Gold from the combox: That feeling when someone else does the heavy lifting and gift wraps it for you

I really hate being pinched for time when a story is out there burning a hole through the internet, especially when you know there is information readily available that will be new news, but you just don’t have time to do the research and find the citations. Having found full time employment a few weeks ago after a three month unplanned vacation, I am grateful but… busy. So I always appreciate it when someone else does the dirty work for me.

Say hello to “Smith,” an anonymous reader who helpfully helped drop the following into my combox. The question at hand, as you’ll remember, is the potentiality of splitting the papacy into a “synodal body” with two or more members. This was the topic of great debate, for ecumenical reasons, among the German theological elite in the late 60s – early 70s, Ratzinger among them. There will be several more posts about this, and let me tell you up front, the ones who backed the idea of a synodal papacy were actually the moderates or even conservatives of this group. The real radicals of the time were arguing that the structure of the papacy could not only change, but that the papacy itself could be ABOLISHED. Oh, have you bought the Archbishop Miller book yet? Not even the $9 eBook version? The paperback is now on back order at Amazon (but you can still put in your order) because for some reason there was a run on the existing inventory HERE.

I have seen in the past month a flurry of comments on several sites pondering the Two Popes question, as in, “Well, maybe there really are two popes. I mean, that’s what it looks like, right? And the pope is above the law so he can do whatever he wants, right? And Ganswein said Benedict “resigned” in such a way that had never been done before, only taking a step to the side, such that the papacy is no longer the same… expended petrine ministry yadda yadda. So maybe that is really what Benedict did.”

Well, he didn’t, because he doesn’t have the power to change the essential nature of a divinely instituted office. He did and does have the power to resign, but that’s not what he chose to do.

And so let’s examine why the bifurcation was impossible and did not happen. Without further comment, I give you “Smith:”

__________________________________________

Here is some authoritative confirmation of the Non-Bifurcatable papacy.

Vatican I, Sess. IV, Ch. I (Denzinger 1822)

St. Pius X, Lamentabili (Denzinger 2053)

St. Pius X, Pascendi (Denzinger 2091)

St. Pius X, Apostolic Letter “Ex Quo” (Denzinger 2147a)

There are numerous other quotes that would help to show that the Church was indisputably founded *by Jesus Christ Himself* as a monarchy. These quotes use the word ‘monarch’ in reference to the pope. The very word ‘monarch’ means ‘lone ruler’, for its Greek antecedents are ‘monos’ (alone) and ‘archein’ (to rule). I restrict myself to these four quotes only, simply because they make clearer reference to the fact.

Dz 1822:

“So we teach and declare that, according to the testimonies of the Gospel, the primacy of *jurisdiction* [nothing about prayer here, folks] over the entire Church of God was promised and was conferred immediately and directly upon the blessed Apostle Peter by *Christ the Lord*. For the *one* Simon [Unum enim Simonem], to whom he had before said: “Thou shalt be called Cephas, after he had given forth his confession with the words: “Thou art Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Lord spoke with these solemn words: “Blessed art thou [etc.]”… And upon the one Simon Peter [uni Simoni Petro], Jesus after His resurrection conferred the *jurisdiction* [nothing about prayer here, folks] of the highest pastor [= shepherd/guide] and rector [= ruler] over His entire fold… To this teaching of the Sacred Scriptures, *so manifest as it has always been understood by the Catholic Church*, *are opposed openly the vicious opinions of those who perversely DENY THAT THE FORM OF GOVERNMENT IN HIS CHURCH WAS ESTABLISHED BY CHRIST THE LORD; that to Peter *alone* [solum Petrum], before the other apostles, *whether individually or all together*, was confided the true and proper primacy *of jurisdiction* [nothing about prayer here, folks] by Christ; or of those who affirm that the same primacy was not immediately and directly bestowed upon the blessed Peter himself, *but upon the Church*, and through this Church upon him as the *minister* of the Church Herself.”

Important: The word ‘one’ in the above passage is to be understood in the sense of the official Latin (as always), which uses the *cardinal* number ´unus,a,um’. That number ‘one’ does not mean ‘first’. Nor does it mean ‘one’ as in ‘someone’; it means the numerically one, single (person) Simon. I’ve taught Latin for over 15 years, but you should not trust me on this. It will be a matter of minutes to look it up in a basic Latin grammar. You don’t even need to know any Latin to verify this.

The word ‘alone’ in “to Peter alone”, is in the Latin the adjective ‘solus,a,um’. The words ‘alone’ and ‘solus’ are exact synonyms.

Otherwise, the English translation given above of Dz1822 is quite literal, and speaks for itself. Anyone who does not see that Vatican I here condemns the idea of a bifurcated papacy is wilfully blind, or incapable of understanding plain language, or, worse yet…a Modernist whose intellect, even if perfectly functional, is corrupted by false philosophy…like…mmm…Ratzinger’s intellect is corrupted.

Next up:

Dz 2053 (Syllabus of Errors, or Lamentabili, of St. Pius X):

*Condemned* proposition: “The organic constitution of the Church is not immutable, but Christian society, just as human society, is subject to perpetual evolution.”

Then:

Dz 2091 (Pascendi, St. Pius X): It is a little long to quote, but in sum it condemns as a Modernist error that authority emanates from the Church itself, as a *collectivity* of consciences. It affirms that the authoritative structure of the Church is autocratic, and was given as such by an external mandate of God.

And:

Dz 2147a: “…[It is] an error, long since condemned by Our predecessor, Innocent X…[cf. Dz 1091 — quite interesting], in which it is argued that St. Paul is held as a brother entirely equal to St. Peter…[also an error] that the Catholic Church was not in the earliest days a sovereignty of *one person*, that is, a monarchy…”

Now it occurs to me that all the above is a sort of dialogue with a lunatic.

Up until the supposed bifurcation of BXVI, the *very idea* that anyone should *need* to prove to the public at large that the papacy is

1) A *jurisdictional*, non-sacramental, revocable office, with NO “spiritual essence”; no integral component, or munus, of “prayer and suffering”.

2) A monarchy; an office that only one man can hold.

3) That this one man holds the entirety of the office, and cannot share any part of it with anyone.

…the very idea, I say, of a *need* to prove to the public at large that the papacy is such as the Church has always understood it…would have been considered bat**** crazy.

But here we all are, engaging in an exercise that actually dignifies this insanity with serious consideration — all because of the colossally arrogant posturing of kooks like Rahner, Ratzinger, Neumann (and don’t forget Walter Kasper!) and all the other Mad Modernist Muckrakers, who think they know better than the Church’s +two thousand years of experience, better than all previous popes, better even than Jesus Christ.

May God do with them as He sees fit…but do it quickly.

