April 22, 2022 (Steven O’Reilly) – Benepapism appears to have some momentum, with the publication of a couple or more books over the last couple years. Unfortunately, instead of presenting their case for the Church to one day adjudicate, or even presenting a list of questions to Benedict directly to resolve their doubts (see A Suggestion for Beneplenists before it’s too late), some Benepapists have launched a petition for Catholics (see here) to sign, in which the petitioners declare they “remain faithful to Pope Benedict XVI,” as well as declare that any future conclave must be held under certain conditions — specified by them! — to be valid. Such an action is rash, and imprudent. It is utter folly. One can readily see the potential for schism is very real.
In response to these developments, a few weeks ago, RomaLocutaEst published the The Case against those who claim “Benedict is (still) pope”. That article links to several new articles which examine the key documents associated with the Benepapist controversy, some of which the Benepapists appeal to, and one or two they simply ignore. Following that, I thought it would make sense to address Patrick Coffin’s video entitled “Seven pieces of evidence that Francis is an antipope,” even though a few up to that point had already done so. This led to the RomaLocutaEst post entitled Benepapism and Mr. Coffin’s “Seven Pieces of Information Francis is an anti-pope”. This article, and the one mentioned above provide detailed answers to the Benepapists.
I did note that Mr. Coffin lists his interview with Dr. Mazza (see here) as a “resource.” Given Mr. Coffin presents this as a Benepapist resource in its own right, I thought it would make sense to provide a specific article dedicated to Mr. Coffin’s interview of Dr. Mazza. Many have heard Mr. Coffin’s show on the subject, but few have had an opportunity to read a critical examination of Dr. Mazza’s thesis. That is where this wee, humble blog — RomaLocutaEst; ‘one the world little notes, nor will long remember’ — undaunted, steps into the breach, once more. Consequently, I provide an expanded answer to the thesis “3.0” presented by Dr. Mazza in his discussion with Mr. Coffin. Fair warning…it is long. However, it is intended to be a resource for those who have taken the time to actually listen to Dr. Mazza and Mr. Coffin, and who are interested in the subject–especially in refuting the manifest errors of the Benepapists.
A summary of the argument made by Dr. Mazza on Mr. Coffin’s show is provided below as an “objection” to the validity of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation. My reply to that objection, including Dr. Mazza’s citations of Josef Ratzinger follow.
Objection: Pope Benedict XVI held erroneous views regarding the ‘Petrine munus,’ believing in a “sacramental papacy” in such a way that he thought he would continue to keep all of the Petrine munus, or at least a part of it following his resignation in some real, ontological sense, as “Pope Emeritus.” Had Benedict known there was no such thing as a “sacramental papacy,” and that when a pope renounces the Petrine office that’s it, and that he is not papal any longer in any way, he would not have resigned.[i]
Reply to Objection: The above Objection has been proposed by Dr. Edmund Mazza on a Patrick Coffin podcast.[ii] His argument is comprised of two linked propositions which both must be proven true, from Dr. Mazza’s perspective, to conclude that Benedict’s resignation was invalid. Dr. Mazza must demonstrate:
(1) Benedict believed in a “sacramental papacy” in which he would retain the Petrine munus in some way or to some degree if he resigned; and, that
(2) Benedict would not have resigned the papacy if he understood this is not truly the case. That is to say, but for Benedict’s misunderstanding of the Petrine munus, he would not have resigned.
In order to evaluate Dr. Mazza’s thesis, we must first examine his argument that Benedict, as theologian Josef Ratzinger, actually believed in a ‘sacramental papacy.’
Did Josef Ratzinger believe in a “sacramental papacy”?
Dr. Mazza says that Ratzinger believed in a “sacramental papacy.” Is this really true? The thrust of Dr. Mazza’s argument is “yes”, Ratzinger distinguished between a sacramental ontological “munus” and a canonical juridical “munus.” Per Dr. Mazza’s presentation, Ratzinger’s view is that while the latter might be lost, the former cannot be. Essentially, this is Ratzingers/Benedict’s erroneous view, that once he receives the Petrine munus, he could never lose it.
