What to do with a heretical pope…Nothing?

March 20, 2019 (Steven O’Reilly) – Rorate Caeli (here) published an op-ed by Bishop Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan. The bottom line of the bishop’s commentary (see Guest Op-Ed – Bishop Schneider: On the question of a heretical pope) is that there is no way to depose a heretical pope.

That Bishop Schneider wrote this commentary only a couple of weeks after his – along with the other bishops of Kazakhstan – ad limina meeting with Pope Francis (see here). This makes his article even more interesting. Bishop Schneider stated he and the other bishops had raised various doctrinal problems with Pope Francis, ones which have Francis as a common thread. Among these were communion for the divorced and civilly remarried, and communion for protestants in mixed marriages. Also discussed was the Pope’s signing of a questionable statement (NB: heretical in its obvious sense) on the diversity of religions, i.e., that God had will the diversity of religions.

That Bishop Schneider would write such an opinion piece regarding what does one do with a heretical pope, certainly informs us there is no cause for near-term hope that Francis, of his own volition, will fix things. Readers should read the article on Rorate Caeli. I won’t quote much, but Bishop Schneider’s concluding paragraph well summarizes his central point.

“The act of deposition of a pope because of heresy or the declaration of the vacancy of the Papal chair because of the loss of the papacy ipso facto on behalf of a heretical pope would be a revolutionary novelty in the life of the Church, and this regarding a highly important issue of the constitution and the life of the Church. One has to follow in such a delicate matter – even if it is of practical and not strictly of doctrinal nature – the surer way (via tutior) of the perennial sense of the Church. Notwithstanding the fact that three successive Ecumenical Councils (the Third Council of Constantinople in 681, the Second Council of Nicaea in 787, and the Fourth Council of Constantinople in 870) and pope Saint Leo II in 682 excommunicated Pope Honorius I because of heresy, they did not even implicitly declare that Honorius I had lost the papacy ipso facto because of heresy. In fact, the pontificate of Pope Honorius I was considered valid even after he had supported heresy in his letters to Patriarch Sergius in 634, since he reigned after that another four years until 638.” 

Bishop Schneider’s opinion is that one cannot depose a heretical pope, nor does a heretical pope lose his office ipso facto. However, the Bishop’s view is different from the one previously expressed by Cardinal Burke. For example, in an interview with Catholic World Report (12/19/2016), in response to the interview question (“CWR”), Cardinal Burke replied as given below:

CWR: Some people are saying that the pope could separate himself from communion with the Church. Can the pope legitimately be declared in schism or heresy?

Cardinal Burke: If a Pope would formally profess heresy he would cease, by that act, to be the Pope. It’s automatic. And so, that could happen.

Whether Bishop Schneider’s view is now the consensus of the few bishops and cardinals who comprise the loyal ‘resistance’ to the Pope, I cannot say. If Cardinal Burke’s position remains unchanged from the 2016 CWR interview above, then Bishop Schneider’s op-ed reveals not just a tactical, but a fundamental disagreement among the few good bishops we have left. Not only would there be a fundamental disagreement over whether a heretical pope can be deposed, but — based on other comments made by Bishop Schneider — disagreement also extends to the practical question of whether there even ought to be a correction.

This is unfortunate, which is not to say we might expect a formal correction ever from Cardinal Burke, et al. We have waited several years now already! But, while the Dubia Cardinals have done nothing visibly to correct Francis, they seem to at least flirt with the idea…and seem to tease a correction might eventually come. Not so Bishop Schneider. He seems opposed to one, for practical reasons. For example, last July, the Bishop argued (emphasis added):

