Ratzinger Code: “Don’t believe your lying eyes”

October 16, 2022 (Steven O’Reilly) – Roma Locuta Est has written against the two main Benepapist theories. One being the “substantial error” theory, and the other, we may call the ‘Plan B’ theory. The main Benepapist theorists have been engaged in something of a war against the other in recent months. Roma Locuta Est has covered some of that battle (see A Benepapist Civil War? and Benedict XVI: strategic genius or theological fool?).

We have addressed both these theories in various articles which have appeared in various ‘Summas’ against the BiP or Benepapist theories (see The Summa Contra BiP, and the more recent The Case Against those who believe Benedict is still pope).  In addition, after additional research, a still more decisive case against the Benepapists is now available in the recently released book:  VALID?  The Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI – The Case against the Benepapists.

In this article, I’d like to focus on the so-called Ratzinger Code which seems to be all the rage in some quarters in Italy at the moment. To briefly summarize, these Benepapists believe Benedict intentionally wrote a Declaratio that only superficially appears to be a valid resignation of his papal office. However, the reality is, they say, all he did was to make a non-juridically binding statement that was stepping aside from the active exercise of his office. Thus, the See of Rome is ‘impeded’ in some fashion, yet Benedict remains the valid pope in all respects. We will not go into the absurdities of this part of the theory, which despite the denials of its advocates, would make Benedict a monster for putting the Church through this current mess.

Now, among those Benepapists who believe such a theory, Andrea Cionci puts forth the thesis that Pope Benedict XVI communicates the reality he is still pope through a code, to which Cionci has give the name the “Codice Ratzinger” (Ratzinger Code), and which is the title of his current book.  Or, as Cionci explains in his book in part:

“…Over the course of the past nine years, in letters, books, and interviews the Holy Father has communicated with us – subtly, logically, and unequivocally – by using a specific means – the so-called Ratzinger Code a system of communication with the outside world from his situation of confinement.

Here is how the code works. Usually, the first superficial reading of something Pope Benedict says seems completely politically correct, but there is always an error that quickly becomes apparent, an inconsistency, an “amphibious” statement (a sentence that can be interpreted in two different ways), or in any case something so irrational that it is inexplicable for the very learned theologian Ratzinger who pushes the reader to look more closely and, above all, to reason logically.”

(Source:  The Ratzinger Code, Andrea Cionci, p. 24-25 (Kindle Version)

In one of Cionci’s articles, he put it quite similarly but more succinctly as follows:

“As always happens for the messages in the Ratzinger Code, there are TWO READING PLANS: the first is the superficial one, good for non-believers, the indifferent and all those who detest Pope Benedict, modernists or traditional-sedevacantists. There is always, however, some inconsistency that intrigues those who “have ears to hear”, as we have seen HERE and that pushes the Logos to work, the reason that discovers the truth.”[3]

Yes, and as you might have guessed, the “Ratzinger Code” can only be deciphered by those who “have ears to hear.” If you’re a Catholic who finds this theory absurd, you are just not with the “reading plan” and must, at least according to Cionci, be among the “indifferent and all those who detest Pope Benedict, modernists or traditional-sedevacantists.”  The reality is, faithful Catholics with common sense find Cionci’s theory absurd. What is happening here is that, as I have written before, Benepapism is devolving here into something of a gnostic cult, e.g., speaking of hidden knowledge, and ‘people who knew.’

No where has Cionci said, to my knowledge, that he received word from Benedict or any source close to Benedict that his words need a Ratzinger de-coder ring to understand him.  The Ratzinger Code is pure, speculative invention. Nothing more.  Nothing less. The reality is, Andrea Cionci has conveniently ‘discovered’ the need, and existence of a code for which he himself has become the infallible interpreter.  Some amazing, and at times, amusing, examples of this are provided below.

The reality is, this idea of Benedict speaking through a code is used either to explain away the words of the former pope which are inconvenient to Cionci’s “Plan B” thesis [1], and or to twist the rest into something favorable to the theory. However, as we examine some of Cionci’s code in action, one cannot help but chuckle at some of the results. Consider some of the following examples.

“I will no longer be Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church”

On February 28, 2013, just a few hours before the effective time of Benedict’s resignation at 8pm on that day, speaking to a pilgrims from Albano, Pope Benedict XVI said the following words: “I will no longer be the supreme pontiff of the Catholic Church.” Now, these words are plain and clear. Common sense tells us that this is a clear admission that Benedict truly understood he would no longer be “the supreme pontiff of the Catholic Church” as of 8pm that evening. However, Andrea Cionci argues that Benedict here spoke in code.