What proofs does Dr. Mazza offer that Benedict actually held this theological opinion? Dr. Mazza provides two “money” quotes from Josef Ratzinger, the first from his 1987 book, Principles of Catholic Theology, and the second, Theological Highlights of Vatican II.
In his appearance on Mr. Coffin’s podcast, Dr. Mazza introduces these two key quotes to prove his thesis. In the first of these, Dr. Mazza paraphrases Ratzinger from his book Principles of Catholic Theology. Dr. Mazza says to Patrick Coffin:
“…But now we get back to the sacramental ontological munus vs. the canonical juridical munus, if you will. So let me introduce a quote from Josef Ratzinger from Principles of Catholic Theology from 1987 available from Ignatius Press…and basically he says ‘I disagree with those who teach’ that “the papacy is not a sacrament that it is only a juridical institution, but this juridical institution has set itself above the sacramental order.” Let me unpack that. Ratzinger is arguing that what is foremost what’s important foremost is the sacramental ontological munus not the “office” that perhaps comes and goes.”[iii]
Dr. Mazza provides Ratzinger’s quote above and provides his interpretation of it. He tells us that Ratzinger is arguing against those who say “the papacy is not a sacrament.” Here, Dr. Mazza identifies Ratzinger’s error, in his view, being that if the papacy is a sacrament, ‘one can never lose it.’ Dr. Mazza again emphasizes what Ratzinger, in Dr. Mazza’s opinion, is saying:
“What does Joseph Ratzinger say? He says, “No, no, no. “I disagree with those people who say the papacy is not a sacrament, that it’s only a juridical institution. That juridical institution has set itself above the sacramental order. ””[iv]
Dr. Mazza quite clearly is saying that Ratzinger in his book Principles of Catholic Theology “disagrees” with those who say the “papacy is not a sacrament,” thus obviously meaning, in Dr. Mazza’s view: Ratzinger believes that the ‘papacy is a sacrament.’
In fairness to Dr. Mazza, he is really providing his own paraphrase of Ratzinger, though he says he is quoting him. Further, he was on a live podcast. That should be kept in mind. We all make mistakes. Still, as Dr. Mazza has made this quote central to his thesis that Benedict believes the ‘papacy is a sacrament;’ we need to examine the original quote from Ratzinger’s book to determine whether Dr. Mazza’s paraphrase is a fair and accurate one.
However, upon closer examination, Dr. Mazza’s interpretation bears little resemblance to what Ratzinger actually said. A fuller, extended citation from the original source is provided below. Ratzinger, in context, is speaking on the subject of ecumenism between East and West. Ratzinger writes (italics mine):
“All this, as we have said, is basically true also of the separation between Rome and Constantinople that became the starting point of the division between East and West. Not everyone, it is true, especially on the Orthodox side, would agree with this opinion – which shows how time has served to intensify the gravity of the dispute. For, from the Orthodox point of view, at least according to one interpretation, the monarchia papae means a destruction of the ecclesial structure as such, in consequence of which something different and new replaces the primitive Christian form. Because this aspect of the problem is, generally speaking, more or less foreign to us in the West, I should like to indicate in a few words how this impression has arisen in the East. For such a view, the Church in the West is no longer, under the leadership of her bishops, a nexus of local churches that, in their collegial unity, go back to the community of the twelve apostles; she is seen, rather, as a centrally organized monolith in which the new legal concept of a “perfect society” has superseded the old idea of succession in the community. In her, the faith that was handed down no longer (so it seems) serves as the sole normative rule—a rule that can be newly interpreted only with the consensus of all the local churches; in her, the will of the absolute sovereign creates a new authority. Precisely this difference in the concept of authority grew steadily more intense and reached its climax in 1870 with the proclamation of the primacy of jurisdiction: in one case, only the tradition that has been handed down serves as a valid source of law, and only the consensus of all is the normative criterion for determining and interpreting it. In the other case, the source of law appears to be the will of the sovereign, which creates on its own authority (ex sese) new laws that then have the power to bind. The old sacramental structure seems overgrown, even choked, by this new concept of the law: the papacy is not a sacrament, it is “only” a juridical institution; but this juridical institution has set itself above the sacramental order.”[v]
Recall, in his appearance on Mr. Coffin’s show, Dr. Mazza said Ratzinger was arguing that he disagreed with those who say “the papacy is not a sacrament.” Thus, implicitly, he is saying Ratzinger believes the ‘papacy is a sacrament.’
