitled Beyond the Crisis of the Church — The Pontificate of Benedict XVI.  This is the famous speech from 20 May 2016 at the Gregorian in Rome, of which I have posted excerpts with commentary several times in this space.

But it is helpful to read the whole thing, in order to appreciate how Gänswein “sets the table,” so to speak, for the bombshell concepts he delivers near the end. How do we know that even he himself considers the “Expanded Petrine Ministry” a bombshell? Because in describing the “decision” of Benedict to “resign”, “in such a way” as to fundamentally transform the nature the papacy, and reflecting on the appropriateness of the act… he equates it to God’s decision to create Mary immaculately.

Yes, he did that.

Quick reminder that in the Immaculate Conception, we are dealing with Mary being conceived without the stain of Original Sin, because Christ, being God, could in no way be commingled with sin. Mary was to be the Tabernacle, and God proactively applied the grace of Christ’s redemptive act on the Cross transcendently to Mary, in the instant she was created by God. Time is a construct, created by God, and He is not bound by it.

Now, you’ve probably heard the poetic traditional formulation from Duns Scotus in describing Mary’s Immaculate Conception in its appropriateness, its causality, and its reality:

Decuit, potuit, fecit” (“It was fitting; He could do it; He did it.”) 

Well, this is the same formulation Gänswein applies to Pope Benedict’s “decision” to institute, on his own authority, a new “quasi shared ministry.” If that doesn’t tell you how profoundly he, or rather both of them, believe this action has fundamentally transformed the ontological reality of the papacy, I got nothing else. It’s sheer madness, unless it is a strategic deception, in which case it may be sheer brilliance. Remember, there is eyewitness testimony that Benedict approved this text. I don’t know if this clears things up or adds to the confusion, but what I do know is that it’s right here in the open. Happy reading.

The following English translation was provided by Diane Montagna at Aleteia HERE.

I inject here no commentary, as the plain words of Gänswein stand on their own. But I couldn’t resist adding some emphasis.

_________________________________________

Eminences, Excellencies, dear Brothers, Ladies and Gentlemen!

During one of the last conversations that the pope’s biographer, Peter Seewald of Munich, was able to have with Benedict XVI, as he was bidding him goodbye, he asked him: “Are you the end of the old or the beginning of the new?” The pope’s answer was brief and sure: “The one and the other,” he replied. The recorder was already turned off; that is why this final exchange is not found in any of the book-interviews with Peter Seewald, not even the famous Light of the World. It only appeared in an interview he granted to Corriere della Sera in the wake of Benedict XVI’s resignation, in which the biographer recalled those key words which are, in a certain way, a maxim of the book by Roberto Regoli, which we are presenting here today at the Gregorian.

Indeed, I must admit that perhaps it is impossible to sum up the pontificate of Benedict XVI in a more concise manner. And the one who says it, over the years, has had the privilege of experiencing this Pope up close as a “homo historicus,” the Western man par excellence who has embodied the wealth of Catholic tradition as no other; and — at the same time — has been daring enough to open the door to a new phase, to that historical turning point which no one five years ago could have ever imagined. Since then, we live in an historic era which in the 2,000-year history of the Church is without precedent.

As in the time of Peter, also today the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church continues to have one legitimate Pope. But today we live with two living successors of Peter among us — who are not in a competitive relationship between themselves, and yet both have an extraordinary presence! We may add that the spirit of Joseph Ratzinger had already marked decisively the long pontificate of St. John Paul II, whom he faithfully served for almost a quarter of a century as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Many people even today continue to see this new situation as a kind of exceptional (not regular) state of the divinely instituted office of Peter (eine Art göttlichen Ausnahmezustandes).

But is it already time to assess the pontificate of Benedict XVI? Generally, in the history of the Church, popes can correctly be judged and classified only ex post. And as proof of this, Regoli himself mentions the case of Gregory VII, the great reforming pope of the Middle Ages, who at the end of his life died in exile in Salerno – a failure in the opinion of many of his contemporaries. And yet Gregory VII was the very one who, amid the controversies of his time, decisively shaped the face of the Church for the generations that followed. Much more daring, therefore, does Professor Regoli seem today in already attempting to take stock of the pontificate of Benedict XVI, while he is still alive.

The amount of critical material which he reviewed and analyzed to this end is massive and impressive. Indeed, Benedict XVI is and remains extraordinarily present also through his writings: both those produced as pope — the three volumes on Jesus of Nazareth and 16 (!) volumes of Teachings he gave us during his papacy — and as Professor Ratzinger or Cardinal Ratzinger, whose works could fill a small library.

And so, Regoli’s work is not lacking in footnotes, which are as numerous as the memories they awaken in me. For I was present when Benedict XVI, at the end of his mandate, removed the Fisherman’s ring, as is customary after the death of a pope, even though in this case he was still alive! I was present when, on the other hand, he decided not to give up the name he had chosen, as Pope Celestine V had done when, on December 13, 1294, a few months after the start of his ministry, be again became Pietro dal Morrone.

Since February 2013 the papal ministry is therefore no longer what it was before. It is and remains the foundation of the Catholic Church; and yet it is a foundation which Benedict XVI has profoundly and permanently transformed during his exceptional pontificate (Ausnahmepontifikat), regarding which the sober Cardinal Sodano, reacting simply and directly immediately after the surprising resignation, deeply moved and almost stunned, exclaimed that the news hit the cardinals who were gathered “like a bolt from out of the blue.”

AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE

It was the morning of that very day when, in the evening, a bolt of lightning with an incredible roar struck the tip of St. Peter’s dome positioned just over the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles. Rarely has the cosmos more dramatically accompanied a historic turning point. But on the morning of that February 11, the dean of the College of Cardinals, Angelo Sodano, concluded his reply to Benedict XVI’s statement with an initial and similarly cosmic assessment of the pontificate, when he concluded, saying: “Certainly, the stars in the sky will always continue to shine, and so too will the star of his pontificate always shine in our midst.”

Equally brilliant and illuminating is the thorough and well documented exposition by Don Regoli of the different phases of the pontificate. Especially its beginning in the April 2005 conclave, from which Joseph Ratzinger, after one of the shortest elections in the history of the Church, emerged elected after only four ballots following a dramatic struggle between the so-called “Salt of the Earth Party,” around Cardinals López Trujíllo, Ruini, Herranz, Rouco Varela or Medina and the so-called “St. Gallen Group” around Cardinals Danneels, Martini, Silvestrini or Murphy-O’Connor; a group that recently the same Cardinal Danneels of Brussels so amusedly called “a kind of Mafia-Club.” The election was certainly also the result of a clash, whose key Ratzinger himself, as dean of the College of Cardinals, had furnished in the historic homily of April 18, 2005 in St. Peter’s; precisely, where to a “dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires” he contrasted another measure: “the Son of God, the true man” as “the measure of true humanism.” Today we read this part of Regoli’s intelligent analysis almost like a breathtaking detective novel of not so long ago; whereas the “dictatorship of relativism” has for a long time sweepingly expressed itself through the many channels of the new means of communication which, in 2005, barely could be imagined.

The name that the new pope took immediately after his election therefore already represented a plan. Joseph Ratzinger did not become Pope John Paul III, as perhaps many would have wished. Instead, he went back to Benedict XV — the unheeded and unlucky great pope of peace of the terrible years of the First World War — and to St. Benedict of Norcia, patriarch of monasticism and patron of Europe. I could appear as a star witness to testify that, over the previous years, Cardinal Ratzinger never pushed to rise to the highest office of the Catholic Church.

Instead, he was already dreaming of a condition that would have allowed him to write several last books in peace and tranquility. Everyone knows that things went differently. During the election, then, in the Sistine Chapel, I was a witness that he saw the election as a “true shock” and was “upset,” and that he felt “dizzy” as soon as he realized that “the axe” of the election would fall on him. I am not revealing any secrets here, because it was Benedict XVI himself who confessed all of this publicly on the occasion of the first audience granted to pilgrims who had come from Germany. And so it isn’t surprising that it was Benedict XVI who immediately after his election invited the faithful to pray for him, as this book again reminds us.

Regoli maps out the various years of ministry in a fascinating and moving way, recalling the skill and confidence with which Benedict XVI exercised his mandate. And what emerged from the time when, just a few months after his election, he invited for a private conversation both his old, fierce antagonist Hans Küng as well as Oriana Fallaci, the agnostic and combative grande dame of Jewish origin, from the Italian secular mass media; or when he appointed Werner Arber, the Swiss Evangelical and Nobel Prize winner, as the first non-Catholic President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. Regoli does not cover up the accusation of an insufficient knowledge of men that was often leveled against the brilliant theologian in the shoes of the Fisherman; a man capable of truly brilliantly evaluating texts and difficult books, and who nevertheless, in 2010, frankly confided to Peter Seewald how difficult he found decisions about people because “no one can read another man’s heart.” How true it is!

Regoli rightly calls 2010 a “black year” for the pope, precisely in relation to the tragic and fatal accident that befell Manuela Camagni, one of the four Memores Domini belonging to the small “papal family.” I can certainly confirm it. In comparison with this misfortune the media sensationalism of those years — from the case of traditionalist bishop, Williamson, to a series of increasingly malicious attacks against the pope — while having a certain effect, did not strike the pope’s heart as much as the death of Manuela, who was torn so suddenly from our midst. Benedict was not an “actor pope,” and even less an insensitive “automaton pope”; even on the throne of Peter he was and he remained a man; or, as Conrad Ferdinand Meyer would say, he was not a “clever book,” he was “a man with his contradictions.” That is how I myself have daily been able to come to know and appreciate him. And so he has remained until today.

Regoli observes, however, that after the last encyclical, Caritas in veritate of December 4, 2009, a dynamic, innovative papacy with a strong drive from a liturgical, ecumenical and canonical perspective, suddenly appeared to have “slowed down,” been blocked, and bogged down. Although it is true that the headwinds increased in the years that followed, I cannot confirm this judgment. Benedict’s travels to the UK (2010), to Germany and to Erfurt, the city of Luther (2011), or to the heated Middle East — to concerned Christians in Lebanon (2012) — have all been ecumenical milestones in recent years. His decisive handling to solve the issue of abuse was and remains a decisive indication on how to proceed. And when, before him, has there ever been a pope who — along with his onerous task — has also written books on Jesus of Nazareth, which perhaps will also be regarded as his most important legacy?

