Benedict’s Last Audience: Ten Years After

February 27, 2023 (Steven O’Reilly) – Ten years ago on February 27, 2013, Pope Benedict XVI gave his final audience as pope. As noted before on this Roma Locuta Est, the Benepapists have tried, falsely, to make much of it.  Roma Locuta Est has published various articles which debunk the Benepapist interpretation of the Last Audience (see Regarding Benedict’s Last Audience). In addition, an entire chapter was devoted to it in my book Valid? The Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI (The Case against the Benepapists).

Indeed, the arch-Benepapists have made bold claims regarding the last audience. For Ms. Barnhardt, Benedict’s Last audience is, with canon law, enough to “make the call” that Benedict’s resignation was invalid (see Here). For Ms. Barnhardt’s associate, Mark Docherty. the Last Audience is the “smoking gun” which exposes Benedict’s supposed notion that the Petrine Ministry conferred an indelible mark upon him (see HERE). Dr. Edmund Mazza takes a similar view. In his recent book he says “like Sherlock Holmes it’s time to dig deeper” and thus begins and bases his further analysis of Benedict’s resignation on the foundation of Benedict’s Last Audience (see The Third Secret of Fatima and the Synodal Church: Vol. I, location 940, Kindle version).

However, what is very striking is that these arch-Benepapists have simply ignored the facts arrayed against them for many years with regard to the last audience.  It is a matter of record that simpler and more natural readings of the text of the Last Audience have long been available to them which do not require the introduction of their wild claims and speculations that Benedict believed the papacy imparted an indelible mark at the moment of a papal election, or that he intended to bifurcate the papacy, etc. Roma Locuta Est first provided its take on the Last Audience back in 2017 (see Benedict is NOT pope), and as well in many others (see the most recent: Regarding Benedict’s Last Audience).  Roma Locuta Est has conclusively demonstrated that the “always” and the “forever” is a reference to a ‘loss of privacy’, i.e., to a bond of charity. Yet, while Roma Locuta Est has consistently risen to the occasion to rebut any claim made by the Benepapists, none of the aformentioned arch-Benepapists have provided any rational argument as to why their intepretation should be considered  more probable than what we have offered.

Indeed, none of these Benepapists in their continuing efforts to offer their interpretation of the Last Audience these past many years —all the while knowing of the opposing interpretations offered here on Roma Locuta Est — have shown the slightest shred of intellectual honesty to even acknowledge, let alone address, these interpretations. This, even though this blog has taken various efforts to point them out to these individuals. Instead, the Benepapist response has been to either ignore contrary intepretations (as cited earlier) and contradictory evidence (see Regarding Benedict’s comments to the Pilgrims from Albano), or to bloviate and gaslight as has Ann Barnhardt (see my article on Ann Barnhardt’s ad hominem attacks on interpretations she rejects without any logical or rational argument: On the 8th Anniversary of the Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI).  Dr. Mazza’s recent book begins its analysis of Benedict’s resignation with the last audience, yet he makes no attempt to establish the veracity or soundness of his interpretation of that document, so vital to the very foundation of his thesis(!), against an opposing interpretation (see A Rebuttal of Dr. Mazza’s book on Pope Benedict’s Resignation). He simply ignores that there is a significant case against his interpretation. So, the sad reality is, these so-called ‘leading lights’ of the Benepapist movement have misused, abused, and misled those who have put their faith in their analytical, and scholarly abilities (NB: I suggest that the reader take a look at another case of an egregious misreading of Ratzinger by a Benepapist:  see A closer look at Mr. Coffin’s evidence: Dr. Mazza’s Thesis 3.0).

So, on this 10th anniversary of the Last Audience, when Benedict spoke of the “always is also a forever“, I challenge those who believe Benedict’s resignation was invalid to watch my two part video series on the Last Audience. PART 1 looks at the claims of the Benepapists and why they are false with respect to Normas Nonnullas and Benedict’s greeting of the pilgrims from AlbanoPART 2 of the video series examines the Last Audience in detail by looking at the actual text, and why the Benepapist claims are absolutely, and without question false.

Needless to say, the Beneapapists like Barnshardt, Docherty, and Dr. Mazza will not address the arguments in these videos, for to do so would be to reveal their errors.  Why else haven’t they addressed them these last six years?

But again, perhaps those who previously have accepted their arguments will watch this video series (PART I, and PART II), and finally put the tough questions to the Arch-Benepapists:  why have you misled us?

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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