However, what should be immediately evident from the extended quote is that Ratzinger is not arguing anything of the sort. He is simply explaining how the Eastern Church views the Western Church, and the papacy in particular. This is evidently the case because Ratzinger says so himself:
“…Because this aspect of the problem is, generally speaking, more or less foreign to us in the West, I should like to indicate in a few words how this impression has arisen in the East. For such a view…”
To briefly sum up Ratzinger’s presentation of the Eastern view, it proceeds as follows. The East sees that the West through such developments as the doctrine of papal infallibility, the pope as “absolute sovereign,” etc., as having turned the papacy into something of a sacrament. This is the East’s straw man, which the East rejects, essentially complaining through Ratzinger’s presentation of the East’s view: “the papacy is not a sacrament, it is “only” a juridical institution; but this juridical institution has set itself above the sacramental order.”
Ratzinger was obviously describing the Orthodox Church’s view, not his own; and without suggesting he personally ‘disagrees with those who say the papacy is not a sacrament’ or for that matter, saying anything of his opinion at all on the question.
Now, Dr. Mazza elsewhere in one of his articles[vi] does provide a longer citation of the passage than he did in his appearance on Mr. Coffin’s podcast, but even so, that citation is not as long as the one provided above. Still, even at that, the citation Dr. Mazza provides in his article leaves off the wording which would have made it clear to the reader Ratzinger was describing the Orthodox Church’s perspective.
Instead, Dr. Mazza introduces the citation in his article speaking of Ratzinger “Expressing his sympathy for the view of the Orthodox churches of the East.” But even here, Dr. Mazza’s interpretation seems off the mark. Ratzinger, as the extended quote I provided makes evident, provides a commentary on the Eastern Church’s view of the West. But this only deepens one’s puzzlement, because if Ratzinger is “expressing his sympathy for the view of the Orthodox” East as Dr. Mazza avers, would that not mean he agrees with them the papacy is not a sacrament? Isn’t that the very opposite of what Dr. Mazza hoped to prove by the quote during his appearance on Mr. Coffin’s show?
So where does Dr. Mazza’s presentation of the above citation in question leave us? There is no gentler way to say it but this. Dr. Mazza has either misunderstood or innocently misstated Ratzinger’s view; attributing to him a theological opinion that is simply not his in the text (Note: Dr. Mazza would not be the first. See discussion of Ms. Barnhardt’s “thermonuclear” misuse of a Ratzinger text in Regarding Benedict’s Declaratio; read Objection 2.1/2.2 and Reply to that objection). There we will leave this matter.
But wait…another quote from Ratzinger?
Immediately following his discussion with Mr. Coffin of the significance of the quote above and its implications, Dr. Mazza introduces a second quote from Josef Ratzinger to support his view Ratzinger believed the papacy is a sacrament. Still speaking with Mr. Coffin, Dr. Mazza continues:
“…Here’s another quote from Ratzinger right after the council and it is from his book Theological Highlights of Vatican II published in 1966 by Paulist press, again another money line, “the ministry of the bishop – meaning munus in Latin – is not an externally assigned administrative power but rather is itself sacramentally based. The ruling of the Church, and its spiritual mystery are inseparable.” (32:01 to 32:43; unofficial transcription by O’Reilly)
Before analyzing Dr. Mazza’s quote above, let us first examine it, as we did with the one above, in an extended context. Beginning earlier in the text, a longer quote is provided below for more context:
“The eucharist is there to build man up for the body of Christ, and conversely the building up of the Church is accomplished through the eucharist. Each of these penetrates the other. Whoever has, as a priest, the privilege of presiding over the eucharist not only transforms the substance of the bread into the that of the body of Christ, but is also performing a ministry for the Church of God, which lives from this eucharist. In the eucharistic office, both the sacrament and the “ruling power” interpenetrate one another, and it becomes at once clear how inappropriate the words “rule” and “power” are with regard to the Church. We have no more right to speak of a quasi-profane ruling power, neatly separated from the sacramental ministry, than we have a right to speak of a separation between the mystical and eucharistic body of Christ.