It isn’t necessary here that I dwell on how he, who was so struck by the sudden death of Manuela Camagni, later also suffered the betrayal of Paolo Gabriele, who was also a member of the same “papal family.” And yet it is good for me to say at long last, with all clarity, that Benedict, in the end, did not step down because of a poor and misguided chamber assistant, or because of the “tidbits” coming from his apartment which, in the so-called “Vatileaks affair,” circulated like fool’s gold in Rome but were traded in the rest of the world like authentic gold bullion. No traitor or “raven” [the Italian press’s nickname for the Vatileaks source] or any journalist would have been able to push him to that decision. That scandal was too small for such a thing, and so much greater was the well-considered step of millennial historical significance that Benedict XVI made.

The exposition of these events by Regoli also merits consideration because he does not advance the claim that he sounds and fully explains this last, mysterious step; not further enriching the swarm of legends with more assumptions that have little or nothing to do with reality. And I, too, a firsthand witness of the spectacular and unexpected step of Benedict XVI, I must admit that what always comes to mind is the well-known and brilliant axiom with which, in the Middle Ages, John Duns Scotus justified the divine decree for the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God:

“Decuit, potuit, fecit.”

That is to say: it was fitting, because it was reasonable. God could do it, therefore he did it. I apply the axiom to the decision to resign in the following way: it was fitting, because Benedict XVI was aware that he lacked the necessary strength for the extremely onerous office. He could do it, because he had already thoroughly thought through, from a theological point of view, the possibility of popes emeritus for the future. So he did it.

The momentous resignation of the theologian pope represented a step forward primarily by the fact that, on February 11, 2013, speaking in Latin in front of the surprised cardinals, he introduced into the Catholic Church the new institution of “pope emeritus,” stating that his strength was no longer sufficient “to properly exercise the Petrine ministry.” The key word in that statement is munus petrinum, translated — as happens most of the time — with “Petrine ministry.” And yet, munus, in Latin, has a multiplicity of meanings: it can mean service, duty, guide or gift, even prodigy. Before and after his resignation, Benedict understood and understands his task as participation in such a “Petrine ministry.” He has left the papal throne and yet, with the step made on February 11, 2013, he has not at all abandoned this ministry. Instead, he has complemented the personal office with a collegial and synodal dimension, as a quasi shared ministry (als einen quasi gemeinsamen Dienst); as though, by this, he wanted to reiterate once again the invitation contained in the motto that the then Joseph Ratzinger took as archbishop of Munich and Freising and which he then naturally maintained as bishop of Rome: “cooperatores veritatis,” which means “fellow workers in the truth.” In fact, it is not in the singular but the plural; it is taken from the Third Letter of John, in which in verse 8 it is written: “We ought to support such men, that we may be fellow workers in the truth.”

Since the election of his successor Francis, on March 13, 2013, there are not therefore two popes, but de facto an expanded ministry — with an active member and a contemplative member. This is why Benedict XVI has not given up either his name, or the white cassock. This is why the correct name by which to address him even today is “Your Holiness”; and this is also why he has not retired to a secluded monastery, but within the Vatican — as if he had only taken a step to the side to make room for his successor and a new stage in the history of the papacy which he, by that step, enriched with the “power station” of his prayer and his compassion located in the Vatican Gardens.

It was “the least expected step in contemporary Catholicism,” Regoli writes, and yet a possibility which Cardinal Ratzinger had already pondered publicly on August 10, 1978 in Munich, in a homily on the occasion of the death of Paul VI. Thirty-five years later, he has not abandoned the Office of Peter — something which would have been entirely impossible for him after his irrevocable acceptance of the office in April 2005. By an act of extraordinary courage, he has instead renewed this office (even against the opinion of well-meaning and undoubtedly competent advisers), and with a final effort he has strengthened it (as I hope). Of course only history will prove this. But in the history of the Church it shall remain true that, in the year 2013, the famous theologian on the throne of Peter became history’s first “pope emeritus.” Since then, his role — allow me to repeat it once again — is entirely different from that, for example, of the holy Pope Celestine V, who after his resignation in 1294 would have liked to return to being a hermit, becoming instead a prisoner of his successor, Boniface VIII (to whom today in the Church we owe the establishment of jubilee years). To date, in fact, there has never been a step like that taken by Benedict XVI. So it is not surprising that it has been seen by some as revolutionary, or to the contrary as entirely consistent with the Gospel; while still others see the papacy in this way secularized as never before, and thus more collegial and functional or even simply more human and less sacred. And still others are of the opinion that Benedict XVI, with this step, has almost — speaking in theological and historical-critical terms — demythologized the papacy.

In his overview of the pontificate, Regoli clearly lays this all out as never before. Perhaps the most moving part of the reading for me was the place where, in a long quote, he recalls the last general audience of Pope Benedict XVI on February 27, 2013 when, under an unforgettable clear and brisk sky, the pope, who shortly thereafter would resign, summarized his pontificate as follows:

“It has been a portion of the Church’s journey which has had its moments of joy and light, but also moments which were not easy; I have felt like Saint Peter with the Apostles in the boat on the Sea of Galilee: The Lord has given us so many days of sun and of light winds, days when the catch was abundant; there were also moments when the waters were rough and the winds against us, as throughout the Church’s history, and the Lord seemed to be sleeping. But I have always known that the Lord is in that boat, and I have always known that the barque of the Church is not mine, it is not ours, but his. Nor does the Lord let it sink; it is he who guides it, surely also through the men whom he has chosen, because he so wished. This has been, and is, a certainty which nothing can obscure.”

