A Filial Correction of those who believe Benedict is still Pope?

September 25, 2017 (Steven O’Reilly) – It has been a couple of days since the release of the Filial Correction of Pope Francis by 62 Catholic scholars. Again, those who prepared, wrote and committed their signatures to this document ought to be commended. We will watch in the coming days and weeks to see what impact it might have on Pope Francis – or what revenge he might seek on the signatories. We will also wait for the arrival of the “Formal Correction” to be issued by the “Dubia Cardinals,” which will likely begin a process which might conceivably lead to the deposition of Pope Francis (see The Coming Storm, High Noon: Musings on a Formal Correction of a Pope). Of course, let us pray it does not need to come to that.

One item that caught my attention in the Filial Correction is the following statement on page 2 (see Filial Correction), emphasis added:

Those Catholics, however, who do not clearly grasp the limits of papal infallibility are liable to be led by the words and actions of Your Holiness into one of two disastrous errors: either they will come to embrace the heresies which are now being propagated, or, aware that these doctrines are contrary to the word of God, they will doubt or deny the prerogatives of the popes. Others again of the faithful are led to put in doubt the validity of the renunciation of the papacy by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Thus, the Petrine office, bestowed upon the Church by our Lord Jesus Christ for the sake of unity and faith, is so used that a way is opened for heresy and for schism.

It appears quite evident that those who prepared this document consider it an error to doubt the validity of Benedict’s renunciation of the papacy. This is evident in that the document suggests the “words and actions” of Pope Francis are “so used that a way is opened for heresy and for schism.” The document cites two types of heretical errors from those who “do not clearly grasp the limits of papal infallibility”, either: (1) they will embrace the heresies being propagated, or (2) “aware that these doctrines are contrary to the word of God, they will doubt or deny the prerogatives of the popes.” These are the aforementioned heretical errors. The error of schism of which the document speaks is to “put in doubt the validity of the renunciation of the papacy by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.”

I agree with the Filial Correction on all the points above. As I have previously argued on this blog (see Benedict is NOT pope,  Benedict is STILL not Pope), the argument which alleges Benedict is still pope (“BiP”) amounts, in the end analysis, to a fallacious argumentum ad consequentiam.

“However, there are those who claim Francis is an anti-pope because, as they argue, Benedict never really resigned, or that if Benedict appeared to do so, it was not valid because he was under duress. Thus, they argue, because Benedict XVI is still pope, Francis is – ipso facto – an anti-pope. While I agree with many of the concerns regarding this pontificate, the aforementioned argument appears to reduce to a fallacious argumentum ad consequentiam. That is, the argument seems to be: “If Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation is valid, that means Francis is a true pope.” In other words, the premise must be false because the conclusion is unthinkable. Now, of course, those who argue the premise will not state their argument as crudely as that, but does anyone really think the doubters would be debating the question of Benedict’s resignation had the conclave in 2013 given us a pope like Pius V?  My humble guess is “no.”” (See Benedict is NOT pope)

I do not doubt the sincerity and good will of the people who offer the argument “Benedict is Pope,” what I call the BiP argument. However, I do doubt the weight and force of the evidence for the BiP theory, which I believe crumbles into dust upon close examination, as I have argued in greater detail before (see Benedict is NOT pope, Benedict is STILL not Pope). If this were only a speculative question like how many angels can dance on the head of pin, I would not bother surfacing this discussion again. But, to the contrary, for all those Catholics who look at the prospect of a “formal correction” as an unfortunate necessity, BiP should not be viewed as an idle, speculative question. That is, BiP is not just simply wrong on its own merits, it is also a complicating factor to the resolution of the crisis. Granted, being a complicating factor does not make BiP wrong per se, but I do think this fact should give Bippers pause to test their own true devotion to the BiP cause and their intellectual acceptance of the evidence offered in favor of it, i.e., do you really want to go down this road?

Consider the following thought experiment for BiP supporters. Let us suppose the “formal correction” finally appears, and the “Dubia Cardinals” and other prelates together with them begin a process with canonical warnings (see  The Coming Storm, High Noon: Musings on a Formal Correction of a Pope). Suppose the correction warns Pope Francis that if he does not profess the Catholic faith and reject errors related to the issues associated with the five Dubia by the end of a specified period, that the Chair of Peter will be declared vacant. Let us further suppose this specified period of time lapses without Francis making the necessary professions and retractions, and thus the declaration is made that – Francis having demonstrated himself to be a formal heretic – the Chair of St. Peter is vacant. Let us suppose one last thing. Following this declaration, the remaining faithful cardinals, perhaps with other bishops, in a conclave or an imperfect council elect a new pope.