But this mean that the pluralism of the sacramental communities and the unity of the Church’s ministries safeguarded by the pope likewise interpenetrate one another. It is precisely this that is the actual content of collegiality. Its reference to the sacramental definition of the office of bishop ultimately comes from a sacramentally defined image of the Church. The ministry of the bishop is not an externally assigned “administrative power,” but rather arises from the necessary plurality of the eucharistic communities (i.e., of the Churches in the Church) and, as representing these, is itself sacramentally based. The ruling of the Church and its spiritual mystery are inseparable.”[vii]
As in the earlier case of Ratzinger’s Principles of Catholic Theology, this extended quote does not support Dr. Mazza’s thesis that Ratzinger believed the papacy is a sacrament, or a ‘sacramental papacy’, or in a ‘sacramental ontological munus’ that could not be lost like the ‘canonical juridical munus.’
First, Ratzinger, as the extended quote manifests, was not speaking of the papacy primarily or exclusively. That is not the subject of his discussion. Second, Dr. Mazza’s presentation of this quote in the podcast emphasizes that the “ministry of the bishop is not an externally assigned “administrative power” but is sacramentally based. This, at first glance, might appear to have some bearing to Dr. Mazza’s thesis. However, Dr. Mazza’s paraphrase leaves out an important point, found in the original text which he did not include in his paraphrase of the quote. The original text Dr. Mazza should have quoted states (emphasis added):
“The ministry of the bishop is not an externally assigned “administrative power,” but rather arises from the necessary plurality of the eucharistic communities (i.e., of the Churches in the Church) and, as representing these, is itself sacramentally based. The ruling of the Church and its spiritual mystery are inseparable.”[viii]
The emphasis above is for the section of the quote not included in Dr. Mazza’s presentation. The reader will see that Dr. Mazza left out that the “administrative power,” which is not externally assigned, “rather arises from the necessary plurality of the eucharistic communities (i.e., of the Churches in the Church) and, as representing these, is sacramentally based.”
Ratzinger is not suggesting a system in which the bishop’s office cannot be lost! He is speaking of how the “administrative power…arises from the necessary plurality of eucharistic communities.” Earlier in the extended quote from Theological Highlights of Vatican II, Ratzinger had said that “In the eucharistic office, both the sacrament and the “ruling power” interpenetrate one another.” Thus, if we must force a theological conclusion here from this construction, it is not one favorable to Dr. Mazza’s thesis.
That is to say, there is nothing here to suggest the “munus” or office cannot be lost. Rather, Ratzinger more likely would say the “ruling” power “necessarily arises” from a bishop being set over, or “representing,” a eucharistic community (i.e., a local Church); and given “in the eucharistic office, both the sacrament and the “ruling power” interpenetrate one another” if bishop should cease being over that eucharistic community as its head, he would lose his “ruling power” over that local Church (i.e., there would no longer be an interpenetration of the “ruling power”).
In short, there is nothing in Dr. Mazza’s citation that necessarily proves or even supports his thesis, in the least. There is no argument to be found here to suggest Ratzinger believed the papacy is a sacrament, or that the Petrine munus cannot be lost or surrendered upon resignation in full.
