Top Ten articles of 2022 on Roma Locuta Est

December 31, 2022 (Steven O’Reilly) – Roma Locuta Est is now approaching the end of its 6th year of existence (5th full year). As has been the tradition now over the last several years, we close out the year by recapping the top posts of the year.

But first, Roma Locuta Est (RLE) would like to note that its writers were each quite busy in 2022. In addition to their work on RLE, each writer published a book:

In 2022, Ed Barr published a new novel, The Gray Apostle: Mission of the Messiah.  It is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other bookstores. Ed notes that while the role of intelligence, particularly counterintelligence, is seldom considered regarding biblical events, those in the intelligence community know it played a role.  The “gray apostle” is an adaptation of the consummate Human Intelligence (HUMINT) professional, who is called the “gray man” since he works behind the scenes and blends into the scenery.  The novel provides a unique “spy vs. spy” look at events surrounding Jesus’ ministry.  For more on the novel you can listen to an interview on Divine Mercy Radio or watch an interview on the Douglas Coleman show.

In 2022, Steven O’Reilly published a refutation of “Benevacantist” or “Benepapist” theories and arguments in his book titled, Valid? The Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI (The Case against the Benepapists). Whereas Benepapists writers have authored c. 7-8 books for their cause to date, O’Reilly’s is the only book thus far published which provides a refutation of Benepapism in all its forms.  It is a great honor to note that Bishop Athanasius Schneider wrote the foreword for the book.  This work looks at the central documents in the controversy which are cited or ignored by the Benepapists, including the Declaratio, Normas Nonnullas, Benedict’s last audience, Benedict’s words to the pilgrims from Albano, and Ganswein’s speech. Other topics addressed include Benedict wearing white, the title of “pope emeritus”, the use of “his holiness”, apostolic blessings, the validity of deferred resignations, etc. This is O’Reilly’s second book, the first being Book I of the PIA FIDELIS trilogy. Book I, PIA FIDELIS: The Two Kingdoms, is set in the midst of the Arian heresy, and the rise of Julian the Apostate, a type of the AntiChrist. This story of adventure, romance, betrayal, and faith is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other bookstores.  Book II should be out in the late 2023, or by early 2024.

Before proceeding to the Top Ten List of posts of 2022, I’d note some honorable mentions, i.e., some recent and older posts from prior years which continue to draw a good deal interest — at least in terms of this wee, humble blog. The honorable mentions include:

In terms of the current year, honorable mentions include Ed Barr’s interesting look from an Intelligence angle at A Chinese connection?  The ‘McCarrick Cardinals’ and the secret Vatican deal.  In addition, RLE looks at the disconnect between the Church’s attempt to emphasize the sacrament of the Eucharist while ignoring the sacrament of reconciliation in Why the Eucharistic Revival will Fail: A call for Reconciliation. Also included in this year’s honorable mentions was a look at what Lumen Gentium has to say about the meaning of “ministerium” in light of the Benepapist controversy (see Lumen Gentium Destroys Benepapism in Toto); and a rebuttal of Br. Bugnolo’s erroneous appeal to Canon 17 to save his Benepapist theory against our article (see Br. Alexis Bugnolo’s Faulty Logic, and Faulty Comprehension with Respect to Canon 17).

Articles from past years also continue to draw significant interest. Among these are RLE‘s look at the oddities and mysteries surrounding the 2013 conclave (see The Conclave Chronicles), a look at the The Historicity of the Crucifixion Darkness, and a look at a foreshadowing of the Eucharist in The Bread of Presence foreshadows the Eucharist.  In addition, even after five years, RLE‘s article on the Jesuit vows and the conclave, curiously enough, still continues to attract many views (see Curiouser and Curiouser: Who Dispensed Jorge Bergoglio SJ from his vows?), a topic even Archbishop Vigano seemed to make an allusion to last year (see Vigano: A Jesuit on the Throne of Peter “in violation of the rule established by St. Ignatius of Loyola”).

The Top Ten List

The Top Ten rankings below are based upon total views.  And now…without further ado….