52 thoughts on “Gold from the combox: That feeling when someone else does the heavy lifting and gift wraps it for you

  1. There is a quote from a political pundit that I like to use sometimes.

    Peter is sitting next to God and they are looking down at the madness of this world. Peter turns to God and says, “Why do you let it get so bad?”

    God replies: “So they’d know it was me!”

    Gods will be done. It’s reassuring that this is a thoroughly documented error.

  2. Well this puts a bit of burden on the Gaslighting (Skojec, White et. al) and Rodney King (Matt et. al) wings of the Catholic Resistance, eh? Stand by for peremptory dismissals from the former and more calls for unity from the latter. In no case should anyone expect a detailed refutation of the data set. Heavy lifting, indeed, “Smith.” Keep hammering. Aut cum scuto, aut in scuto.

  3. Just because Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Bergoglio consider the Papacy bifurcated does not make it so “ontologically”, in the eyes of God.

    Quite the opposite. What we believe, who and what we worship and how we act, are always intrinsically connected.

    The point of speaking in such a way is to go back to the initial (partial) abdication and prove it is (as partial) a failed abdication, and thus Pope Benedict XVI is still the reigning Pope. It must be *full and complete*, or it is no resignation at all.

    His intention, however, was to bifurcate. That is impossible. That is the significant error as per Canon 188.

    All of the above from “Smith” is quite true, much appreciated. But that still leaves Jorge Bergoglio in the Chair Of St. Peter. The point of ever considering “bifurcation” has *always* been to prove the preceding erroneous acts that put Bergoglio there were impossible, and thus render his elevation null; Pope Benedict XVI still reigning in full.

  4. There is something disconcertingly reductionistic aboit the phraseology, “Petrine function,” is there not? What if we spoke of a “spousal function” in similar terms? Let’s say Catholic theologians speculated about changing the way family responsibilities are allocated, in a way roughly comparable to their musings about the papacy.

    Instead of one spouse, you could spread out the necessary aspects of the role so that you had a given individual to assist with the procreation itself, another with paying the bills, a third for household, child rearing, and lawncare responsibilities, and perhaps a fourth to be shown off at social functions. Everything would “get done” this way, too–so what would be the big deal?

    Ridiculous, of course, and a limping analogy at best. But then again, maybe we’d better not give them any ideas.

  5. This is brilliant work by Smith in showing that denial of the monarchial natue of the primacy is a Modernist heresy.
    Karl Rahner has claimed that the monarchial nature of both the primacy and the episcopacy is a 2nd Century development, i.e a matter of changeble canon law (ius humana), rather than positive divine law (ius divina) which is of course immutable.

    That’s the reason too you have Canon law types like Johannes Neumann all over this issue. If you can relegate immutable divine law down to the level of changeable canon law, anything goes.

  6. Recognizing the ecclesial impossibility of there being two popes (i.e. two St. Peters), I consider it necessary to determine the true pope (if either one today is), and to write and ask for his papal blessing on 1. me, 2. my family, 3. the Church in the U. S. and 4. the Church is the whole world. This should be a minimum action in these spiritually tumultuous days. Before I write (and invite you to do the same), the choice of my wording should be defined by a best guess at how the current situation came about. The possibilities include A) that Pope Benedict, deciding he wouldn’t endure the harassment, intimidation and sly threats anymore, devised AND BELIEVED IN THE VALIDITY of his “bifurcated papacy”, and proceeded to announce it following his resignation. Or B) that he devised the dual papacy KNOWING IT WAS ILLEGITIMATE, and that he would retain the Chair of Peter while the ersatz successor would truly have no divine authority or power. Or C) that his tormentors devised the double-pope scenario, and he acquiesced to it knowing it was false. Or D) he agreed to their bifurcated papacy believing it was a possibility. With my studied but limited consideration of pope Benedict’s history and recent comments, I suppose that option C is most likely. Giving that supposition, my letter to him asking for an Apostolic Blessing on all of us who cringe at the daily press releases will carry the tone of all charity, a recognition that the fear he lived under is beyond my experience, and that his blessing as Vicar of Christ will have enormous benefit to us all.

    1. @David,
      These are interesting scenarios… FWIW I think it was D, the substantial error that Ann et al has demonstrated that was “inceptioned” in his mind many years ago, perhaps combined with any of the following: pride ( to retain the papacy) , fear of being offed once safely out of view, and intellectual curiosity to finally test his theory.

      Option B does not make sense even if it proves to be the true motive. I ask myself all the time what would have happened had PB validly resigned or even died how would things be different today and according to what I was taught about infallibility and etc, I believe the Holy Spirit would have kicked in and protected the next pope ***per what we all believed to be true in those days right?*** and defeated the plans of the st gallen plotters. Perhaps their plane would have crashed or a hero would have stepped in to save the day who knows or had B been elected he’d have dropped dead before he could say “who am I to judge” or the first day when he refused to kneel at the consecration.

  7. Who knows how this is going to pan out. No one is in charge except King Heretic. All the rest is just chatter. You can prove it this way and that, but what is the good of it? I can’t see what difference it’s going to make either way. The most convincing argument, the undisputable Truth, is fine and dandy, but if the Cardinals and Bishops don’t care about it or work actively to suppress it, I can’t see what difference it all makes.
    I would love to be wrong! I hope I am wrong and would dearly love to be wrong. Let me be a pessimist who is shown to be profoundly wrong.
    Only God’s intervention matters. It would have to be God, because it is hard to imagine what human intervention of any kind could make a difference.
    Someone’s got to be Eeyore.

      1. docmx001, your comments, like Smith’s, misses the point contained in Smith’s money quote: “Here we are, engaging in an exercise that dignifies this insanity”.

        The “exercise” is of crucial importance. What happened? What did they do? What are they attempting? The “exercise” is to prove the error; a substantial error in the resignation renders it invalid. The “exercise” that “Smith” considers futile is actually essential to understand the error that occurred.

        It doesn’t “dignify” the error at all. It proves the error of bifurcation and leads us to the next step: validity. It *is* %*#@**#$ crazy (as he says). But that is the central point in the resignation letter. That is what they are now presenting to the Church visibly. That is how we got from there to here. That must be acknowledged. Then what?

        No. The Pope cannot bifurcate. Yes. That was what they claimed to do.

        If it is claimed that the resignation is partial *then that is an error*, substantially in error, and the resignation is *invalid*. I thought at first that was Smith’s point. But I don’t think it is. I think, like Skojec, the point is to stop talking about the topic and render it off limits. That would be a mistake. For the reason you give Kate R.

      2. Dear Aqua,

        I can sympathize and agree with various aspects of what you, docmx001 and Kate R say.
        Since my own intention and thought are being questioned or assumed by you here…a clarification:
        I emphatically did not, and do not, consider the exercise of “dialogue with a lunatic” FUTILE.
        We are faced with lunacy, but the lunacy is REAL, and we have to deal with it.
        If I thought the exercise was futile, I would assuredly not have spent so much time and effort engaging myself in it.
        And so I emphatically agree with you that the exercise is of crucial importance.