I must admit that, rereading these words can still bring tears to my eyes, all the more so because I saw in person and up close how unconditional, for himself and for his ministry, was Pope Benedict’s adherence to St Benedict’s words, for whom “nothing is to be placed before the love of Christ,” nihil amori Christi praeponere, as stated in rule handed down to us by Pope Gregory the Great. I was a witness to this, but I still remain fascinated by the accuracy of that final analysis in St. Peter’s Square which sounded so poetic but was nothing less than prophetic. In fact, they are words to which today, too, Pope Francis would immediately and certainly subscribe. Not to the popes but to Christ, to the Lord Himself and to no one else belongs the barque of Peter, whipped by the waves of the stormy sea, when time and again we fear that the Lord is asleep and that our needs are not important to him, while just one word is enough for him to stop every storm; when instead, more than the high waves and the howling wind, it is our disbelief, our little faith and our impatience that make us continually fall into panic.

Thus, this book once again throws a consoling gaze on the peaceful imperturbability and serenity of Benedict XVI, at the helm of the barque of Peter in the dramatic years 2005-2013. At the same time, however, through this illuminating account, Regoli himself now also takes part in the munus Petri of which I spoke. Like Peter Seewald and others before him, Roberto Regoli — as a priest, professor and scholar — also thus enters into that enlarged Petrine ministry around the successors of the Apostle Peter; and for this today we offer him heartfelt thanks.

Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Prefect of the Papal Household
20 May 2016

Still don’t know why Benedict used Latin in his Declaratio? Barnhardt knows…

UPDATE and corrections to this post HERE.

Turns out, it was not only Benedict’s mangling of the munus and ministerium in his official Declaratio, intentionally or not, but he also plainly stated that his peculiar form of (partial) resignation was so full of weirdness, that he was renouncing “in such a way” that “the See of Saint Peter COULD be vacant.”

This is not a subjunctve subjective theory. This is objective, observable truth.

THIS IS WHAT THE MAN SAID.

There is audio-visual evidence, y’all.

Barnhardt link HERE.

Full Barnhardt post below:


The Official Latin of Pope Benedict’s Attempted Failed Abdication Says “the See COULD Be Vacant”.

Years ago I had a bunch of people all saying the same thing to me:  “Ann, you MUST learn and use the Subjunctive mood.  Use of the Subjunctive is a social sorting mechanism, and if you want to be taken seriously and sound like an intelligent person, you have to learn, understand and use the Subjunctive.”

And now, here we are, and all of those seemingly random admonitions from years ago are sounding downright prophetic.

The Subjunctive mood in language is the grammatical form of the hypothetical.  In English it is fading fast from American mainstream usage, due largely to the fact that grammar is no longer taught to American school children, and also due to the fact that Americans are largely unread, and that which they do read tends toward teenaged vampire novellas.  I know that Americans do not know or understand the Subjunctive mood because whenever I use it in writing, I generally get an email or two from a reader trying to correct me.

Look at the following two sentences and tell me which one is grammatically correct:

If I was her, I would not put up with that.
If I were her, I would not put up with that.

The second sentence is grammatically correct.  “If I WERE”.  Every time I use the Subjunctive in writing, I get emails from people saying, “You don’t say ‘I were’, you say ‘I WAS’!”

The “strange” shift from I was/He was to I were/He were AFTER the signal word “if” is the Subjunctive verb form conjugation.  Other words that signal this hypothetical mood and thus the use of the Subjunctive include “maybe”, “perhaps”, “I think that”, “I hope that”, “I wish that”, “in such a way that”, etc.

In Latin, the present Subjunctive has its own unique conjugation form, and it sticks out like a sore thumb – far more than the Subjunctive sticks out in English.  When the Subjunctive appears in Latin, it is a huge red flag.  Here is an explanation of the Present Active Subjunctive mood in Latin:

From here on, I will use the traditional term Subjunctive, although I would prefer to call it a Conditional as used in most modern foreign languages. I want to impress on your mind the sense of these new forms rather than their formal traditional title. When I say Conditional, I am calling forth all the associations that go with unreality, possibility, potentiality, in the English words “may” and “might” and “could be” and ” if it were…”. These are in a different world from the world of fact, where things “are”, where “is” can be counted upon to “be”, where facts are facts when you get down to brass tacks.

In short the Indicative is the world of Western Civilization and American practical hardheaded ability to take the world as fact. In contradistinction, what we are going to discuss is the shadowy world of the unknown, the unreal and the un-factual.

It feels good to take a positive, factual view of the world, but no one can go very far into living without observing that there are various levels of reliability and truthfulness. On a scale of one to ten I could outline the following:

       1       2       5       6       7       8       9       0

Engl.=
       is
              perhaps
                      maybe
                             just possibly
                                     might be
                                            might possibly be
                                                   could  possibly be

Now, let’s look at both the text AND the video of Pope Benedict’s attempted partial abdication announcement:

Fratres carissimi

Non solum propter tres canonizationes ad hoc Consistorium vos convocavi, sed etiam ut vobis decisionem magni momenti pro Ecclesiae vita communicem. Conscientia mea iterum atque iterum coram Deo explorata ad cognitionem certam perveni vires meas ingravescente aetate non iam aptas esse ad munus Petrinum aeque administrandum.

