May 29, 2019 (Steven O’Reilly) – On April 30, 2019, a group of 19 scholars and theologians published an Open Letter accusing Pope Francis of the canonical delict of heresy (see Prominent clergy, scholars accuse Pope Francis of heresy in open letter). The full document issued by these scholars may be found here. My initial thoughts on the Open Letter may be found in Regarding the Open Letter accusing Pope Francis of Heresy.
Now, almost a full month later, Pope Francis has finally made his first public comments on the Open Letter. These comments were made in a Spanish language interview which the Catholic New Agency has reported on here. Pope Francis, according to CNA, said of the accusations in part:
“It does not hurt me at all. Hypocrisy and lies hurt me, these hurt me. But such a mistake, where there are even people who have filled their heads with … no, please, you have to take care of them too.”
CNA goes on to report that in this interview, published May 28, 2019:
Mexican journalist Valentina Alazraki asked the pope how he took the accusation that he was a heretic, to which he responded, “With a sense of humor, my daughter.”
“I also pray for them because they are wrong and poor people, some are manipulated. And who are those who signed…?” Pope Francis added, alluding to an open letter signed by a group of 19 Catholics who accused the pope of “the canonical delict of heresy.”
It is unfortunate that this is the extent of the Pope’s remarks. Perhaps he plans more, or plans to have the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) respond to the accusations of the Open Letter for him. However, given the Pope’s consistent pattern of remaining silent in the face of controversy; more than likely than not, this is all we should expect to hear from him on the question. I have not seen the full Spanish language interview. I hope there were more questions regarding the Open Letter than seem to be suggested in the CNA report – – not that I would have expected any answers to these either.
Pope Francis called the accusations “hypocrisy and lies.” This amounts to a denial of them, I suppose, in Francis-speech. It would have been nice to have heard the ‘father and teacher’ of all Christians opine on whether he believes the Open Letter accurately describes the substance of his teaching or not. And, if it does not, where does he believe it goes wrong — and why? Or, if the Open Letter does accurately describe his teaching, why does he reject the charge of heresy, where does the accusation go wrong — and why?
Unfortunately, all we will get is more silence. What seems clear is that the Pope continues his tap dance. He ignores the merits of the accusations made against his words and actions while lingering long enough to launch an ad hominem attack against his perceived enemies, who in this case are the authors of the Open Letter (“and who are those who signed?”). This, too, is a pattern of Pope Francis, i.e., the ad hominem attacks we’ve seen made by him on many others, including Archbishop Vigano. The interviewer should at least be commended for getting any answer out of Pope Francis on a doctrinal question. Cardinal Burke, et al., have been waiting years for a simple “yes” or “no” to the Dubia.
Pope Francis is playing for time, and he is “winning.” His strategy has been effective thus far — and his theologically-orthodox opponents in the episcopacy have given him no cause to alter it. Until they change the dynamics of this battle, Francis is going to go on damaging the Church in the same way he has for years. Since the Dubia were publicized, two of the four authors of that effort have passed away. Nothing has come of the various appeals to the Pope by the laity or theologians, and there has been no public outcry from the episcopacy whatsoever — or at least not beyond a few exceptions. Episcopal commentary on the recent Open Letter has also been lacking; and where it has come, it has been mealy-mouthed and — for the most part — negative. With time, more and more bishops and cardinals resign, retire or die, while new ones of the same mind as Francis will fill their places. Given Francis’s weak appointments to the Sacred College, the outcome of the next conclave already looks grim. Perhaps the few good bishops and cardinals that remain are waiting for a meteor to strike, or for the Three Days of Darkness to come in order to to bail them out of doing something.
In sum, the strategy of waiting Francis’s pontificate out is suspect. No, the Church must be rallied to both reject and fight error. We need bishops and cardinals, even if few in number, to step forward and take up the challenge of the Open Letter, the Filial Appeal, the Dubia, the Abu Dhabi statement, the Death Penalty fiasco, etc., etc., etc.
For example, taking but one of Francis’ apparent errors noted in the Open Letter, it is sufficiently clear from the Buenos Aires guidelines regarding the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, and Pope Francis’ response to them (‘there is no other interpretation’), and inclusion of both in the AAS; that it is more probable than not that Pope Francis rejects the teaching reaffirmed in Familiaris Consortio 84, etc. This is also confirmed by the Pope’s preface (see here) to a book which supports communion for the civilly divorced and remarried in certain cases.