        At the same time, I agree with Kate R, in that, *ultimately* the whole matter is in God’s hands. Our job is simply to do what God puts before us. That job is different for different persons, of course. As far as I am concerned, my job is to give AMMO to those in the hierarchy whose job, in turn, is to blast away at the Modernist faction in the hierarchy in the Church, to either convert them or destroy them.
        The job of others is to pray and/or do penance.
        The job of still others is…fill in the blank. (Rom. 12:4ff)

        We are all working, to the best of our lights, for the glory of God and His Church. Gloria in excelsis Deo!

        BTW, David O Connell’s post is quite imaginative — in the good sense of the word — and deserves more thought, IMAO.

      3. @docmx001 Amen.
        I believe God wants us all to wake up quietism is a sin and the reason we are here today see Ann’s recent post on this topic (I think on the rapture).
        We must do our best and hope by our feeble efforts and fasts and prayers to shorten these trying days.

        BTW I think people are misreading Smith. He obviously meant the whole discussion would have been lunacy up until 2013 so back then it was too dumb to address and now it’s sadly become necessary.

  8. In an Apologetics class I learned that the form of government of the Church was chosen by Jesus Christ in this way:
    Who do the people ( the crowds) say I am? Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or the prophets ” . That would be democracy and it was rejected by Jesus.
    “But what about you, who do you say I am” ( Spoken to the elite group of Apostles, who gave no answer at all) That would be aristocracy and it was not chosen.
    Simon alone speaks up, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus declares, “Blessed are you Simon Bar Jonah, this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood but by My Father in Heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church,” This is a theocracy. One man and God. It is what Jesus Christ chose for the government of His Church.

    1. And I would take it one step beyond that, (I do heartily agree with what you say – Monarchy under Christ; the Pope His visible Vicar).

      That acknowledgement that “Christ is Messiah, Son of the Living God” is a day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute consumption – of the Christian by His Lord in mutual prayerful interchange.

      When I agree with Pope Benedict XVI’s “resignation” proposition – that an essential element of the Papacy is prayer and contemplation (I put it at the highest elemental level) I place that within this biblical picture of our first Pope considering His Lord, acknowledging His Kingship; submitting to His will – continuously to the best of his human abilities every day until his end, martyrdom.

      We are Catholics because our God lives in us actively, individually and collectively through the Church’s Sacraments, its Magisterial authority, also through our individual and collective, spiritual, prayerful, contemplative connection to God.

      And this begins at the top, through our Pope, who *must* be so connected in prayer. Nothing works as it should unless this is so.

      “Prayer and contemplation” is connected (in my mind) to this initial choosing.

      1. No one can deny your point, Aqua.
        It’s perfectly true that a pope is not going to be able to do his office unless he remains close to Christ in prayer, which is why (Jeff C, I believe) made the very cogent point that the bifurcated papacy, having one man doing the jurisdictional stuff and another the prayer stuff, is not merely impossible, but if it could be tried, very dangerous, as it exposes the “active” element to the beguilement of pride, worldliness, etc.

        I had previously understood you to mean, however, that the prayer part was actually part of the office, not just a duty *consequent* to the office.
        If I was wrong I apologize.

  9. Would it help if the remnant in Rome began picketing in St Peter’s square? And if journalists demanded an interview with Pope Benedict?
    Somehow I think clamoring from the laity will help get this thing started.

    1. I had the idea of doing public demonstrations at least a couple of years ago. I still think it’s a good one. And I thought Rome would be the obvious place, but there are logistical problems: time, money for travel and expenses, language issues, etc.. And one demonstration isn’t going to do it; it would have to be an ongoing effort; a regular thing. Another possibility is to get up groups that would demonstrate at their diocesan chancery offices. They could do so once a month, each time focussing on a specific issue, but every time demanding that Bergoglio step down, and/or that his election be reviewed officially and declared invalid (and the local bishop investigated too, if he’s a rotter). If this began to spread worldwide, we would have some effect, I think. I am up for getting something going, but don’t know how to get the word out to those who might want to participate.

      1. Smith , agreed. Logistically St Peter’s Square is the most central and visible place where the cameras are located. However Italians don’t seem to care and visitors probably fear being jailed or running afoul of local laws whatever they are and travel is expensive that’s sounds cowardly but there it is.

  10. Smith: (no reply button avail above): Separating jurisdictional authority from prayer is precisely what Pope Benedict XVI purported to do.

    It is impossible, in the same way that it is impossible for a man to chop off certain parts, inflate others with silicon, and call the result female. The man has multiple elements that make up the man, not just his DNA code (essential as it is). The Pope, also, has more than one thing that make him Pope, not just jurisdictional (essential as it is). All are true by nature and by degree. None can be removed or declared void.

    The essential nature remains unchanged, through the facade, cutting, bifurcating, even if it is a good act and makeup. Acts against unchangeable nature are acts of violence upon the person and also those he comes in contact with, by degree, and we all suffer in some way by the lie. In the Supreme Pontiff, that degree is as high as possible on earth. It is violence against the Church Body. And we obviously do suffer now for it.

    And we see now, how essential are those individual, intrinsic by nature Papal elements are when missing: Prayer, the connection of Grace to the Church Militant through Her Supreme Pontiff; Suffering, the visible and invisible struggle against the Principalities and Powers arrayed against Her by our Supreme Pontiff. This bifurcated (untrue) thing leaves us open to attack from our mortal enemy on multiple fronts.

    1. Dear Aqua,
      It seems then that you are in fact saying that the prayer/suffering thing is an intrinsic element of the papacy as such.
      I would like to agree with you, but I have not seen you present any arguments from reason or authority to back up the assertion, and so it would be irrational for me to do so.
      Can you cite any teaching of the Church that supports this?
      This is not meant to be a challenge or an insult. I would really like to know.
      Maybe the papal coronation oath has something in it?
      Deus benedicat.

  11. I do not have reference material, except for the clear assertion of a living Pope which used to count for something. I do not have time, with a full time job and many young special needs children to take care of, nor admittedly the skill, to research as you suggest. I do what I do and I can only do so much. This is what I have.

    Prayer and suffering is the mark of every Christian – Prayer and Beattitude in the *presence* of God in Heaven; Prayer and Suffering in our fallen world, apart. Prayer is like breathing. We must pray if we wish to live. And Suffering is the natural condition of all Christians who exist apart from God, in the midst of sin and the temptations of the devil. Prayer and suffering are like spiritual breathing in this fallen world. From low (me) to high (Pope), it is *intrinsic* to our Catholic nature or we are spiritually dead. By definition; self-evident I suppose.

