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Last week, German Cardinal Gerhard Müller, former prefect of the Congregation of the Faith, did an interview on the German website, Kath.net, and reported on Marco Tosatti’s blog. In that interview, he gave assurances to his readers that “the legitimate pope is Francis.” It’s merely a dictum, or claim from an otherwise authoritative source.
So, to address His Eminence’s many presuppositions and misunderstandings (or ignorance of the “Benedict Is Pope” evidence), and to provide a coherent review of the evidence itself, the Italian researcher Andrea Cionci writes the following reply, which I am honored to publish here.
Most Reverend Eminence,
We permit ourselves to direct to you publicly these scribblings, as one trusting in your charity as a pastor, first as a prince of the Church, mindful of the ancient Christian maxim: veritas summa charitas est (the truth is the greatest charity).
In your recent interview at the German website, Kath.net, as reported on the blog of Marco Tosatti, here, you assured everyone that “the legitimate pope is Francis”.
Even if, in the article, you had not judged it opportune to delve into your affirmation, we have reason to believe that you might be able to enlighten us — or have us enlightened by one of your collaborators — on the thorny question which remains unanswered for nine years and which has seen, throughout the whole world, the interventions – to the contray opinion – from authoritative scholars, canonists, jurists and theologians. To these there have been added the gravest affirmation on the part of three bishops, Mons. Gracida, Mons. Lenga and Mons. Negri on the fact that Pope Benedict did not abdicate and/or was constrained to abandon the Petrine throne (see here).
If, however, as you assure us, “the legitimate pope is Francis”, that means that the abdication of pope Benedict certainly happened without problems or infractions of canon law. If everyone took place in a crystal clear way, at this point, however, we do not understand why some priests incredulous at the claims of a juridically valid renunciation, have been excommunicated and/or reduced to the lay state without a canonical process, if all of this could have been explained so easily.
We implore you to help us understand how it can be, if Canon 332.2 in the Code of Canon Law, imposes for an abdication the renunciation of the Petrine munus, that the same would be equally valid if the renunciation was of the ministerium. Let us remember that it was the same Cardinal Ratzinger who distinguished the papal office in 1983 into these two entities according to the practice of Germanic dynastic law (see here), and that these two terms are not equivalent.
We would like to understand, in consequence, if the unedited expressions (as revealed by Attorney Arthur Lambauer) used in the Declaratio, such as sede Romae, sede Sancti Petri, have a juridical existence such that they can be left “vacante” and if it be true that an abdication, instead of being simultaneous just as the election, could be deferred by setting a sort of “expiration date” for Our Lord God to take the munus back (though in this case it is the ministerium).
In accord with such a request, for the sake of the peace of souls, we would ask you, if it were possible, to show a formal document with which Pope Benedict, immediately after 8 P.M. on the 28th of February, 2013, verbally or by writing conformed his renunciation of the ministerium, given that he bade farewell to the world at 5:30 P.M., two and a half hours before the hour in which the announcement of February 11th would have taken effect. His entire Declaration has remained, as much as we understand it, legally never confirmed. We would want to understand if the ministerium can be canonically separated from the munus, or if this cannot happen in fact, except in the case of a sede impedita (impeded See). Hopefully, on this point the canonists of the University of Bologna can give us useful elucidations, after several months of work precisely on this theme of “a pope emeritus and an impeded pope”. We have tried to ask them several times, but to no avail.
Moreover, you then affirm (in your recent interview) that “the resignation of Pope Benedict in 2013 introduced a tension in the Petrine principle of unity for the Faith and the communion of the Church which has no equal in history and which has not yet been dogmatically reckoned with.”
Should we, then, hold that the Holy Father, Ratzinger, has voluntarily maintained, even up to today, 1.285 billion Catholics in this terrible, anguished ambiguity? Is it possible that he had not foreseen a “pope emeritus” — understood as a canonical status of an ex-pope — a thing judged by diverse canonists as theologically impossible?
Then, there are some very strange facts about which we are certain you will be able to furnish us with clarity. One, for example, is the fact that Pope Benedict has repeated for 9 years, that “the pope is only one”, without explaining which one, and moreover that he too gives the Apostolic Blessing (see here), an exclusive prerogative of the reigning pope. Or, how is it, that he affirms that he has maintained the white raiment because he did not have “other habits at his disposal”? Is it possible that after 9 years that no one has been able to furnish him with a black cassock? (see here).
In the volume, “Last Conversations” by Peter Seewald, on the topic of his own “resignation”, the Holy Father, Benedict, affirms: “No pope has resigned in a thousand years and even in the first millennium it has been an exception.” With six popes abdicated in the first millennium and four in the second, this phrase has caused us to hold, out of the requirements of logic, that he must have referred to those two popes of the first millennium, before the Gregorian reform, who, as he did also, lost the practical exercise of power (inasmuch as they were driven from it by antipopes), but who, on point, maintained entirely their divine investiture as much as they returned to their thrones without the need of any re-election. (see here).
On which account, can we , therefore, be certain that Francis possesses the Petrine munus, that is, the papal investiture which comes directly from God and which offers the guarantees of assistance on the part of the Holy Spirit? (see here).
