January 21, 2023 (Steven O’Reilly) – The tragicomedy which Benepapism has become continues apace. The nasty civil war between those who believe Benedict committed “substantial error” and those who believe he intentionally created a self-impeded see still rages. Based on a recent tweet of Andrea Cionci (see here), it seems Ann Barnhardt accused Cionci of trying to enrich himself through his best-selling Ratzinger Code. To which, one of Cionci’s followers tweeted a screenshot of the donation link on Ann Barnhardt’s own website. Ouch. [NB: For the record, while Roma Locuta Est does not necessarily object to donation links on other sites; Roma Locuta Est does NOT have one. It does not seek, nor accept donations.]
But such exchanges are just more of the same barbs and bad feelings highlighted in prior Roma Locuta Est articles (see A Benepapist Civil War? and Benedict XVI: strategic genius or theological fool?) which describe how the Benepapists themselves lay bare the nonsense of Benepapism. I have previously noted, that if one takes each Benepapist theorist’s critique of the other Benepapist’s theory, you ends up with two halves of one excellent argument against Benepapism (see here).
While the battle above is between Benepapist theorists, the Benapapism is now reaching the stage of struggling between those who hold to the same theory. So, now, in addition to the war between Benepapists of the “substantial error” variety, and the Plan B/Ratzinger Code variety, an internecine, inter-factional struggle appears to have erupted among the theorists of the Plan B (self impeded see) / Ratzinger code. For example, Br. Bugnolo seemingly threw Andrea Cionci under the bus, along with the followers of Don Minutella, if not Don Minutella himself, for not supporting his efforts to organize a conclave (see Br. Bugnolo’s ‘Urbi et Orbi’ and the tragicomedy which Benepapism has become) and warn the College of Cardinals. The cracks are forming in the Benepapist edifice as is the inevitable course for schismatic and heretical groups, given enough time.
Bugnolo’s Date with Destiny
Roma Locuta Est has outlined in a series of articles some of the comedy, and tragedy Br. Bugnolo efforts to provide a canonical justification for organizing his own conclave in Rome, and his pontifications on the same:
- Pope Bugnolo I?
- The Tome of Alexis Bugnolo
- Bugnolo is “absolutely certain” there will be a new pope within next 30 days?
- Br. Bugnolo’s ‘Urbi et Orbi’ and the tragicomedy which Benepapism has become
Here, now, we focus on today’s date, January 21, 2023. If one peruses the articles above, one will have seen that Bugnolo had previously said that if the College of Cardinals has not acted by day 21 after the death of Benedict XVI to convene a conclave to elect his “successor,” then the cardinals would lose that right forever. Having lost that right, the faithful of Rome, according to Bugnolo, can now proceed to elect a pope. Today is day 21. Thus, we have arrived at Bugnolo’s ‘date with destiny.’
Prior to this date with destiny, Bugnolo had warned the “Catholic world to prepare for the coming battle at Rome” (see here). So, Catholics, don’t say you were not warned! Bugnolo did so! He reminded Catholics of what he said in the prior posts — see my articles above reporting on them — that if the Cardinals do not convene a conclave to elect Benedict’s successor by day 21 following Benedict’s death, the clergy and laity of Rome can then take matters into their own hands and elect his successor. Bugnolo has even provided for a prayer in multiple languages for the pope who is “about to be elected” (by his conclave), see Here. No detail has escaped his attention!
Bugnolo even provided a video of himself reading his “solemn warning to the College of Cardinals” (see IL SOLENNE AVVERTIMENTO AL COLLEGIO CARDINALIZIO). So, Cardinals, don’t say you were not warned! Bugnolo did so! Roma Locuta Est discussed the humorous scene of this “solemn warning” in Br. Bugnolo’s ‘Urbi et Orbi’ and the tragicomedy which Benepapism has become. This scene included only Br. Bugnolo and another Catholic, who Bugnolo seemingly threw under the bus because he would not appear on camera with him as he read his warning! This is the same event Bugnolo regarding which he complained Cionci did not show!