    The Pope … Christ’s Vicar … Earthly representative of Christ: How can a Pope possibly be Christ’s earthly Representative *without* that spiritual connection to Christ whom he represents? Without it, he is acting (much like Jorge Bergoglio is now acting … *by his own admission* …) under his own *personal* jurisdictional authority. And the results of such a man are as you would expect: a tired, oppressive, one-world-Government-bureaucrat.

    Christ’s life on earth was defined by prayer and suffering. He accomplished no great earthly works. He prayed to His Father. For instance, prior to being tempted *in the spirit*, 40 days of prayer and suffering and fasting …. and *then* … the devil himself attacked with all his spiritual weapons. Suffering at the beginning in a manger, in the desert, all the way to the end in the Garden (sweating drops of blood) and the Cross.

    And, Christ’s Living Representative on earth? It *must* be the same at some fundamental level, or he is no Vicar.

    In sum: A man is not just body or spirit, he is both intrinsically combined in essence, Papal administration is like the body. Prayer and suffering is like the spirit that animates the body. Both together are required to make the complete Pope.

    Why is this important: Because you cannot bifurcate away one essential element from the other within the living person of Peter.

    Understand: I am *not* making the case for individual components that can be selectively donated to others. Pope Benedict XVI made this case, and I firmly believe it is as wrong as wrong can be. The nature of Pope is a *unified whole*. Yes he has jurisdictional authority. Yes he also has a unique connection to God (like, but *far beyond* other Catholics in the Body) as Christ’s Vicar. That cannot be denied as a fundamental tenet of the Catholic Faith. This is the essence of the (true) Pope; why we venerate him. Both, all combined into one. Not transferable.

    And that is how I can explain the two men presenting themselves as Popes. It is an unnatural abomination, violence against nature; the unified nature of Pope, contained within the person of one living man at a time – now bifurcated into two (+). Impossible. But there they are, until they are overwhelmed by Truth and the Lie is swept away.

    1. Failed to mention … Matt 16: 15-19, Christ established His Pope by first establishing with Simon the proper order of things: spiritual assent and acknowledgement of Almighty God prior to bestowing the Primacy of this new Office connecting earth to Heaven; (“not flesh and blood has revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven” – the spiritual interchange precedent to this conversation).

      And we see the evidence of this, for the first time in the history of the Church, pictured above in this very blog, where the man who calls himself a new kind of Pope, *refuses*, very brazenly with ornate padded kneeler offered to his knee, refusing to ever kneel before Almighty God. The spiritual connection to heaven was never possessed by this man.

      In sum: this scriptural reference (Matt 16) establishing the Office, also establishes its essential spiritual nature. Cannot be separated, bifurcated, tranches, amputated, shared. One Pope at a time, an entire man possessing the entire Office … until death or complete and total renunciation.

      1. Dear Aqua,
        You are obviously a person of great spirituality, sincerity and intelligence. (I am NOT being sarcastic).
        It is a matter of repeated historical fact, however, that many popes have NOT been men of prayer. Some have even been habitual mortal sinners of very bad sort.
        AND they were, and still are, recognized as popes.
        AND, if they weren’t popes, our entire ecclesiastical history is a joke.
        For instance, look in the Old Catholic Encyclopedia and read the articles on John XII and Alexander VI, to name only two.
        We need to lose the idolatrous worship of persons involved in a false notion of papal infallibility that has become ingrained into us since Vatican I. The definition of papal infallibility of Dz1839 is DOGMA, and is CORRECT, but is also MISUNDERSTOOD.
        If you cannot show by arguments from reason or authority that prayer and suffering are part of the essence of the papacy, as instituted by Christ, then please stop trying to promote the idea.
        It is Reality, and the teaching of the Church, that matter, not our own intuitions into Scripture or anything else. Our own ideas, opinions and sentiments just confuse ourselves and everyone else.

      2. @Smith:

        I am not saying that all Popes *posess* it perfectly. I am not saying that they cannot even turn Judas and deny the Savior.

        I am saying that the Office depends upon it. The connection between earth and heaven; Vicar to Christ; is through prayer, contemplation and suffering. It is a divinely established Office and it depends upon prayer, communication, interchange between God and His Vicar, our Pope. The Primacy to act derives from it, as implied in the Scripture I referenced above.

        The *man* may not *fulfill* the Office as he ought. There is surely a scale of faithfulness that all Popes grade out from near perfect to perhaps total failure. That does not change the integral connection between the divine power of the Papal Primacy to act and God who bestows and guarantees that Primacy. Once again, we do not venerate administrative abilities. We do not venerate a mere man, chosen to an Office leading a very large Church. We venerate the Vicar Of Christ and his Office’s connection to Christ that makes him unique in the world.

        Just as the efficacy of the Sacrifice of the Mass does not depend upon the faithfulness of the Priest, the Primacy of the Pope does not depend upon how well he fulfills his duties to God. The Office itself demands it. If it did not then the Primacy of the Pope would be on thin ice, indeed. I accept the Primacy because I know the Office, by its nature, is connected to God in Prayer, contemplation, suffering; and thus, *to some degree* it’s current (single) occupant. An interchange, regardless of the man in White.

      3. Holding the Office clearly does not depend upon prayer, contemplation, etc. We’ve had many wicked popes who lived wicked lives. None of them lost the Office. To say otherwise results in chaos. However, of course the pope *should very much* embrace prayer and contemplation as a necessary duty of his Office.

      4. @ Smith:

        Perhaps it would be helpful to me if you could provide reference that *excludes* prayer, contemplation and suffering from the Office Of Pope, Vicar Of Christ.

        I re-read your offering above, and it talks of Primacy of Simon, now Peter, in the context of prior divine interchange between Simon and God (“flesh and blood has not revealed this [confession] to you, but my Father which is in Heaven”). I see nothing there that *excludes* spiritual communication between God and Christ’s Vicar as an essential element of the Primacy of the Office; the reason he wears a Tiara … and it makes sense, outside of time and place.

        In sum: in the Scripture reference above, that Papal Primacy is based on, spiritual interchange is built in to the very establishment of Primacy by Christ. “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you”, clearly implies to me that there has been a long conversation between Simon and God to which Simon submitted over time, leading to the conversation recorded in Scripture.

        Primacy I get. Monarchy contained within a single person, obvious. Exclusion of prayer, contemplation, suffering as an intrinsic element of the Primacy of the Office and the Monarchy contained within a single person … by far the highest Office on earth *for that reason alone* …. I do not understand that.

        So, since the conversation is based on reference material, what is the negative side? And how does *divine Primacy* enter in to an Office that does not also contain within it the element of privileged Vicar-Christ communication built-in (not dependent upon the holder)?