How is that? Well, in the Italian that Benedict spoke on this occasion, he said “pontefice sommo” (“pontiff supreme”) instead of “pontefice sommo” (supreme pontiff). Thus, per Cionci, “pontefice sommo” is not the proper title of the pope, as it reverses the words of the official title as found in Latin, i.e., Summus Pontifex.  Cionci provides his explanation of what this means, and of course, for him, it means Benedict by this inversion of the title is communicating he really is still pope!

I will not revisit this question in great detail here, but you can see what Cionci argues more fully and my response in my article Regarding the “Ratzinger Code” and in even greater detail in my recent book VALID?  The Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI – The Case against the Benepapists (see Chapter 4).

It suffices here to say, Cionci’s suggestion seems to be that “pontefice sommo” in the Italian cannot be properly used of a pope, i.e., the Summus Pontifex, because it reverses the placement of the words translated from the Latin into the Italian “pontifice” (Pontifex) and “sommo” (Summus); and that the only proper and meaningful way to say it in the Italian is “sommo pontefice” and not “pontefice sommo.”  Benedict, as an excellent Italian speaker, would have known this, and given he didn’t use the proper term, he is signaling he meant something else. Or so Cionci would tell us.

But is that true? The foundation of Cionci’s rendering of the “Ratzinger Code” in this instance necessarily rests on a there definitely being a clear and definitive distinction between the meaning of “sommo pontefice” and “pontefice sommoin Italian. That is, “pontefice sommo” cannot be used for the papal office (rendered Summus Pontifex in Latin). So, is Cionci right? Is it true “pontefice sommo” has not been used of a pope — of a Summus Pontifex?  The truth of Cionci’s thesis rests on this being the case.  If Cionci is wrong — then his use of a Ratzinger Code in this instance blows up in Cionci’s face, as he will then not be able to explain away Benedict’s words: “I will no longer be Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church.”

So, what of Cionci’s code here?  Well, the reality is, it is a rather low bar to prove Cionci wrong. One need only provide a single instance to show where “pontefice sommo” is used of a pope or of the papacy in an Italian source. I provided one example in my article Regarding the “Ratzinger Code”, along with other arguments.[2]  Now, while my original article provided only one example of “pontefice sommo” there were others. My recently published book went on to detail many more examples over a period of about 165 years (NB: In my book, see Chapter 4, Reply to Objection 4.2, pages 85-91). Instances of “pontefice sommo” used of a pope or papacy were found in various places, such as a pamphlet commemorating a papal visit. A theological work by a bishop during the time of the debate over papal infallibility in 1870 which repeatedly uses “pontefice sommo.” Examples were also found in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis (AAS), including an official translation of an encyclical, as well as there being other examples in the AAS of a pope using “pontefice sommo” on more than one occasion (See Valid? The Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, Chapter 4, pages 85-91).

These examples were found in a cursory search. Thus, there is reason to fully expect an even more academic search would uncover many more examples. Regardless, the point is, the examples produced demonstrate the reality that there is no need for any unique explanation of Benedict’s use of “pontefice sommo” on February 28, 2013. “Pontefice Sommo” has been used for the office of the papacy, and has been understood as such by Italians; regardless of whether that is the more common way to say it in Italian or not.

Andrea Cionci’s Ratzinger Code and its application to things Benedict or even Ganswein says amounts to little more than vacuous “don’t believe your lying eyes” assertions which allow the substitution of whatever meaning one, i.e., Cionci, wants. Common sense should inform one that Benedict simply meant what he said, that as of 8pm February 28, 2013, “I will no longer be supreme pontiff of the Catholic Church.” Such a clear statement cannot be denied, no matter how much the Benepapists wish to do so. Benedict’s statement “I will no longer be Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church” after 8pm must be taken to mean what the words obviously and plainly signify. He was communicating the fact, and his understanding of the fact, he would no longer be pope after 8pm, February 28, 2013.  Just as his Declaratio declared.

Benedict understood his papacy ended on February 28, 2013, at 8pm.  Any other contrary interpretation, such as offered through the use of a Ratzinger Code, is utter nonsense.  Stripped of any requirement for a Ratzinger Code, the whole thesis of Cionci, Acosta, and other other Benepapists of the Plan B variety collapses like the house of cards that it truly is.