“I think that – humanly speaking – a formal correction will not change the position of the Pope. What is the meaning of a formal correction? One also has to be realistic and prudent, and ask what is the best manner to serve the Church, to help the faithful? When we can foresee that the correction will not have an effect on the Pope, then, I think, it would be meaningless to make a formal correction. On the other side, we have to do all what we can, the cardinals and bishops, to strengthen the faithful. Therefore, we published several declarations in order to strengthen the faithful. I see no other possibilities for the moment.Of course, the basic requirement is to pray, to pray very intensively for the Pope that God may illuminate him. Then of course, we can hold conferences to stress this theme according to the constant Catholic sense. Maybe we could also make and spread a kind of oath against the most dangerous errors of our time. This could be made maybe by a group of theologians, and then spread. Then individual bishops can with their faithful or parish priests in the parishes publicly profess these Catholic truths. This would be, in my opinion, a concrete and efficacious means of help to address the current doctrinal confusion. The ultimate change comes only when God intervenes, when he illuminates the Pope or when He will give us a future holy and courageous Pope. (“CATHOLIC CHURCH: WHERE ARE YOU HEADING?” Theologian Dániel Fülep’s interview with Bishop Athanasius Schneider Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana Astana, Kazakhstan, July 2018, p. 40-41 [interview link here])

As we see above, Bishop Schneider said a correction of Francis is “meaningless,” at least if one “foresees…it will not have an effect on the Pope.” There is no apparent change in this position in Schneider’s recent op-ed. Instead, perhaps informed by his own recent conversation and experience with Pope Francis, the Bishop appears to have concluded his prudential judgment was reinforced, i.e., it would be meaningless to correct Pope Francis because “it will not have an effect” on him.

While silent on correcting Francis in his more recent op-ed piece, Schneider restricts any positive comments about the possibility of a formal correction for the case of a future heretical pope, i.e, obviously post-Francis. Bishop Schneider suggests:

“A pope who is spreading obvious theological errors or heresies or helping in the spread of heresies by his actions and omissions should be obligatorily corrected in a fraternal and private form by the Dean of the College of Cardinals.”

I have the greatest respect for Bishop Schneider. He is, undoubtedly, one those few, good bishops of our time — and of which his article speaks: “When by an inscrutable permission of God, at a certain moment of History and in a very rare instance, a pope spreads errors and heresies through his daily or ordinary non-infallible Magisterium, Divine Providence awakens at the same time the witness of some members of the episcopal college,
and also of the faithful, in order to compensate the temporal failures of the Papal Magisterium
.” 

The above said, I do, respectfully disagree with Bishop Schneider, at least in part. Regarding his view that a heretical pope cannot be deposed, my opinion is Bishop Schneider has the stronger, more probable argument (NB: my personal opinion remains a pope cannot fall into formal heresy. The fault of Honorius was that he was a favorer of heresy, something I have written about here and here, on this blog in various articles). However, I do disagree with Bishop Schneider’s apparent opinion there is no point in correcting Francis now, and that a formal correction is only to be pursued in the future if we are confronted with a heretical pope.

Taking the latter point first, a canonical obligation may require what it will, but it cannot force the Dean of the College of Cardinals to actually correct a heretical or erroneous pope. Part of our problem today is that there are so many bishops and cardinals who have either accepted error and heresy or who, if they haven’t, are afraid to speak at all. Bishops as successors of the Apostles are obliged to defend the faith, yet they have for the greater part failed in this calling. Further, there is no guarantee the future Dean of the College will not himself be infected by the same errors as the future heretical pope, and thus fail to see or admit there is any error at all. A process solution is neither the answer nor a substitute for a few courageous bishops willing to speak out. Bishop Schneider recognizes this, as he provides in his suggestion for binding norms that would allow any cardinal or bishop to offer a correction if the Dean of the College fail to so; and that even the laity may do so — should cardinals and bishops fail in this task. However, this only brings us back to our present dilemma — what do we do now?

Bishop Schneider may very be correct in his judgment that Pope Francis will be unmoved by a formal correction, but even if that may be the case, in charity, someone in error or heresy must be corrected. A correction also serves as a reminder to the faithful, so that they will be properly instructed at a time when a pope is either in error or silent.

Bishop Schneider has many great suggestions in his article, though I do not see why they must be restricted for future exigencies….we have one of our own…now. For example, Bishop Schneider suggests in the case of a future heretical pope the following:

At the same time the Dean of the College of Cardinals should publish a formula of a Profession of Faith, in which there would be rejected the theological errors that the pope teaches or tolerates (without necessarily naming the pope).