Bene conscius sum hoc munus secundum suam essentiam spiritualem non solum agendo et loquendo exsequi debere, sed non minus patiendo et orando. Attamen in mundo nostri temporis rapidis mutationibus subiecto et quaestionibus magni ponderis pro vita fidei perturbato ad navem Sancti Petri gubernandam et ad annuntiandum Evangelium etiam vigor quidam corporis et animae necessarius est, qui ultimis mensibus in me modo tali minuitur, ut incapacitatem meam ad ministerium mihi commissum bene administrandum agnoscere debeam. Quapropter bene conscius ponderis huius actus plena libertate declaro me ministerio Episcopi Romae, Successoris Sancti Petri, mihi per manus Cardinalium die 19 aprilis MMV commisso renuntiare ita ut a die 28 februarii MMXIII, hora 20, sedes Romae, sedes Sancti Petri vacet et Conclave ad eligendum novum Summum Pontificem ab his quibus competit convocandum esse.

Fratres carissimi, ex toto corde gratias ago vobis pro omni amore et labore, quo mecum pondus ministerii mei portastis et veniam peto pro omnibus defectibus meis. Nunc autem Sanctam Dei Ecclesiam curae Summi eius Pastoris, Domini nostri Iesu Christi confidimus sanctamque eius Matrem Mariam imploramus, ut patribus Cardinalibus in eligendo novo Summo Pontifice materna sua bonitate assistat. Quod ad me attinet etiam in futuro vita orationi dedicata Sanctae Ecclesiae Dei toto ex corde servire velim.

Ex Aedibus Vaticanis, die 10 mensis februarii MMXIII

Here is the video, and the key timestamp is 01:28 when Pope Benedict clearly says, “sedes Sancti Petri VACET”.

So there is absolutely no debate, we have the official text in writing AND we have video of Pope Benedict clearly saying the words of the text.

Here is the problem.  Every translation of this that I have seen, including the Vatican website and the subtitles on the video above, as well as all of the thought leaders out there arguing that Pope Benedict said, “the See of St. Peter WILL BE VACANT” are wrong.  That is NOT what “sedes Sancti Petri vacet” means.  “Vacet” is NOT the future indicative tense.  The future indicative “WILL BE VACANT” in Latin is “VACABIT”.

Pope Benedict wrote and said “sedes Sancti Petri VACET”, which is the present SUBJUNCTIVE, and we have further confirmation of the intentional use of the subjunctive mood in this sentence by the signal particle “ita ut” in the previous clause, which means “in such a way that”, which not only throws up the red flag signal of the subjunctive mood, but signals a specific type of subjunctive mood called the POTENTIAL SUBJUNCTIVE. In English, the Potential Subjunctive must be translated as “COULD BE…”

So what is the actual, accurate translation of the Potential Subjunctive “sedes Sancti Petri VACET”?

“THE SEE OF SAINT PETER COULD BE VACANT”

I couldn’t make this up in a thousand years if I tried, folks.

Here is the full conjugation table for the Latin verb “vaco”.

Why does this matter?  Well, let’s think about how well the Potential Subjunctive would go over in other juridical contexts.  Let’s start with marriage vows.

Impressive Clergyman: Do you Wesley, take Buttercup to be your lawfully wedded wife?

Wesley: I COULD….

That isn’t assent, folks.  Wesley and Buttercup would NOT be married if either of them said, “I could” instead of “I do.”

Let’s now consider a legal contract – say, a MORTGAGE.  How do you think it would go over if you arrived at a closing on a real estate transaction in which you were buying a house using a 30 year mortgage; the bank’s representative is sitting across the table and you, the borrower, take the mortgage agreement and strike out all instances of the future indicative tense, and replace it with the potential subjunctive.  So, for example:

”The borrower, John Smith, will pay 360 monthly payments of $1225.00 to the lender, “First National Bank of Springfield” becomes…

”The borrower, John Smith, COULD PAY 360 monthly payments….”

You should be laughing at the very notion.

Folks, this is what Pope Benedict did in his faux-abdication announcement.  And he CLEARLY went out of his way to do it.

I have been aware of this for over two years, but I intentionally did NOT cover it in my video because I wanted to really drive home the “Substantial Error” point, but also because I knew that my audience would be mostly American English speakers, and if I started in on Latin Grammar and the use of the potential subjunctive in Latin, I would lose 90+% of the audience.

But, after having been asked by multiple people to PLEASE post about this, I am happy to write this up and explain it.

The fact that even Trad priests who read and recite Latin every day aren’t even aware of this, and in fact use the incorrect translation “WILL. BE. VACANT!” as their primary rebuttal to the Barnhardt Thesis only proves that being able to read and recite Latin is NOT the same thing as being FLUENT in Latin.  Most Trad priests today only study Latin enough to make them comfortable in praying the Mass and the Divine Office, which is fine.  It does not make them Classicists, Latin scholars, nor even Latin speakers.  As an example, I can recite/pray large swaths of the Mass in Latin by now, and know the meaning of what I am saying just from the repetition of going to Mass every day for years and years.  HOWEVER, I literally couldn’t ask you to pass me the salt in Latin if my life depended on it.  I do remember from the Gospel that “salt of the earth” is “sal terrae”, so maybe the best I could do is point at the salt shaker, say, “SAL”, and then gesture towards myself.  So most Trad priests today don’t have sufficient Latin to recognize this use of the Potential Subjunctive “VACET”, and think that the future indicative “will be vacant” is accurate, when, in fact, it is wildly incorrect.

