When is a “pope” not a pope?

July 26, 2019 (Steven O’Reilly) – When is a “pope” not a pope? A recent commentary by Cardinal Müller seems to suggest, albeit in an oblique manner, how we might know.

Cardinal Müller recently released a statement “On the Synodal Process in Germany and the Synod for the Amazon,” the text of which was translated by Maike Hickson from the German and posted on LifeSiteNews. The text was also published and posted on other sites in four languages (English, Italian, German and Spanish). This is the second of Müller’s criticisms of the Instrumentum Laboris for the Amazon Synod. His first may be found on LifeSite News here.

Both of Müller’s commentaries are excellent, and should be read by all Catholics. I will not go into his critique in detail, other than to comment on a significant paragraph that many have certainly seen by now.  In the most recent commentary, rejecting the possibility of female deacons, Cardinal Müller writes the following (emphasis added):

“The Magisterium of the Pope and of the bishops has no authority over the substance of the Sacraments (Trent, Decree on Communion under both species, DH 1728; Sacrosanctum Concilium 21). Therefore, no synod – with or without the Pope – and also no ecumenical council, or the Pope alone, if he spoke ex cathedra, could make possible the ordination of women as bishop, priest, or deacon. They would stand in contradiction the defined doctrine of the Church. It would be invalid. Independent of this, there is the equality of all baptized in the life of Grace, and in the vocation to all ecclesial offices and functions for which exercise the Sacrament of Holy Orders itself is not necessary.” (On the Synodal Process in Germany and the Synod for the Amazon by Cardinal Gerhard Müller, text posted by LifeSiteNew, 7/26/2019)

If we assume hypothetically that Pope Francis were to make such an ex cathedra declaration on the subject above, there seems to me to be two implications embedded in the Cardinal’s statement. The first — obviously — what the Cardinal says explicitly, i.e., that such an “ex cathedra” declaration, in the Cardinal’s mind, would be invalid, and thus should be disregarded by the Faithful.

However, as Catholics well know, this poses an obvious difficulty.  Vatican I defined the dogma of papal infallibility in the following terms (emphasis added):

“…the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, when carrying out the duty of the pastor and teacher of all Christians in accord with his supreme apostolic authority he explains a doctrine of faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, through the divine assistance promised him in blessed Peter, operates with that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer wished that his church be instructed in defining doctrine on faith and morals; and so such definitions of the Roman Pontiff from himself, but not from the consensus of the Church, are unalterable.”  (Pastor Aeternus cited in Fundamentals of Catholic Doctrine, Denzinger, 1839)

In addition, this definition is followed by a canon, which states: “But if anyone presumes to contradict this definition of Ours, which may God forbid: let him be anathama” (Denzinger 1840).

Clearly, a faithful Catholic will note the seeming disconnect between what Pastor Aeternus defined infallibly, and what Cardinal Müller said above. But, the Cardinal is no dummy as to suggest ex cathedra statements can be disregarded. This suggests, to me at least, a hidden, unstated and inescapable implication in the Cardinal’s statement, as well as being an indication of how he and other Cardinals are now privately viewing Pope Francis–though this is speculative.

There is only one way, in logic at least, for a Catholic to accept Vatican I on papal infallibility but reject a heretical declaration that seemingly meets the formal conditions of being ex cathedra. Given that a true pope is protected by the Holy Spirit from teaching an error ex cathedra, it follows that if a man, seemingly “pope,” were to teach something which denies or conflicts with a known truth of the Catholic Faith it must be either (1) the man thought to be “pope” was never a true pope to begin with, or (2) the man thought to be “pope” had, at some point in the past, already fallen through heresy or apostasy from the Petrine office. Those are the logical implications as I see them. Whether these are intended by the Cardinal or not with respect to Francis, in such a hypothetical scenario as he outlined, I cannot say.

If this a fair analysis, it may suggest the Cardinal and at least a few others in the Sacred College are actively considering one of these options to be a real possibility in the case of Pope Francis. If nothing else, it certainly is a shot across the bow of Pope Francis. It does suggest, along with other statements from the likes of Cardinal Brandmuller, that some in the “resistance” are reaching the point where they can bend no more. So, after so many years, we may be reaching a decisive moment.

Steven O’Reilly is a graduate of the University of Dallas and the Georgia Institute of Technology. A former Intelligence Officer, he and his wife, Margaret, live near Atlanta with their family. He has written apologetic articles and is working on a historical-adventure trilogy, entitled Pia Fidelis, set during the time of the Arian crisis. The first book of the Pia Fidelis trilogy. The Two Kingdoms, should be out later this summer or by early fall 2019 (Follow on twitter at @fidelispia for updates). He asks for your prayers for his intentions.  He can be contacted at StevenOReilly@AOL.com (or follow on Twitter: @S_OReilly_USA).


77 thoughts on “When is a “pope” not a pope?

  1. I disagreed with this paragraph of Mueller’s. The most natural conclusion from the hypothetical is not that the chair is empty, but that Catholicism is false.


    1. Ty, thanks for the comment. But, that is not the most natural. But…while we’re on the subject, should it be true that Catholicism be false, then it would follow that every other iteration of Christianity – to the extent there is thought to be some remnant of the true faith in them – is false as well. Protestantism, for example, only came along late in history (e.g., Luther, 1517)…so the gates of hell would have prevailed long before, per your thesis.

      Anyway…Catholicism is *the* true faith. If you’re Catholic…keep it. If you’re not…enter it. But…either way…buckle up…we’re in crisis moment in history. God bless.



      Liked by 1 person

    2. The most natural conclusion is NOT that Pope Francis is not the Pope. Popes can be private heretic s. Pope Vigilius was. Pope Vigilius was asked by Emperess Theodora to make Arianism ex cathedra. He just couldn’t do it
      The most natural conclusion is that the Holy Spirit does not permit the Pope to make erroneous ex cathedra statements even if he wants to. Remember how Pope Paul VI appointed a commission to “study” the question of contraception? When the “commission” finished its study their recommendation was to make contraception morally acceptable. The world held its breath. Pope Paul did not state publicly that he did not accept the commission s findings. He issued Humani Vitae. All this endless speculation that Pope Francis is not the Pope or holds the office in some odd way which is historically unprecedented is not Catholic or helpful to the faithful. Lifesite News is rife with Catholics speculating in the comments section over impossible scenario s which the Marks of the Church as defined by the Church make impossible. A visible and identifiable Pope who is accepted by the Body of the Pope as Pope must be the Pope be he ever so week and even if heretical privately or publicly in a non ex cathedra way. A visible Pope is intrinsic to the mark of One.


      1. Frustrated, thanks for the comments. I, agree, a true pope might be a private heretic. However, should the *hypothetical* occur, in the scenario raised by the Cardinal, then this is no private matter. It would be an act of public, formal heresy.

        Again, remember, as you level your criticisms above, we are talking about a hypothetical with regard to women’s ordination. I believe the Cardinal’s analysis is correct, such a seeming ex cathedra statement would be “invalid”. He may explain himself as he may or will. My opinion of what that would mean–if it should happen–is that such a “pope” could not really be pope. Again, we are discussing hypotheticals. Let us hope our faith is not put to the test in reality.

        Now, as regard to speculation on Pope Francis not being pope or holding it in an odd way. It must be kept in mind that this speculation only exists because of his actions/inactions, words and silences.

        The Open Letter raises serious questions which cannot be dismissed. Francis-apologists would do better and answer them. They should state whether or not the 7 heresies outlined are in fact heresies, and then, their arguments as to Pope Francis cannot be said to adhere to the heretical propositions.

        I address a few of the problems myself, raising the issue of Francis writing the preface of a Stephen Walford’s book. See my article here: https://romalocutaest.com/2019/05/05/pope-francis-the-open-letter-and-the-pesky-preface/

        Thanks again for your comments.



    3. Ty, no, the natural conclusion is not so sweeping. It is that the interpretation of Vatican I that a pope is sure to be speaking ex cathedra whenever he says he is speaking ex cathedra, is erroneous, and that what makes a pronouncement ex cathedra, from the chair of the Church, is not that it comes from the human institutional church as it exists at one moment in time, but that it comes from the mystical body of Christ which has Christ as its head and includes all the saints from all times, past and future. As Christ said, “only God is good”, therefore any man, even the Pope, may lie or err; but the mystical body of Christ is trustworthy. Therefore, the only way a pronouncement can truly be ex cathedra and infallible is if it is consistent with the teachings of Christ and the historical saints, thus part of the received Deposit of Faith. Novelties can never be pronounced ex cathedra, whatever the pope may say or think.


  2. Dear Mr. O’Reilly, what you say is absolutely true; however, modernists NEVER attack doctrine directly!!! Their modus operandi is to destroy the Faith in individuals by the change in PRACTICE. The principle Lex orandi, Lex credendi/Lex agendi/Lex sanctificandi is fundamental truth and cannot be ignored. The intention, therefore, is to eradicate the Faith from individuals to the point where there is no one who is Catholic, and subsequently constitute a “church” of their own making–actually of the design of Satan. Of course, the few who do not cooperate with them will be totally eliminated. Nor can it be denied that such is the method of Francis, for if he had attacked head on an article of Faith since his “election” he would have been dismissed as a fraud.