      5. @docmx001:

        I clearly stated that as an essential premise: The Papal Office does *not* depend upon the prayer habits or faithfulness of the holder of the Office; any more than the Sacrifice of the Mass depends upon the spiritual condition of the Priest. The Office itself, however, was established in Primacy after first establishing the spiritual connection between Simon (now Peter) and God. Not flesh and blood. Father. Blessed is Peter because of his spiritual revelation from God. It’s right there in the reference contained above. And it is logically certain that divine Primacy means little without divine communication between Office and He who established and maintains that Office. If the Office is disconnected from heaven … then?

  12. Apparently docmx001 didn’t publish my comment from yesterday – so I’ll try again:

    This entire debate is *RIDICULOUS*

    It all hinges around the insane notion that if anyone refers to the heretical attempt of “bifurcation” by actually using the term “Bifurcation” – then somehow the mere use of that word (even in a negative sense) is (in itself) giving some sort of validity to the illicit paradigm of “Bifurcation”

    Now just let that simple point set in a bit.

    Based on this absolutely INSANE reasoning – no heresy (or any sin for that matter) can EVER be called out by name for fear that doing so will actually alter reality itself by giving validity to the heresy. Do you get that? And do you know what that means? It means:

    THIS. IS. NUTZ!

    Aqua is absolutely correct here: this is the inane Skojec tactic that is simply an attempt to STIFLE the topic all together and render it off limits. And that doesn’t accomplish anything other than locking ourselves into a psychological prison cell of denial. And God knows that type of avoidance has actually led to the confusing rot that has steadily taken over the Church for over a century now.

  13. The numerous references in this article would seem to indicate it is a heresy to believe in a bifurcated papacy. If so, and assuming the Barnhardt thesis that Ratzinger is pope, then Ratzinger would be a heretic. But according to Ed Peters, an authority on canon law, a heretical pope loses office automatically without a declaratory judgment. So, if Miss Barnhardt is correct, how then are we not in a sedevacante situation?

    1. To be a formal heretic, Ratzinger would need to be formally accused of heresy and then refuse to recant. If he refused, his heresy would become formal at that moment, not six years ago, meaning Bergoglio has not been pope the past six years.

      1. Thank you for you response. However, in the first place, I never said “formal” heretic. Dr. Peters’ article says that the sin of public heresy, by virtue of the fact that it removes one from membership in the Church, renders one incapable of holding the office of Pope. Consulting both Van Noort’s dogmatic treatise “Christ’s Church”, and Salverri’s “On the Church of Christ,” I’ve found that both texts clearly say a heretic loses membership in the Church even if the sin of heresy is only material. Even so, both of them also say that a formal heretic loses membership in the Church “by the very fact” of heresy. I don’t see any reference to formal accusations for the public sin of heresy, as distinct from the canonical crime, and it is the public sin of heresy that causes one to lose office. If Ratzinger believes the papacy can be bifurcated and has publicly stated it, he is a public heretic, plain and simple. Can you provide any references to the contrary?

      2. If that’s the standard, how many dozens of times has this happened in the past, loses office yet keeps office? It’s too low of a bar. Besides, I’m not sure it even rises to the level of public heresy, since nobody seems to be noticing.

      3. Dear Jeff M,

        Ed Peters is a Novus Ordo canonist.
        We are not in a sedevacante situation because he is wrong, full stop — or is misunderstood. From what I have seen of him in the past, most likely he is infected with EPI (Exaggerated Papal Infallibility).
        A pope can be a heretic.
        Read Dz1839 very carefully. It states exactly what the Petrine Promise actually promises: that the pope is *guaranteed* protection from heresy *only* when speaking ex cathedra. Neither BXVI nor Bergoglio have done so. JPII did it only once, when he defined that women cannot be ordained to the priesthood — which was a definition perfectly in line with Tradition.
        The Holy Ghost is doing His job, folks! There is nothing to worry about; the Church has not contradicted Herself.

        I believe you have misunderstood Van Noort and Salaverri. If I recall correctly, along with Cardinal Billot, they have an “updated” notion of ‘material heresy’. I don’t want to go into this now, because I don’t think it’s necessary.
        Here’s the thing.
        The Big Guns on the papal heresy question, Bellarmine, Suarez, Cajetan and John of St. Thomas, ALL agree that, yes, one loses membership in the Church by the very fact of heresy, but that fact must be established by the CHURCH. No lay scmuck like you or I has authority to officially excommunicate *anybody*, let alone a pope.
        Isn’t that just common sense? I mean, just look at the way that sedevacs are “excommunicating” each *other*, left and right, for any number of things they *personally* judge to be heresies.
        The thesis of automatic excommunication, *as falsely understood* by sedevacs, obviously leads to total chaos in the Church. We don’t need to be top-flight theologians to get this point.

        I can give the supporting authorities for this line of thought, but that’s up to the Moderator…on topic or not?

      4. Regarding the proof that excommunication is only done by authority in the Church, not us lay schmucks…I’m tied up right now, but it’s coming.

      5. Ok, so I finally got together a study of the question: “Can a pope be a public heretic and still be a real pope?” As one should be able to guess, however, it is long. (That’s why it took almost a month to put it together). I want to ask the Moderator if I should just post it, or if it should be dealt with another way.

      6. I had promised Papal Subject that I would give my opinion (FWIW) on the question: “Can a pope be a public heretic and still be a real pope?” This turned out to be a serious research project, but finally, here it is. I suggest that anyone wanting to read what follows gulp down a few cups of coffee first. The thing will make major demands on your attention and patience.

        In a conversation in another part of this blog, PS made the valuable observation that the question logically extends beyond the pope, to each individual Catholic, because the historical argument that a pope could or would lose office for heresy is based on another: that one loses membership in the Church Herself if one becomes a heretic. But this latter argument, if true, means that *any* Catholic can lose membership in the Church for heresy.
        Considering this (and a few other aspects of the question that I will develop later), it seems the question should be rephrased and precisioned as follows:

        Can a Catholic (therefore even a pope), become a public heretic, while still remaining in the body of the Catholic Church?

        But there is another question deeply connected to this one, and it seems to me that answering it first is a necessary lead-in. That question is:

        Can a Catholic be automatically excommunicated for heresy?
        N.B.: By ‘automatically’ I mean specifically in this sense: that, without any declaration by the authority of the Church, he loses his official status as an externally visible member of the Church.

        First, we aren’t going to get anywhere without clear ideas about the basic things we are discussing. In what follows, references to Canon Law will be from the 1917 Code (Old Code, or O.C.). This is so that those who hold that the New Code is invalid cannot complain.

        Definitions And Distinctions

        Heretic – A heretic is one who professes the Christian Faith, but corrupts its dogmas. (Summa, II, II, Q.11, a1)

        Member of the Church – One who has validly received the sacrament of Baptism, and has not separated from the unity of the confession of the Faith, and from the unity of the lawful communion of the Church.
        This is from Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, p.309. He quotes Dz2286 (Pius XII, Mystici Corporis) to back this up. Any number of other Traditional sources could have been cited.