Now, given the thought experiment above, my question to BiP supporters is: are you so enamored of your position and persuaded by the force of its arguments that you will reject a conclave or an imperfect council that elects a new Roman Pontiff following the deposition of Francis – if Benedict still lives to that day? Or, will you maintain the man elected by the aforementioned conclave is an anti-pope, even as you believe in the case of Francis? Will you still maintain Benedict is your pope – even if Benedict continues to maintain, as he does to this day(!), that he resigned freely? Or, what if – God willing – there is the happiest of endings and Pope Francis heeds the correction and fully reverses course and professes the faith, rejects heresies, undoes his policies, etc? Is Benedict still your pope?

My honest question to the Bippers out there: do you really think your position is a strong one, and so strong you would stick with it in the event of the hypothetical scenarios above? Remember, a true-blue Bipper shouldn’t care at all about either the “filial correction” or the “formal correction,” or even whether Francis recants and “confirms the brethren” with his apostolic authority. If you think you would still be a Bipper even in consideration of the thought experiment above – i.e., you would even call a man elected to replace a deposed Francis an anti-pope because “Benedict is Pope” or reject Francis even if he fully recants, then I guess you are a true-blue Bipper. My hunch though is. . .there aren’t many such “bunker Bippers.”

Yes, I did see a recent informal and unscientific Blog poll that suggested there is wide support for the BiP position among traditional Catholics. But, I suspect that this support if it be a mile wide, is an inch deep – based more on valid concerns over Francis (as suggested in the Filial Correction) than on the strength of the actual BiP evidence (which is very weak). It is understandable in the wake of all Francis has said and done that folks are casting about for theories which try to make sense of what is going on, but a bad theory is not a substitute for a good one. The point is, Bippers – I feel your pain.  Hang on to your Francis angst and direct that energy toward prayers and supporting the “formal correction” with your friends, family, priests and bishops where it might do good; but ditch the BiP theory – it is a dead end and a waste of time.

Steven O’Reilly is a graduate of the University of Dallas and the Georgia Institute of Technology. He lives near Atlanta with his wife Margaret. He has four children. He has written apologetic articles and is working on a historical-adventure trilogy, set during the time of the Arian crisis. He can be contacted at StevenOReilly@AOL.com.







18 thoughts on “A Filial Correction of those who believe Benedict is still Pope?

  1. Steven, a couple things to add to your considerations.

    “the declaration is made (by an imperfect council) that – Francis having demonstrated himself to be a formal heretic – the Chair of St. Peter is vacant. Let us suppose one last thing. Following this declaration, the remaining faithful cardinals, perhaps with other bishops, in a conclave or an imperfect council elect a new pope.”

    There are two other possibilities (and probably more);
    1 – The imperfect Council declares that B16 was still Pope and hasn’t stopped being Pope. They could declare this for a variety of reasons including invalid resignation, etc.
    2 – They could also declare PF wasn’t validity elected. The confirmed conspiracy, by several members, to elect JB while JPII was still alive, and throughout B16’s reign. Doing so, according to JPII’s directives, excommunicates those involved. Excommunicates are not eligible for the office. (There are additional reasons out there if you care to look for them.)

    Either of those options, cuts out all of the damage, appointments, declarations, etc. of PF since 2013. Nice and clean in one way, but what a nightmare! It can ONLY get WORSE.

    I pray that the Lord lets this scourging pass.



    1. John, thanks for your comments – as always! Obviously, we are moving toward unknown territory…so one might speculate possibilities – and that is fair. However, that said, regarding the two possibilities you raise, I would say this about them:

      John’s possibility #1: I discount this possibility, because the premise of the imperfect council is that Francis was pope. The council could *conceivably* elect BXVI as pope – for a second time. But, I do not believe it realistic it would declare his papacy uninterrupted.