This is a fabulous idea, but as I indicated earlier, I do not see why it must be saved for future exigencies. The threat to the Church and to souls is quite real and in quite present at this moment. If Bishop Schneider and Cardinal Burke, et al, cannot get the current Dean of the College of Cardinals to issue such a formula or Profession of Faith with regard to Pope Francis, then I suggest they draft their own and circulate it worldwide for bishops to sign and profess within their own dioceses. In our own present difficulty, if for no other reason, such a document — signed by Catholic bishops from around the world — would be something beneficial for the next conclave to have before it as it gathers to elect the next pope.

In sum, the answer to the question “what do we do with a heretical pope” cannot be “nothing”nor can we afford to punt that question or its answer to a future generation when we are dealing with error in our own time. Charity demands there be a public correction, both for the benefit of the pope and the faithful. While we may not be able to depose a heretical pope, the few good bishops and cardinals who have publicly taken a stand can draft a formula or profession of Faith — of the sort suggested by Bishop Schneider; but let’s do it now. This formula or profession should be circulated to all Catholic bishops around the world. Those willing to sign it should also be asked to profess it publicly in their own dioceses. This is something a few good bishops, ‘awakened by Divine Providence for this time,’ can do now. Such a document would be something the next conclave should have before it, as it would frame the debate and their deliberations over who the next pope should be.

Bishop Schneider is certainly correct we should pray for Pope Francis. Let us pray for Pope Francis that he remembers the Lord’s words to Peter: “Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou being once converted, confirm thy brethren” (Luke 22:31-32).

Steven O’Reilly is a graduate of the University of Dallas and the Georgia Institute of Technology. He and his wife, Margaret, live near Atlanta with their family. He has written apologetic articles and is working on a historical-adventure trilogy, set during the time of the Arian crisis. He asks for your prayers for his intentions.  He can be contacted at StevenOReilly@AOL.com (or follow on Twitter: @S_OReilly_USA).


33 thoughts on “What to do with a heretical pope…Nothing?

  1. Reading his statement, he has absolutely “corrected” Pope Francis, among other popes for that matter. In short words, he cited the primary issues with Francis and even called for a papal self correction as well. Not one other prelate has gone this far.

    There is simply no mechanism within the Church to remove a pope or force a pope to remove himself. Bp Schneider has made that abundantly clear which is further confirmed by the inaction the entire prelature. Indeed, not even a small number have indicated any conceptual ability to do so and certainly there are some who would like to see it happen.

    This statement by Schneider is worthy of multiple reads. There is a lot there…

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    1. Rod, I agree. Bishop Schneider has been stellar, and his letter is excellent. As I noted in the article, I believe, I do agree there is no mechanism to remove a pope. In fact, my personal opinion is that a pope cannot fall into formal heresy — though that opinion is being tested!

      While I agree also with the Bishop that perhaps some “binding norms” in the future for such cases of a heretical pope would be helpful, my disagreement is that “we” do not have to wait — these things can be done now.

      Granted, bishop Schneider (who is to be greatly commended) and others have
      essentially confronted the pope in private, and or have given interviews or written manifestos (i.e., Mueller) which in some way indirectly ‘correct’ the pope.

      However, I do not see why his excellent idea of going to the Dean of the Sacred College — in the event of a future heretical pope — to have him issue a formula or profession of faith (even if it does not name the pope) cannot be done now. If the current Dean (Sodano I believe) refuses, Schneider, Burke, etc., could pen their own and circulate it. That much can be done “today”. That is the real area of my (respectful) disagreement with Bishop Schneider.

      Thanks for reading the article.

      Steve

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agreed. And possibly they have already met with the Dean or otherwise have a plan to proceed similar to the outline Schneider gave.