Regarding this example, the Pope’s silence on the Dubia, the Filial Appeal and rejection of the Open Letter is revealing. So-called ‘opponents‘ of Amoris Laetitia see that this Apostolic Exhortation can be read in a heretical manner, while most supporters accept and advance this heretical interpretation as the intended meaning of the Exhortation. Pope Francis has not corrected either side of the argument although he has been presented both the time and multiple occasions to do so. Given his non-responsiveness, the Latin proverb seems to apply: Qui tacet consentire videtur, ubi loqui debuit ac potuit (“who is silent seems to agree, where he ought to speak and was able to”).
In this case, or so it seems to me, all the bishops and cardinals need do is either affirm or deny that the propositions related to the errors outlined in the Open Letter are in fact heretical. If one or more of them are in fact heretical, then if Francis is presented with a formal request to reject each specified error but continues to remain silent — when he can dispel the doubt with a word — he has convicted himself of heresy. The bishops and cardinals need only give him a sufficient canonical period for warnings and time to provide that word. But, if he still does not, his meaning is clear and he then suffers the consequences of formal heresy.
Granted, what I suggest above as an amateur might not be the proper way to handle the investigation, trial and correction; but surely there is a proper manner to adjudicate an accusation of formal heresy, and whatever that manner is — the bishops and cardinals need to get on with it. If nothing else, the case that Francis — in the manner of Honorius –is favoring heresy appears to be a strong one on its face. A veritable slam dunk. If nothing else, he can be formally warned to stop. But, perhaps this process determines his guilt goes beyond favoring heresy into formal heresy. If that is what the findings really demonstrate then the canonical consequences will necessarily suggest themselves to the bishops and cardinals. If that is what it comes to, we will then have the answers to old academic questions — i.e., whether a pope can fall into formal heresy and what to do with one if he does — in the same instant.(1)
That ‘the bishops and cardinals willing to make such a stand are too few to make a difference’ does not seem to me a good enough reason not to do anything. The good bishops and cardinals are few in number regardless, whether they do something or nothing at all. What is clear is, we have seen what doing nothing has gotten the Church. The Church of Rome is burning. Francis is fiddling.
Still, if the bishops and cardinals cannot manage to go that far, they can at least issue a profession of faith to be signed by all bishops and cardinals so inclined (see here and here). Countering the errors of our time, such as those identified in the Open Letter, this profession of faith should state the true faith on the disputed questions (e.g., such as those surrounding Familiaris Consortio 84) and reject the specific opposing errors as being contrary to the faith. Such a profession would help clarify the battle lines. It might also be beneficial to have as a public document going into the next conclave, as it might aid in framing the debate on the errors of our time that need to be addressed by the next pope.
Come on, bishops and cardinals…now is the time to act!
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. A former intelligence officer, he has written apologetic articles and is working on a historical-adventure trilogy, set during the time of the Arian crisis. The first book of the trilogy should be out later this summer or by early fall. He asks for your prayers for his intentions. His articles can be read on www.RomaLocutaEst.com. He can be contacted at StevenOReilly@AOL.com (or follow on Twitter: @S_OReilly_USA)
- If, hypothetically, it should get to that stage…I would still hold out hope that a “pope” so deposed for formal heresy would turn out to have been a false pope all along. Prescinding from the question of Francis, how that might be squared with the understanding a pope is pope once accepted by the entire Church is difficult to say — indeed, likely impossible. However, in either event, whether false pope or a pope fallen due to formal heresy, such a hypothetical “pope” would be known not to be pope from that moment of the declaration. Hypothetically, a future pope could rule on evidence of infractions of papal conclave/election rules, e.g., outside interference (e.g., If they would interfere in a presidential election — why not a papal one?) or potential infractions of ecclesiastical or divine laws (e.g., Curiouser and Curiouser: Who Dispensed Jorge Bergoglio SJ from his vows?), and declare his supposed predecessor to never having been a true pope. That all said, while I might hold out hope there might be a possible scenario, I do not see where the wiggle room for it might be. In any event, hypothetical or present day possibilities included, the declaration is not for the individual Catholic to make.
20 thoughts on “Pope Francis continues to fiddle while Rome burns”
“The bishops and cardinals need only give him a sufficient canonical period for warnings and time to provide that word.”
How long? It’s been 982 days since the Dubia was submitted. It’s been over six years since the nightmare started. His beliefs were clear to me since he stepped out onto the balcony.