        Excommunication – A medicinal, spiritual penalty, that deprives the guilty Christian of all participation in the common blessings of ecclesiastical society. (Old Cath. Encycl., Excommunication; c.f. Old Code 2257)

        There are two ways that one can be excommunicated: latae sententiae (i.e. of a judgment already levied), and ferendae sententiae (i.e. of a judgment that has to be imposed). The former “…is incurred as soon as the offence is committed and by reason of the offence itself (eo ipso) without intervention of any ecclesiastical judge.” The latter “…is inflicted by an ecclesiastical prelate…” (ibid.)

        Excommunication latae sententiae is identical, therefore, to “automatic” excommunication.

        And formal (conscious and stubborn) heresy does indeed carry a penalty of excommunication latae sententiae. (O.C. 2314).

        However, there are very important conditions that have to be fulfilled before excommunication, or indeed any Church censure, can be inflicted. (O.C. 2242)
        There must be:
        1) A crime.
        In Church law, a crime is: “an external and morally imputable violation of the law, to which is added a canonical sanction…” (O.C. 2195).
        The elements of a crime are:
        a) Imputability: “The imputability of a crime depends on the guilt of the criminal, or on his fault in being ignorant of the law violated, or on the omission of due diligence.” (O.C. 2199).
        b) An external action: There has to be “an external action, even if perhaps it is entirely occult; for concerning merely internal matters, the Church, outside the sacramental forum [of Confession], does not judge.”
        c) There has to be mortal sin.
        d) The crime has to be actually completed.
        Also before a censure can be inflicted, there must be…
        2) A warning
        “This is per se necessary for…no one is punished by a penalty which he is inculpably ignorant of. When it is a case of penalties latae sententiae, the law itself constitutes a continual warning.”
        3) Pertinacity on the part of the delinquent.
        (1-3 above taken from Epitome Juris Canonici, Vermeersch-Creusen, 1946, v.3, #438)

        This is all summed up in Canon 2242 §1: “Only an external crime that is grave, consummated, and connected with pertinacity is punished by a censure; however, a censure can be imposed even upon unknown criminals.”

        Among the censures upon “unknown criminals” is precisely the one called latae sententiae excommunication; automatic excommunication by the law itself. Obviously, if one can be automatically excommunicated by the simple commission of a crime, before even going to court, then there must be times when one is automatically excommunicated without any court even knowing that it happened. Still, the necessary conditions for a crime, as given above, must be present. To summarize in one sentence: The crime must be external, must be mortally sinful, and actually completed. We must add here a basic fact of the catechism: that mortal sin requires knowledge that an act is gravely evil, then full consent of the will to do it. So there must be sufficient proof of these things also.
        Now a question will arise: If the Church does not judge on internal matters (the state of a soul), and if a crime requires mortal sin, the establishing of which in turn requires knowing how much a person knew and how fully they willed the evil action of the crime, how does the Church know that a crime has been committed?
        The answer lies in points 2 and 3 above.
        A warning must be given, and this is simply to make sure the wrongdoer knows that what he has done is gravely evil. Thus now it is known that the wrongdoer has sufficient knowledge of the grave evil of his action.
        If then the wrongdoer commits the act, that very fact shows (barring other circumstances such as fear, force or fraud) that he did so with full consent.
        And hence both knowledge and full consent are known, and now a censure can be levied.
        In the case of latae sententiae, or automatic excommunication, since the law itself is a standing warning of the gravity of the evil that the wrongdoer does, if the act forbidden by the law is done, knowledge of the gravity of the evil forbidden by the law can be presumed, and hence also full consent of the will to doing it, and therefore the presence of mortal sin (required element 1c of a crime) is reasonably presumed. And so the wrongdoer automatically excommunicates himself.

        However, some of the *effects* of excommunication latae sententiae may differ. Unlike a sentence ferendae sententiae, which by nature is public since it is levied publicly by a judge, automatic excommunication is subdistinguished into two kinds: public or occult.
        1) Automatic excommunication becomes public by notoriety of fact when it is known to the majority in a locality (e.g. as when one has done violence to a cleric, with many witnessing the act). The act must be known, not presumed. (Old Cath. Encycl., Excommunication, II,4). Mere hearsay coming from a few alleged witnesses is not knowledge. In other words, evidence of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt must be available and known to the community. Obviously also, the usual conditions that constitute a crime, and permit the infliction of a censure, must be present (1-3 above).
        2) Automatic excommunication is occult if the offense is known to no one, or to almost no one.

        The effects of public automatic excommunication are the usual ones as stated above: deprivation of all participation in the common blessings of ecclesiastical society. (Details are listed in Canons 2258 and following, or see the cited Cath. Encycl. article, V). Since public excommunication is public, it is valid in the external (public) forum, and the exclusion from these blessings is publicly noted and enforced.
        Occult automatic excommunication though, since the crime is effectively known only to the offender, is valid only in the internal forum.
        “The practical difference is very important. He who has incurred occult excommunication should treat himself as excommunicated, and be absolved as soon as possible…but this is only in the tribunal of conscience; he is not obliged to denounce himself to a judge, nor to abstain [if he is a cleric] from external acts connected with the exercise of jurisdiction, and he may ask absolution without making himself known either in Confession or to the Sacred Penitentiaria. According to the teaching of Benedict XIV (De Synodo, X,i,5), a sentence *declaratory* of the offense is *always* necessary in the forum externum, since in that tribunal no one is presumed to be excommunicated unless [publicly] convicted of a crime that entails such a penalty.” (Old Cath. Encycl., Excommunication, II,4; cf. can. 2232)

        Are your eyes glazed over yet?

        Well, I think we have finally arrived at the point where we can answer our question – which should be restated since it has taken so long to get here: Can a person that is Catholic be automatically excommunicated for heresy, in this sense: that, without any declaration by the authority of the Church, he loses his official status as an externally visible member of the Church?

        Plainly, there will have to be several parts to an adequate answer.
        1) Yes, a Catholic can be automatically excommunicated for heresy.
        2) But, this happens in one of two ways: publicly or occultly.
        3) If occult, the excommunication does not have effect in the external forum, and hence the heretic does not lose his official status as an external member of the Church. In fact, he remains a member of the Church, simply speaking. Like any other mortal sinner, of course, he has lost sanctifying grace, and hence is a spiritually dead member.
        4) If public, the excommunication does have effect in the external forum, and hence the heretic loses his official status as an external member of the Church, and is indeed not a member of the Church, because he has separated himself from the unity of confession of the Faith. (See again the definition of Member of the Church).