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      2. Rod, I hope so, but the way I read his commentary….I get the sense (fair or not) he believes all has been done that can be done for *this* pope….with the exception of more prayer. I hope I am wrong. We will see.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Good article. This may well be a God-given opportunity for all faithful cardinals and bishops to issue professions of Faith within their jurisdiction. We laity/parents must do the same within our sphere of influence. Taking the long view of history by no means precludes taking Catholic action now. (a mother of three UD grads)

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  2. With “so many bishops and cardinals who have accepted error and heresy”, why does anyone think it is possible for THEM to “elect” a “future holy and courageous Pope”. I know with God all things are possible, but He doesn’t get a vote in the conclave. He’s supposed to guide the electors thru prayer, but I think most of the PF Cardinals don’t believe in prayer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. John, I think Benedict XVI himself once said that God does not choose the pope, or words to that effect (don’t quote me!). So, since the “permissive will” of God has been in the news a lot lately; I suppose that is what Benedict meant. Thus, cardinal electors may (and have) chosen bad popes in the past — and currently the odds, humanly speaking, do not look good for the future. However, as you well know, God is ultimately in control of history. God operates on different time scale than us. It took about 40 years before Honorius’ failures were condemned by the 6th Ecumenical Council. Who knows…it may be that long before a good pope comes along and corrects Francis. I hope not…but….it is not for me to know.

      Thanks for reading the article…and thanks for your comments.

      Regards,

      Steve

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The good Bishop goes to great lengths to support his position from Church history and tradition, yet forgets St. Paul correcting St. Peter [Gal 2:11-14].

    If everything else fails, we have to stick to the Sacred Deposit of the Faith = Holy Tradition and Sacred Scripture. And to me, Paul rebuking Peter at Antioch makes the duty of correcting a Pope incumbent upon his brother Bishops [not on the Cardinals, which is not in the aforementioned Sacred Deposit of the Faith]. Even one is sufficient like St. Athanasius.

    Btw a pope can fall in all the ways a man can fall cf. [Lk 12:35-48] except teach fallibly ex-cathedra.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The profitable and incisive teaching from the good Bishop ‘s article, which he draws from Scripture, is the Church’s never ceasing prayer for Peter especially when he is in chains, be they physical or spiritual.

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  4. More consternation caused by maintaining the untenable false position that Pope Benedict XVI’s renouncement of the Petrine Ministry–ministerium–relieved him of the Papal Office–the munus. The examination of the juridical validity that Msgr Bux called for in October 2018 has yet to be conducted. Bp. Schneider has a website wherein the laity can beseech him to spearhead this examination. He can be contacted here: https://www.gloriadei.io/contact-us/

    What is that quote from St. Catherine of Sienna about silence? Speak up, sheep. The clergy do not have the liberty that the sheep have because they have taken a vow of obedience to their bishops, but lay people have not. Speak up, sheep. Abp. Fulton Sheen told us that the laity would save the Church.

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    1. Thanks for the comment. Unfortunately, I cannot agree with you regarding Benedict XVI. I am afraid it is the “Benedict is still pope” position which is untenable. I wish it were otherwise…but wishing won’t make it so.

      BXVI had signaled his intention to resign, at least a year or more beforehand. In his resignation he indicated he was resigning the Petrine ministry in “such a way” that the See of Peter would be vacant. The only “such a way” is if his intention was to step down. One cannot have two occupants of the chair of Peter at the same time. BXVIL,thereby stating it this way, made it *sufficiently* clear he was resigning. Nothing can be clearer.

      Adding to the difficulty of the position you advocate is that BXVI himself calls it “absurd.” So, if you are correct and he is still pope, he is in schism for rejecting himself as pope.

      In sum, the argument that “Benedict is still pope” is untenable. I probably have a half dozenish articles arguing against BXVI still being pope. It is not with delight I say it…but one must face the fact BXVI is no longer pope…period.

      Again, thanks for the comment. Regards, Steve

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      1. Mr. O’Reilly, I appreciate your compassion as well as your articles regarding not-BiP all of which I have read. My questions still stand: What exactly, according to his own words, did Pope Benedict renounce in his Feb 11, 2013 declaration? Who are the qualified ones that Msgr Bux thinks should make the examination of the juridical validity of these exact words? Not me, not you, not Mr. Skojec, not Miss Barnhardt, not Brother Bugnolo. So who? Bp Schneider? Bishop Emeritus Gracida? Cdl Burke? Who?

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      2. I do not think it is a question of qualified experts having to either approve a papal election or accept the wording of a renunciation of the chair of Peter. It seems to me only whether it is sufficiently clear to the entire Church what Benedict intended to do in his statement. On that question I have already stated my opinion.