JFK…I hear you. It would be canonical determination as to whether that period “counts” toward a warning or whatever. My only point is, this would have to be addressed, whatever is appropriate…but do it!
Thanks for the feedback.
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My take on the Open Letter charges Cf. Open letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church: Found, Charges of Heresy and Apostasy – https://wp.me/p8RVwU-lv
This is a golden time for faithful bishops and cardinals to fulfill their primary duty of proclaiming the fullness of the Faith publicly, for all the world to hear. Their silence (w notable exceptions) speaks volumes.
I am hoping & praying for an astute UD grad to make a point-by-point response to AB Rene Gracida’s proposal:
That the JPII conclave rules, admittedly violated by the Gallen gang, invalidate the election of Bergolio.
With the exception of simony, a ‘merely’ excommunicable offense which would not affect the vote itself, all other
pre-conclave machinations & violations render his election null & void. This would have the marvelous effect of negating his entire “magisterium” and stable of perverse personnel.
Hi, Jane. Thanks for the comments. What year did you graduate UD? I did in 1984.
With regard to UDG; I certainly would welcome an investigation into the goings on during the conclave and pre-conclave. What I would like to see, and haven’t to my recollection, are some opinions by canonists regarding the various hypotheticals. For example, “what if” the Obama administration and other foreign powers *did* conduct secret operations, such as blackmailing cardinals, to ‘force’ cardinals into voting for Bergoglio? Might that invalidate the election? It seems to me it would — if discovered early enought…whatever that is. But 6 years later?
Or, what about a possible failure with regard to ecclesiastical or divine law (see https://romalocutaest.com/2018/07/31/curiouser-and-curiouser-who-dispensed-jorge-bergoglio-sj-from-his-vows/).
There are a number of tantalizing questions…but…there is common theological view that a man accepted by the entire Church as pope is pope, even if there were defects in the election. The teaching makes sense. So, how does one “get around” that; is there daylight between the cracks? are there “cracks”?
My gut tells me that if there are it will still take a future pope to definitively adjudicate the facts and rule Francis was never a valid pope. Until then…we are stuck. Pray.
Many thanks for your reply, Steven. Three of our kids went to UD (2001-02 grads).
I begin with the premise that we cannot see all sides & outcomes of the present crisis in the Church. Only God sees all things, inc. our hearts, but we who are sincerely trying to keep the Faith are seeking answers w respect to proper Church authority.
It seems all avenues re the legitimacy of PF’s election ought to be investigated, and you raise other interesting questions about interference/possible violations of UDG. Only valid (non-PF) cardinals have the authority to make an official declaration. Canon lawyers do not, according to UDG, but all are free to examine the evidence.
As to universal acceptance of a pope and time lapse, AB Gracida has related posts that point to examples in Church history that also took years to be resolved w varying theological opinions & results.
In God’s good time all will come clear.
Meanwhile, the drama of the great divide between Truth and error is being played out on the world stage w startling contrast, hopefully inspiring us to more fully follow Christ, the Way, Truth, and Life.
Mr. O’Reilly: Congratulations on your soon-to-be-released novel! I will make those in my circle of influence aware of this first book in your trilogy. Knowing of your endeavor, more than ever I appreciate the time that you have dedicated to your blog and most especially to your replies to my BiP comments. Since you have made it clear that BiP doesn’t add up in your honest opinion, I am even more thankful that unlike others in the blog-o-sphere you have kept the lines of communication open. To that end, I am leaving several links under the next paragraph in hopes that they will ease your ability to find and then read and perhaps eventually comment on the information in the sources that Br. Bugnolo used in his manuscript which can be found here:
Click to access quaestio-English.pdf
You would agree that opinions even while based on facts are just that–opinions. Your opinion that “the canon dealing with papal resignation (332.2) does not require a specific formula” is factually shown to be incorrect not only by Br. Bugnolo but also by Fr. Stefano Violi and at least one other of whom I am aware at this time. From the footnotes in Br. Bugnolo’s manuscript I have chosen the citations/links for the Latin scholars’ articles/statements in question which you have not yet read as well as Fr. Violi’s canonical discussion of the renunciation, The Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI Between History, Law and Conscience which you may have read. Here are those links:
Click to access dimissioni-BenedettoXVI.pdf
Click to access newsviews031315.pdf
As explicated in the above sources, this is the point then: because the resignation is indeed a matter of juridical validity based on a juridical formula, it is sufficiently clear that according to the law itself–WHATEVER Pope Benedict’s intention–according to his own freely chosen and given words, it is a black-and-white fact that he resigned from the ministerium not the munus. It is indeed this juridical semantic “meat” that is at the heart of this juridical “matter” because the See of Peter–the office–was not empty and thus could not be filled by anyone (heretic or orthodox) or its filling be directed by any group (St Galen Mafia or WWO Deep State) by using any method (UDG or lobbying). Unlike the precedent of Pope Celestine V, the divinely instituted, monarchical Papal Office was not renounced according to the law itself; therefore, it could not be filled.