‘Yes, Ganswein called you a theological nut, but by this he means you’re great a guy!’

The Ratzinger Code would be a comedy, if it did not have such a serious impact on those who have unfortunately and mistakenly put their trust in the leading Benepapists who propound it, or repeat it on their blogs.

Consider, an example recounted on the FromRome site (source: APPEAL TO ARCHBISHOP GANSWEIN, FROM CATHOLIC CLERGY IN COMMUNION WITH CHRIST’S VICAR ON EARTH). Here, Br. Alexis Bugnolo summarizes a video explaining a phone call wherein Archbishop Gänswein, apparently, harshly treated one of 8 priests (who include Don Minutella, a prominent Italian Benepapist) who had publicly declared that Benedict XVI is still pope. During the call, the Archbishop Gänswein spoke.[3] In part, summarizing from a party involved, Br. Bugnolo relates Gänswein’s message:

“In summary, the phone call:  Don Minutella is a nut, theologically out of his mind. His book is not worth the paper it is written on. That Pope Benedict is totally faithful to Pope Francis. That he names not himself but Pope Francis in the Canon of the Mass. That there are errors in the Declaratio, but that it remains valid.  This communication was like a kick in the legs, to use a metaphor from soccer.  The telephone call ended by asking Father Gebhardt to seek spiritual counsel to avoid further canonical penalties.”


I leave it to the reader to see Br. Bugnolo’s full article, and related ones, for the full context.  What is important to note here, is that the 8 priests, who had publicly declared for Benedict XVI still being pope, were apparently traumatized by Gänswein’s criticism. Apparently, this call caused “shock” throughout Italy, and “perplexed” many.  Indeed, Don Minutella, a prominent Benepapist, is paraphrased by Br. Bugnolo to say “I never received responses to my personal letters of appeal, but here Gänswein bashed my book in the most crude manner.”

The unbelievable thing is, what happens next! Cionci comforts the 8 priests!  Again, using Br. Bugnolo’s retelling (emphasis added):

“Cionci last night gave a very sophisticated and educated re-reading of the comments, showing that the meaning of the Monsignor’s (i.e., Gänswein’s) words are intended to be understood contrariwise, as an approval and encouragement of the work of Don Minutella and the priests and faithful who collaborate with him.”


One can only chuckle at the spectacle of Cionci’s “don’t believe your lying eyes,” Ratzinger-Code interpretation on full display here! The eight priests whose position on Benedict XVI — as well as Don Minutella’s book — had received an unmistakable, sound drubbing and thrashing by Gänswein. Even so, Cionci, like a veritable Mary Poppins, comforted the priests with a spoonful of sugar in the form of the Ratzinger Code. The thorough thrashing they had received at the hands of Gänswein was explained away by Cionci in a “very sophisticated and educated” way per Br. Bugnolo’s retelling, so that the evident drubbing should be understood “contrariwise”!  Even Gänswein’s insults of Don Minutella and his book — which Don Minutella had considered to be “calmunious” — should be understood, according to Cionci, as signifying Ganswein’s (and thus Benedict’s) “approval and encouragement!”

As one who rejects the Ratzinger Code, I cannot help but chuckle at the picture of all this; as Cionci sets out to convince the eight priests that “no” means “yes”, “black” means “white”, etc!  As unintentionally hilarious as the picture in Bugnolo’s telling is, Cionci’s retelling surpasses even Br. Bugnolo’s (emphasis in the original):

“About two weeks ago, Bishop Gänswein, in a phone call with a German Bergoglian priest, came up with a series of phrases that, apparently, seemed very harsh words towards Don Minutella and the other seven priests faithful to Benedict of the Marian Priestly Sodality , whereas, on a more careful reading, these expressions turned out to be resounding praise for these priest-heroes.

For example, Mons. Gänswein declared that Don Minutella is “theologically crazy”, but, since Jesus explicitly forbids calling one’s brother crazy, on pain of being thrown into Gehenna (Matthew, 5:22), this expression takes up again univocally the “madness in Christ”, the theological theme – in fact – of which St. Paul speaks in the I Letter to the Corinthians (4,10)”

(Source: Dal Libro di Geremia, il Codice Ratzinger definitivo di Benedetto XVI: “Io sono impedito”, Andrea Cionci)

If the 8 priests here could be convinced by Cionci that Gänswein’s harsh insults were instead “resounding praise“, or that Don Minutella could be convinced by Cionci that Gänswein’s “calumnious” insults of his person and book were rather signs ‘approval and encouragement‘ instead; then I am as shocked at the apparent credulity required to accept such vacuous explanations as I am impressed at Cionci’s inestimable powers of persuasion.  But, here, by “inestimable powers of persuasion” I am thinking of the sort exercised by the proverbial used-car salesman extraordinaire who can sell any piece of junk on the car lot to even the most “sophisticated and educated” of customers.