Now, if Trad priests who say the Mass in Latin every day miss this, imagine all of the Novus Ordo Cardinals, Bishops and Priests who have ZERO knowledge of Latin.  When Pope Benedict gave his faux-abdication speech above, almost NO ONE IN THE ROOM HAD ANY IDEA WHAT HAD JUST HAPPENED.  There was one person that we can see in the video that knew enough Latin to realize what Pope Benedict was saying.  It is the priest on the far right.  Watch his eyes and the stunned look on his face, and how he is looking out at the hall filled with Cardinals who have no clue what is happening… BECAUSE NONE OF THEM KNOW LATIN.

Latin is the language of the Church because it is an incredibly PRECISE language that leaves very little room for confusion or ambiguity.  Now do we see why satan HATES Latin, and why priority number one of the Freemasonic-Communist-Sodomite infiltrators was to purge the knowledge and use of Latin from the Church when they came to power in the 1960s?

So, this is YET ANOTHER data set in this bizarre situation pointing to the fact that Pope Benedict’s attempted partial resignation was invalid, and that he remains the one and only living Pope.

I hope this helps.

Mary, conceived without the stain of Original Sin, pray for us.

Advent prepping refresher

Originally penned on this First Sunday of Advent two years ago, when I still thought Humble the Destroyer was really the pope. Nonetheless some valuable lessons here, worth repeating.

Needless to say, all the warnings are just as true today, if not more so.

Blessed Advent, everyone!

Advent Prepping: You’re doing it wrong

A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.

“To whom will you compare me?
Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.

Isaiah 40:3-5, 25-26

Are you keeping track of everything? Are you starting to get the hint that we are not living in normal times, and that more is required of you at this moment? What are you personally doing about it?

You need to prep harder. While there are plenty of other considerations in the natural realm, which I will talk about tomorrow, on this First Sunday of Advent we will focus on the spiritual realm. No other preparedness makes any difference if you aren’t prepping your soul. As we prepare for the coming of the Lord every Advent by making a spiritual renewal, the current events swirling around us lend a greater urgency to the matter.

We have Francis, fount of heresy, squatting on the throne of Peter. We have Benedict, also dressed in white, who at times remains silent and at time offers great praise to Francis. Francis has promulgated heresy in a magisterial document, Amoris Laetitia. In this same document, Francis tries to support his heretical positions by lying about what former popes have taught, and claiming that his teaching is aligned with theirs. Cardinals are rightly attacking Francis for his heresy, and demanding answers. Cardinal Burke explains that no answer is the same as answering wrongly, and will bring additional sanctions. Unless there is some miraculous conversion of the Francis, there is only one way this is going.

The Church is about to descend into a war like nothing seen before, and you are not ready for it.

“So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

Matt 24:44

You must prepare your soul for this war. The Rosary is a great, great weapon.  If you don’t already say it every day, you need to start right now, today.  You can’t imagine the graces that flow from this practice.  Just do it. You will then find yourself drawn more into prayer – adoration, petition and thanksgiving – throughout the day. Unite your prayers to the sacrificial offering of Christ on the Cross, and beg the intercession of the saints.. Then start helping your family and friends understand the reality of the situation. Teach them that prayer isn’t nothing. So many people think prayer is literally “the least we can do.”  That is incorrect.  Prayer is huge.

You will be attacked by a relentless foe. The father of lies, upon seeing you engaged in the pursuit of sanctity, redoubles his efforts to destroy you. You will be shocked by your temptations even as you proceed on the path toward holiness.  Just remember, no matter how frequent the attacks, God is always sending you more than enough grace to abide. You have to decide, today, to prepare the way and begin your counterattack.

“For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. The Law was given so that the trespass would increase; but where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness, to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.…”

Romans 5:19-21

You will also be attacked in the spiritual realm by your brethren. We now know that among these will be “Catholics”. You will be greatly outnumbered. You may have to flee your parish. You may be driven from your parish. You may be driven from your diocese.We are talking about open schism here, and you will be seen as being ON THE WRONG SIDE.

Not to mention, the entirety of secular society will be against you. The schism that has been simmering for three and a half years is about to boil over into a very public spectacle that will captivate the whole world.

Are you starting to understand how bad this is going to be? And don’t you dare try to avoid it, because this is exactly what is necessary.  All of this is necessary, and it is for the best. Francis is awesome, because we never could have gotten to the hot war this fast without him. God created your soul to be born into the world at this hour. Cloak your soul in the armor of God, and figure out what your role is in all of this.

Blessed Advent, y’all.

At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,  and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”

Matt 24:10-15, 21-24

Tosatti via Socci: “He has intended to remain still pope”

2018.06.28 Concistoro CPF
The ontological reality is that there can only be one

Marco Tosatti yesterday reviewed, and I excerpt here, (original Italian HERE) the new book from Antonio Socci, The Secret of Benedict XVI, Why he is still pope:  Forgive google translate, and feel free to post corrections in the combox. Emphasis mine.