And the situation is a mess with only one way forward that I can see and as General B has explained: “to declare Bergoglio antipope, forcibly remove him, and then WAIT FOR POPE BENEDICT XVI TO DIE. If a conclave were to be called after the removal of Bergoglio, but before the death of Pope Benedict, the man ‘elected’ at that conclave would be every bit as much an antipope as Bergoglio, no matter how orthodox he might be. The only way to be certain that this mess is cleared up is to wait for Pope Benedict XVI to die. This was what The Church did after the resignation of Pope Gregory XII, and this was how the Great Western Schism was ended.” (Answer to Question 25: What is the path forward barring supernatural intervention?) https://www.barnhardt.biz/2017/01/16/cutting-the-crap-31-questions-and-blunt-answers-about-the-catholic-church-and-antipope-bergoglio/
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Islam_is_Islam, thanks for the congrats on the book…much appreciated!
Thanks for the links. I think I’ve seen and read most of these before. Regarding the canonical argument, that the resignation lacked proper form. Again, I reject this argument. No formula is required. If the contrary is so obvious as Br. Bugnolo or Fr. Violi might suggest; then the case would be a slam dunk and a majority of canonists would agree with them. However…that has not been the reality.
Again, I find the suggestion BXVI would bifurcate the papacy in his resignation, without first pre-announcing the possibility of such a multi-head hydra, to be so improbable to be absolutely untenable. Further, there is no reasonable motive for him to resign in *that* way (assuming arguendo he could), when he had the example of Celestine V to follow. The rationale behind such an act (and the theory) is incomprehensible. Clearly, he could better save the Church as an active pope, rather than as one who allowed Francis to do all that he has. There is no reason to BXVI to have done it (even if he thought he could). It makes absolutely zero sense.
Thanks for the info.
Mr. O’Reilly, to be clear and very clear, I for one of several of whom I am aware do not think that Pope Benedict attempted to bifurcate the Papal Office.
No one can know his motivation with certainty at this time BUT I see that it is clear that what he has achieved by his decision and actions in the last six years is twofold: Christ’s promises to His Church namely, infallibility, immutablility, and especially idefectibility have been safeguarded. The second achievement seems equally clear. Perhaps you would agree that there is a parallel between the uncovering of the world-wide Deep State and its world-wide twin in the Administrative Establishment church. You may even agree that this mirroring is no accident and that it clearly demonstrates the multitudinous blessings of Pope Benedict’s choice: the unimpeded revelation of both the depth and breadth of the network of filthy evil rot for all to see.
Surely you are aware that when questioned in his office at a private meeting by an SSPX head why he didn’t use his authority as pope to fix things, Pope Benedict pointed at his office door and replied, “My authority ends at that door.” As a parent, I understand that FACT but on a much reduced level. You see, I can give a direct order, but the children don’t have to obey it although they should.
Where is the lacking in formula in the words and way that Canon 332.2 is set forth? A formula is like a recipe and 332.2 clearly has specific ingredients. Like an oath or a marriage vow or a good confession, there are steps that if not fulfilled make the oath, vow, or confession null and void. So again, please identify how the “ingredients”, steps, or parts of Canon 332.2 are not formulaic?
Again, I thank you for your give-and-take. It is clear to me that St. Ambrose’ statement, “Where Peter is, there is the Church”, must be answered in this time of apostasy by determining WHO Peter is.
Thank you for recognizing with me that the Chair of Peter is occupied and for this reason alone you would agree that BiP is not some kind of sedevacantist position as some others continue to dishonestly proclaim.
Thank you. I look forward to your reply.
Islam_is Islam, thanks for the feedback. Again, I do not see any logical rationale to justify giving up a whole or part of the papacy (if such a thing can even be done–which I reject) in order to save the Church, or infallibility or immutability. The papacy is best protected by a full-time occupant devoted to all the above. The supposed contrivance of giving up a part of the papacy to save it just does not make sense to me, and I have yet to hear one make a rationale case or explanation.