But even with this theory, the curious thing is that Dr. Mazza has left behind something of a potential ticking time-bomb that perhaps few noted. Briefly, Dr. Mazza admitted on Mr. Coffin’s show that the Church has never defined ‘how one is made a bishop’ – a core question underlying his thesis. Dr. Mazza explains to Mr. Coffin (italics added):
“… I have to do more research, I don’t believe he (i.e, Benedict) is guilty of heresy per se, as a matter of fact, my research has uncovered is that there is a slight possibility that he might be right, because the Church has actually never come down and defined how the mechanics of how you are made a bishop in the Church. There is an outside possibility that he could be right in which case his renunciation was valid…But the fact of the matter is he could be in just error, in genuine sincere error if that is not the way the mechanics of the Church, if that is not a correct ecclesiology.”[ix]
What’s that? Wait a second! We have been led to believe by Dr. Mazza that Pope Benedict XVI had made a theological error, only to now find out — offhandedly — that the Church has not even defined the crucial issue at stake behind Dr. Mazza’s entire premise. We also learn there is a chance — even if only an “outside possibility” according to Dr. Mazza’s understanding — that Benedict is correct, in which case “his renunciation was valid.”
Let us set aside what has been demonstrated thus far, i.e., Dr. Mazza has misunderstood, innocently misstated, and innocently overstated what Ratzinger said. If we leave that aside, and even grant Dr. Mazza’s construction of the case, even then he admits Ratzinger’s view is not necessarily a theological error.
So, this is but another example of the shifting sands upon which many Benepapists build their case. Yet, why should one commit with certainty, such as some have, the extent to pledging themselves to Benedict as the still reigning pope and signing petitions, when even Dr. Mazza admits “I have to do more research?”
But for Benedict’s misunderstanding…he would not have resigned?
Regardless of any dispute of what Ratzinger did or did not say in the quotes we have already considered, one thing is certainly not in dispute. Dr. Mazza and the Benepapists have not produced any systematic presentation by Ratzinger of his understanding of the Petrine munus relative to the papacy, and specifically related to papal resignations. That is the crux of the matter. Having had five years or so to search the works of Benedict, the Benepapists have come up empty handed. No theological writings presented that bear directly on the question of papal resignations with regard to the munus.
The examples offered up by Dr. Mazza and Ms. Barnhardt (see Benedict is Still Pope and Other Errors ) serve only to illustrate the weakness of the efforts to find evidence that Josef Ratzinger held erroneous opinions regarding the nature of the papacy. Ultimately, even so, I think, Cardinal Burke sums up these sorts of questions well:
“Whatever he may have theoretically thought about the papacy, the reality is what is expressed in the Church’s discipline. He withdrew his will to be the Vicar of Christ on earth, and therefore he ceased to be the Vicar of Christ on earth…He abdicated all the responsibilities that define the papacy (cf. Pastor Aeternus) and therefore he abdicated the papacy.”[x]
Now, we have thus far addressed the Objector’s claim that Benedict as Ratzinger the theologian believed in a ‘sacramental papacy.’ Yet, this claim is not ultimately, for the Objector, Benedict’s “substantial error.” Rather, Benedict’s “substantial error” — per Dr. Mazza’s theory — is that Benedict would not have resigned the papacy had he known that his understanding of the munus or the “sacramental papacy” was in error, and that he would not retain anything of the munus at all after his resignation. Yes, this is somewhat complicated. But, as Dr. Mazza puts it in his own words:
“Had he known that the truth of the matter is there is no such thing sacramental papacy and that when you renounce the office that’s it … you’re not papal in any way shape or form any more….I honestly believe based on everything he said over the last 60 years, he would not have resigned…”[xi]
“…he only resigned because he thought he was going to papal…he was still going to share in the shadow of Peter…”[xii]
Dr. Mazza cannot say he knows anything of the sort! This is pure speculation. Dr. Mazza is attempting to read Pope Benedict XVI’s thoughts as to what he would or would not do had he realized there is no such thing as a ‘sacramental papacy.’ Dr. Mazza has no abilities to accomplish such a feat of mind-reading.