Unfortunately, for those who have bought into the notion of a Ratzinger Code which inculcates acceptance of its “don’t believe your lying eyes” explanations in some Benepapists, even the possibility has not yet dawned on them that that NEITHER Benedict XVI or Ganswein is speaking in code, whether in respect to “pontefice sommo” or Ganswein’s words to the eight priests.  Thus, ultimately, this is sad and tragic, and, in the end, not funny at all.

What now? More Ratzinger Code?

Cionci’s article goes on to provide a couple more bizarre cases in point of the Ratzinger Code in action. Here, Cionci seems to couch the following examples as Benedict’s way to reassure the 8 priests shaken by Gänswein‘s apparent “broadside of the Ratzinger Code” (here).

As it turns out, relatively soon after the event described above, Archbishop Gänswein made some brief remarks — soon after the ‘insults’ of the the 8 priests described above — at the start of a presentation of a book written by an atheist author. This book was based on some correspondence between the atheist author and the former pope, Benedict XVI. Cionci sees in Ganswein’s opening remarks at this conference, apparently, a hidden message of encouragement to the 8 priests.  Cionci describes Gänswein opening comments in this way:

“First of all, Archbishop Gänswein began with a wonderful amphibology: “ Before coming here I prayed with Pope Benedict, as every Catholic priest does, at vespers. And that says it all ”.      

In fact: it says it all. The clever construction of the sentence means that it can also be understood perfectly as: “Before coming here, I prayed vespers, as a true Catholic priest does, that is, IN UNION WITH POPE BENEDICT” . So he is telling the priests of the Sodality that they are right to remain una cum papa Benedicto.” 

(Source: Dal Libro di Geremia, il Codice Ratzinger definitivo di Benedetto XVI: “Io sono impedito”, Andrea Cionci)

Above one sees Gänswein’s words and then how Cionci reinterprets them with this secret Ratzinger Code de-coder ring.  But, let us return to reality again. First, there is no need to even think to read something into Ganswein’s word about praying vespers with a fellow priest, the former pope, Benedict, for whom he serves as secretary. Yet, Cionci turns Gänswein’s recounting of his praying vespers with Benedict into a statement of being in “union with Pope Benedict” as pope, suggesting that Gänswein is telling the 8 priests — contrary to Gänswein’s recent criticisms direct at them and Don Minutella — that they “are right to remain una cum papa Benedicto” (i.e., remain one with Pope Benedict).

This is unfortunate.  As the reader has seen.  Gänswein’s criticism were obvious and plain.  To try to convince these priests to the contrary, is unfair to them, and to the cause of truth. There is no other more charitable way to put it.  Cionci has done a disservice to them.

Now, in the same article on the book conference, Cionci goes on then to describe Gänswein introductory comments immediately following those above. Cionci writes (emphasis in the original):

But let’s get to the heart and let Msgr. Gänswein continue, as shown in the video   HERE  : ” Pope Benedict told me, first of all:” Do not give an institutional greeting, give a personal greeting from me and tell everyone: ‘ I have not deserved this illustrious list of presenters’ . I told him: “Holy Father, if I say this they don’t believe me, but I obey”; «Either you believe or you don’t believe, if you don’t believe you read, either Jeremiah or Isaiah. I don’t say which verse and which chapter, but there is the answer »”.

(Source: Dal Libro di Geremia, il Codice Ratzinger definitivo di Benedetto XVI: “Io sono impedito”, Andrea Cionci)

From the above reference to Jeremiah and Isaiah, Cionci uses his “Ratzinger Code” decoder ring to tell us that Jeremiah includes a verse which reads “5 Then Jeremiah ordered Baruch: “I AM IMPEDED and cannot go into the temple of the Lord. 6. You, therefore, shall go to READ, in the scroll that you have written under my dictation, Then Jeremiah ordered Baruch:” (Jer. 36, 5)[4]. Cionci then goes on and adds:

The Holy Father, of whom we have been saying for two years that he is impeded, has chosen from 73 biblical books the only one in which the expression “I am impeded” appears. Incidentally, this is exactly the final clarification that the priests of the Marian Sodality and all the other true Catholics who pray in union with Pope Benedict needed.”