Canon 332.2 gives no specific formula. All that is necessary is that the resignation be (1) free and (2) “properly manifested”. I think it sufficiently clear that BXVI’s resignation meets both criteria.
Mr. O’Reilly: Would you agree that according to Canon 332.2 along with it being free and properly manifested one other of the necessary pieces of a papal resignation is that it need not be accepted by anyone? That note being made, would you give me an example of what you mean by a formula so that I might compare it to what I take a formula to be. My work has been in chemistry; so my mind thinks of mathematical formulas and chemical formulas and I also tend to think of recipes used in cooking and baking as types of formulas/recipes. Of course when it comes to the sacraments there is the “form and matter” of each one. Would this kind of “form” be a type of ‘formula’?
Also, in your opinion is it a reasonable thought experiment to reverse St. Ambrose’s statement, “Where Peter is, there is the Church” to “Where the Church is, there is Peter”? If so, would considering the reverse help to shed any light on the unprecedented situation that exists in the Church today? I mean since we can know with certainty of what the Church that Christ established consists, would not having that clarity point us with certainty to Peter? It seems to me that the “Peter” who abides in that immutable, indefectible, infallible Church–whether active or not–would be THE Peter that St. Ambrose would have us identify.
I will try to think of the logical rationale for giving up the exercise of the Petrine Ministry while retaining the Papal Office. To that end here are some of the thoughts that I’ve considered so far. Perhaps you would agree that Pope Benedict’s ineffectiveness in carrying out the jobs of the ministerium was in large part due to the disobedience and or negligence of those in the Administrative Establishment church and not to a lack of devotion or effort on his part. (eg McCarrick not reading the whole declaration about communion being denied to obstinate public sinners as well as disregarding the 2008 restrictions while Wuerl and others did not bring McCarrick to task.) Perhaps you would even agree that similar circumstances could be seen in the previous reigns of Paul VI and JPII (eg communion in the hand and no altar girls). Would it be reasonable to consider that this ineffectiveness (through no fault of his own) to do what he ought–as devoted as he was–may have played a part in his decision to give up the activities of the Petrine Ministry while retaining the Papal Office? Might it be reasonable to consider that he was concerned that by retaining the Petrine Ministry he would become less and less able (through no fault of his own) to do as he ought? Or that the Administrative Establishment church make it look as if he were doing that which would actually be opposed to what he ought? Again, I’ll think about the logical rationale for protecting the papacy and the Church by retaining the Papal Office but not remaining active in the Petrine Ministry and get back to you.
Thank you. I really don’t mean to be a bother.
Islam_is_islam…thanks for the comment. Re “formula”…by this, I simply mean there is no specific wording required for a papal resignation. The resignation need only be free, and properly manifested….it need express the pope’s free intent to resign the See of Peter. I think it clear the pope did this. There was no coercion…he’s denied it. He also stated the See of Peter would be vacant by his act. Thus…I don’t see any basis for dispute over his resignation.
Re Ambrose…IDK about reversing the statement. I’d have to think more on it. But, regardless, I don’t think one could reasonably say that because a tiny fraction of Catholics think BXVI is still pope that he therefore is. Is that your point?
Regarding the last part of your comments…I see no rational explanation that makes sense for BXVI to give up power while keeping his office (assuming he could actually do it…which I deny of course). It makes zero sense. He could do the same by simply remaining pope and simply not exercising power when he doesn’t want to use it. By suggesting he gave it up, but at the same time allowing another conclave to elect an anti-pope about whom he could do nothing…makes him an accomplice to the current mess. One makes BXVI out to be malicious and negligent, Again, makes zero sense.
If one imagines this a book or movie where this was some amazing plan by the here (i.e., BXVI)–one would expect to have seen the saving plans materialize by now, long ago in fact. Again, the idea he’d do this, I must say, is absurd. There is NO possible upside for him to resign in such a strange and unprecedented way (assuming he could — which I deny). Why would he resign *that* way, when he could simply resign as Celestine V did? Why would he not inform us before hand of the theological basis of such a move, as well as its implications for another conclave? Again, the BiP-ers provide no logical motive. There is none.