    The point here is that the problem is not primarily a matter of Infallibility which concerns the Teaching of the Church, but of Indefectibility in the strict sense, which concerns the Governance of the Church, whereby morals and liturgy are regulated, the “Apostolic hierarchy and traditions, the Sacraments, any essential characteristics are preserved, in order that the PURPOSE for which Christ established His Church be fulfilled, namely, the salvation of souls.

    This attack on the Church is an unprecedented reality, unknown since Its foundation by Christ. And because it IS unprecedented, trying to seek a solution from the past is absolutely useless. We must use our minds and the teachings of Holy Mother Church to accommodate a solution to the times in which we live. There is also another unprecedented reality, the presence of two Bishops who dress as a Pope, are called Pope, and live in the Vatican, one individual elected in 2005 and another having been elected in the Conclave of 2013. Now, given the basic philosophical principle “Actio sequitur esse” (“Action follows being”) one cannot ignore that Benedict who was building up the Church while active and still conducts himself as if he is Pope with a spiritual ministry certainly can be said to act more like a Pope that Francis who, it cannot be denied is tearing down the church.

    Perhaps, just perhaps, could it not be that Christ is telling us that by an unprecedented act, legitimate under circumstance and certainly valid, since the “exercise” of a Power IS NOT THE POWER ITSELF, that Benedict actually prevented the Papacy from falling into the hands of a vicar of Satan, precisely by putting himself, through a canonical maneuver (his renunciation ONLY of the ministries of the Office), into a position analogous to a Pope in hiding (Pope Caius), a Pope in exile (Pope Gregory VII), a Pope in captivity (Pope Pius VII)?

    Repeating what was said above, modernists DO NOT attack Dogma directly! They destroy the Faith, the Lex credendi in individuals, by changing the liturgy, the Lex orandi, and destroy the moral code in individuals, the Lex sancificandi, by changing Lex agendi (behaving). And this is what must be addressed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Father, thanks for your comments. As I’ve opined before; a theory having Benedict ‘fake’ his resignation makes zero sense. It would make Benedict morally responsible for those millions misled by Francis, thinking him a true pope — if in fact BXVI was the real one still.

      The obvious course to take would have been to remain pope visibly.

      So, this theory makes the least sense of any. It is not plausible.

      We must look elsewhere for the solution.

      My hunch; BXVI was personally convinced Scola would be elected. Perhaps even Bergoglians fed and encouraged that belief, as it would remove one logical obstacle to stepping down in a time of crisis.

      Other than that; I find no way to not find fault in what BXVI did.




      1. What if Benedict thought he was on the verge of dying and knew Bergoglio was waiting in the wings? (He looked awfully frail on the day of his departure. I remember thinking he wouldn’t last long.) I realize this is wild speculation, but to me it suggests a “partial” resignation scenario/strategy could make sense. Having said this, i also concede that your explanation (he was convinced of Scola’s success in conclave) is more likely.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Rick, thanks for the comments. There are so many things he could have done that would make sense to fight for the Church *other* than let Bergoglio appear to become pope and lead countless millions astray. Simply resigning would have had no different an impact. It really, truly, makes no sense to me.

        Thanks for reading the blog.



      3. Dear Mr. Reilly, your comment: “Benedict’s ‘fake’ . . . would make Benedict morally responsible for those millions misled by Francis, thinking him a true pope” would make sense, IF the greater Common Good were not at stake, namely, the Common Good of the Mystical Body of Christ. For that Good is greater than any personal good or any number of personal goods, no matter what. First of all, I don’t think that it can be denied that by the fact that Benedict “backed off” from the exercise of the ministries, he brought the filth that was hiding and protected by the network so they could wreak untold damage to the Church and to souls, into the open, BIG TIME! People were made aware of the seriousness of the situation, the perverts were pursued viciously by authorities, albeit secular authorities, and the sincere Faithful were subsequently rendered more safe and became militant against the crimes. Furthermore, the Sensus fidei, generally, was awakened to recognize the intent of Francis to destroy the Church totally, and even more, those in authority are becoming more courageous and outspoken.

        But lets get to the nuts and bolts of the matter, and look at Sacred Scripture, Mt 16: 19: “And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.” Now, Christ does not break his promises. Indeed, that promise cannot be taken in any other way than literally, just as when Our Lord says “Unless you eat my Body and drink my Blood you shall not have life in you. Christ means what he says.

        So if one is going to hold that if Satan’s vicar, any evil Pope whatsoever bent on destroying the Church, binds the Church with an official law (as Bergoglio has supposedly done in placing it in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis) that allows divorced and remarried Catholics living as man and wife, demanding Marriage rights, Our Lord is going to bind such a thing in Heaven? This is not a matter of attacking an infallible teaching, it is a matter of instilling into souls the legitimacy of sinning, which in turn destroys what Faith they may have. I’m sorry, but that would be making a hypocrite out of Christ, whereby he says it’s not OK for those in mortal sin to receive Holy Communion, a negative command that allows of NO exceptions, but, then, it is OK for those in mortal sin to receive Holy Communion. In other words, Christ either has to break His promise to Peter (Francis being his Successor), whereby He becomes, as it were someone not able to keep a promise, per impossibile, or he has to keep His promise and Himself promote active scandal whereby souls are induced to sin, again, “per impossibile.” I’m sorry, Mr. O’Reilly, but would one really be a Catholic if he held such a thing, and would it not be another blasphemy concerning Our Dear Lord already so outraged today? In other words: SUCH AN ACT ON THE PART OF FRANCIS ACTUALLY DEMONSTRATES THAT HE IS NOT POPE!

        In short, my contention is that Benedict actually kept the Petrine Office from the from a vicar of Satan, God using his as a secondary cause in applying HIS protection of Indefectibility. I pray this sheds some light on this unprecedented situation in the Church today, where, as said in my comment above, there is NOT a direct attack on the Teachings of the Church, but an attack on the Power of Governance which regulates the actions of the Faithful.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Fr. Belland, thanks for the response. There are various options to consider regarding what the Church is going through, and what, precisely, Francis “is” without positing BXVI is still pope. I see no evidence he intended to remain pope. I see no evidence he said he was still pope. All evidence is to the contrary. All. of. it.

        The suggestion BXVI intended this mess as part of some grand strategy, I find to be befuddling. I hear people, like Socci, proposing it, but…and I guess I must repeat myself…it make no sense, at all.

        The problems in the Church have other remedies than the one suggested by Socci, et al. It cannot be denied that such a strategy…if true…would mean BXVI has sacrified most of the Church to apostasy. This makes zero sense, because doing nothing might accomplish the same.

        I really thing the BiPers need to go back to the drawing board on this one, and come up with a different rationale for the overall theory. This one doesn’t wash. I cannot be swayed on this.

        God bless,



  3. Steven: The real test will come when/if just about anything from the Instrumentum Laboris is adopted or promulgated as official Church teaching. Will the good cardinals and bishops have the courage to finally take action instead of just issuing statements and clarifications? (And just how many good prelates are there really?) How will they “declare” Francis to not be the pope? Will they say that Francis’ entire papacy is null and void or does an ex cathedra statement or approval of the synodal document become the moment the papacy is lost? How will a new pope be elected when it will clearly be “cardinal against cardinal and bishop against bishop” (Akita)? How will the Church move forward? Dark times ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, DC, for the comments. The cardinals and bishops have been tested pretty much for all of the last 6+ years of Francis. As I suggest in the article, their bending to the pressure can only go so far–before either they break (give up) or say “basta”. Muller is someone, it appears, who has come a long way in his thinking of Francis.

      How this gets resolved is difficult to see. Humanly speaking, the odds are stacked prohibitively against orthodoxy. Most bishops and or cardinals seem to support Francis, or are too afraid to say “boo”.

      Personally, I think we are moving toward an “Akita” solution..which would mean, of course, Divine action.

      Indeed, dark times.



      1. Dear Mr. O’Reilly, I am referring here to your reply to my comment several posts above but which has no “reply” button. It could be an accident, but it could be for some other reason. I just hope you are not timid, to put it mildly, about receiving a rebuttal. I will make my remarks mainly via questions.

        1. Do you know Latin, and if so, have you read Benedict’s Renouncement announcement? If you do not know Latin or if you haven’t read the official Latin text, I suggest that you really haven’ a clue as to what Benedict actually said or did by his Renunciation, and hence have no right to make the claims you make that there is “no evidence that he [is] still Pope.” This is unfair to your readers.

        2. Are you denying the basic philosophical that “Actio sequitur esse,” which I explained in my first comment above? If you are, could you give an explanation as to how that principle does not apply in Benedict’s case? As a former Intelligence Officer, that principle would be something with you would be quite familiar.

        3. If you find “[t]he suggestion BXVI intended this mess as part of some grand strategy, . . . to be befuddling. Could you explain why you find it so, rather than just throwing out an excuse? One likely reason or at least part of a reason is that you don’t understand the notion of Common Good, a notion prominent in Thomistic Philosophy. And unless you have some idea about the Common Good, you do a disservice once again to you readers by just throwing out my assertions, because your readers, dear Mr. O’Reilly, DO HAVE A RIGHT TO THE TRUTH, and to deprive them of the truth is unjust to say the least.