      John’s possibility #2: I do not discount this as a theoretical possibility – but that still would not make Benedict “still pope.” Another possibility is that after a new pope is elected – the new Pope, citing Cum Ex Apostolatus, could *conceivably* declare Francis was never validly elected because he was a heretic and schismatic prior to the conclave. The grounds could be determined by the new pope – but there is a prima facie case Cardinal Bergoglio (as archbishop of Buenos Aires) was in willful disobedience (i.e., in schism) of the Sovereign Pontiff JP II and Benedict XVI by allowing (as some report) communion for adulterers, which is contrary to explicit teachings of JP II, BXVI and the CDF under each, not to mention the Catechism and Canon Law. If this scenario were to be possible – assuming the validity of the premise, the new Pope could nullify every single action and appointment of Francis.

      And yes…you are right. It will only get worse.


      1. Steven, thank you for this article. May the Holy Father clarify and stay true to the Magisterium. I fear with only two dubia cardinals left what may happen. Jesus, I trust in you.


      2. Stephanie, thanks for the comments. We live in troubling times…Let’s hope and pray for the Pope and the Dubia Cardinals – that through this process Francis will “confirm the brethren.”


  2. The fact is that never the Church had to undergo such a situation:
    -1/ The Pope being obliged to resign under duress
    -2/ The new Pope being elected in a conclave rigged by the same mafia that exerts the duress
    -3/ The duress, whichever it may be, still being exerted on the last Pope so that to prevent him reverting back from his resignation declaration.

    Let’s imagine a Pope obliged to resign with a gun on his neck and the gun being permanently aimed at his neck since then. I acknowledge that he is impeached to wield his power like was Pius VII when he was Napoleon’s prisoner. The Seat is vacant, like was the Seat under Pius VII at the hands of Napoleon.
    Then what if Napoleon had succeeded in obliging Pius VII to resign and calling a conclave to elect a new Pope ?


    1. Jacques, thanks for the comments. With regard to Benedict’s resignation, the question of duress is speculative. Had he abdicated *against* his will – then there would be something to talk about. I just do not see the evidence for it. There is no hard evidence. That said, I do think there was some manipulation, but manipulation is *not* coercion. Thus, based on available evidence – which needless to say is what we must act on – Benedict resigned freely. I present some of my views on the question of Benedict’s resignation here (https://romalocutaest.com/2017/07/23/thoughts-on-free-will-and-hypothetical-papal-plots/ ).


      1. Steven, thanks for your reply.
        We had a small taste about one of the guns on Benedict’s neck when the Emeritus Pope clumsily dared to speak of the “Church on the verge to capsize” in a written eulogy for the funerals of the late cardinal Meisner.
        The day after, we were told that Benedict’s brother Fr George Ratzinger could be involved in a paedophile scandal in Germany.
        It his highly probable that Francis could get rid of Cardinal Pell in the same way since he was obliged to come back in Australia in order to prepare himself for an indictment under similar charges.
        Not to speak about the unexpected and shameful on-the-spot resignation of the SMOM’s Grand Master Matthew Festing in the Pope’s office.
        In my opinion we have only a weak idea about the many nests of vipers that are acting in the shadows inside the Vatican. There were several accounts about the atmosphere of fear that has installed here under this very merciful Pope.
        The late Mgr Marcel Lefebvre said once bout the Vatican: “The few things we know are already hair raising, what if we knew all that is ongoing there !”


      2. Jacques, thanks for the comments. As I indicated in my last comment, and the linked-to article in my response, I do not believe there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate Benedict XVI resigned *against* his will. Even if the threat of the arrest or further investigation of Benedict’s brother dangled out there for him to see, I do not think that would make the case Benedict did not have sufficient free will. Anyone can see – regardless of Georg Ratzinger’s involvement – the media “optics” of the investigation is an embarrassment to the Church. However, there is no indication this incident determined Benedict’s decision, and indeed, there were signs he had long intended to step down at some point.

        All the above said, I do agree with you there is a nest of vipers crawling around the Vatican. The treatment of Pell is suspicious, no doubt; and the handling of the Knights of Malta stinks – and raises various questions.


    2. You may have also read about these financial pressures by the UN’s World Bank;
      – International monetary transactions with the Vatican were suspended during the last few days prior to the resignation of Pope Benedict.
      – Why were international monetary transactions resumed on February 12, 2013, the day after Benedict XVI announced his resignation? Was this pure coincidence?