Number 10:  The Devil’s Input on the Synod on Synodality  provides a shocking look at the similarity between positions pushed by senior officials of the Church and those that seek to destroy it. Quotes from the Pope and Cardinals opposing or seemingly contravening perennial Church teaching highlight the seriousness of the confusion being promulgated at the Vatican.  This work of “quasi-fiction” is the latest in a series of “devil” themed articles that began in the midst of the COVID shutdown (see The Devil came to Mass this weekend) and continued through the end of 2022 (see The Devil touts 2022 Culture of Death successes).

Number 9:  Regarding the “Ratzinger Code” looks at the theory advanced by Italian journalist and author Andrea Cionci. Cionci shares the opinion of those who claim that Benedict intentionally constructed his ‘renunciation’ to be invalid, canonically meaningless, or pertaining only to the papal “ministry”.  The net claim of this theory is Benedict retained the papacy. Benedict ‘faked’ his resignation in a manner of speaking as part of his plan to save the papacy from its modernists enemies within the Church. This “plan” Cionci calls Benedict’s Plan B. RLE originally responded to this notion of a Plan B in two articles in a back and forth with Cionci, which included Benedict’s Plan “B” from Outer Space and Benedict’s Plan B from Outer Space – the Sequel.  The Ratzinger Code theory claims Benedict continued to communicate to the faithful he retained the papacy in his words and action using a cryptic manner of speech, i.e., there is the superficial level of meaning for the unbeliever which appears to confirm Benedict did resign, while beneath this there is a deeper meaning that conveys the reality he is still pope.  RLE recently compiled its articles addressing Cionci and his theories here: Summa Contra Andrea Cionci, Plan B, and the Ratzinger Code.

Number 8Freemasonry and the Gay lobby in the Vatican explores circumstantial evidence that points to masonic influence in Cardinal Sebastiano Baggio’s recommendations to the episcopate.  From 1973 to 1984 Cardinal Baggio was Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops at the Vatican.  During that time several new bishops that support the “gay” agenda were ordained; most prominent among them former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.  Other connections to the disgraced prelate were investigated in “A Chinese connection: The ‘McCarrick cardinals’ and the secret Vatican deal.”  Potentially freemasonry involvement in changes to the liturgy were examined in The Novus Ordo or the Freemason Mass?

Number 7:  The Case against those who claim “Benedict is (still) pope” was an article which compiled other Roma Locuta Est articles together in one place. This was done to serve as a handy resource for those either entertaining or confronting Benepapist arguments. This series of articles looks at all the central documents in the debate over Benepapism, including those Regarding Benedict’s DeclaratioRegarding Benedict’s Normas NonnullasRegarding Benedict’s Last AudienceRegarding Benedict’s comments to the Pilgrims from Albano; and Regarding Ganswein’s speech.  An appendix was recently added with articles which look at what Lumen Gentium says about the meaning of ministerium (see Lumen Gentium Destroys Benepapism in Toto), a rebuttal of Br. Bugnolo’s erroneous appeal to canon 17 (see Br. Alexis Bugnolo’s Faulty Logic, and Faulty Comprehension with Respect to Canon 17), and a rebuttal of the Ratzinger Code (see Regarding the “Ratzinger Code”). These articles provide a comprehensive rebuttal of Benepapism.  That said, these and other additional arguments on various related questions have been updated and are include in the aforementioned book:  Valid? The Resignation of Benedict XVI (The Case against the Benepapists). [NB: The Kindle Version is now available for only $3.99].

Number 6Benedict names “always and only Pope Francis” in the mass takes a look at an overlooked comment made by Archbishop Ganswein in the telephone call discussed in the Number 2 article below.  Ganswein was reported by Don Minutella and Br. Bugnolo to have communicated, in Bugnolo’s words, that “That Pope Benedict is totally faithful to Pope Francis. That he names not himself but Pope Francis in the Canon of the Mass.” This admission against interest by Bugnolo and Minutella surely explodes the entire Benepapist thesis that Benedict still believed he was pope in any way.