        Surely someone will say: “Wait a minute! The occult heretic is just as much a heretic as the public heretic, and he has therefore just as much “separated himself from the unity of confession of the Faith”. How then can he remain a member of the Church?
        A very reasonable question. There are two ways to answer it.
        The first answer is the easy way: Number 3 above is wrong; the occult heretic has indeed separated himself, and is *not* a member of the Church. As a purely practical matter, he retains his official external status as a member, but without the reality. But since nobody is aware of that fact, we all go on treating him as if he were a member. Some theologians have held this opinion, Suarez, Bouix and Franzelin, for instance.

        Unfortunately, *life* is not as easy as this answer. That theory is fine if you are dealing only with laymen. In the case of priests, bishops and popes, it presents us with a serious problem…because they exercise jurisdiction, and jurisdiction is required for the validity of a number of very important acts, e.g. hearing confessions, officiating marriages, and many other things. If an occult heretic does not have real status as an external member of the Church, how can he have jurisdiction in the Church? And if he does not have that jurisdiction, *and nobody knows he does not have it* (as will necessarily be the case by definition of ‘occult’), how will anyone be certain that the confessions, marriages or other jurisdictional acts of *any* priest, bishop or pope are valid? – for it is always at least possible that any given priest, bishop or pope is an occult heretic.
        Suarez just comes right out and says “…the faith is not absolutely necessary in order that a man be capable of spiritual and ecclesiastical jurisdiction…” (De Fide, disp. 10, sect. 6) This in itself is explicable, but since Suarez held that loss of faith through occult formal heresy *also* meant loss of membership in the Church, this means that a cleric could exercise jurisdiction in the Church *without even being a member of the Church!* He got around this by appealing to what we now call supplied jurisdiction. This does not, however, solve the problem, for in Suarez’ scenario, jurisdiction is still being supplied to a *non-Catholic*, and the question remains: How is that possible?

        Bellarmine did not agree with Suarez, nor have most theologians before or since. They simply could not see a good solution to the Suarezian scenario, so they simply rejected it. The common opinion has always been that which I presented above; occult heresy does not cause loss of external membership in the Church.
        This solution itself, of course, will have its difficulties, but that is just the nature of the beast. The question is whether the difficulties can be resolved. This is where theologians have brought in another distinction; that between the soul and body of the Church.
        By ‘soul’ of the Church is meant the sanctifying grace in all of its members, taken as a whole, which sanctified membership constitutes the soul of the Mystical Body of Christ; the soul of the Church is all those members thereof who are interiorly in union with Christ. And just as Christ has a body as well as a soul, the ‘body’ of the Church is all those members of the external and visible corporate society of the Church. Now since no one can see the interior state of soul of any given member of the Church, neither can external membership be determined by that state. External membership is known by external and visible facts. That is why an occult heretic remains a member – though a spiritually dead member – of the Church. As Ott says: “According to the more probable opinion, represented by St. Bellarmine and most modern theologians (Palmieri, Billot, Straub, Pesch) against Suarez, Franzelin and others, secret apostates and heretics remain members of the Church, because the loss of membership of the Church, just as much as its acquisition,* on account of the visibility of the Church*, can only result from *external, legally ascertainable* facts.” (FoCD, p. 311)
        Though perhaps difficult to understand, this doctrine is no more so than the body/soul nature of humanity itself, and of Christ Himself, of which the Church is a reflection.

        Therefore, for a person to lose real status as a member of the Church, an external, public and legal determination has to be made – and that obviously can only be done by a proper authority in the Church.

        Let’s recapitulate then, by trying to give (notwithstanding the inherent complexities) the most succinct possible answer to our original question.

        Can a Catholic, without any declaration by the authority of the Church, lose his official status as an externally visible member of the Church?

        No, because even in the case of automatic excommunication for heresy, there is required, at the least, public notoriety of fact as to the crime of heresy, and this means knowledge (not just suspicion or rumor) of that crime by the *majority* of people in the community, and a crime is not a crime, thus not punishable, unless it is also known (at least with moral certainty), that the suspect person sinned mortally in his heresy. Further, a legal determination of all this must be made by legitimate authority, as Benedict XIV says concerning automatic excommunication (De Synodo, X,i,5): A sentence declaratory of the offense is *always* necessary in the *forum externum*, since in that tribunal no one is presumed to be excommunicated unless [publicly] convicted of a crime that entails such a penalty.”
        (And we might mention in passing that Benedict XIV, besides being a pope, is a canon lawyer in his own right, and known as one of the Church’s greatest.)

        Let’s emphasize here that someone who commits the secret (occult) mortal sin of heresy IS automatically excommunicated from the soul of the Church, and is morally obligated to treat himself as exiled from the body of the Church. Nevertheless, until that sin becomes publicly known and officially declared by legitimate authority as a public crime, that person is not in reality exiled from the body of the Church, and if he is a cleric, since he retains external membership, *he retains jurisdiction*.
        This solves the very serious problem of how to know if acts of jurisdiction are valid or not. A cleric, like anyone else, is presumed to be a member of the Church until a declaration by legitimate authority is made to the contrary. Consequently, his jurisdictional acts are valid up to that point.

        Now since we’ve come this far, why not examine how it is known if members of the hierarchy are excommunicated or not? Plainly, if this is the way automatic excommunication is dealt with in respect of laymen, it can’t possibly apply more strictly to the hierarchy…or so one would think.
        It turns out the facts bear this out.
        O.C. can 2227 §1. Poena nonnisi a Romano Pontifice infligi aut declarari potest in eos de quibus in can. 1557, §1. (A punishment cannot be inflicted or declared, unless by the Roman Pontiff, against those concerning whom [it is mentioned] in can. 1557, §1.)
        And what does can. 1557, §1 say?
        Can 1557 §1. Ipsius Romani Pontificis dumtaxat ius est iudicandi:
        The right of judging the following belongs to the Roman Pontiff:
        1º (Not relevant)
        2º Patres Cardinales (The Cardinal Fathers)
        3º Legatos Sedis Apostolicae, et in criminalibus Episcopos, etiam titulares.
        Legates of the Apostolic See, and in criminal matters Bishops, even titular ones.
        And can 1558 adds: In causis de quibus in can. 1556, 1557, aliorum iudicum incompetentia est absoluta. (In cases concerning which [are found] in can. 1556, 1557, the incompetence of other judges is absolute.)
        Then can. 2227 continues:
        §2. Nisi expresse nominentur, S. R. E. Cardinales sub lege poenali non comprehenduntur, nec Episcopi sub poenis latae sententiae suspensionis et interdicti. (Unless they are expressly named, Cardinals are not included under penal law, nor are bishops included under the penalties of automatic suspension and interdict.)
        Now suspension and interdict are lesser penalties than excommunication, so under the principle of Church Law that, in doubtful cases, the more lenient approach is to be taken, it would seem that this provision applies a fortiori to excommunication, so that bishops cannot be automatically excommunicated unless expressly named by the pope.