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      3. “In such a way” in his own mind is not necessarily equivalent to a clear resignation of the office as per canon law.

        Further there’s ample evidence of a cabal to force him from office coincident with the group that illegally put George from Buenos Aires into St. Peter’s Seat. Also curiously coincident with what Archbishop Viganò identifies what also clearly may be described as Bergoglio’s Party: the clerics Homosexual Network Strangling the Church.

        Heresies aside—which naturally are to be expected from a cleric of Bergoglio’s ilk—there is ample, a mountain of evidence in fact, of the illegitimacy of this ‘papacy.’

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      4. Beowulf, thanks for the comment. We must agree to disagree on the resignation. I think it is pretty clear. He says the seat of Peter will be vacant, he says a conclave will need to be called to pick a new successor. I can’t see what more can reasonably be demanded of a resignation.

        As to a cabal to oust Benedict. There may very well might have been one. Clearly, there was a group of cardinals and bishops who didn’t want him, and who wanted Bergoglio. But…the question is was their “force” used so as to coerce a resignation. May have happened…but there is no evidence at the moment what may have happened did in fact happen. We must deal with known facts, not with hypothetical “may haves”. I discuss the possibility of a plot, here; https://romalocutaest.com/2017/07/23/thoughts-on-free-will-and-hypothetical-papal-plots/comment-page-1/

        Thanks for your comments.

        Steve

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  5. But nothing to see hear. Move along, folks.

    Plus Benedict is wordsmith by professional training. He’s well aware of the definitions of munus and ministerium, office and ministry—these are loaded terms in the philosophical theological and canonical sense. Which Benedict himself has defined precisely over the course of his professional career. So when he resigns one and omits mention of the other, it strains credulity and in fact is unreasonable to suppose he did so by accident.

    What’s your perspective, then, Mr. Reilly, on the question: what does it mean if Benedict intentionally meant to spilt the office?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My perspective? I see no evidence at all that Benedict attempted to split the office or even had it in his head that it was even possible (which it is not).

      There is no required formula for resignation, only that it sufficiently manifest the intent of a a resigning pope. Believe me, I am not fan of Francis, and it would be great to say he isn’t pope….but…I am constrained by the evidence. It is abundantly clear Benedict resigned, and freely so. If had not resigned freely, he could have let us know that by now…indeed…it would be, I think, sinful for him not to — thereby letting us follow a false pope. Or…if he thought he could hold on to part of his office, why is there no place in his writings where he states this is even a possibility?

      The arguments just don’t add up, in my opinion.

      Thanks for your comments, Beowolf.

      Steve

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      1. only that it sufficiently manifest the intent of a a resigning pope

        but (as anyone can see by itself on the ORIGINAL LATIN) he quit NOT THE OFFICE, BUT JUST THE MINISTRY…

        and THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT

        he did not resign as “to be the pope” but to “DO the ministry things” (to ‘CARRY’ the thing)

        And, as anyone can see by itself he STILL dress like the POPE HE IS, and SIGN THE LETTERS AS THE POPE HE IS

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      2. The canons do not specify a specific formula of resignation, only that it be free and that the intent to resign is sufficiently manifest. I do not see any credible argument that explains what Benedict was doing in his resignation letter was anything other than manifesting his intent to resign. Benedict says the See of Peter will be vacant, and that a Conclave will need to be called to elect a successor. As I have said before, I wish I could say otherwise. But, when facts speak, we must listen.

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      3. @Steven
        yeah… his intention to resign… but to resign to WHAT ?
        he did resigned at the MINISTRY ?
        he resigned to the OFFICE ?

        Or for you IS THE SAME BOTH THINGS?
        If you think that the Ministry is the same thing as the office, then I know why you STILL DOES NOT “GRASP” the whole thing and this is the obstacle in your mind to REALLY KNOW what is going here…

        In the moment that you MAKE AN INVESTIGATION about if is the same “Ministry” and “Office”, then and till then you will GET IT. not before

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      4. Thanks for the feedback, DP. I have researched it. In brief, there is no formula for resignation, other than it be (1) freely made and (2) sufficiently manifested. Regarding point 1, there has been no real evidence that BXVI was forced against his will. He does not behave as one forced. Regarding point 2, Benedict made clear that the See of Peter would be empty as a certain date and time. That alone is sufficient to manifest his will. if you do not think BXVI intended to resign by his letter, If he was not intending to resign, what do you think he was intending?