      Read the rest here; https://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/foreign-policy/item/25256-catholics-ask-trump-to-probe-soros-obama-clinton-conspiracy-at-vatican

      If you search around on the internet, you can find in-depth information on these incidents from multiple sources.


      1. John, thanks for the comments. Yes, I have seen these reports. They still do not *demonstrate* anything. The money transaction timing in curious – but one needs more info to show it means something. For example, I think it curious Benedict resigned a day or so after celebrating the 900th anniversary with the Knights of Malta and meeting with knights in audiences. Given all that went on with them in the last year…I find it curious. But is there some meaning to it? I don’t see the evidence for Benedict being forced to resign.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Mr. O’Reilly, I hope you don’t mind if I differ with you concerning John’s first “possibility”. It is your own presumption that Francis is Pope and not that of the “Imperfect Council” as John makes quite clear in his proposed “possibility”: “The imperfect Council declares that B16 was still Pope and hasn’t stopped being Pope.” Please be cautioned, for as Bishop Sheen stated many times, that in opposing the argument of another, you begin with his premises, not your own, as if to make the opponent say what he does not say. Besides, is not reasonable that an Imperfect Council be called when there is legitimate doubts as to whether Benedict really resigned or not? Many competent minds have questioned and are questioning Benedict’s renunciation. But no one on his own is able authoritatively to decide absolutely. The task of seeking the reality of the situation devolves upon those in authority who must confer, study, and decide the question–an Imperfect Council when there is no Pope. In short, it seems that your argumentation always proceeds from the premise that Benedict is absolutely not the Pope–it just can’t be any other way. But this way of arguing will not solve the question about Benedict’s resignation, a question which is quite legitimate. God bless and Our Lady protect you always.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Father, thanks for the comments – and the prayers! Certainly you may differ from me! That is fine. Now, to your statement about my premise seeming to “always proceed from the premise Benedict is absolutely not the Pope.” I would beg to differ with your perception. Instead, my argument proceeds from what, presumptively at least, the evidence *appears* to suggest on first inspection, which is (1) Benedict said he was resigning, (2) he called for a conclave to elect a successor, (3) a conclave was called, (4) the conclave elected Francis and (5) no sufficient evidence has been provided to invalidate that election on canonical grounds. Therefore, it must be conceded that the strong, initial presumption must be – Francis is Pope. Now, granted, hypothetically speaking, sufficient evidence to the contrary might overthrow that initial presumption and lead us to a very different conclusion. Provided, the evidence is sufficient. However, my take on the evidence presented for the Benedict is Pope (BiP) thesis is that both BiP theories (i.e., resignation under duress or “substantial error”) fail to deliver the goods (I will provide the links to my articles below).

      Now, you raised the question of my starting premise – and that is fair. Having responded to your perception, I will now in turn state mine. It seems to me the BiP thesis is something of an argumentum ad consequentiam, e.g., If Benedict really resigned, Francis is Pope! Crudely put, I admit – but it seems the ‘unthinkableness’ of the conclusion (Francis is pope) leads some to reject the truth of the premise – i.e., the validity of Benedict’s resignation. In other words, would you and I *really* be debating whether Benedict really resigned if Cardinal Sarah, or Cardinal Burke or someone else of your (and my) liking had been elected Pope other than Francis?

      Now, to your point about an imperfect council and John’s first possibility, I think it was clear that that discussion was in context of Francis being declared a formal heretic (or at least that is how I understood it). The obvious purpose of such a council, if necessary, would be to declare the Chair of Peter vacant. Clearly this act – the purpose of the convocation of such a council – obviously presumes Francis *was* pope. I do not think that presumption or mine, invalid.

      As to Benedict, if bishops *really* thought he was a pope, even a small group of them, they could hold a council now, i.e., they don’t need to wait for a formal correction or any process related to Francis. If Benedict is your pope, call your council now. But, this effort would be complicated by the fact Benedict still maintains he resigned. So, I can’t imagine a scenario where bishops would gather to *tell* Benedict he is still pope when he continues to deny he is. It would be embarrassing to say the least. So, I just don’t see the dynamics of John’s first possibility or yours as realistic.