        4. Is not your statement: “It cannot be denied that such a strategy…if true…would mean BXVI has sacrificed most of the Church to apostasy,” a bit disingenuous? Your reply blames Socci for sacrificing “most of the Church to apostasy,” as if to ignore completely or divert your readership’s attention from the justification I gave in my comment and thus you can escape refuting what I said.

        5. Mr. O’Reilly, your conclusion doesn’t follow and cannot follow by your refusal to debunk or by your sidestepping the arguments given. And if you did not read the official LATIN TEXT OF BENEDICT’S RENUNCIATION ANNOUNCEMENT, YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO CONDEMN BIPers.

        Please be assured of my prayers for you to see clearly the truth about Benedict’s heroic act in keeping the Papacy out of the hands of Satan’s vicar. God bless and Our Lady protect you always. Father Belland

        P.S. If you wish to contact me personally for a private discussion, my email is: frdbelland@netscape.net.


      2. Fr. Belland, thanks for the reply. No…I am not timid about receiving replies or rebuttals. I might be wrong, but…at least to my knowledge…I am not aware of any other Catholic blog that has devoted as much attention to countering the BiP argument than this one. My most recent offering is here: https://romalocutaest.com/2019/07/09/did-pope-benedict-xvi-resign-because-of-threats-no/

        My article above links, I believe, to every article I’ve written on the subject.

        While I enjoy debate and feedback…and am generally indulgent of long replies–I will not commit to a lengthy back and forth in comment boxes which are not read by many/all. As you well know, the back and forth takes time, etc. Speaking for myself, I am spread thin as it is with writing projects. You are welcome, as are all, to email me. As you recall, we had a previous discussion a couple years or so ago.

        Now, briefly, I have in no manner studied Latin. If the Latin case for BiP was strong, there would be long a list of most or all of Catholic scholars (with Latin), theologians, and other latinists around the world confirming the thesis that BXVI did not really resign. There is no such extensive list. How do we know this? BiPers would have trumpeted it and plastered it all over the Internet.

        Aside from this, though BXVI does not use “officio” in the key sentence, “ministerium” can be synonymous with the term. However, even if we set *that* aside, BXVI still states that he is resigning in such a way that the See of Peter will be ‘vacant’. The only way the SoP can be “vacant” is if nobody is in it holding it, i.e., in whatever way you want to describe it, whether “ministry”, “office”, “Peter’s successor”, etc. The philosophical principle of non-contradiction tells us that the see cannot both be vacant and non vacant at one and the same time. If one is vacating the See of Peter, one is vacating the office, the ministry, the whole thing.

        On top of that, to drive the point home, BXVI in the same resignation letter states a new conclave must be called.

        There can be no doubt what BXVI intended, and his words are of sufficient clarity for us to have certainty he resigned the See of Peter. If he intended something else, or meant something else, or improperly conveyed what he intended, I have yet to see an argument that holds water.

        That’s my view on the subject, in a nutshell.

        God bless.



      3. Fr. Belland…as per your comment on the “Reply” button. Not sure what is about. It is not me. The comment box is open. It may be that the functionality doesn’t support nested replies at some level. IDK.




  4. 2nd to last paragraph of frdbelland’s commentary (above) is the key. It is also one of the main theses of Antonio Socci’s “Secret Of Benedict XVI” book. I find it compelling, as to the reason *behind* the unprecedented (without precedent ever, in all of Christian history) resignation. The action itself is clear on its face and by his own words. But *why*?

    A simple abdication would be indicated by subsequent actions that match the choice. Those we see in history. An unprecedented abdication is matched by different unprecedented actions that match that unprecedented choice. This we do not see in history and so it must be judged on its own unprecedented terms.

    And again, knowing that Pope Benedict XVI is perhaps the most theologically astute Pope in history, and knowing as we do that he is fully informed of the 3rd Fatima secret, and we are not, and that he is as careful and verbally precise a Pope as ever ruled the Church, *this analysis of Father’s* (and Socci’s) makes sense.

    As Socci mentions in his book, Benedict XVI chose as Christ did on the Cross: Who unclothed Himself of all physical manifestations of power, glory, authority, clothing itself, and chose the ignominy of Crucifixion at the hands of His enemies. He retained *ALL* of His *TRUE* heavenly, spiritual, eternal power (Munus). He gave up in a sacrificial way his physical active power. And *from that* sacrificial act He restored in a mysterious way the physical manifestation of His glory and that of His earthly body, the Church.

    I recommend re-reading that paragraph. The power of Satan was overwhelming and disintegrating the Church all the way up to the Vatican itself. The coup was in progress. Pope Benedict XVI, through a profound act of courage and grace, gave up his earthly power to govern (the “unprecedented” act) but retained … by his own words … every last ounce of his spiritual Munus as Vicar of Christ.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Aqua, thanks for the comments. Actually, that is the specific paragraph I was addressing (i.e., Fr. B’s second from last).

      It makes *no* sense. Socci, et al, in proposing this theory does what amounts to putting lipstick on a pig….and when is all said it done…it is still a pig.

      It makes no sense to give up the papacy. If you see a crisis. Excommunicate offenders. Kick cardinals out of the Sacred College. Appoint a few trust worthy bishops as cardinals, have them select a handful of good priests to become bishops. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Don’t do this mystical baloney! It makes zero sense. Less than that, actually.

      I would also add, even if we assume BXVI did do that, he would be involved in a deception and a lie. He said there would need to be a new conclave to elect a new pope. He called himself a “former pope” to Brandmuller. No…zero sense. The theory makes the least sense of all of them.

      Sorry…must call this one as I see it.




      1. Dear Mr. O’Reilly, I wish to address your comment concerning your equating (implicitly) of the words “misterium” and “officio” by saying that Benedict did not use the word Latin word “officio.” First of all, you are correct about that; however, Benedict DOES use the word “MUNUS” which is one of two CANONICAL terms used for the Office of the Papacy, the other being “Papatus.” Secondly, Benedict does indeed, by the use of the word “munus” to distinguish “ministry” from the Petrine Office. It is the lousy vernacular translations that equate “ministry” and “office”. I’m sorry, Mr. O’Reilly, you cannot depend on the vernacular translations, because you will be wrong.

        Furthermore when you say: “On top of that, to drive the point home, BXVI in the same resignation letter states a new conclave must be called,” you do an injustice to the Latin text. I have shown in an analysis of the Latin text in my Treatise on Benedict’s renunciation, that Benedict in using the subjunctive verb “vacet” (“vacare meaning “to be vacant”)–NOT AN INDICATIVE VERB in his reference to a conclave to be called. The context in which that word is used calls for a condition–which classical Latin Grammars verify, and the translation is as follows: “For this reason well aware of the seriousness of this serious act I declare that I renounce the MINISTRY of the Bishop of Rome, Successor of St. Peter, entrusted to me through the hands of the Cardinals on the 19th day of April 2005 and [I declare] that PROVIDED the See of Rome, the See of St. Peter BE VACANT from the 28th day of February 2013 a Conclave for electing a new Supreme Pontiff may be convened by those to whom the competence belongs.” Benedict is no dummy, something which Aqua declares elsewhere in this blog so poetically and beautifully: “And again, knowing that Pope Benedict XVI is perhaps the most theologically astute Pope in history, and knowing as we do that he is fully informed of the 3rd Fatima secret, and we are not, and that he is as careful and verbally precise a Pope as ever ruled the Church, . . .”

        Unfortunately, although Latin is the language of the Church, many, yes many, even Prelates do not know their Latin, which was evident when Benedict was reading his Renunciation announcement; most of the Cardinals did not know what he was announcing, or had only picked up parts of it. Then too, because Latin is not an easy language, most people, and again, yes even prelates, will go to their native language or to some language translation with which they are familiar. Mr. O’Reilly, truth, which is the object of the mind, is the correspondence of the mind to the reality outside. In other words, the mind must humbly grasp that external reality rather than thrusting some concocted or desired image or proposition from the mind to wherever “out there,” i.e., outside the mind.


      2. Fr. B, thanks for the comments. I am not relying on the translations.

        Ministerium can be synonymous with Munus. It is clear that BXVI is renouncing *something* in such a way that the See of Peter be vacant and new conclave is necessary. Clearly he is giving it *all* up–whatever words he uses, the occupant of the See of Peter has it all (i.e., office, ministry). If he vacates it, as BXVI stated, he gives it all up.

        I leave to the Latin experts to review your translation, but I have not seen the “provided that” used. VeriCatolici — a BiP site — gives the translation as: “On which account, well aware of the weightiness of this act, I declare in full liberty, that I renounce the ministry [ministerio] of the Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, committed to me through the hands of the Cardinals on April 19, 2005, so that on February 28, 2013, at 20:00 Roman Time [Sedes Romae], the see of Saint Peter be vacant, and that a Conclave to elect a new Supreme Pontiff be convoked by those whose duty it is [ab quibus competit].”

        If BXVI had intended anything less than a full resignation, it is improbable he would not have issued a formal document stating this was possible, to remove any doubt. Such as Clement had done before his resignation.