At this point, it would do well to recall the words of Cardinal Brandmuller on these sorts of questions where one tries to read into what Pope Benedict XVI intended or thought regarding his resignation. Cardinal Brandmuller cited two Roman dicta in his discussion with Diane Montagna on the topic of the controversy surrounding Benedict’s resignation in her article for LifeSiteNews, entitled “Did Benedict really resign? Ganswein, Burke and Brandmuller weigh in.” The first dicta is “de internis non iudicat praetor,” which as translated in the article is a ‘judge does not judge internal things.’ The second of the Roman dicta cited by Cardinal Brandmuller was “quod non est in actis, non est in mundo” which was translated in Ms. Montagna’s article “what is not in the acts [of the process], is not in the world.” In this LifeSiteNews interview, Ms. Montagna reported:
“In judging the validity of any juridical act, Cardinal Brandmüller said we need to consider the “facts and documents” and “not what the people in question might have been thinking.”
“You always have to keep in mind that the law speaks of verifiable facts, not of thoughts,” he said.[xiii]
In view of the dicta cited by Brandmuller, we can see, that Dr. Mazza is attempting to read Pope Benedict XVI’s thoughts as to what he would or would not do had he realized there is no such thing as a ‘sacramental papacy.’ Yet, obviously, Dr. Mazza has no abilities to accomplish such a feat of mind-reading.
However, before proceeding further with the Reply to the Objection. Let us recall the definition of “substantial error.”
“Substantial error is a mistaken judgment that is not of minor importance and is truly a cause of the consequent resignation.”[xiv]
One commentary on the Code of Canon Law gives the following as an example of “substantial error”: “a diocesan finance officer who mistakenly thinks one must resign when a new bishop is named even though one’s term has not expired.”[xv] In an interview with LifeSiteNews (Feb 14, 2019), Cardinal Brandmuller provided the following example: “If a Pope decided to resign because he thought Islamic troops were invading the Vatican, the resignation would be invalid if the Islamic troops weren’t in fact invading.”[xvi]
As can be quickly observed, these two examples certainly do not pertain to the objection posed by Dr. Mazza. Yet, in his appearance on Mr. Coffin’s show, and in our debate, Dr. Mazza repeatedly asserted that Benedict ‘stipulated’ he would not have resigned if he had known he would lose the munus as the “pope emeritus.”
Pure speculation. There is no evidence that Benedict made this “stipulation.” The stipulation is only in Dr. Mazza’s mind, as he himself admitted when he says to Mr. Coffin: “I honestly believe based on everything he said over the last 60 years, he would not have resigned.”
The truth is, we know why Benedict resigned. He told us. First, in the Declaratio, Benedict cited his weakness and lack of strength. He said so twice, and he said it was “for this reason” he was renouncing the papacy. Furthermore, we know from a Peter Seewald interview done back in 2010, a few years before the resignation, that Benedict said that if he ever lacked the strength to continue, then he had a moral obligation to resign. Benedict said (italics added):
“Yes. If a pope clearly realizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically, and spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office, then he has a right and, under some circumstances, also the obligation to resign.”[xvii]
After his resignation, Benedict said pretty much the same thing:
“One can of course make that accusation, but it would be a functional misunderstanding. The follower of Peter is not merely bound to function; the office enters your very being. In this regard, fulfilling a function is not the only criterion. Then again, the Pope must do concrete things, must keep the whole situation in his sights, must know which priorities to set, and so on. This ranges from receiving heads of state, receiving bishops — with whom one must be able to enter into a deeply intimate conversation — to the decisions which come each day. Even if you say a few of these things can be struck off, there remain so many things which are essential, that, if the capability to do them is no longer there — for me anyway; someone else might see it otherwise — now’s the time to free up the chair.”[xviii]
Given his lack of strength, Benedict believed he had a moral obligation to resign. His inadequacy to fulfill the munus/ministerium was the “true cause” of his resignation. As he said to Seewald above, “if the capability to do” the things a pope must is no longer there, “now’s the time to free up the chair.” As this was a moral obligation in Benedict’s judgment, it obliged regardless of any condition or status he believed he may or may not have retained relative to the Petrine munus after his resignation.