Bugnolo and the Rubber Tree Plant
Bugnolo’s Date with Destiny has arrived. Day 21. Thus, in a post yesterday, January 20, Bugnolo announced in the title of a video “The College of Cardinals has failed; Now it’s the faithful’s turn to act” (see here)! The video marks the arrival of this Date with Destiny. “No one in Italy has the courage to organize it (a conclave)”, Bugnolo says…accept of course, himself. Yes, the bottom line is, Bugnolo informs his listeners that he needs $60,000 to sign the contracts to rent the venue for this conclave he is organizing. As of now, he has only achieved about $2,000 of that sum at the time of his video. But he needs the money by Monday! “For the love of God…!” he needs your generosity, he says.
Though $60,000 sounds like a lot, it is ultimately not all he needs. In preparation for his conclave, he signaled in a recent article (see Here) that it was time for the Catholic World to “prepare.” Which, if one reads his article, “prepare” seems to really mean “contribute.” For, as Bugnolo says (emphasis added):
Catholics of Rome and of the suburbican Dioceses are now gathering together in a group to organize this election. This will take some planning, but the most difficult part will be the financial. As a member of the Roman Church in virtue of my ecclesiastical residence, am going to dedicate myself to that, since huge sums need to be raised to rent the space for such an Assembly and to pay for the publicity to get the message out to nearly 6000 clergy, numerous religious and 4 Million Catholics.
(Source: Br. Bugnolo, BR. BUGNOLO: I ASK THE CATHOLIC WORLD TO PREPARE FOR THE COMING BATTLE AT ROME)
So, we see, that in addition to venue costs, Bugnolo foresees and calculates the additional cost for publicity and getting the message out to the clergy and laity of Rome — about 4 million people! Bugnolo by his own guess, as of January 16, is that it might cost upwards of a “half million euro”, which is equivalent to over a half million dollars in US currency. Certainly, hats off to Bugnolo for his ambitious hopes. Makes me think of that Frank Sinatra song about the ant wanting to move a rubber tree plant (High Hopes).
Given he intends to invite 4 million Catholics, that is the upper limit of attendees. What sort of venue for $60,000 does he expect could hold that many? Now, course, more seriously, the reality is Bugnolo cannot reasonably hope to need a large venue. Consider, when speaking of needing a clergyman to convoke the conclave, Bugnolo spoke of at least knowing at least two Benepapist priests (see Pope Bugnolo I?). Then, for the event where he warned the Cardinals, only two other Catholics showed up (see Br. Bugnolo’s ‘Urbi et Orbi’ and the tragicomedy which Benepapism has become). Consequently, I’d be a little surprised if Bugnolo needs anything larger than a couple small tables at the cappuciono bar around the corner from his flat to seat attendees for his conclave. So…$60,000? I don’t know. That’s a lot of cappucinos.
Bugnolo as Leading Papibile?
In the first of Roma Locuta Est’s series on Bugnolo’s aspirations to organize a papal conclave, I opined in jest that Bugnolo should be considered to be among the leading papabili. However, in the weeks since that first tonque-in-cheek prognostication, I am a little more convinced that Bugnolo should be considered the leading papabile. After all, he “established” the canonical/theological ‘basis’ for this “conclave,” he has set its rules and regulations, published prayers for the election of his new Benepapist pope, he has issued a “warning” to the College of Cardinals, and he has taken it upon himself to begin organizing a venue, publicity, etc. With such talent and skills, it must be considered not only possible, but probable, that if such a “conclave” should ever come to pass, that the electors” — sitting over cappucinos and cornetti — will eagerly turn their weary, and highly caffeinated eyes to Br. Alexis Bugnolo as their choice.