  5. To me Socci ‘s explanation makes the MOST sense . Otherwise you would have to believe that Benedict xvi is not one of the most brilliant theologians of the past 200 years ( which I believe to be the case ) but rather a daft old man who is walking around the Vatican dressed like the Pope , wearing the papal ring and signing as PP Benedict xvi , not Emeritus ! That to me really beggars logical common sense !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mariposa, thanks for the comments. In my opinion, to suggest that BXVI either mistakenly filled out his resignation letter, or that he had some bizarre thought to keep the papacy (and let the REST of us millions of Catholics suffer and be misled by an anti-pope) is what make BXVI “a daft old man” and not a first rate theologians, and pastor of souls he was.

      As far as dressing in white. Yeah, not the greatest of ideas. But, like putting lipstick on a pig, putting white robes on an ex-pope doesn’t make him still the pope. It appears, having seen JPII waste away, he wanted to make it ‘easier’ for future popes to resign–showing them they could lead a somewhat public life, and not being stuck and locked away inside a cold monastery cell as in days of old. Was it a good plan? No. Is it sufficient to explain his actions, yes, I believe so. Regardless, I see no evidence to the contrary in *anything* he has said or written. I have argued that in many articles on this blog.




      1. Dear Mr. O’Reilly and Mariposa323, please do not accuse me of pointing fingers, but I believe that due to the “Smoke of Satan” having entered the Church through “some crevice,” many, very many have been and actually are in a fog. I have to admit that before I looked into Benedict’s official Latin text of his renunciation, a literal literary masterpiece, I was walking in that fog. And hence I really believe what Cardinal Cerejeira, former Primate of Portugal and closely involved with Sr. Lucia,, told the participants at the opening of a tour of the Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima across Italy in 1959 was a true prophecy: “It is an apocalyptic hour for the world. These are frightening winds from hell which are blowing, and THE ELECT THEMSELVES are allowing themselves to be carried away” (The Whole Truth about Fatima, The Third Secret, p. 535, by Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, Vol III). The apostasy within the Church is nothing less than a confirmation of the blindness, surely in varying degrees, infesting the Church.

        Would it not be, in a way, blasphemy to deny that God can and does work great marvels through secondary causes, and thus one cannot in fairness to God deny that He could use Benedict to keep the Papacy out of the hands of a vicar of Satan? In other words, the possibility cannot be dismissed out of hand. By holding that possibility that Francis is not Pope, but pontificating that Benedict IS NOT Pope, involves more problems and confusion than posting Benedict as the true Pope.

        For whoever may have qualms about challenging the Papacy of Francis, because having been declared to have been elected to the Chair of Peter by a valid Conclave, there arises an Infallible Dogmatic Fact that he is Pope (which if denied is a sin against Faith), I have proven that when there is an APOSTASY WITHIN the Church there can be NO INFALLIBLE DOGMATIC FACT deriving from a Universal and Peaceful acceptance of a Pope.


      2. Fr. Belland, you keep returning to God using BXVI to fake a resignation. BXVI could best save the papacy and Church by remaining pope. Folks have had several attempts to make the case—-and not simply assert it. I have not seen a remotely compelling case that justifies a billion Catholics being misled by Francis. Please explain only that.


        Liked by 1 person

  6. I appreciate your perspective. Completely understand it, though I also (obviously) completely disagree with it. I am glad we can, however, discuss things like this in Charity. Important things are never easy, usually less than clear.

    The idea that he “unclothed himself” of earthly authority similarly to Christ is compelling. I had not considered it until reading Socci’s analysis. If these are the final Fatima 3rd Secret days, then such an act would be even more understandable – (as it was in the beginning).

    The Jews were looking for a Messiah King who would establish Jewish rule and righteous government throughout the earth. Power. Glory. Strength. Enemies falling. They got the opposite of all that. Jesus fell, not His enemies. There He is … naked … bloody … broken … alone … jeered at – save five lonely, poverty stricken grieving souls who believed …… *and birthed the promised Kingdom* (!).

    What kind of a Kingdom was ever established like that?! Christ had the authority and power of heaven, angels and archangels at His command. *Why then* did He choose to give it all up in service to His seemingly strange redemptive plan? Why not do, as you assert Benedict XVI should do, and descend like a super hero and blow evil and evildoers into the grave and establish righteousness in its place? People would flock to a “super hero”. He had almost no one left at the end.

    Because that is how God *always* defeats His enemies. By becoming weak, He becomes strong. Through the weak, small, insignificant, God always wins His battles.

    Every Pope, until this one, has done just as you say in their faithfulness. For some reason this Pope did something different. Exceedingly different. He specifically retained the Munus of Office, but gave the Ministerium to another (as Jesus did). That is clear from the Latin resignation, subsequent supporting statements and actions. Unlike any other resignation and subsequent acts in Church history. He gave power of earthly government to profoundly evildoers. But he retained the spiritual heart of the Faith within his Office under the watchful guardianship of his patron Angel.

    As Christ proved: earthly government is ultimately irrelevant – Jesus was not interested in it. He specifically rejected it when offered by Satan. The Spirit and God’s hidden Kingdom – in a manger, on the Cross, in a tiny little cell in the Vatican, in the hearts of seemingly powerless faithful everywhere, tiny little orthodox country Parishes led by forgotten Priests … tiny little fires of purity – these will prevail. These Benedict XVI still serves as His Holiness, our Pope. As the infestation of evil in the Church burns it’s outer profaned shell, the Munus Of Christ’s Earthly Vicar remains undefiled in a tiny cell guarded by St. Michael the Archangel.

    The Church will emerge from this purgatorial fire one day, even though now it makes no sense as to why God’s purposes are being accomplished in such a seemingly counterintuitive, unprecedented way. Just as the primordial Church was birthed in death from the five faithful at the Cross and those Apostles who remained true, so will our Church be reborn from this seeming Papal weakness (which is in fact unbelievable strength) and the seemingly weak and few faithful who remain with him.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. “It would make Benedict morally responsible for those millions misled by Francis, thinking him a true pope — if in fact BXVI was the real one still.” Yes.

    “It makes *no* sense.” From what you know it, it doesn’t make sense to you. But You and I DON’T know everything that when on in 2012 and 2013 with B16 and the St. Gallen conspiracy members. We can only speculate. Others, like me, have other ideas based on our own experiences with these types of people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. John, thanks for the comments. We must act on what we know or believe to be the truth. Acting on a theory of what we don’t know….doesn’t seem to make sense to me. This BXVI flies in the face of known facts; statements; documents…etc. Socci’s theory is all unsupported. It doesn’t make any logical or theological sense.

      Just my two cents.

      Thanks for reading blog.



  8. In answer to Mariposa, you state the “resignation makes it easier for future Popes to resign – showing them they can lead a somewhat public life and not waste away somewhere in a cold Monastery cell as in days of old.”

    Actually, it’s the reverse. He specifically (a) resigned himself from public life (Ministerium) so that he could (b) spend his remaining days in a Monastery cell in prayer and contemplation in fulfillment of his Office (Munus), which he “by no means revoked”.

    As far as other Popes following this newly proposed pattern, retiring to various forms of comfortable post-Pope public life (instead of a spiritual emergency-driven contemplative life in a Monastery cell), I doubt God will allow this pattern to last long beyond this debacle.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dear Aqua, you are one who indeed has a very profound understanding of the situation of Benedict’s continued Pontificate. And you are absolutely correct that the “spiritual emergency” that prompted Benedict to embrace a unique more contemplative “ministry” concerning the Power of Order while maintaining the Petrine Office IS a “once in a lifetime [of the Church]” event. Keep up your brilliant defense of Benedict.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Father, Steven O’Reilly asked the question above, “I have not seen a remotely compelling case that justifies a billion Catholics being misled. Please answer just that.”

        He didn’t have a reply button on that post, so I’ll answer through yours, since your original post is what got me involved in this topic.

        You mention the clear, precise symphonically perfect Latin text itself. I defer to you since I am not remotely smart enough to read that. I find experts I trust to do these jobs for me. So, technically there is that, which most precisely answers Steven O’Reilly’s question on his terms.

        My answer is one that any faith driven, grace filled Catholic would give that has eyes to see: look at the actions of everyone involved. Pope Benedict XVI quietly prays under the watchful protection of his patron archangel, St. Michael. Jorge Bergoglio advances the careers of perverts and criminals while heresy is aggressively advanced at a stunning pace as the Faith collapses around us. Orthodox Catholics hate the Pope they pray for on Sunday and call him any number of foul insults. Since when do we expect heresy and apostasy from our Pope, insult him and pray for his death?

        And then, why are a billion Catholics and most of the hierarchy misled? I would expect nothing less if Satan’s time is short and this is the Father Of Lies’ time, granted by God, to make his move on Christ’s Holy Bride. We have always known, theoretically, that many faithful will fall away and follow false teachers in the end times. Impossible to imagine in good times. Now we know how that happens in these times.

        There were only five at the foot of Christ’s Cross. Not even St. Peter remained. It is confusing beyond belief, but I look at fruits. By them, Truth can be known. Even in bad weather.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Aqua; a couple things. I do not control the “reply” button. No one is denied responding by me.

        But your response offers no compelling response to my question.