“So, for Benedict XVI we must ask ourselves: did he really renounce the Petrine ministry altogether? Is he no longer Pope? ” Socci answers: “From the subjective point of view we can therefore say that his intention – which is decisive to define the act he did – was not to be no longer Pope … It is clear that – despite having made a renunciation on the papacy (but what kind?) he has intended to remain still pope, albeit in an enigmatic way and in an unprecedented form, which has not been explained (at least until a certain date) “.

And in fact we must remember that Benedict said, speaking of the Roman pontiff: “The “always” is also “forever”- there is no longer a return to private life. My decision to renounce the active exercise of the ministry does not revoke this “.

“In light of his last speech, one understands why Joseph Ratzinger remained “in the enclosure of Peter “, Benedict XVI is still signed, he defines himself as” pope emeritus “, has papal heraldic insignia and continues to dress as pope”.

So, unlike what happened previously in the history of the Church, today there are de facto two popes; that mutual legitimacy is recognized in a more or less ambiguous way. An exceptional and unprecedented situation. WRONG. No, we don’t have de facto two popes, because that is an ontological impossibility. This is exactly the colossal error of Benedict. Socci and Tosatti both recognize that Benedict only attempted a partial abdication, but then erroneously conclude that he actually pulled it off, and the “expanded petrine ministry” is a real thing.

The conclusion of the canonist is clear: “The object of irrevocable renunciation is the execution muneris through action and speech ( acting et loquendo ) not the munus entrusted to him once and for all”.

And “the limited renunciation of the active exercise of the munus constitutes the absolute novelty of the renunciation of Benedict XVI”.

Items confirmed by the Prefect of the Pontifical House, Msgr. Georg Gänswein according to which the “renunciation” of Benedict XVI – who “decided not to renounce the name he had chosen” – is different from that of Pope Celestine V who – after his abandonment of the papacy – “had once again become Pietro dal Morrone “.

And he continued with one of the most surprising and sensational statements: “Therefore, from 11 February 2013 the papal ministry is no longer the same as before. It is and remains the foundation of the Catholic Church; and yet it is a foundation that Benedict XVI has profoundly and durably transformed into his exceptional pontificateAusnahmepontifikat ) “.

It is the node of the dual ministry, that is, the point where the “collegial dimension” of the Petrine ministry is proposed, “almost a common ministry”.

A concept that is needed sooner or later to be unraveled. But whoever opposes and wants to challenge this conception of facts – would find himself dealing with the question of the validity of a dubious or partial waiver

“Whoever opposes and wants to challenge this conception of facts – would find himself dealing with the question of the validity of a dubious or partial waiver.”

benedict shirt final 2

“Shut up,” they explained: Gaslighting, Fake News, and the Bergoglian Antipapacy

If you have finally come to terms with at least investigating the Barnhardt Theory, or one of the many variants, congratulations. Please know that there are a whole lot of people who consider Jorge Bergoglio to be an antipope. If you are new to this blog, you can read around the dozens of posts on this topic to see where I stand. Look up Canon 188 and meditate on the foresight of the Substantial Error provision, which I’m convinced was Divinely inspired.

The purpose of this post is to point out some of the unpleasantness for which you need to prepare yourself, as well as some common errors to guard against.

First up: Casting aspersions.

image1

And then this past weekend, from an FSSP priest to his parishioners, tweeted out by Kansas Catholic: (emphasis mine)

“It has become fashionable in places to question both the validity of Pope Benedict’s papal resignation and the validity of Pope Francis’ papal election. Both of these suppositions have no clear basis in discernible reality and, within the context of what is clearly known, they border on insanity.

These are examples of Gaslighting. No, you are not crazy. You are quite correct in examining the evidence and drawing conclusions. You are beginning with the true premise that all scripture is inerrant, including Matt 16:17-19, Luke 22:32, and you can’t help but invoke John 10:5, “They will not follow a stranger, but they will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.”

Do your research. Don’t be bullied. Don’t be intimidated.

Then there is the Fake News blackout at nearly every mainstream and even “conservative” and trad sites. Sites that wont print any articles nor op/eds on the subject, and that comb their comboxes to delete any mention of what is really going on. Sites that publish commenting rules whereby strict censorship is promoted and enforced, like this:

(Rule) 7. Unless your name begins with “pope”, don’t declare anyone else whose name begins with pope an antipope. This is not your job… 

A direct corollary to this is the matter of “knowing your place,” aka “Shut up, you non-theologian laynothing.” Because yeah, the theologians, Catholic academics, cardinals and bishops are doing such a terrific job with everything. Speaking up, and all that. Bravo.

Dymphna had a nice little riff on this kind of thing yesterday: HERE.

Monsignor Nicola Bux is the theologian consultor of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints in Rome but if you want to make him some stationery with his title on it I suggest you hurry because he probably won’t be there much longer. Msgr. Bux is questioning the validity of Pope Benedict’s abdication. He’s not the only one but instead of just moaning about it in private he’s made his query in public.
A number of public Catholics (Ann Barnhardt uses the term “thought leaders”) have reacted poorly to Monsignor’s  doubts…These people say that the only thing we can do is wait for Francis to die and try to keep our Faith. They may have point but they go too far when they  the hurl the epithets, “rad trad”, “stupid”, “schizophrenic”, “weird” “unhelpful”  and “sedevacantist”  at people for not believing  or daring to doubt that  Benedict’s abdication was valid. When I think of all the heretical garbage  I’ve heard seen freely spewed about in these last few years alone I don’t see why this subject is taboo. Monsignor. Bux may be wrong but I’ve had enough of people telling us what we can’t even discuss in public.