        Regards,

        Steve

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    2. @brotherbeowulf:
      Yes, there is DOCUMENTAL EVIDENCE (in his writtings, from his “theolical epoch”) that in his mind, there could be a necessity to SPLIT the Office (in order to avoid an obstacle for the, you know, “the reunited church”)
      You can find the evidence in his books, to see for yourself, and you can find the information about wich books, pages, etc. in the Barnhard blog

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      1. Thanks for the feedback, DP. I believe I’ve followed most of Ms. Barnhardt’s writings on the subject. What specific citation does she or you provide which demonstrates Benedict/Ratzinger thought there could be a split in the office – or some other bizarre arrangement?

        What quotes (and cite them for me) from Benedict/Ratzinger demonstrate he believed in the possibility of bifurcating the papacy?

        But, for a moment, let’s assume, arguendo, that he once believed it. Certainly, he is too good a theologian – and a former prefect of CDF (!) – to not know this would have been at best a theological opinion, and one that was not a common one. Therefore, even if he held the possibility once as a theologian, on its face, it is improbable he would have created a new sort of resignation and papacy WITHOUT first expressly, and clearly, teaching this was in fact doable (nb: e.g, I believe it was Clementine who taught a papal resignation was valid BEFORE he did it). Certainly, Benedict would have done the same, even if what you say is the case. It should also be remembered he already, at least a couple times, denied he is still pope — and indeed called the idea he is still pope “absurd.”

        I recently posted (today) as a separate article a letter to show the thought process of one former “Benevacantist” (see Testimony of a Former Benevacantist”, May 3, 2019), because it shows what troubled him most, and how he came to a resolution on the question — this included the issue of munus vs. ministerium. Read his comments.

        All the above said, if you have specific quotes and citations from Ratzinger or Ratzinger as Benedict stating the views you suggested, please provide them to me, and I will happily review them and comment upon them.

        God bless,

        Steve

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      2. Dear Steven:
        2 things:

        a) I have the impression that you consider Ratzinger (either as pre-papal or post-papal) a “good one” in Theology. AND a “smart guy”.
        Those are two totally unrelated issues: a “smart guy” does not stand by the true as a “necessarily” or “unconditional” (Carl Sagan is a good proof of this). Ratzinger IS a “smart guy”, accepted. BUT you should remember that from his youth he is MODERNIST (just see his “friends”!). and as a MODERNIST he is not (by very definition!) ORTHODOX in his points of view. By definition he is HETERODOX in ALL his “mind-set” (that reflect, as necessity, in his “theology”)…
        Just remeber: he is the guy that GIVES US the “hermeneutic of continuity” and the “church that SUBSIT-IN” (and both of them are a big lies! more exactly those are “SOPHISMs”). Also he is one of the “masterminds” of the CV2 (with all the sophisms in it!)

        b) Ratzinger was clear about the date, the next “conclave”, the new election, etc. BUT he was clear ALSO in his wish to not to DO-THE-POPE-THINGS (“The Ministry”) AND was also clear in REMAIN TO-BE-THE-POPE (the same dressing, same title, same ring) (“hold the office”)

        So, as first things first:

        Does you THINK (yes, you) that is THE SAME “THE OFFICE” and “THE MINISTRY”?
        as an example: When Wojtyla was shot and was in bed (and maybe, unconscious or under the medical drugs)…
        Did he LOST the office?
        Did he has the ability to CARRY ON the Ministry?

        So, is not the SAME THING, and accepted that Ratzinger is A SMART GUY, he CHOOSE (on purpose!) to make it IN LATIN (He knows VERY WELL the German, the Italian and the latin)… so he choose latin ON PURPOSE (and he knows it! very well), so ALL HIS “RENUNCIATION” was a deliberate and purposefull STATMENT.
        Well, as we can READ on the ORIGINAL

        …huius actus plena libertate declaro me MINISTERIO Episcopi Romae, Successoris Sancti Petri, mihi per manus Cardinalium die 19 aprilis MMV commissum renuntiare

        So, he said “I quit”… but… “quit” to WHAT ??? the OBJETC of his “renunciation” was THE “MINISTERIO” (MINISTRY)

        What INTENTED IT TO BE WITH THAT?
        this is ANOTHER history.
        But remember… he is A MODERNIST! (and by definition: heretic)
        So, trust him as much as you could trust Luther.