  9. Mr. O’Reilly, thank you for opening your comment thread once again for discussion. Thank you also for noting the observation that perhaps some cardinals are privately thinking differently about Pope Francis. Your observation gives me hope that perhaps there are more and more in authority who will heed the request for an examination into the unprecedented “resignation” of 2013. If this is true, then I think that to call for an examination and encourage others to call for an examination is a worthwhile endeavor at this time.

    You contend that the obvious thing for Pope Benedict to do would have been to remain pope visibly: to “Excommunicate offenders. Kick cardinals out of the Sacred College. Appoint a few trust worthy bishops as cardinals, have them select a handful of good priests to become bishops. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Don’t do this mystical baloney! It makes zero sense.”

    Have you ever been in a situation where your subordinates not only have no good will toward you or your office but actually hold malice toward both? It seems to me that your suggestion for the “obvious” response to the global, mutinous, demoniacal filth and rot that surrounded and still surrounds Pope Benedict denies the present reality of the anti-church today. On one hand you recognize the “dark times” and the need for an “Akita response” yet at the same time you seem to want what only makes sense to you and is “obvious”. In light of what makes sense to you, I ask you to consider these questions: Did Jesus’ death on the cross make sense to His followers at that unprecedented time? What kind of “obvious” Messiah had they been awaiting? Perhaps the kind of Pope you would have Pope Benedict be is along lines of the kind of Messiah that Israel was awaiting.

    You say, “I find no way to not find fault in what BXVI did.” Perhaps you are in good company and like the Apostle Thomas before putting his fingers into Our Lord’s nail marks, he could not believe and maybe he even viewed the shrouded Divine Plan of a previous unprecedented time as nothing more than “mystical baloney”.

    I think experience shows us that we hope in vain when we hope that Bergoglio and the other mutineers will come out unambiguously and make an heretical statement ex-cathedra since that move belies the strategy that Modernists employ–the same strategy clearly described above by the commenter, frdbelland. They undermine the words and PRACTICE of the Faith and thus faith itself without coming right out ex-cathedra-style and unambiguously putting their cards on the table. And we are left waiting like little frogs boiling in a pot full of heretical ambiguity.

    Waiting for what exactly? For “good cardinals and bishops [to] have the courage to finally take action instead of just issuing statements and clarifications?” (per commenter Downeast Catholic). What exactly are they waiting for? Something unmistakably ex-cathedra-definitive that we know they will never get?

    Thank you for sharing your hunch concerning Cdl Scola being elected at the 2013 cardinal electors’ ‘retreat’. However, it seems to neglect the known facts that Benedict knew/knows and lived/lives the reality of the power of the homomafia as well as the fact that Bergoglio was runner-up at the 2005 conclave. Bergoglio was their man going into the 2013 “conclave” and Pope Benedict knew that; so perhaps (knowing well both JPII’s mind and the mind of Christ concerning the papacy) Pope Benedict exercised his authority to liberally interpret JPII’s Canon 332.2 without contradicting the lawgiver: he resigned the exercise of the Petrine Ministry and retained the Papal Office and the power thereof. I agree that it is not an “obvious” move, but it makes sense and does not neglect the facts. This premise needs to be examined.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Islam, thanks for response. My comment box is always open. It has never been closed. There is only a delay, to give me some time to respond to each as I find time to.

      You ask the question ‘did Jesus death make sense” to his followers’…clearly, it did not. But your application to BXVI makes no sense to me, as BXVI is NOT Jesus.

      I pretty much agree with most if not all negative characterizations of Francis and his pontificate. But, even if we multiply all that by 1000, it doesn’t make BXVI still pope.

      I know folks want an easy answer to this mess. In my humble estimation at least, having reviewed the argument offered by the BiPers…BiP is not the answer.




  10. As Islam_Is Islam infers, the point behind the *unprecedented* resignation is the global mutiny against the Living Church. There stands Pope Benedict, giving orders to his Cardinals and Bishops under him. They sit there staring at him morosely doing nothing or going the opposite way. He is Pope in name only.

    The proof of this? Their resistance to his actions against sexual predators. Shutting off Vatican finances via the IOR. I think that is when Pope Benedict XVI became fully convinced he had lost “his ship”.

    And so, he connected the outer physical reality to the inner spiritual reality. He gave them “the Ship” and he went down to his cell, still wearing his rank (White, Ring, Title) and carrying his Commission (Munus) from the King. And we see clearly, for the first time, in the person of Jorge Bergoglio and all who elevate him and hold him dear, the satanic reality infesting the Church as they sail our Ship to unwanted destinations …… Thanks to the sacrificial actions of Pope Benedict XVI.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aqua, thanks for the comments. That things such as the money turnoff etc are related to BXVI’s resignation is speculation. One should not act on speculation. If research leads to evidence, then by all means.

      However, the BiP case is string of speculation and assumptions and wishes; all duct taped and shoe stringed together. If there is a true case to be made; the evidence has yet to be provided to support a conclusion one can commit to and or act upon. To do so now is very rash in my opinion.

      God bless,



    2. Dear Aqua, I have great respect for your comments, your intellectual grasp of Benedict’s situation, clear and reasoned arguments and your love for Holy Mother Church, but I do disagree with the analogy of Benedict having “give[n] them ‘the ship'” and going “down to [the] cell . . .” of his ship. Before getting to the subject, however, I would like to let you know that Islam, to whom what follows was revealed was wondering if I would speak about that analogy. So, please understand that this is just another, what I would consider a more accurate, way to look at the situation. It was inspired by the words of St. Athanasius who comforted the faithful of the 4th century Arian heresy by saying, “they have the buildings, you have the Faith.” Remember, that although the Church is referred to as the Barque of Peter, I think the situation is more understandable when the image presented by Pope Pius XII in his Encyclical Mystici Corpus Christ, i.e., the Mystical Body of Christ is kept in mind, as well as the Barque of Peter..

      I believe that in fact, there are two “churches”, the true Church which is less visible and another which most people see and take as the Catholic Church, but is the anti-Church. In other words, Benedict is in the Barque of Peter, while Francis is in A TOTALLY DIFFERENT VESSEL. I say this because, in light of the fact that Benedict IS Pope–which will eventually be declared, everything Francis does is null and void: the Bishops he appoints, the laws he promulgates, the Synods he holds. In other words, he is constructing a New World Order Religion upon the what remains of what was once the physical institution of the Church.

      Moreover, I consider it a sham to look at the the two heads (Benedict the true head and Francis a false head) as being part of the same Catholic Church. The SSPX and the S & S (Siscoe and Salza) Boys will argue that since the apostates/heretics haven’t all been identified and dealt with canonically, they are part of the true Church with the faithful. But in my thinking, in light of the divine revelation that there WAS an apostasy which began in the Church in the last Century (hopefully being clearer as you read on) there cannot be, once a false Pope is “elected,” in reality, one True Church that contains a majority of apostates and the rest Faithful along with two claimants to the Papacy; something is wrong and an investigation ought to take place. Whatever the appearances, there are in reality two separate entities, amalgamated into or appearing as one.

      Thus, there is the true Pope, Benedict, who IS the Pope of the Catholic Church, and there is the anti-Pope Francis, head of the perfidious so called church, for whom most of the Faithful as well as the apostates/heretics are working. But ALL WHO recognize Francis as Pope are in truth complicit, most perhaps, completely unwittingly, in helping to build a false church. Again, the True Church, that is, the Mystical Body of Christ, cannot be schizophrenic, for Christ is not schizophrenic and never will be. Christ is the head of the True Church and Satan is the head of the false church, rather sect, despite all appearances appearances. And just because Francis hasn’t been “excommunicated” yet, doesn’t mean he isn’t an apostate, which could be shown if only the faithful leaders would do their job.

      Our Lord said: (Mt: 16: 19) “And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.” Canon Herve in his Manuale Theologiae Dogmaticae, commenting on “Te tibi dabo…”– (I will give you….”), says: “Keys” in this natural sense indicates a right of propriety and power….. Certainly in the usual and biblical sense, it is a sign of absolute power: for the handing over of keys of a chest or building, especially among the ancient oriental peoples, was the symbol of the handing over of full power to the persons or things in that chest or building; but on the part of scripture (Is. xxii, 22; Apoc. i, 17 – 18; iii, 7; ix 1; x, 1), everywhere the word “keys” is made use of for signifying true authority.”

      In another place he (Herve) says: “For this power [of binding and loosing promised in Mt. 16: 19] as is established from things having been mentioned elsewhere [m. 282, 1°] and from the very context [298, c] is WITHOUT DOUBT the power of jurisdiction not only efficacious and independent from any other power whatever which IS NOT OF GOD, but also is supreme and absolutely universal.”

      A note from Challoner in the Haydock Bible lists the matters covered by this promise of Christ: “Although Peter and his successors are mortal, they are nevertheless endowed with heavenly power, says S. Chrysostom, nor is the sentence of life and death passed by Peter to be attempted to be reversed, but what he declares is to be considered a DIVINE ANSWER FROM HEAVEN, and what he decrees, A DECREE OF GOD HIMSELF. He that heareth you, heareth me, etc. The power of binding is exercised, 1st. By refusing to absolve; 2nd. By enjoining penance for sins forgiven; 3rd. By excommunication, suspensions or interdict; 4th by making rules and laws for the government of the Church; 5th by determining what is of faith by the judgments and definitions of the Church.”