      (https://romalocutaest.com/2017/09/04/benedict-is-not-pope/, https://romalocutaest.com/2017/09/14/benedict-is-still-not-pope/ , https://romalocutaest.com/2017/09/25/a-filial-correction-of-those-who-believe-benedict-is-still-pope/ )


  4. This is just a question which any curious mind cannot avoid; it is so blatant: Why is Benedict wearing the white Papal soutane; why has he chosen to live within the Vatican when, for example, upon his resignation Pope Celestine went back to his monastery; why does he demand to be called His Holiness POPE Emeritus Benedict XVI; and why does he have as his secretary the Prefect of the Papal Household, Archbishop Ganswein? Perhaps this Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for over 25 years and then Pope for 8 years, an author of dozens of theological works is somehow crazy and thus to be ignored? To be honest, I think we are seeing in real life the story of The Emperor with no Clothes being lived out before our very eyes.


    1. Father, thanks for the comments. We certainly may wonder why; but I see no reason at all to think the answers to any of these questions – whether taken individually or together – would nullify his resignation. That seems a bit of a stretch to me. God bless.


  5. Hello Mr. O’Reilly, It’s nice that you don’t mind a little “word fencing”; it helps us to “grow” in many ways. So, I will begin by saying that any advance in knowledge through “argumentation” is only by advancing from what is known, what the reality truly is, what is empirical and what is true and certain to that which is less known and certain. This is the way I have proceeded in showing through my thesis how Benedict is still Pope; I think in reading it you will see what I mean. Hence, one must take into account circumstances, facts, original documents (which is why I used ONLY the Official Latin version of Benedict’s renunciation (he didn’t use Latin without a good reason!), in short whatever realities are related to that most momentous act.

    Therefore, when you ask the question: “would you and I *really* be debating whether Benedict really resigned if Cardinal Sarah, or Cardinal Burke or someone else of your (and my) liking had been elected Pope other than Francis?” it adds to or detracts from the question whether Benedict is Pope or not. The real question that ought to be asked is: WHY did Benedict do what he did; what were his motives? This question takes into account the circumstances and other facts that actually involved accompanied his renunciation. The question you ask does is purely hypothetical, an abstraction from reality and neither proves anything nor predicts anything. Not only that it tends to send a negative attitude toward the question at hand (whether Benedict resigned for the Papacy or not) to the unwitting or uncritical reader. A totally useless “possibility” is posited which is not connected with any reality becomes in the mind of the reader a false objection.to the real question. This is precisely what I was referring to in my comment on your reply to John’s “possibility” #1. To be honest, I think such is unfair to the average reader.

    I should add here that I agree wholeheartedly with you that “resignation under duress or “substantial error” cannot be used in arguing that Benedict is Pope; there just isn’t enough empirical evidence even to begin an worthwhile argument. Nevertheless, I cannot fault those who have a certain Sensus Fidei, but are not really equipped for such argumentation, for trying to find some reason for Benedict being Pope. Ann Barnhardt and her admirers, of which I am not one, have gotten a lot of press for their misleading efforts. Furthermore, my thesis in no way involves Francis, heretic or not doesn’t matter, in showing how Benedict is still Pope, except that, given the knowledge that Benedict had of the 3rd Secret of Fatima and the information he had gathered as the CDF Prefect as well as during his active Papacy, certainly cannot be ignored, a knowledge which he had of the homosexual Lobby and the St. Gallen Mafia, again definitely substantiated.

    As for the “scenario where bishops would gather to *tell* Benedict he is still pope when he continues to deny he is” being an “embarrassment, I cannot but deny that does not consider he is Pope–this is your own imagination not based on facts, especially those I gave in the question(s) I asked above. These circumstances CANNOT be ignored!. But beyond that Benedict at not time has denied he is Pope; what he HAS said is that his “resignation is valid. But that resignation involves his excusing himself from or renouncing the exercise of the Office, i.e., the ministry of the Office, a ministry which while he was active he was prevented from carrying out anyhow–he was both being forced to do what he knew was wrong and prevented from doing what he knew was right!. The exercise of the Office and the Office are not the same as I have shown by a philosophical analysis of the Petrine Office in my thesis, which analysis I have asked a Thomistic philosopher (PhD) to read and show me where it’s wrong. To this day he has not done so.