In sum, in replying to Objection 4, it has been shown that the Objector, Dr. Mazza, has failed to prove the two things required by his thesis. First, he failed to demonstrate Josef Ratzinger held an erroneous view of the Petrine munus, i.e., that he believed the ‘papacy is a sacrament’ or in a ‘sacramental papacy.’ Dr. Mazza’s evidence from Ratzinger’s books did not say what he said it said, and in the end, he even admitted Ratzinger’s view might have been correct. Second, Dr. Mazza failed to prove that Pope Benedict XVI would not have resigned had he understood his view of the Petrine munus was erroneous. Instead, he only offered his own speculations in the face of contrary evidence that Benedict was acting according to his perceived moral obligation to resign.
Another Argument against the Objection
In addition to the arguments against Objection thus far made, there are other grounds to reject the notion that Benedict believed he somehow retained something of the Petrine munus after his resignation. In the section of Canon Law dealing with the Roman Pontiff, canon 331 says of the Bishop of Rome that the munus is given in a “special way by the Lord to Peter…and transmitted to his successors,” and resides in him uniquely (cf. canon 331).
Therefore, if one is not the bishop of Rome, one does not hold the Petrine munus in any size, shape, or form. Given Benedict XVI, as demonstrated in the earlier replies, did in fact resign “the See of Rome, the See of Peter,” it cannot be said that the Petrine munus resides in him any longer. As Pope, Benedict was surely aware of the specific canons related to the papacy; it defies credulity to suggest Benedict could possibly believe he could retain anything of the Petrine munus following his resignation.
Reductio ad Absurdum
Finally, there is yet another flaw in the objection. If Dr. Mazza is correct that Benedict XVI’s understanding of the Petrine munus was erroneous, then it would seem Benedict XVI could not have resigned the papacy validly – or we could not be sure he had — even if he had explicitly renounced the “munus” when renouncing the Petrine office as the Benepapist require. Moreover, we might wonder, if Benedict’s understanding of the papacy was so erroneous that we could never be sure he resigned from it, should we then wonder too, whether he validly accepted his election?
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 author of Book I of the Pia Fidelis trilogy, The Two Kingdoms. (Follow on twitter at @fidelispia for updates). He asks for your prayers for his intentions. He can be contacted at StevenOReilly@AOL.com or StevenOReilly@ProtonMail.com (or follow on Twitter: @S_OReilly_USA or on GETTR, or Gab: @StevenOReilly).
[i] Dr. Edmund advanced this thesis on Patrick Coffin’s podcast, entitled “#248: Is Benedict XVI Still the Pope?—Dr. Edmund Mazza”
[ii] See “#248: Is Benedict XVI Still the Pope?—Dr. Edmund Mazza” on the Patrick Coffin Media site (https://www.patrickcoffin.media/is-benedict-xvi-still-the-pope/); accessed 4/21/2022
[iii] (Patrick Coffin Show. Time stamp 30:01 to 30:55; unofficial transcript by O’Reilly)
[v] (Source: Joseph Ratzinger, Principle of Catholic Theology: Building Stone for a Fundamental Theology. Ignatius Press. 1987 Pages 194-195)
[vii] (Theological Highlights of Vatican II, Joseph Ratzinger, p. 189-190)
[x] (Source: Diane Montagna, LifeSiteNews, February 14, 2019: Did Benedict really resign? Gänswein, Burke and Brandmüller weigh in)
[xi] (Patrick Coffin show: Is Benedict XVI still pope? Time: 38:00; Unofficial transcription by O’Reilly)
[xii] (Patrick Coffin show: Is Benedict XVI still pope? Time: 59:39; Unofficial transcription by O’Reilly)
[xiii] (Source: Diane Montagna, LifeSiteNews, February 14, 2019: Did Benedict really resign? Gänswein, Burke and Brandmüller weigh in)
[xiv] (Source: Code of Canon Law, Text and Commentary, Coriden, Green, Heintschel)
[xv] (source: “New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law[NCCL] , Beal, Coriden, Green, p. 222).
[xvi] (Source: Diane Montagna, LifeSiteNews, February 14, 2019: Did Benedict really resign? Gänswein, Burke and Brandmüller weigh in).
[xvii] (Source: Peter Seewald. Light of the World. published 2010. p. 39)
[xviii] (Benedict XVI: Last Testament in his own words, Peter Seewald, p. 66, Kindle Version)