      Recall that this promise (of the Keys to bind and loose) followed the promise to Peter that upon “this Rock I will build my Church” and the “gates of hell shall not prevail against it. This first promise regards first of all the Faith and is protected by the Infallibility of the Church, which has been defined by the First Vatican Council. But the second promise regards the governance of the Church, that is, the purpose for which established His Church–the salvation of souls, and is protected by the Indefectibility of the Church, which Canon Herve says is “Certain, historically, theologically, ‘de fide divina [of divine faith], implicitly defined.” When Christ makes a promise it is irrevocable! And not to pay any attention to it is to, in a way, deny Christ’s Providence.

      Now, reiterating, (and I do not impose, by what follows, the necessity that this be the case, but only personally believe the truth of it due to my own investigation over four and a half years) we have a true Pope (Benedict) who, because he holds the Petrine Office, possesses those powers of Teaching, Governing and Sanctifying, It is ONLY what Benedict does or may do that God will bind or loose; but because of the absolutely unprecedented and humanly speaking insuperable situation in the Church (the divine intervention coming with the Consecration of Russia), he has excused himself from the exercise of those powers, except for a certain mode of Sanctifying through penance, prayer and suffering ACCORDING TO THE REQUEST OF OUR LADY AT FATIMA.

      On the other hand, Christ DOES NOT RECOGNIZE ANYTHING FRANCIS SAYS OR DOES!!!!! This is an imaginary Church, with all the so called “smells and bells, buildings and institutions” of the true Church and unfortunately the faithful, (also mentioned in another comment), Cardinal Cerejeira says, “are allowing themselves to be carried away” “by the winds from hell” and as if “seeming is believing” they unwittingly think they’re in the Barque of Peter. THIS HAS TO STOP, AND THE LEADERS OF THE CHURCH HAVE THE GRAVEST RESPONSIBILITY TO TAKE ACTION!!!!!

      Those who harp on the protection of Infallibility, or relay on who is or is not a member, are barking up the wrong tree. What concerns us is the promise is the promise of the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever has the KEYS is the “OWNER” OF THE TRUE CHURCH; AND HE WHO HAS NOT THE KEYS IS A COUNTERFEIT–WHICH LEADER THE MEMBERS FOLLOW IS HOW ONE TELLS WHO IS A TRUE MEMBER OR NOT A MEMBER! It’s time to quit arguing about whether Benedict made a “substantial error,” whether there was an invalid Conclave, whether he bifurcated or whatever, and unite together to RESPECTFULLY BUT VEHEMENTLY REQUEST THAT BISHOPS AND CARDINALS ACT LIKE BISHOPS AND CARDINALS, AS IS THEIR GOD GIVEN DUTY DEMANDS, AND PROVIDE FOR A SERIOUS AND IN DEPTH INVESTIGATION, WHILE OVERLOOKING THE MISTAKE OF HAVING ELECTED AN ANTI-POPE. Allowing the faithful to be deceived is absolutely cruel, for souls are being lost faster with each deceitful word and action of Francis!!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hello Steve, first time reader here, I am really enjoying your commentary and the responses. You seem a level head.
    What appalls me is not a heretic or even an apostate forerunner to the anti-Christ pope. I am shocked by the bishops and Cardinals who support him or are silent, and the number of Catholics who continue to attend NO Mass while sleeping through apostasy.
    BXVI’s abdication was odd, if an abdication can be not-odd. His words and actions didn’t jibe. He wears white because “there were no black cassocks” in Rome, please. He lives in the Vatican, continues to use his papal name. Then there are Ganswein’s very weird statements about a bi-furcated papacy.
    I’m honestly not trying to convince you on this, because I don’t actually care much about this topic, except as it relates to prophesy, I can’t see what difference it all makes. Bergolio is considered pope, and to me that he is an apostate intentionally trying to destroy Catholicism and the West is a foregone conclusion.
    Bergolio is the Destroyer, and he has been successful beyond any imaginings. Now we are at the point where our pope is encouraging us as Catholics to learn from the heathens, people with lip plates and who practice cannibalism, child abandonment, sexual relations with children, and suicide. He wants us to dialogue with spirits, which is demonic, and see shamans as legitimate. He wants earth worship. Jesus Christ has no place with this man, who refuses to genuflect to Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. I’m sorry, I’m rehashing what we all know, but once you get started…
    Yes, these are apocalyptic times. May it please God to send us the remedy, if that be Cardinals finally finding their voice and doing what we have been waiting years for, calling this apostate out publicly for what he is and warning the faithful to consider him anathema, then let it be done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kate, thanks for your comments. BXVI’s reason for wearing white is ridiculous. In the future, resigned popes should be locked away in a cold monastery.

      Thanks for reading.



  12. “…he explains a doctrine of faith or morals to be held by the universal Church…”

    The above, from the VI document on infallibility, clearly states that the Pope is infallible when, “explaining”.

    Conversely, if the Pope is not explaining The Majesterium, the Pope is not infallible.

    So, if the Pope is only infallible in explaining, then he is forbidden to redefine.

    Therefore, if the Pope desires to have female deacons and priests, which is contrary to The Majesterium, then his desires and proclamations are invalid.


    1. “Letstake,” thanks for the comments. They would not only be “invalid”, it would be erroneous–something that VI said the Holy Spirit would protect the pope from. It is insufficient to say they are “invalid.” A pope would be “explaining” the meaning of something related to Faith or Morals. In the case of women’s ordination…that would be erroneous…again…impossible per the definition of VI of a true pope.




  13. Mr. O’Reilly, I apologize for not being more clear. It is the unprecedented situations to which I allude when comparing Jesus’s crucifixion to Pope Benedict’s decision and present circumstances. To be clear and very clear, I do not equate the Second Person of the Trinity to Pope Benedict ever, at all. Rather it is the similarities in the unprecedented situations, as Aqua so eloquently describes, that I find comparable.

    It is very clear that this doesn’t make sense to you. We get it. Jesus’ crucifixion and Resurrection didn’t make sense at first to the Apostles either, especially Thomas. As much as you get that, it is clear that the sense that some BiPpers make of the similarities in the unprecedented situations is lost on you at this time. Okay. Thank you for letting us talk about it at your blog. You might be aware that other non-Bip bloggers are not so generous.

    As you know, the BiP-premise is NOT about Francis (he’s a symptom, even a distraction). BiP is about the “resignation”; therefore, “multiplying Francis” by infinity doesn’t not make an examination into the “resignation” either unfounded or unneeded. In fact when it comes to the premise of BiP, Francis is a big zero. To be clear, he could have been Cdl Sarah or Scola and the BiP premise would remain. That’s an important fact to wrap one’s head around.

    How in the world is Benedict being Pope an easy answer?! We will still have bishop against bishop, and cardinal against cardinal and “the Holy Father will have much to suffer”. The guys running the anti-church will still look for all the world to be the official “church”. I don’t see how things on the ground will be easy should an examination into the “resignation” determine that Benedict is Pope. No, indeed. It will be much the same as it is now–very messy.

    BUT should the examination determine that Benedict is Pope, the schism will FINALLY be visible and unambiguously announced. On the ground I don’t see much changing for the laity–except for there being clarity devoid of ambiguity so people can choose between Church and anti-church, Pope and anti-pope.

    It is true that you have thoroughly reviewed the arguments offered by the BiPers and it is true that you find them “mystical baloney”. I get it and that is why I am so grateful that you have not closed your com box so that we proponents of “mystical baloney” might have a forum of sorts to sound off, gather our thoughts, and even bounce them off each other and you.

    It seems clear to me that you want the Truth as much as I do whether or not it is either obvious or palatable. For this I am grateful.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Islam…thanks for the comments. Much appreciated.

      What is clear…BiPers and other Catholics see signficant problems with the Francis pontificate. It is unfortunate this is the case, because the confusion caused by Francis has led to “us” looking for *the* answer, e.g., is he another Honorius or John XXII—writ large? Is he a formal heretic/apostate who has fallen from the Petrine office? Was there something wrong with the conclave? Or perhaps something to do with his Jesuit vows (see https://romalocutaest.com/2018/07/31/curiouser-and-curiouser-who-dispensed-jorge-bergoglio-sj-from-his-vows/)? and even BiP ( which I cannot subscribe to as you know).

      What “the” answer is, I am confident “we” will one day know. When that day is…I do not know.

      God bless,



      1. My problem is *not* with the “Pontificate”. My problem is with the Expanded Petrine Ministry that produced the evil “Pontificate”.

        Catholics are supposed to be careful, cautious, connected to all that went before. So how do we so easily accept an Emeritus Pope, “comfortably retired so he doesn’t have to close out his days in a cold Monastery (is that really so bad?)? I don’t. The Fathers need to show their work as to how this is in accord with the one, true faith by connecting the unprecedented resignation and subsequent unprecedented acts to Sacred Tradition.