Thank you for your thoughts. I now understand what you mean when you say there is no set arrangement of words–a word “formula”–for resigning from the See of Peter. What is clear to you from his freely chosen words–his free intent to resign the See of Peter (meaning the Papal Office?)–is not clear to me. While I agree that it is clear from his words he was free in his intent to resign, it is not clear to me from what he freely intended to resign especially when considering the precise English translation of the Latin.
I impugn neither maliciousness, ignorance, nor cowardice to Pope Benedict. I cannot answer for others who support BiP. I believe and have always believed that in his choice to retain the Office of Pope he is a hero akin to Christ.
Re: Ambrose, my point has nothing to do with numbers of people who believe one way or another. I think you would agree that the Truth is what it is whether anyone believes it or not. This specific truth that I am inquiring about calls on the certainty of the identifying characteristics of the Bride of Christ in order to identify Peter no matter what anyone believes to have been “freely and properly manifested” in Pope Benedict’s Non solum propter. That is my point of asking if it is reasonable to reverse St Ambrose’ statement.
Thank you for continuing to think about its reasonableness potential ramifications.
Thanks for the feedback, Islam. Even assuming he somehow retained the office (which I reject, of course), I fail to see-with all due respect-how you can believe that “in his choice to retain the Office of Pope he is a hero akin to Christ.”
A “hero akin to Christ”? Consider, if we assume your scenario is trure…BXVI gave up his power to exercise the authority of the office he kept. Thus, he gave up his magisterium to aid and protect the Church. Secondly, he not only allowed a conclave–but he explicitly called for it(!); thereby being complicit in the election of a man as pope who must be an anti-pope (if BXVI never truly resigned, as in your scenario).
Thus, in this scenario…BXVI not ONLY fled the wolves, thus leaving us defenseless; but BXVI ALSO let the wolves into the sheep’s pen–thus allowing the wolves to devour the sheep under the pretense of being a true pope.
Assuming, arguendo, this scenario, I do not see any way in which BXVI can be viewed as any kind of “hero akin to Christ.” I would view him as woefully negligent at best, but more likely a traitor of the worst kind–who threw the gate of the sheep’s pen wide open for a devouring wolf to enter. Thus, the scenario makes no rational or logical sense to me.
Mr. O’Reilly, how do you view Jesus’ Passion and Crucifixion? Would you agree that those who had power over Jesus and His followers only had it because He allowed it? He gave up His active ministry but not the contemplative, suffering ministry and retained His office. By doing so He opened the gate to the wolves–Pharisees, Sanhedrin, pagans, etc..(some who were already in or near the sheep fold)–to feed their demoniac passions by ravaging His Body (the Church) in a bloody manner.
Did He not give up the power of His active ministry for the Common Good? He tried to explain what He was going to do but did His followers understand what He was doing at the time that He did it? Did His actions not allow the curtain in the Temple to be torn? Could that tearing have been a figure of schism between the Old Covenant and the New and a ‘type’ for the schism we now experience?
When I think of and compare Christ’s bloody, heroic, triumphant, but difficult decision to Pope Benedict’s unbloody one (so far), the comparison for me is clear.
Perhaps, should you choose to think as I have, you will come up with even more heroic similarities between Jesus and Pope Benedict’s choices and the fall out from them.
Thank you for allowing me to expound upon my perception.
Islam…thanks for the comments; however, I don’t see the analogy. It fails for many reasons. While Christ sacrificed himself for us; BXVI sacrificed “US” by letting the wolves ravage us…and for what purpose? There can be none. There is no way to salvage BXVI’s failure to protect the sheep–no matter which theory of a resignation (valid or invalid) one holds to. He blew it.
I’ve commented elsewhere…I could see Dante making BXVI’s purgatory (for this failure) a living one, where he must live a long life and witness–first hand in the front row seat he has on Vatican grounds–all that Pope Francis does to the Church BECAUSE he resigned and made him possible.
Mr. O’Reilly, thank you once again for your reply and especially for allowing the lines of communication to remain open. To be very honest it grieves me that (for whatever reason) to give Pope Benedict the benefit of the doubt seems to be beyond you and others at this time. To feel betrayed is valid. Did not Jesus’ followers feel betrayed by His crucifixion?
My mother taught me that it is an act of sublime charity to give the benefit of the doubt to a person especially when not all the facts of a matter are known. In fairness I think you would agree that only Pope Benedict and Pope Benedict alone knows every single fact surrounding his decision as well as the words that he chose to express that decision. Do you agree that we don’t have all the facts?