        Well, that’s all(!) I have…
        Except an added observation, and a disclaimer.
        One thing at least should be blatantly obvious: that this question of automatic excommunication for heresy is *extremely* complicated. Those – like yours truly – who think they should publicly pontificate on this matter had better be resigned to doing some, major, major research and hard objective thinking. Failure to do so constitutes literally criminal negligence, because people can act on these opinions, and acting wrongly (e.g. as in presuming to excommunicate people left and right on one’s own “authority”) is a serious danger to the Church and to one’s own soul.
        That said, the disclaimer: I am not a canon lawyer, and even if I were, I do not and cannot speak for the Church, but only for myself. If the reader adopts any position at all as a partial result of reading this boring tract, he does so on his own responsibility.

      7. Especially in the case of occult excommunication of clerics and the question of loss of office, it seems to me the question is closely related to Donatism. Perhaps something can be found from Augustine or another source that could help us.

      8. Canon law is a dang stale study, but that’s because it’s just a collection of legal fact. All that legal fact, however, doesn’t just come from a bunch of chimpanzees banging away at random on typewriters. It’s a distillation of two millenia of experience and wisdom; of constant correcting and refining, with a view to making life in the Church *work* toward its proper end: the salvation of souls.

        So doc, I believe you are right about the relation of Donatism to the occult excommunication issue. Now that I’ve dug a big pile of rocks up with the backhoe, and done a rough sorting of them, it’s time to actually build something; a logical arrangement of the best chunks into a real home that’s small enough to live in. After that, build a roof of historical precedent over it.

  14. Here we go again with more accusations of Benedict being a heretic for what he has done (his supposed attempt at bifurcation, and purposely so out of malice and pride, is what some are concluding), therefore we really don’t have a pope. Is everybody who has been working so hard to get the truth out (myself for almost four years), that Benedict indeed is the one and only true pope, happy now to have exposed these discussions that took place in the ’60s and ’70s amongst a few German theologians? “Eureka!” Happy to have gone down that rabbit hole in order to defend yourselves from any further gaslighting from the Skojecs of this world? Instead of patiently bearing with the name-calling, you full-on throw Benedict under the bus (assuming you can connect him to this ‘evil’ plan, and that he committed it with those exact intentions). And guess what? It literally makes people HATE him, especially if they already have reasons to — and trust me, “trads” can be as bad, if not worse, than the liberals in their absolute vitriolic attacks on Benedict. What a disgrace this has all become. God bless Fr. David Belland, who has made numerous attempts to defend Benedict, and sees a much wider picture that encompasses the Fatima message in this whole mysterious and extremely unprecedented “two pope” situation the Church finds herself in.

    1. docmx001 –
      Fr. David Belland wrote on your blog post of 1/4/18:
      That it “looks” like bifurcating, or trying to set up a diarchy, could be because he was dissimulating in order not to resign the Office. For, if he had resigned the Office Satan would then have official control of the Church, which would make a mockery of Christ’s promise to Peter at Caesareae Philippi. It is becoming more and more evident today than it was when Benedict “resigned”, and I firmly believe that it was what was said in the Third Secret that made him realize that he had to retain the Petrine Office. And if this is the case, there is no way that he would intent to bifurcate, or set up a diarchy. It is also why he can say that he was completely free in his resignation; that is, he was told to resign the Papacy, but he didn’t—he freely kept the Petrine Office, and by dissimulating a “shared Papacy” those who did believe in the modern theological teaching of the “Bologna School” could not really complain. It should be noted that in certain situations it is lawful to “dissimulate”, especially during war, and we certainly are in a spiritual war today. But. St. Thomas also defends Christ when, asked by his disciples on the road to Emmaus to stay, he feigned going farther; there was nothing wrong with what Christ did.

      1. @Charmaine, I’m familiar with Fr. Belland and his entire thesis of this situation. It’s all quite plausible, and I believe Fatima almost certainly plays a huge role in all of this.

    2. I do not see what you see in the “hate” department. I see some very distressed Catholics because there is something very evil that has taken place at the top levels of the Church. Yes, there are some that cross a line and “hate”. No, that is not the rule, but the exception. I see very good conversations that take place and useful information shared that gives confused Catholics (like me) perspective on placing the current situation into Dogmatic Sacred Tradition. Those who close off discussion and declare questions and doubts off limits do a disservice to the Apostolic Faith which is missionary in nature; always inquiring, with answers guaranteed by God and His Church. All questions are valid. Especially now in these strange never before seen days.

      Neither do I see Catholics reaching the conclusion you suggest they do: “if the resignation was invalid then there must therefor be no Pope”. No. It means that Joseph Ratzinger remains Pope Benedict XVI, even if he doesn’t share the opinion. The resignation is invalid unless it is total, free, complete renunciation. It was not that. So he remains as before. The other person is not validly elected. And he naturally acts that part.

      And as for “Trads” …. I hate (there is that word) hate the word “Trad”, as well as the skewed idea behind it. That idea is a product of our confused age that gives us two visible Popes. There is no such thing as “Trads” and “liberals”. There are faithful Catholics, less faithful, fallen away and reprobates. One, Holy, Apostolic Church. Tribes are for the American political system that is imploding. They have no part in the Body Of Christ; defined by *unity*.

      For a certainty, those who question the abdication (typically) defend Pope Benedict XVI wholeheartedly as the active and reigning Pope. I have said elsewhere, say it again now, he is very much alone in the midst of perhaps the greatest trial the Church has ever seen, and *very much in need of our prayer*. God bless Pope Benedict XVI.

    3. Charmaine: I, too, am of the (probably very small) minority that has always believed that there is more behind Benedict’s resignation than is easily explained by facile resorts to accusations of intellectual hubris and abject fear on his part. Benedict left behind too many “breadcrumbs” that point to the invalidity of his resignation, and I find it hard to believe that such an intelligent man didn’t know exactly what he was doing, as hard as it may have been to do. When all the dust settles, I have a feeling we’ll find out that, despite the utter horror of the Bergoglian anti-papacy, Benedict’s faux resignation was actually the most efficient way to clean out the Augean Stables of the modernist Church. With regard to the chastisement (I prefer to say “cleansing”) the Church is currently undergoing, I’m put in mind of Matt 24:22 – “And unless those days had been shortened, no flesh should be saved: but for the sake of the elect those days shall be shortened.” My personal opinion is that Benedict is undergoing a form of white martyrdom (“The Holy Father will have much to suffer.”) and it pains me to see the “worst pope ever” meme being bandied about as if that explained everything. Wishful thinking? Maybe. Special pleading? Maybe. Misplaced loyalty? Maybe. Credulous naivety? Maybe. Plausible interpretation? I think so.

    4. Charmaine and/or docmx001: Can you point me to some of Fr Belland’s writings on this subject? I tried searching for him on the internet but found nothing of substance. Many thanks…

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