        (BTW: Luther, at last, was IN THE OPEN. Shot from the front)
        (The modernist ones, are “friendly and deadly fire” shot from the back!)

        About the “smoking gun” that Ratzinger had been thinking on the possibility of “Split the Office”, there is the link:
        https://www.barnhardt.biz/2018/12/20/and-the-germans-come-through-in-spades/

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      3. DP, I am quite familiar with the “Benedict is still pope” theories. I reject these. I have quite number of articles rebutting on this blog. Please take a look. God bless.

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      4. U can “reject” the “theories”.
        U can not reject the REALITY of the FACT that Ratzinger NEVER SAID “I quit the OFFICE”, but he said “I quit the MINISTRY”.

        So, the bottom line is: if you reject the REALITY of the FACT, then you are in denial and outside the REALITY of the world… and live in a IMAGINARY world where exists
        – square circles
        – “heretic popes”
        – “an NON INFALLIBLE Church”
        – Dry water

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      5. DP,,,there is not set formula which a pope must use to validly resign. No specific wording is mandated. All that is necessary is that his will be free and his intent be sufficiently manifested. BXVI said that he was resigning in such a way that the See of Peter would be vacant on such and such a day. If the SoP is vacant, then certainly that means there is no one with the office/ministry of Peter sitting in it. That is entirely sufficient. If BXVI meant something else, I don’t know what other interpretation his words can credibly suggest.

        If another Pius V or Pius X were elected, I doubt there’d be this discussion re BXVI’s resignation. Similarly, if Francis were to resign using the same words as Benedict, I think orthodox Catholics would rejoice that he was gone. I don’t think anyone would care, especially if were to get a Pius V or Pius X (or anyone thoroughly orthodox after him) as a successor.

        As for imaginary words, indeed, there are no “square circles”…but there can and have been popes who held erroneous/heretical opinions, and or who favored heresy (e.g., Honorius). Whether a pope can be a heretic in a formal sense has been debated historically in theological circles. Although my opinion has been one could not be formally so, I recognize that is only an opinion. In my view, the question remains open, and Francis is putting it to the test as we speak.

        I wish I could honestly say BXVI is still pope…but I honestly don’t see the evidence for the claim. Not in the slightest. It certainly doesn’t help the argument when he calls it “absurd” himself. If he is really still pope, then he is in schism from himself. But, if you think he is pope, I suggest you begin by convincing him that he is.

        Thanks for reading the blog.

        Steve

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  6. Errata “spilt.” Correction of last sentence here:

    What’s your perspective, then, Mr. Reilly, on the question: what does it mean if Benedict intentionally meant to split the office?

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  7. Unfortunately, I think the BIP theory will be with us for a while. One thing that BIP theorists have not been able to provide is a clear, logical and realistic path for any future pope to be validly elected and accepted universally. If Francis is an antipope according to the theory, then all of his cardinals are invalid. However, they make up nearly half of the voting age cardinals and will likely exceed 50% at the next consistory. Eventually B16 will die and Francis will also resign or die. With the majority of cardinals at the next conclave appointed by Francis, it logically follows that their votes should be invalid and thus not only the next pope would also be an antipope, but all subsequent ones as well. Eventually with time it becomes impossible for the Church to elect any valid pope. Sure, anything can happen and there are a number of convoluted scenarios that could resolve this, but most would be categorized as “wishful thinking.”

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    1. Thanks, Downeast. That is certainly one of the problems a BIPPER will face at some point down the line. Along that line; what do they do if Francis vacates office before Benedict dies — and by some miracles someone of the likes of a Cardinal Sarah is elected? I think the ardency of their devotion to a continuing Benedictine papacy will be put to the test — thus revealing their “evidence” was always shallow.

      Thanks. Steve

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