    In concluding I suggest you look at my Grammatical analysis of the Latin text, and you will see that nowhere does Benedict abdicate the Office nor does he say that the See is empty or that a Conclave must be called to elect a new Pope. Benedict ingeniously uses the Latin Potential Subjunctive Mood instead of the Indicative Mood (the mood of fact) to leave it up to the poor Cardinals, most of whom don’t know their Latin very well, to decide what to do; and probably none of the Cardinals read the Latin version–they most likely read the renunciation in the native language or one with which they were familiar with, which translation were all MISTRANSLATED! It should be added that it would be a calumny to say the Benedict was attempting to form a Diarchy, something which could never be proved, and something that as the Doctrinal Umpire of Holy Mother Church would certainly know could not be done.

    I hope this helps at least in clarifying my own position regarding Benedict, while I ask you to read my thesis carefully and with humility. May God bless and Our Lady protect you always.


    1. Father, thanks for the comments. Forgive me if I do not get all your points – but I suspect we’re about to go round in circles on this.

      First, I am still making my way through the materials you sent, but I have not yet seen anything in them that changes my opinion.

      Second, my question “would you and I *really* be debating whether Benedict resigned” is some other Pope to our liking was elected, and not Francis was not rhetorical. I hoped for a “yes” or “no”. My Dubia to you, if you will. Granted, it does not prove either of us right or wrong, but I do believe it serves to illustrate what I think to be the general motivation for those who explore the Benedict is Pope (BiP) theory. That goes to my point of the BiP case being something of an argumentum ad consequentiam.

      Third, we differ on the “real question.” I just don’t see any real evidence to suggest that Benedict either messed up his resignation on purpose. On its face the argument is difficult to swallow, even as a hypothetical. If we consider it arguendo, there is no real adequate motive or strategy that emerges as to *what* the heck Benedict thought he might gain. And I have heard the theory before. If this was somehow some sort of elaborate, Rube Goldberg plan of his, perhaps to set a trap – it is something he should have sprung by now. It is implausible on its face in my estimation. There are other, far simpler ways to have protected the Church – and not leave a billion plus Catholics in the position they have been for the last 4 years.

      Fourth, related to my third point, you speak of info Benedict gathered as CDF, etc. While we may have a broad brush, remote sense of what he knew – you are speculating as to the specifics, and what he subsequently concluded from the particulars. There are too many points of speculation in your theory, in my view at least. I don’t think he had a real sense there was a plan by St. Gallen to gain the papacy, e.g., he was seemingly hoodwinked by Cardinal Martini who tried to get him to retire.

      Fifth, regarding your argument from the Latin, I do not find it convincing. Granted I know little Latin – and when I say “little” I mean “none.” That said, your parsing and references to clauses, etc., etc., leave the impression in my mind that you have lost sight of the forest for the trees. Benedict conveyed he was resigning and the see would be vacant, there would be conclave. He did the same in Italian at his final audience, where again he speak of giving up the chair of Peter, e.g., : “.Non porto più la potestà dell’officio per il governo della Chiesa…”. He goes to speak of praying for the cardinals and the new pontiff, ” Vi chiedo di ricordarmi davanti a Dio, e soprattutto di pregare per i Cardinali, chiamati ad un compito così rilevante, e per il nuovo Successore dell’Apostolo Pietro…”. To suggest he was *not* resigning in one document, but saying he was in audience is to make a liar out of him.

      Finally, given your thesis is Benedict intentionally messed up his resignation and is thus still pope – how do you prove it? If I say, he continues to deny it, you might say, “but of course he would, that is part of his plan.” You make it impossible to falsify your theory, something like those who argue the government is hiding UFOs, “of course they deny it.” But, if Francis passes away first, or if he is deposed and there is an imperfect council – will you concede you have been wrong all along if Benedict (if he still is alive by that point) makes no attempt to reclaim the papal throne?

      Again, thanks for your prayers. You will be in mine as well. Regards, and God bless.


  6. Dear Mr. O’Reilly, First of all I am curious about something totally unconnected with the subject matter here. But are you related, that you are aware of, to the O’Reillys that operate the auto parts chain? They’re very prominent here in the Midwest.