        An invalid Pope, by definition is an evil Pope because he occupies an Office that does not belong to him. Bergoglio’s acts are unsurprising. Antipopes do what they do. Please justify this new Expanded Petrine Ministry before making it part of our Faith. Christ created the perfect Office, and perfect, by definition does not need expansion and change.


  14. The proof is in Antonio Socci’s book. He quotes any number of authoritative sources who have been working this problem out almost since the beginning. The evidence is learned, reasonable, compelling and widespread. Have you read it?

    Popes don’t get to do *unprecedented* resignations without firm Dogmatic foundation and ample references. I think the burden of proof is rather on Bergoglio to justify how we can have an Emeritus now … when we never had one before. I feel quite confident that based on Dogmatic Tradition I am in no way compelled De Fidei to accept this unprecedented innovation, much less all the pollution that naturally emanates from it, without such Dogmatic proof.

    The Church Fathers are bound by Sacred Tradition. They *cannot* produce a retired Emeritus Pope Office just because they feel like it. Show their work. Prove it. You have asked me for proof. That’s kind of backwards. *They* need to prove to me from Sacred Tradition, as they always do for legitimate Magisterial teaching and rule, where this new Expanded Petrine Office comes from, why and how. Convince the Faithful, don’t ignore them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aqua, thanks for the comments. Regarding Socci and the ‘beginning.’ The BiP theory is the 2nd theory to which Socci has subscribed. He first suggested there was a problem of some sort in the balloting. He wrote a book on that, too.

      That is not to say one cannot change one’s mind. However, it seems to me, it does suggest — as a living example – the danger of overly committing to any particular theory in this crisis with moral certainty; beyond what is immediately and – at least seemingly – evident from what is known.

      In all appearances of what is known to us, Pope Francis is pope. I believe it would be rash to say he is definitively not pope. In my opinion, as I have stated on this blog and on twitter, there are obvious doctrinal problems, as well as governance issues.

      Again, this is my opinion. But, my sense is, Francis — at a minimum — falls into the Honorius/John XXII category (multiplied by 1000). This this remains consistent with all known facts, IMO. That Francis may have stepped into formal heresy, must be looked into. The Open Letter made a strong case, I discussed PF’s preface to Walford’s book; which I consider heretical in certain of its content (see https://romalocutaest.com/2019/05/05/pope-francis-the-open-letter-and-the-pesky-preface/).

      I do not exclude the possibility that it *may* be that Francis is a false pope. There are potential theories to explain this. A couple of them I have entertained here only as hypotheticals (see https://romalocutaest.com/2018/07/31/curiouser-and-curiouser-who-dispensed-jorge-bergoglio-sj-from-his-vows/ ).

      I believe either the next pope or a future pope will review this pontificate (and the conclave) with a critical eye. But, I think it would be rash to commit to any of these theories at this point as definitive. Keep your options open.

      There is no reason for one to be so dogmatic on BiP. It divides the just ‘resistance’ to PF, and also further marginalizes it.

      God bless,



      1. The balloting abnormality (fraud) is one of many concerns about how this entire sequence that leaves us with an antipope promoting Amazonia earth religion and married, sexually active Priests (etc). Socci is correct on that, too.

        Appreciate your time, perspective, patience, blog space. Always enjoy discussion with one of a different point of view. I arrived at my own convictions after years (my first inkling anything was wrong was the moment I saw Bergoglio’s face on the Loggia … literally hadn’t heard one solitary word about the man until I saw him and anticipated the new Pope with hope like everyone else .,. but at that moment I was filled with overwhelming rage … unexplained, never to be forgotten rage … confessional level anger … strange huh?) of discernment and long conversations with my various Priests. I respect yours and find your position reasonable, much more so than most. As I-Is I stated, thanks for creating a space for faithful Catholics to talk. So hard to find such a place.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you for your reply, Mr. O’Reilly. Like I said it is hard to get one’s head around this fact so I must re-stress that Bergoglio/Francis is a big ZERO when the premise of BiP is considered. This is true since the BiP premise starts BEFORE the blessed debacle that is Francis was even a blip on the world stage (not the homomafia’s stage, however).

    Perhaps I missed it but I cannot recall your comments/articles about either the commentaries or the irregularities that were noted in those commentaries regarding the Declaratio that were published only days after the “resignation” and well before February 2013 ended. These irregularities were noted by philosophers and Latin scholars like Luciano Canfora, professor at the University of Bari and Prof. Enrico Radaelli.

    You and others may focus on Francis-theories–Jesuit vows, conclave, etc…–and the confusion he exudes, but NONE of that is the focus of the premise of BiP. Moreover, well before Francis’ “election” (whether others of us knew it or not) there were experts like Canfora and Radaelli who sounded the alarm and raised red flags about what Pope Benedict said let alone did.

    I agree with you when you say, “What ‘the’ answer is, I am confident ‘we’ will one day know. When that day is…I do not know” as well as your statement in reply to John, “We must act on what we know or believe to be the truth.” I know that you do not subscribe to this but for these very reasons–acting on what is known–requesting an examination into the “resignation” and encouraging others to do the same seems an eminently reasonable course of action that can be taken now.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Steven,

    Slightly off topic, but do you recall early in Bergoglio’s pontificate it was reported that among the books he was most fond of or influenced by was Robert Hugh Benson’s _Lord of the World_? This tidbit caused some early head-scratching, but since then i haven’t seen any commentary on it. I can’t help thinking the man actually sees himself as enacting the very program deployed by the Church’s enemies in the novel. One of the main characters even includes an apostate priest with the last name Francis. We live in strange days.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Rick, I do recall that. It is bizarre that he would find Benson’s book a favorite. But, no, I haven’t seen any other commentary on this either.

      As for the character Fr. Francis…maybe that’s why he took the name when elected! 😉

      If you come across some commentary…please shoot a link my way. thanks.


      Liked by 1 person

  17. From Antonio Socci’s excellent book, The Secret Of Benedict XVI (highly recommended reading).

    Gerhard Müller, 2016 interview with Vatican Radio as Prefect for CDF:

    Question, “what does having two Popes offer to the Church”.

    Answer, “*Both* exercise an Office that was not theirs to give to themselves and that is not even theirs to define, an Office that has already been ‘de-fined’ by Christ himself, as it has been believed by the believing conscience of the Church ….. They exercise an Office together, at the service of the Faith and the Church …. Both Popes dedicate themselves fully to the mission of the successor of Peter.”

    Antonio Socci Comment: “What sort of resignation is it if he remains the Pope who continues to “fully” carry out the Petrine ministry (ref. Müller)?”

    My comment: No Catholic is required De Fidei to accept a change, especially one as Dogmatically essential as the Papal Office and its occupant, which is unsupported by Dogma or Tradition and which is, by its nature, against the clear words and will of Christ. It does not matter how many Cardinals say otherwise. The Office is Christ’s and.it.caanot.be.changed …. even a molecule, much less a country mile.

    You have dismissed as irrelevant the obvious pervasive evidence that we have two concurrent, “bifurcated”, sharing Popes (ref. Ganswein and CDF Müller) – calling Pope Benedict XVI’s titles and honorifics equivalent to “lipstick on a pig”. I think that is a mistake. The Latin resignation text clearly retained for Pope Benedict XVI the Munus and all the visible evidence and important Catholics close to the situation *affirm* this is so.

    The time for choosing is coming to an end as the crisis draws to some dreadful conclusion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aqua, thanks for the comments. We’ll have to agree to disagree.

      There is no canonical requirement for a specific formula of resignation, and thus there is not one which requires the specific word “munus.” “Ministerium” can be synonymous with “munus.”

      But, even that aside, BXVI said the See of Peter would be vacant at a certain date, time and hour and a new conclave necessary. As the See of Peter will be vacant, there is no one holding the Seat, the Office, the Ministry, the Keys, or whatever word you want to use.

      As for Muller’s statement, it is certainly a curious statement–and one which he should address with greater specificity. Did Socci ask for further comment from him or his own interview?

      That said, it does come from about the time when there was much confusion caused by the words of Ganswein. I’ve addressed his statements and those of BXVI’s last audience (see https://romalocutaest.com/2017/09/04/benedict-is-not-pope/ and https://romalocutaest.com/2017/09/14/benedict-is-still-not-pope/).

      I do recall that the 4 Dubia cardinals specifically rejected the theory. See Cardinal Caffara’s letter (see https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=11608).

      So, it comes back to BXVI’s letter, and I suppose his last audience–though I see nothing in either to support the BiP theory. The last audience, for example, can be read in much less controversial way than BiPers want to admit.

      Thanks for the comments.



      1. I would just reiterate as a post script that the evidence, IMO, presented for BiP nowhere comes close to enabling moral certainty in asserting Benedict is still pope. It seems to me BiPers need to walk back their certainty. We are going to need to wait for a future Pope to adjudicate this pontificate and its origins.


      2. Canon 332.2

        Actually, there is a Canonical requirement. Canon 188. Canon 332.2

        It could not be any more clear.

        He resigned the Ministerium. He did not resign the Munus. It is in the clear Latin text. The Diosece of Rome (See Of Peter) was vacant. He resigned as Rome’s Bishop. He did not resign as Pope. That he specifically retained by his own statement, words, Ganswein’s, Müller’s (CDF) and all subsequent acts.