What do you know of diabolical possession/oppression and how it effects not only those who are directly being oppressed or possessed but (perhaps in the particular case of Pope Benedict) those who are surrounded by the diabolically oppressed/possessed? To be very clear I am absolutely suggesting that a large percentage of the men who surrounded and continue to surround Pope Benedict suffer from preternatural influence either directly or indirectly. As exorcists tell us, sexual perversion often entails some level of diabolical influence. Have you considered this distinct possibility in your weighing of the limited facts that are available to us? I ask because it seems to me a VERY reasonable possibility that when diabolically blocked on EVERY side from doing what one ought, one should take recourse in what can do to live honestly. This is the reasonable course that Pope Benedict took.
Whatever the appearances or assumptions of others, his valid authority and power were useless because of world-wide diabolical networks working in opposition to him. Thus in honesty, he publicly resigned what he already couldn’t use through no fault of his own–the ministerium BUT the good that he could do was to retain the munus and remain “forever and for always” Pope Benedict.
Thus he is a hero AND part of the grace he draws down in his retained ministerium of suffering is, as you recognize, to “live a long life and witness–first hand in the front row seat he has on Vatican grounds–all that Pope Francis does to the Church” until either the few remaining Catholic clergy and laity rise up and do their part to proclaim BiP or the Catholic laity and few remaining clergy rise up to remove Anti-pope Francis, Pope Benedict dies, and a valid conclave is called.
This is how I see it. I cannot speak for anyone else.
Islam, thanks for the response.
Regarding the giving the “benefit of the doubt.” Recall, I’ve been addressing your argument regarding Benedict from the perspective of assuming its truth–but only for the sake of argument. Within that context–assuming BXVI gave up the powers but not the office of Pope–I can give no “benefit of the doubt” to BXVI. This is because there is no doubt as to the horrible outcome of such a theoretical action. There is no way to justify BXVI doing what you suggest. There is no gray area within which the benefit of the doubt might operate.
It would be clear (1) in giving up his powers to define things infallibly, etc., he gave up his only ability (i..e, his papal powers) to protect the sheep from the wolves, and (2) he specifically called for the election of a successor–who would by your own theory, BXVI would have to know would be an anti-pope. Thus BXVI made way for an anti-pope who has entered through the gate into the sheeps’ pen, all to devour them. This makes BXVI an accessory to Francis’ crimes, because BXVI unlocked and left the front door open for him; and (3) on top of this all, BXVI has not said a real word of protest against Francis; nor has BXVI revealed the purpose of this hidden stratagem.
I am open to hear a logical plot line that explains this all. However, it is pretty obvious there is no logical theory that would justify a shepherd doing such a thing if he cares for the flock.
Thus, the simplest explanation is best. BXVI really did resign. He did so because he didn’t think he was up to the job. My guess is that some bad actors whispered in his ear to further convince him that he wasn’t. He resigned freely. Thus, his mistake is not as bad as it would be under your theory. Still, unfortunately, he opened the way to Francis–something (I believe) he should have foreseen or at least understood as a possibility. Which tells me, he didn’t really know how bad Bergoglio was, which exhibits IMHO a high degree of naivete’ on BXVI’s part. I do believe history will judge BXVI harshly…and rightfully so.
Indeed, Mr. O’Reilly, for argument’s sake you have allowed me to continue to express my perspective all the while clearly and charitably acknowledging your own position. To that end you have indeed given ME the benefit of the doubt for which I am most grateful. However, the benefit of the doubt that I am asking you to give is the one due toward Pope Benedict. It seems to me that by implying that Pope Benedict has acted as a coward and has betrayed his sheep you and others lack charity. That is the benefit of the doubt that I am talking about.
Also, It seems to me that my questions to you have been straight forward and simple and yet except for explaining what you mean by word formula and saying that you would think about the plausibility and ramifications of reversing St. Ambrose’ statement, many of my questions remain unanswered. Questions like: Did not Jesus’ followers misunderstand what He tried to tell them? Did not Jesus’ followers feel betrayed by His crucifixion ie giving up his active ministry? Do you agree that, unlike Pope Benedict, we do not have all the facts regarding his decision and his choice of words? By See of Peter do you mean Papal Office? Have you considered the distinct possibility of preternatural activity (oppression/possession) in weighing the limited facts that are available to us? I hope that you will answer these questions.