Hence, must we hold that when pope Francis enthroned a pagan divinity in Saint Peter or when he declares himself “personally in favor of civil unions” (which legalize the second of the “four sins which cry out for vengeance from Heaven” according to Catholic doctrine) that he has been assisted by the Holy Spirit?
You mention in your interview the discourse of Pope Benedict for the 65th anniversary of his priesthood, in which he cited the Greek word, “Euchristomen” as symbolic of the event of the abdication, that word by which Jesus rendered thanks for His Sacrifice which lay ahead of Him. (see here). Why?
Indeed, ought we hold that Pope Benedict became, therefore, from 2013 onward, so insensible to the Faithful as to cast them into a panic with ambiguous gestures and phrases, not withstanding that he is noted for his crystal clarity of thought and word? (here).
Your Eminence could have the sensibility to understand the sorrow and anguish of not having received a reply to one’s own “dubia”, but, nevertheless, if any juridic act in the life of the Church should be utmost clear and crystalline, it is precisely the abdication of a Pontiff, inasmuch as papa dubius, papa nullus (“a doubtful pope is no pope”). Last year, in a public letter, we asked our authoritative colleague Massimo Franco (for the ultimate book of which, you wrote the Preface) to help us understand such questions. Franco himself, perhaps not so up to discussing these canonical questions, judged the question of interest (see here) and, as his entire response to us, invited me to write a book.
This we have done, with dedication and good faith, and all of these elements, as of yet unclarified, have opened a way to a rigorous reconstruction according to which Pope Benedict, constrained to remove himself from the midst of Globalist power brokers and the Group of St. Gallen, which by the admission of Cardinal Danneels, supported cardinal Bergoglio, in 2013 never did in fact abdicate, but has “put” his enemies “to the test” with a candid, sincere declaration in which, by renouncing the exercise of power, he retreated into an impeded see, the canonical state in which a pope is a prisoner and prevented the possibility of communicating freely. In this manner, he has remained the pope to all effect, though as a contemplative and as one deprived of the faculty of governance, and his enemies, having been tricked by his initial mention of a renunciation, have schismed and nullified themselves by convoking an illegitimate conclave in the presence of a pope who is neither dead nor has abdicated. An invalid conclave can never been legitimized by a universalis ecclesiase adhesio, that is, by a pacific universal adhesion on the part of the Church.
Yes, in this manner, the mystery of a double papacy, which has cause so much discussion, might be explained: “a sort of enlarged ministerium” among two popes, yes, but one who is legitimate and contemplative (Benedict XVI) and another who is illegitimate and active (Bergoglio). To distinguish himself from the illegitimate one, Benedict should, therefore, be the “emeritus”, a term to be understood not as “a pope in retirement” (which is in fact juridically impossible and in-existent), but as the one who is “worthy”, who has “merited”, who has the “right” to be the pope, from the Latin verb, emereo.
Yes, one might even understand the reason for these strange declarations of Pope Benedict, known now as the “Ratzinger Code” and certified even by specialists at the university level (see here): about Pope Benedict being in a impeded see, not being able to express himself freely and obliged to have recourse to subtle logical tricks to explain the canonical truth.
You can understand well the anguish of the Faithful which not even the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, when responding to myself, the author of this reconstruction, had nothing to object to (see here).
Imagine what kind of scandal this comportment would be for the life of the Church and for the credibility of pope Francis from whom we would willingly ask pardon if all the questions on the table were publicly clarified by the Church. Perhaps, together with so many illustrious scholars, we have been the victim of a delusion of the mind in which, though following the iron rules of logic, hundreds of elements of fact which regard canon law, theology, the history of the Church and the “absent minded” declarations of Pope Benedict come together in an extremely coherent vision. It will, therefore, not be difficult for you or your collaborators to take the veil from our eyes and disassemble the diabolic illusion by which we have been victimized.
Up to today, the opposing replies have availed themselves only of insult, aggression on our person and of the most vain arguments of pretext, (see here), and this has increased other doubts among my readers.
Behold the reason, precisely to avoid the scandal of such considerations, why they are now gathered together in one of the most sold books in Italy (“Codice Ratzinger” by ByoBlu editions), a copy of which, it you like, would be our honor to send you: such that we implore you to call for a public canonical investigation precisely to safeguard the legitimacy of pope Francis, to which you owe the cardinal’s hat since 2014, and thus in this manner put to flight every doubt whatsoever regarding the renunciation of the papacy by Pope Benedict XVI.
Perhaps, and better yet, it would be suitable to ask the Holy Father emeritus for a public press conference, with all the guarantees for authenticity, so that He himself can put a definitive end to this knotting Quaestio Magna.
With the hope that you would redeem us from error by unraveling at last these knots in the light of the Logos, the Reason which reveals truth, and finally calm the Catholic people (and not only them), we offer your the most respectful and cordial salute,
The original article may be found HERE.
Photo Credit: New German Cardinal, Gerhard Ludwig Muller is met by Benedict XVI in St Peter’s Basilica Feb. 22, 2014. | Franco Origlia/Getty Images News/Getty Images.