        Rejecting that evidence is like rejecting proof that water is wet. Don’t know what else to say. Except the chastisement is coming.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Pope Francis is an Illuminati Priest and Apostate Bishop [cf. Why the Catholic Church is true 2: The All-Male Priesthood] and he apostatized prior to becoming Pope. The throne of St. Peter has been usurped [cf. After nearly 236 years, the plan to destroy all the thrones and overturn all the altars in Europe has met with incredible success with the conquering of the final and most priced throne, that of St. Peter] but the altar of the true Church of God will never be overturned.

    What all of this means in terms of all of his acts, God and His Church will sort out it appears, in not too distant a future.


      1. Ah, thewarourtime, it is for sure that these are confusing and conflicted times. I will pray the Flame of Love prayer for you and your intentions.


  19. And because Catholics failed to defend the Papacy in its hour of need … they’re coming for us all.

    To wit – ”William Barr, the death penalty, and Catholic Communion Wars“ – Steven Schneck Catholic University professor emeritus … (Catholics who promote the death penalty are cooperating in grave sin …. Should they be barred from communion?).


    You wait for some future Pope or Council to act. God wants *us* to act now.

    The consequences may not have reached you and yours yet. The article above shows how they will be immediately relevant to us all in all ways that matter. You defend this Pope and the Pope is filling in all the gaps from high to low. He and his will insist on obedience. Sooner than you think.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aqua, thanks for the comments.

      I agree ‘something’ should be done. But, I don’t think asserting BXVI is that ‘something.’ We need to do “something” which is different from doing “anything.” You’ll have a pope who isn’t in communion with himself…i.e., he denies he’s pope.

      I do wish the few cardinals/bishops on the side of the angels would come out directly and issue the first canonical warning. Start the ball rolling, so to speak. This something that should have started years ago at this point.

      I do not defend “this” pope. I have fully supported a formal correction — long ago — on this blog. I have long opined he is at least another Honorius or John XXII. I consider the Open Letter something cardinals and bishops should consider, and I even threw in some more evidence (see https://romalocutaest.com/2019/05/05/pope-francis-the-open-letter-and-the-pesky-preface/). I have even suggested ways in which his acceptance of his election might not be valid (see https://romalocutaest.com/2018/07/31/curiouser-and-curiouser-who-dispensed-jorge-bergoglio-sj-from-his-vows/) and I have discussed the possibility of external influence on the conclave and potential UDG violations.

      All these things I consider more probable than BiP. It is not out of love of what Francis has done that I say that. I just think some folks are overly committed to something that might be a dead end. I contend we don’t know what we’re facing. So…what is needed now is to address what is obvious. Francis must be canonically warned and formally corrected.




      1. Got it. Once again, very much appreciate all of your commentary and engagement on the issue.

        A) I think the fundamental premise is that we must recognize the true Pope, no less than when Athanasius insisted we must recognize Jesus is not from God but is God; consubstantial, not made. One little letter (e) made all the difference in Christendom surviving or collapsing. He insisted on it. His fellow Catholics denied the Pope and 95% of Christendom and 99% of Clerics in defense of Jesus as true God and true Man. The Papacy has been re-made. You accept it by your own words (“make it easier for future Popes to retire …”). Who gave them this permission?

        B) You think the heresy stream is the important issue. I see the heresy stream as a *natural byproduct* of the precedent heresy – which is the re-formation of the Papal Office and a squatter now on the Throne of St. Peter.

        You will never cure the heresy until you first go back and correct the fundamental error.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Aqua, it is strange (but perhaps not really as strategies go) that the same exact argument was put forth by a theology teacher from Fordham University here: https://religionnews.com/2019/07/26/death-penalty-decision-answers-lingering-questions-about-how-barrs-faith-affects-his-politics/

      I myself have been disallowed to speak/teach on topics unrelated to BiP at small groups held on church property because I presented the suggestion to our pastor that an examination into Pope Benedict’s resignation would be a good thing. Since I’ve also been outspoken regarding the 2000-year teaching regarding the death penalty, I may be in line for what these two “Catholic” university professors have suggested for AG Barr.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Very interesting. We must know what the Church teaches as if our souls depend on it, and we can’t necessarily count on anyone at the Parish level for help.

        I have informed all relevant authorities of my firm convictions and will stand by them no matter the cost.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. Aqua, did you happen to catch frdbelland’s reply to you further “upstream” in the comment thread? It was posted on July 29th at 8:27 pm.

      I appreciate both the clarity and succinctness of you comments as well as the insightful analogies that you articulate. I hope you will not mind if I use some of them to form a statement to my local clergy including my bishop. I think that with yours and frdbelland’s comments here, i will be able to make a succinct case for the examination of Pope Benedict’s renouncement. Whether or not it will elicit a response of “it’s worth a look” I will never know unless I take the risk.

      If you should ever wish to confer outside of the com box, you can contact me at IslamIsIslam.JMJ@googlemail.com. Dominus vobiscum!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. “The Holy Spirit was not given to the Roman Pontiffs so that they might disclose new doctrine, but so that they might guard and set forth the Deposit of Faith handed down from the Apostles.”
    Recognizing that I employ this quote from “Pastor Aeternus” without respite, and which I regard as the linchpin, I must and do question if any pronouncement of a pope in contradiction of the perennial Magisterium can be taken as being from the Chair of Saint Peter. Should the occupant of the Chair contradict the perennial Magisterium he speaks as an individual, not as the Supreme Pontiff. I need to be illuminated about this. Surely others since the First Vatican Council have acknowledged the caveat offered here. It would seem to me it is what allowed the Council Fathers to offer their ascent to the defined doctrine.
    It is the perennial Magisterium which preserves us and the living Magisterium from error, not the other way around. They are not independent of each other, but totally dependent. When the living Magisterium disengages with a core dimension of its existential justification it would appear to exist only in theory, not reality.
    Papal infallibility and the authority of the episcopate are not conveyed by a magic spell. They are provided the ascent to truth provided by the individual man when he consents to ordination to any and all the degrees of the Holy Priesthood.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. James, that for the comments.

      The protection extends to him as a public person, etc. The quote above is explanatory, but it is not formally part of the definition itself.

      A “new” doctrine is a matter of faith of morals (contrary to them!), so a true pope could not define it–or would be prevented from doing so; rather than it being “invalid” if contrary to the teaching of the Church IMO.

      Thanks for the reading.



      1. “Pastor Aeternus” is a tightly crafted articulation of the Church’s understanding of the nature of the infallibility of the Supreme Pontiff. It is composed of twenty-five paragraphs. To simply dismiss Denzinger 3070 out of hand as not being part of the definition is not credible. It is there for a reason. It stands unique in the document. It actually addresses the present situation rather perfectly. Given the nature of episcopal comportment – courtly discretion – boldly in flower at the time [and shamelessly, nefariously, employed in the pontificate of “hagan lio”] it anticipates, it recognizes, the possibility of the unimaginable with great discretion; a pontiff recklessly intent on the deconstruction of the Catholic Church and reimaging it into a pliant ideological comfort zone.
        How could it be otherwise? Despite the perception of the zeitgeist Catholicism is the clear lens on our anthropological reality, a rational species, indeed a creation, hell-bent on its own self-gratification in opposition to the boundless impulse of Almighty God, our Creator, Redeemer and Advocate. No one who has ever sat hearing confessions in any age could deny the possibility of what we presently shoulder.
        “Pastor Aeternus” in its totality is not only the concise defining articulation of papal authority and infallibility, it is a means to understand it as well as its contextualization. Denzinger 3070 is no less important than other statement in the document. It is as absolutely critical as any other. It stands in relationship to every other truth articulated in “Pastor Aeternus,” although at this point in salvation history it comes to the fore.
        Your website stands alone among even among the particularly fine in the Catholic web. Well done!


      2. James, thanks for the generous words re the blog.

        With regard to 3070…I would not share your opinion, if by it, you are suggesting it is conceivable, even if only a hypothetical, that a Roman pontiff could err as a public person, with the conditions of the definition of PA in mind in all other respects.

        The paragraph you cite seems to be explain why it is the Pontiffs and their teaching had been accepted and “embraced” by the venerable fathers. It is a witness to the doctrine, and the purpose for which it is true, etc. That is, the purity of doctrine and formal teaching of the Roman pontiffs were ultimately guarded by the Holy Spirit. If the See of Rome could truly teach “new doctrines” (really heresy) under the appearance of the formal conditions of VI, what you suggest as a possible exception would really demonstrate the meaningless of the doctrine–i.e., the Holy Spirit did not guard the doctrine of the Apostolic See, the very point of 3070 in my view.

        Thanks for reading the blog.



  21. Mr. O’Reilly, this is a “housekeeping” note. Aqua’s inability to use a “reply” button hasn’t anything to do with the way you run your com box. It’s actually a wordpress feature. It seems that the “reply” button is only available once (or maybe twice) per comment in the com box BUT another reply option is allowed should there be a string that shows up under the “alert bell” in the upper righthand corner. It seems that one has to be personally involved in the string for it to show up under one’s “alert bell”. The short point is that it is nothing you’ve done that messes with the “reply” button. It’s a wordpress feature.


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