Again, despite the humor in all the pomposity, pretentiousness and lack of self-awareness, it is a tragic thing to witness Bugnolo’s posts, particularly those of late. For example, against those who believe the “munus = ministerium”, he declares them “enemies of the living God” (see here). He also reiterates similar themes on the munus and ministerium in another article, where again he appeals to Canon 17 (see here). However, Bugnolo’s appeal to Canon 17 was debunked in the Roma Locuta Est article titled Br. Alexis Bugnolo’s Faulty Logic, and Faulty Comprehension with Respect to Canon 17.
In various articles, and in my book Valid? The Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, I referenced various arguments that ministerium is a synonym of munus. Various Catholic commentators have demonstrated this.[i] Further, there is no necessity the word munus even be used at all in papal resignation, a point essentially granted by Beneapapists like Bugnolo (see here), and Estefania Acosta. For example, a word like “papacy” could be used. Undoubtedly, since “papacy” entails, or includes, munus, a renunciation of it would be valid. The same though would be true of any word or phrase that refers to the papacy. Popes have used variations of “ministry” (ministerium) in reference to the papacy, as has been noted in articles and my book, for example, for masses inaugurating their papacies. Ror example, the mass marking Benedict’s assumption of the papal throne was titled “Sollemne Initium Ministerii Summi Eccelesiae Pastoris.”[i]
However, beyond that, it has been demonstrated that a ‘ministry is a munus’ in a recent article on this blog, and the import of this was likewise demonstrated: if one resigns the Petrine ministry, one necessarily resigns the Petrine munus (see the argument in Lumen Gentium Destroys Benepapism in Toto). Bugnolo is aware of both this article and the one exploding his faulty logic on canon 17 (see Br. Alexis Bugnolo’s Faulty Logic, and Faulty Comprehension with Respect to Canon 17), but he has provided no logically coherent rebuttal.
Again, as I’ve noted a few times in the series on Bugnolo’s pontifications, there is some unintentional humor to be found in his writings. But, though I jest above and call attention to some of the absurdities, the unfolding of events is actually sad and tragic. Otherwise sincere Catholics have been led into error by the arch-Benepapists (Alexis Bugnolo, Ann Barnhardt, Estefania Acosta, Patrick Coffin, etc), who ought to know better. Let us pray they see the absurdity of the end point to which they are currently on path.
We at Roma Locuta Esthas have not been ‘fans’ of Pope Francis in the least. We’ve criticized the Francis-apologists, and problems we have seen with this pontificate (e.g., Abu Dhabi, Pachamama, etc., etc.), and have even explored the oddities surrounding the conclave in great detail (see The Conclave Chronicles). Roma Locuta Est first looked into the “Benedict is still pope” theory hoping there might be something to it. However, it soon became clear the main theories offered by the likes of Bugnolo, Barnhardt, Cionci, Acosta, et al., do not work. It is clear Benedict XVI withdrew his will from being pope. Whatever the answer or explanation is to the last ten years of this pontificate, the authority to render any answer will come from the Church, and not from Br. Bugnolo, and company. It will come in God’s time from a future pope and or council.
For those Catholics following the topic of Benepapism, or who have been tempted by it; Roma Locuta Est has various resources which debunk the false and spurious claims of the Benepapists (see Summa Contra the BiP Theory (Why Benedict XVI is NOT the pope), and The Case against those who claim “Benedict is (still) pope”). Also, my book which rebuts Benepapism was recently published (see Valid? The Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI).
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).
[i] For example, Ryan Grant has written one article on the subject (see https://onepeterfive.com/benevacantists/). Fr. John Rickert, FSSP, Ph.D. has written four articles on the Benepapist controversy (see https://www.wmbriggs.com/post/39718/; https://www.wmbriggs.com/post/21231/; https://www.wmbriggs.com/post/21193/; and https://www.wmbriggs.com/post/39752/).
[ii] Acta Apostolicae Sedis, ISSN 0001-5199, Vol. 97, Nº. 2 5, 2005, pp. 706-712.