Cionci suggests Benedict’s general reference to the Books of Jeremiah and Isaiah, for which no verses were provided by Gänswein, was intended to draw specific attention of the verse given above; thus drawing the attention of the 8 priests, and ours as well, to a verse which says “I am impeded.” This would coincide with the “Plan B” theory of Benepapism that the papacy, is “impeded” because, in their view, Benedict remains true pope but is unable to exercise his authority.  Cionci then draws forth various verses from Isaiah where the word “prisoner” is used. Cionci does this suggesting Benedict is a prisoner of the Vatican, while there is zero evidence to that effect.  It is all just more Ratzinger Code nonsense.  What is impeded here is common sense.

There is no need to refute specific Cionci’s appeals to these verses since there was never any indication Benedict intended them in the first place. Not reported in the articles above is that Gänswein, after saying he had prayed vespers with Benedict (see Video of event) before coming, Gänswein then said he and Benedict spoke about the book being presented, and not just the ‘illustrious’ list of presenters at the conference.  Gänswein said Benedict was telling him how to give his salutations to the conference.

Recall, the book includes correspondence between Benedict and the atheist author. The title of the book is “In cammino alla ricerca della Verità. Lettere e colloqui con Benedetto XVI” or in English: “On the Way in Search of the Truth. Letters and Conversations with Benedict XVI.” So, in the context of a discussion between believers and nonbelievers “in search of the truth,” we can understand Benedict’s guidance for Ganswein’s salutation to the presenters, “Either you believe or you don’t believe, if you don’t believe you read, either Jeremiah or Isaiah.” That these two books were singled out by Benedict should not be surprising, as in the context of Christian belief vs. nonbelief, they make perfect sense when giving summary guidance to an unbeliever. One should read the whole book, and not just a this or that verse — as Benedict suggests.  Now, consider the words of one commentator on Jeremiah and its relevance (emphasis added):

This lack of actual Messianic prophecies by Jeremias has its compensation; for his entire life became a living personal prophecy of the suffering Messias, a living illustration of the predictions of suffering made by the other prophets. The suffering Lamb of God in the Book of Isaias (53:7) becomes in Jeremias a human being: “I was as a meek lamb, that is carried to be a victim” (Jeremiah 11:19). The other seers were Messianic prophets; Jeremias was a Messianic prophecy embodied in flesh and blood. It is, therefore, fortunate that the story of his life has been more exactly preserved than that of the other prophets, because his life had a prophetic significance.

(Source: Faulhaber, Michael. “Jeremias.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 16 Oct. 2022 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08334a.htm&gt;)

Further, it is not surprising Isaiah was suggested by Benedict XVI for “those who don’t believe,” given Isaiah’s prophecy of the suffering Lamb of God.  Again, the words of yet another commentator (emphasis added):

“…Who is this “servant of Yahweh”? Does the title apply to the same person throughout the ten chapters? Had the writer in view some historical personage of past ages, or one belonging to his own time, or the Messias to come, or even some ideal person? Most commentators see in the “servant of Yahweh” an individual. But is that individual one of the great historical figures of Israel? No satisfactory answer has been given. The names of Moses, David, Ozias, Ezechias, Isaias, Jeremias, Josias, Zorobabel, Jechonias, and Eleazar have all been suggested as being the person. Catholic exegesis has always pointed out the fact that all the features of the “servant of Yahweh” found their complete realization in the person of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

(Source: Souvay, C. (1910). Isaias. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved October 16, 2022 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08179b.htm)

In sum, the context of the event is explanation enough for Benedict’s suggested salutation for Gänswein. The book being presented dealt with the search for the truth between believers and non-believers. Benedict’s pointing to the Books of Jeremiah and Isaiah for those “who don’t believe” is quite sensible, as the life of Jeremiah, and prophecies of Isaiah point to the Lord Jesus Christ. But, ideally, one should read the whole books, and thus, Benedict does not point to a single verse.