I will use an anecdote from my own life to illustrate and give a foundation for my next three questions to you which I also hope you will answer. When I came back into Holy Mother Church in part through using the The NEW St. Joseph’s Baltimore Catechism to teach my own children, I realized that I and many souls in my generation had been denied our birthright; namely, the immutable teaching of the Bride of Christ. (It was no wonder that of eight siblings in my family of origin only two of us remain practicing Catholics.) While reviewing for his First Holy Communion using this same catechism, my seven-year-old looked at me with perplexity when presented with the mysterious fact–the immutable Truth–that God had no beginning. After puzzling over this mysterious Divine attribute for a couple of minutes, he trustingly looked at me and said, “Mama, I just can’t get my head around that. I want to believe because YOU tell me it is true, but I just can’t get my head around it.” By the grace of God I had a ready reply. I told him, “That’s okay, son! It’s a mystery and there’s no way anyone can get his head around it. But that’s okay because God just wants to help us get our hearts around His mysteries.”
With that foundation I put to you and others, Mr. O’Reilly, a form of what St. Ambrose said, “Where Francis is, there is the Church.” And then the reverse (if you will allow): “Where Jesus’ Bride is, that Bride He lived and died to bring into this world in order to bring ALL men to the TRUTH, this Church is where Francis and his adherents are.”
My new questions which I hope you will answer: Is that what you would have me teach my children–the ones who trust me to tell them the truth, to give them their birthright as given to the Apostles? Do I understand correctly that according to you and others, I am to teach them that Francis is where their birthright is? Is that what you are teaching your children–the Church is where Francis is?
Do you agree that it does not matter so much how history (men) will judge Pope Benedict but rather what matters is how God will judge him?
Thank you again for helping think through and thus clarify my thoughts about this crisis so that I can respond appropriately in my parental duties.
Islam, thanks for the comments. Frankly, I didn’t answer your questions since they aren’t relevant to the evidence for you position in my opinion.
But let’s go through them…
Is: Did not Jesus’ followers misunderstand what He tried to tell them?
SO’R: Yes, at times.
Is: Did not Jesus’ followers feel betrayed by His crucifixion ie giving up his active ministry?
SO’R: I reject the premise. You’re assuming an analogy where I don’t see there is evidence for one. Jesus sacrificed himself to save sinners. Benedict in your view somehow sacrificed himself for who? Thus far, he has given PF 6 years to ravage the fold. I see no analogy at all.
Is: Do you agree that, unlike Pope Benedict, we do not have all the facts regarding his decision and his choice of words?
SO’R: No, I disagree. He resigned. It is clear. He says he resigned. It is clear.
Is: By See of Peter do you mean Papal Office?
SO’R: The See of Peter is occupied by the Successor of St. Peter. If “Peter” resigns or dies, the See of Peter is vacant, necessitating a conclave. BXVI in resigning asserted both, i.e., (1) the See if vacant and (2) a conclave needs to be called.
Is: Have you considered the distinct possibility of preternatural activity (oppression/possession) in weighing the limited facts that are available to us
SO’R: You are speculating, when we can only deal with facts. If you provide me evidence, then I can evaluate it.
Those were you old questions. Now you have new ones. I will go through those now.
Is: Is that what you would have me teach my children–the ones who trust me to tell them the truth, to give them their birthright as given to the Apostles?
SO’R: You’re asking…I’d tell them that Francis by all appearances was validly elected to the papacy. I have no evidence to say his election is invalid. That said, popes can err, and have been anathematized as heretics. I think Francis is an awful pope, but, I must accept his validity till it is disproven, but I can resist him where he is evidently in error.
Is: Do I understand correctly that according to you and others, I am to teach them that Francis is where their birthright is?
SO’R: I outlined my view above. I would avoid upsetting the young. But, older children need to know. My kids do. They understand.
Is: Is that what you are teaching your children–the Church is where Francis is?
SO’R: “Where Peter Is” does not apply to every situation. Peter did err, as when Paul had to correct him. Where Peter is, speaks to where he defines the faith. Francis has made no definitions of faith.
Is: Do you agree that it does not matter so much how history (men) will judge Pope Benedict but rather what matters is how God will judge him?
SO’R: No one spoke of judging his soul. You are the one absolving him for his actions, as you understand them according to your theory. I’ve outlined my position on that already.
Okay…this thread is getting exceedingly long. While I am open to ongoing dialogue, I suggest that unless you have new ground to break on this subject, that we end it here.