Number 5A Benepapist Civil War? looks at the interesting 2022 phenomena of proponents of the two main Benepapist theories attacking the other side’s theory, and in some cases, attacking the other side’s theorists themselves! Folks following the Benepapist controversy are familiar with the two main theories. The first claims that Benedict’s renunciation of the papacy was invalid due to some “substantial error” in his act of resignation, and or in his intent. The second theory claims Benedict’s Declaratio, his instrument of resignation, was intentionally written in such a way so that his resignation was either invalid, or canonically meaningless. This, it is claimed, he did to keep the papacy from the modernist enemies within the Church.  This comical battle between the two Benepapist factions results in putting the Benepapist believer in a bizarre conundrum. One must believe either Benedict is a strategic genius, or a theological fool!  This is described in another Roma Locuta Est article, appropriately titled Benedict XVI: strategic genius or theological fool?

Number 4: A closer look at Mr. Coffin’s evidence: Dr. Mazza’s Thesis 3.0 looks at one of the “resources” listed by Patrick Coffin in his Benepapist video “Seven pieces of evidence that Francis is an antipope.”  A few other Catholic writers addressed his controversial video at the time.  I critically examined the other “pieces” of Mr. Coffin’s evidence in an article titled Benepapism and Mr. Coffin’s “Seven Pieces of Information Francis is an anti-pope”.  Recently, Mr. Coffin offered yet another video pushing the Benepapist error of which he has become a more vocal champion of late.  RLE‘s rebuttal of that video may be found in the article No, Patrick Coffin, Benedict is NOT “our pope”.  To date, Mr. Coffin has not answered any of these rebuttals. Granted, Roma Locuta Est is but a wee, humble blog, which the world little notes, and will, undoubtedly, not long remember…so…perhaps that is reason enough.

Number 3Ganswein’s Tears looks at a poignant moment in a speech given earlier in 2022 by Archbishop Ganswein on the occasion of Benedict’s 95 birthday.  The moment reveals both Ganswein’s great, personal attachment to Benedict, and — now with the benefit of hindsight following the death of Benedict, it appears he seemingly hinted that Benedict’s end was near.  Certainly worth the read for those who suggest that Ganswein was somehow an enemy of Benedict.

Number 2Ratzinger Code: “Don’t believe your lying eyes” takes a look at the cognitive dissonance prevalent among the Arch-Benepapists. The article looks Br. Bugnolo’s inadvertently funny commentary on Ratzinger Code author Andrea Cionci’s contorted efforts to explain away comments made by Archbishop Ganswein.  These comments were made in a telephone call with a Benepapist priest closely associated with a leading Italian Benepapist priest, Don Minutella.  Apparently, Ganswein made some  strongly worded, very negative comments about Don Minutella, which the latter took to be clear insults and even calumny. One cannot help but chuckle at the back flips Cionci must do via his Ratzinger Code to try to convince Minutella and the priests associated with him that Ganswein’s apparent insults were instead words of encouragement!  Prepare for Benepapist cognitive dissonance cranked up to level 11!  This Roma Locuta article led to an attempted rebuttal by Cionci, which in turn prompted a response by RLEA Response to Andrea Cionci and his “Ratzinger Code”.

Number 1What does Cardinal Becciu know about Francis? takes a look at the strange relationship between Cardinal Becciu, accused of and on trial for financial improprieties, and Pope Francis. It does not appear that Francis is treating Becciu as one might expect him to treat a man accused of serious crimes. Examples of Francis’s odd behavior are document in the article. For example, as noted in another article, The Rehabilitation of Cardinal Becciu: what’s up with that?, we commented on how Francis seemed to hold out the possibility of rehabilitating Becciu even as his trial is underway. It is almost as if Becciu may have hold some derogatory information over the head of Francis. The mystery become odder when we learn Becciu had taped a call with Francis, and that Becciu also told a relative he feared Francis wanted to kill him (see Becciu claims Francis wants him dead!). We expect more Becciu/Francis oddities will surface in 2023.  Stay tuned to Roma Locuta Est!

The Roma Locuta Est staff — and by “staff”, I mean Ed and me — wants to thank all those who follow and read this site; and we wish all of you a Happy New Year for 2023.

[Edward J. Barr contributed to this article]

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  or (or follow on Twitter: @S_OReilly_USA or on GETTR, TruthSocial, or Gab: @StevenOReilly).

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