Incredibly, some Benepapists, and Benepapist sites are trumpeting Benedict’s non-reference to a verse in Jeremiah — in which they themselves then seized upon to find a verse to be drafted into their cause — as proof of Benedict’s declaration the papacy is “impeded!”  For example, the fact Benedict made absolutely no such declaration of being impeded did not impede Br. Bugnolo from breathlessly declaring the contrary in one of his headlines:  “POPE BENEDICT XVI DECLARES THE APOSTOLIC SEE IMPEDED” (here).

Final Thoughts

In this article, we have seen the sort of nonsense the Ratzinger Code produces. To explain away Benedict’s clear words on February 28, 2013 that he “would no longer be Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church,” Cionci’s Ratzinger Code tells us that is not what he meant.  We are told to ignore the obvious, and plainly evident meaning. We are told that because Benedict said in Italian, “pontefice sommo” rather than “sommo pontefice”; he purposefully used the inverse of the true title of the pope (Summus Pontifex) to convey another meaning.  However, examples of “pontefice sommo” may be found various places to refer to the pope, including the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, including an official translation of an Encyclical, as well as by popes other than Benedict XVI, etc. So, the Ratzinger Code fails its most important test.  Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus.  I detail all this in an article (here), and in even greater detail with examples in my recently published book, VALID?  The Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI – The Case against the Benepapists.

Now, the case of the 8 priests is distressing. We can understand they are sincere in their belief that Benedict is still pope, based in part on the course of the Francis pontificate [NB: As I have said elsewhere, I would agree with much of the Benepapists criticisms of the Francis pontificate].  However, it is clear as day that Archbishop Gänswein attempted to set the 8 priests straight with apparently strong, unvarnished criticisms. It is necessary that the priests take Gänswein at his words.  It is unfortunate that Andrea Cionci suggested they interpret Gänswein in a way contrary to what Gänswein expressed. I am shocked Cionci can do so with a straight face. It is unfortunate that the blog of Br. Bugnolo gives any credence to Cionci’s interpretation that Ganswein meant the exact opposite of what a plain reading of his words clearly suggest. They did the 8 priests no favor in doing so. They do their readers no favor in doing so.  That is the most charitable way to put it.

I am hopeful that one day common sense will rule over credulity on this question.

[Update October 23, 2022: Andrea Cionci replied to the above article here, and I in turn replied that that reply in my article A Response to Andrea Cionci and his Ratzinger Code]

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. He has written apologetic articles, and is author of Book I of the Pia Fidelis trilogy, The Two Kingdoms; and of Valid? The Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI(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, TruthSocial, or Gab: @StevenOReilly).


[1]  I understand Br. Bugnolo wishes to take some credit for it too.  So be it. For my discussion of the Plan B theory see my articles on Cionci’s thesis: Benedict’s Plan “B” from Outer Space and Benedict’s Plan B from Outer Space – the Sequel.  The Plan B thesis is also discussed in my book, the link to which is in the article above.

[2]  Now, to those conversant in english, yes…”pontiff supreme” does sound strange.  However, in Italian, the placement of adjectives is more flexible than in english. I pointed out to Cionci on twitter, and later in my article, and in my book, that he would have a hard time arguing that a native Italian speaker would not interpret Benedict’s “pontefice sommo” to mean precisely the same thing as “sommo pontefice.  Instead of responding to my argument, Cionci blocked me on Twitter.  Clearly, his Ratzinger Code is indefensible nonsense.

[3] For recreation of amazing transcript see https://www.fromrome.info/2022/09/28/archbishop-ganswein-calls-don-minutella-a-nut/

[4]  Here I used Br. Bugnolo’s translation in his article on this question.  See https://www.fromrome.info/2022/10/11/pope-benedict-xvi-declares-the-apostolic-see-impeded/

[5] (see https://sfero.me/article/good-night-ratzinger-code-on-the-roman-hour-of-benedict-xvi-s-impeded-see-francis-is-not-the-pope)

3 thoughts on “Ratzinger Code: “Don’t believe your lying eyes”

    1. Geminiano,

      thanks for the link to the blog post by Vincent Morlier. Of course, I disagree with his view, as I understand it, that somehow Benedict and Francis share the pontificate.

      First, it is impossible per canon 331. The Petrine munus resides only in the Bishop of Rome. So it ‘belongs’ to one man, the one validly elected supreme pontiff.

      Second, I would also note, even setting aside the first point, Benedict made no provision for ‘shared’ papacy, either in his Declaratio or Normas Nonnullas. Further, there is no sign of it in anything else he has said.

      God bless,



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