February 28, 2023 (Steven O’Reilly) – Ten years ago today, on February 28th 2013, Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation became effective at 8pm, Rome time. Just one day after his last audience, and on the very day his resignation would become effective later that evening, Pope Benedict XVI spoke to Catholic pilgrims for the Diocese of Albano. Pope Benedict, briefly addressing the pilgrims, said (emphasis added):
Thank you. Thank you all.
I am happy to be with you, surrounded by the beauty of Creation and your kindness, which does me so much good. Thank you for your friendship and your affection. You know that this day is different for me from the preceding ones. I am no longer the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church, or I will be until 8:00 this evening and then no longer. I am simply a pilgrim beginning the last leg of his pilgrimage on this earth. But I would still, thank you, I would still—with my heart, with my love, with my prayers, with my reflection, and with all my inner strength—like to work for the common good and the good of the Church and of humanity. I feel greatly supported by your kindness. Let us go forward with the Lord for the good of the Church and the world. Thank you. I now wholeheartedly impart my blessing.
May Almighty God bless us, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Good night! Thank you all!
Above, we can see that Pope Benedict earlier in the day of February 28, 2013 — just hours before his resignation took effect — explicitly stated he will “no longer” be the “Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church” as of that evening at 8pm, at which time he will become a ‘simple pilgrim‘ who is “beginning the last let of his pilgrimage on this earth.” This statement, of course, is perfectly consistent with the view that Benedict’s resignation was valid.
This is not the case for the various Benepapist theories. The statement, made ten years ago today, clearly contradicts the view Benedict did not resign validly, and or that he erroneously attempted a partial resignation, etc. So, today’s article and headline by the Arch-Benepapist Ms. Barnhardt, “Ten years ago today, Pope Benedict went on a short helicopter ride, and that’s all.” simply ignores the unpleasant reality of Benedict’s parting statement. Thus, she ignores Benedict’s words above in her article. I suppose there should be no surprise that Ms. Barnhardt wishes to overlook it, and not call it to the attention of her readers. She might lose readers. Also, doing such might actually require an effort to confront evidence and facts that contradict her Benepapist dogmas. Ms. Barnhardt, it seems, can’t be bothered with that!
Still, it is interesting to note that one can find an article by Mark Docherty on his site (www.NonVeniPacem.com) back on June 26, 2016, in which he cited Benedict’s words “I am no longer Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church.” However, while Mr. Docherty is a close Benepapist associate of Ms. Barnhardt now, back then in 2016 he cited these words as a proof against Ms. Ann Barnhardt’s argument that Benedict is (still) pope. (See Mark Docherty, “Examining the Benedictine Option”, June 26, 2016. https://nonvenipacem.com/2016/06/26/examining-the-benedictine-option/).
Unfortunately, Mr. Docherty reversed his opposition to Ms. Barnhardt’s descent into Benepapism a little over a year later, and jumped over the edge after her, declaring his moral certitude had done a reverse-180, and he now believed Benedict’s abdication was invalid (See Mark Docherty, “Count me in: Moral Certitude and the invalid abdication of Pope Benedict XVI, still reigning,” July 3, 2017. https://nonvenipacem.com/2017/07/03/count-me-in-moral-certitude-and-the-invalid-abdication-of-pope-benedict-xvi-still-reigning/. Mr. Docherty’s reversal of moral certainty was apparently based on Ms. Barnhardt’s spurious interpretations of Benedict’s last audience and Gänswein’s speech.
It is clear the Benepapists are reading their preconceived notions into the text of the Last Audience. Roma Locuta Est has provided analysis of the actual text of Benedict’s last audience, unrefuted by the Benepapists, which demonstrates, from a natural and common sense reading of the text and context, that his last audience is perfectly consistent with the reality that Benedict resignation was valid, and that Benedict intended to fully resign (see Regarding Benedict’s Last Audience and or my book, Valid? The Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, and videos PART I, and PART II), and that this is echoed in his statement “I am no longer Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church.”
The most interesting thing is that Mr. Docherty never publicly explained why Barnhardt’s questionable interpretation of the last audience trumped the clear and obvious meaning of Benedict’s words “I am no longer the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church.” Unfortunately, to my knowledge, neither Ms. Barnhardt nor Mr. Docherty the Benepapist have answered the question posed by Mr. Docherty the anti-Benepapist’s, essentially, “If you’re a Benepapist, how do you explain Pope Benedict XVI’s statement ‘I am no longer the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church’?” Unfortunately, on this and other points related to Benepapism, Mr. Docherty had greater faith in Ms. Barnhardt’s judgment than in his own.