    You’re quite desperate, Mr. O’Reilly, for you do precisely what I suggested you don’t do, i.e., starting with something unknown and concluding with something known. Mr. O’Reilly, it doesn’t work, and I would suggest further that you watch your step. For your information I studies Latin under Fr. Foster who was a translator for the Secretary of State in the Vatican and also taught at the Gregorian University, back in the 80’s and 90’s. He was known as one of the world’s most prominent Latinists; and I have no doubt about it. The also taught us how the Vatican Diplomats use the Latin Language, and especially through the use of the Subjunctive Mood. Now I will be quite frank that you do manifest not just pride but arrogance in admitting that your Latin is quite limited and then denigrate my analysis of the Latin text. You have neither disproved my analysis nor proved anything by such a ploy.

    Furthermore, you put words into my “pen” as you did with John. My whole emphasis in bringing up the use of Latin by Benedict was to indicate that he was saying precisely what he intended, namely, to renounce the ministry and not the Office, and I went so far as to call it an ingenious document. This Latin document is in no way “messed up” as you wish it to be with your lack of the knowledge of Latin, and in no way can what I said be construed as indicating that Benedict “messed up”. Mr. O’Reilly, in the back of your mind it is written in stone that “Benedict is not the Pope” and it can’t be otherwise–perhaps you have too much credibility to lose, I don’t know. But you are certainly bordering on yellow journalism.

    As far as Benedict’s comments go, when he says “Non porto più la potestà dell’officio per il governo della Chiesa”, “I no longer carry out the power of the Office for the governance of the Church. My collegiate Italian dictionary gives as one of the primary meanings of “porto” “to carry out”. And what is Benedict no longer carrying out? The POWER of the OFFICE for governing the Church. Notice, he did not say he is not carrying the Office any more, but rather he is no longer doing what he is empowered to do in respect to governing the Church although he has the power to do it.

    With regard to praying for the Cardinals and their considerable task, the election of a “Successor of the Apostle Peter” I can offer, IN LIGHT OF WHAT HAS GONE BEFORE, especially what he said in his Renunciation, one explanation. That, as I am sure you yourself do in certain circumstances, Benedict could be using ambiguous language so as not to endanger his mission, namely to speak that which is thought by others, and not what he himself believes. He is certainly sincere in asking for prayers, but he only states what is commonly believed. This is certainly possible and please don’t tell me that you do not speak ambiguously at times.

    Must close for now because the coffee shop wherein I am commenting is closing. God bless and Our Lady protect you always.


    1. Fr. Belland, thanks for the comments. No, I know of no relationship between my family and the O’Reillys of O’Reilly Autoparts. I wish we were closely related, then I might have avoided the parts portion of my bill at the automechanic’s garage this morning.

      One, Father, I did not “denigrate” your Latin skills.

      Two, I did not say the Latin was “messed up” – what I said was: “I just don’t see any real evidence to suggest that Benedict either messed up his resignation on purpose…” – i.e., that he intentionally wrote his resignation to do something less than fully and absolutely step down as Pope and vacating the chair of Peter, leaving the way for a conclave to elect a successor.

      Third, at the audience, he said he “no longer carries” (from the Italian, of which I know something – in comparison to the Latin) or “no longer bears” the power of office. One doesn’t “carry” it any longer because one doesn’t *have* it. Even using “carries out” does not help you. Further, the same sentence contrasts later on how he continues to pray and he remains in the enclosure of Peter, but only “so to speak” (per cosi dire). The contrast therefore of the sentence, “Is I no longer carry the power of the office (and in this sense am no longer within the enclosure of Peter), but I will remain in the service of prayer (and in this sense, “so to speak”, I remain in the enclosure, i.e., but not in fact). I comment on this in more detail in my “Benedict is NOT Pope” article, where I address what Benedict means by remaining in the service of prayer even in this limited “so to speak” sense.

      Four, Benedict goes on to speak of the “new successor” etc., which there can only be if, as Benedict said in the Declaratio, that the chair of Peter would be Vacant – on the given date.

      In sum, as I have outlined throughout my articles, it is simply untenable to say Benedict is Pope. Respectfully, Father, you haven’t dissuaded me from my suspicion that we would not be having this discussion if the 2013 conclave had elected another Pius V or Piux X – perhaps more to your liking and mine – instead of a Pope Francis; and that, therefore, the argument for “Benedict is still Pope” is at its heart and in its conception an argumentum ad consequentiam.

      At this point, I think we are about to go around in circles. Thus, I thank you for your comments and prayers. Regards, and God bless.


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