Well said!

Okay, now let’s move on to the law of unintended consequences. This happens when someone holds a conviction to be true because the data set seems to confirm it, but doesn’t think through the logical implications. The madness we are swimming in can make smart people operate in strange ways.I paste here a couple examples.

IMG_0162

This person thinks neither Benedict nor Bergoglio is pope (de facto sedevacantism). They think Bergoglio is an antipope because of his myriad heresies, but that he really was the pope at one point. Which means the See is currently vacant. But they don’t really want to say so, and they certainly don’t want to try to do anything about it. We have to “carry on” doing nothing, saying nothing. It doesn’t matter that millions of souls are at risk, either by losing their faith or by being ratified in their sins by this wretched regime. Better to lie low, you know.

IMG_0160

This person is taking the position of the Old Catholic movement: They reject the doctrine of Papal Infallibility as defined at the First Vatican Council. Since it doesn’t make sense that a true pope can be so very fallible, this person wonders if it is solemnly declared settled doctrine that’s wrong. Don’t do this. Don’t let the raging heresy of Bergoglio lead you to question previous magisterial teaching. Don’t become a heretic because a heretic “pope” is leading you to question everything you previously believed.

Keep the faith.

Don’t panic.

God knows what He is doing, and He doesn’t keep the truth hidden.

 

 

 

Timely reminder: “An act of deception, no matter how cleverly conceived or convincingly executed, cannot change the objective reality of a given situation”

One is reminded of the brilliant post from Louie Verrecchio at the akacatholic blog from 12 June 2017, which I have already linked to previously. This was about three weeks before I made my public declaration of moral certitude regarding the invalid resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the subsequent Bergoglian Antipapacy:

Consider, if you will, the following hypothetical scenario:

A Catholic man and woman are validly joined in holy matrimony.  At some point, the man abandons his wife. No annulment is obtained. The man, still validly wed, proposes marriage to another woman; managing to deceive even their pastor into believing that he is single. Marriage vows are exchanged at the altar with the pastor as witness, and the “newlywed” couple is widely embraced by the entire community as man and wife.

QUESTION: Is the couple validly married?

ANSWER: No, the conditions for a valid marriage, in spite of the convincing outward appearance to the contrary, did not exist. We might sum up the general principle being applied in this case as follows:

An act of deception, no matter how cleverly conceived or convincingly executed, cannot change the objective reality of a given situation.

Indeed. Louie then moves on to a not so hypothetical scenario:

A certain cardinal is validly elected pope. At some point thereafter, enemies of the pope secretly pressure him via threats of harm, perhaps either to himself or to the Church, in order to force his resignation.  The pope acquiesces to this pressure and declares his intent to resign the Office of Peter.  The resignation is invalid, of course, given that “it is required for validity that the resignation is made freely.” (See 1983 Code of Canon Law, Canon 332 §2) Alternatively, the pope could have attempted only a partial resignation, which also would render his resignation invalid under Canon 188.

The pope, still the valid occupant of the Office of Peter, manages to convince the faithful – both laity and hierarchy – that the See of Rome is vacant.  A conclave assembles and promptly elects another cardinal who is then presented to the world as the new pope, and he is widely embraced by the entire community as the Holy Roman Pontiff.

QUESTION: Is cardinal #2 the pope?

ANSWER: No, the conditions for a valid conclave, in spite of the convincing outward appearance to the contrary, did not exist.  

I brought this up back in May in relation to comments from Abp. Ganswein as he explained why Pope Benedict still asks to be addressed as “His Holiness.” The archbishop’s response was, “He considers that this title corresponds with reality.”

Since there is suddenly now a great deal more interest in this topic, and since some people continue to insist there just isn’t any evidence, that it’s all conjecture and nothing else, I’ll just paste the whole thing here:

“He considers that this title corresponds to reality.”

That headline was the response given by Abp. Ganswein to the question of certain irregularities in the papal 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.

But hey, I’m the crazy one for pointing out obvious stuff. Just go ahead and try to suggest on the interweebs that Pope Benedict thinks he retained some portion of the papacy. YOU’RE TWISTING HIS WORDS! YOU’RE NOT A MIND READER! After all, we clearly had a conclave, and “Francis” was clearly elected, and this result seems to have been clearly greeted by peaceful universal acceptance by the cardinals, right?

Do you know what is coming up this Saturday? Everyone is talking about it… The Royal Wedding! Harry and Meghan! It will be televised all around the world, and tens of millions of people will watch. It will look spectacular. All the rituals will play out, the ceremony will unfold, vows exchanged, and the prince and princess will be husband and wife.

Except they won’t be. You see, Meghan is still married to her first husband, because divorce doesn’t exist. Divorce is anti-reality. So all that will take place on Saturday is the appearance of a wedding, but in reality is simply fancy formalized adultery and fornication. Even though everything will be done correctly according to formula, nothing will actually happen. It doesn’t matter that all the attendees and everyone watching on television will believe that a wedding just took place. The metaphysical reality of the situation is that nothing happened, because a prior event (her actual wedding) nullifies the “result” of Saturday’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, but now we know that 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. And if that is true, which I believe with moral certainty to be the case, 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.”