So, how do the Benepapist’s try to explain away Benedict’s words “I am no longer the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church?” Well, in a 2017 article Mr. Docherty the new Benepapist, the close associate of Ms. Barnhardt, stated Benedict in his Last Audience:
“…exposes his erroneous notion of the indelible nature of the Petrine Ministry. In doing so, he directly contradicts all those previous statements where he claimed he was “renouncing”, “leaving”, and would then be Pontiff “no longer, but a simple pilgrim”.” (Source: HERE)
Mr. Docherty simply declares Benedict in his last audience — as interpreted by himself and Ann Barnhardt(!) — “directly contradicts” all his statements where Benedict said he was “renouncing” (Declaratio), “leaving”, or ‘would then be Pontiff “no longer, but a simple pilgrim” (Greeting to the Pilgrims of Albano). Incredibly, Benepapists declare Benedict contradicted himself, even though all these statements are made contemporaneously, over a period of a little over two weeks. Indeed, Benedict’s comments to the pilgrims of Albano came only a day after the comments of his Last Audience! How could Benedict gotten it so wrong one day later? Clearly, especially in this light, the Benepapist claims of contradictions are highly suspect!
Unfortunately, the likes of Mr. Docherty, Ms. Barnhardt, and Dr. Mazza never considered the much more obvious, common sense solution to the alleged contradictions they believe they found. That common sense solution is that their interpretation of Benedict’s Last Audience is simply dead wrong. If Ms. Barnhardt’s and Mr. Docherty’s interpretation of the last audience is wrong, all contradictions are resolved. In other words, the contradictions have arisen not because of Benedict, but because of their own faulty, deficient analysis, and interpretations.
Seriously, I ask you the reader, which is more probable, is it that Benedict — noted for his great intellect, and thoughtfulness in writing and speaking — gravely contradicted himself on so fundamental an issue as his own resignation; or that Ms. Barnhardt, Mr. Docherty, Dr. Mazza, et al have gravely misunderstood him in his Last Audience? Which is more probable? Clearly, the answer is, Ms. Barnhardt and company got it seriously wrong. If only these Benepapists could muster the humility and intellectual curiosity to admit this is even a possibility, then there might be hope they could begin to extricate themselves from the web of nonsense they have spun, and become entangled in over these last many years.
Now, they are not the only ones have stubbed their intellectual toes on Benedict’s statement that “I am no longer the supreme pontiff of the Catholic Church.” Estefania Acosta seems to have ignored it in her book entirely, while Andrea Cionci offers up his supposed “Ratzinger Code” to try to explain it away, claiming Benedict was speaking in a cryptic code! Folks interested in my rebuttal of Cionci’s attempt to explain away Benedict’s statement can read my article Regarding the “Ratzinger Code”, as well as my back and forth with Signor Cionci in subsequent articles which include Ratzinger Code: “Don’t believe your lying eyes”, and A Response to Andrea Cionci and his “Ratzinger Code”. Also, I discuss the Ratzinger Code in my book: Valid? The Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.
I ask the reader to consider. Is it really probable that Benedict’s statement from ten years ago today that “I am no longer supreme pontiff of the Catholic Church…” a contradiction of the Last Audience — even though he spoke these words the next day? Is it really probable that the Last Audience contradicts the Declaratio, though these are only about two weeks apart? Why is it that it never dawned on the leading Benepapists that perhaps their interpretation of the Last Audience is simply wrong? For that matter, why have the Benepapists never attempted to prove why their interpretation of the Last Audience is the more natural, and more probable one when compared to interpretations which are perfectly consistent with the view Benedict resigned validly and do not read extrinsic elements into the text? The inescapable conclusion is, they don’t, because they can’t.
We here at Roma Locuta Est have not been fans of Pope Francis. One can peruse our archives for proof of that. However, as in all things, one must follow the facts, and not wishful thinking, and especially not sloppy, illogical thinking. The Arch-Benepapists are abundantly guilty of the latter. As indicated earlier, Roma Locuta Est has provided analysis of the actual text of Benedict’s last audience, unrefuted by the Benepapists, which demonstrates, from a natural and common sense reading of the text and context, that his last audience is perfectly consistent with the reality that Benedict resignation was valid, and that he intended to fully resign (see Regarding Benedict’s Last Audience and or my book, Valid? The Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, and videos PART I, and PART II). In light of this interpretation, there are no contradictions.
Other resources on this site against Benepapism may be found in The Case against those who claim “Benedict is (still) pope”; Summa Contra Andrea Cionci, Plan B, and the Ratzinger Code; and Summa Contra the BiP Theory (Why Benedict XVI is NOT the pope), and in a new video series HERE.
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).