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On Tuesday, April 12, 2022, philosopher Edward Feser posted a blog entry titled “Benevacantism Is Scandalous and Pointless,” which led to Catholic World Report re-publishing it. CWR is owned by Ignatius Press, which publishes two of Prof. Feser’s books.
(Feser also tweeted a seven-point criticism of my evidence VIDEO that Pope Benedict XVI is still the true Pontiff of the Catholic Church. Which I answered, point by point.)
“Benevacantism” is a nonsensical devil term. (Benedict is vacant? His papal chair is vacant? What?) Beyond “Benedict is Pope” or “BiP” as we well call it, the other internet nicknames are either misleading or unserious.
I received the following reply to Feser’s blog post from the Italian researcher Andrea Cionci, who asked me to publish it here, translated from the Italian.
Cionci is an art historian, opera expert, and writer with specialities in history, archaeology, and religion. He writes for four major Italian newspapers and has reported from Afghanistan, Lebanon, Kenya, and the Himalayas. He also earned the Knight of Merit of the Italian Republic for cultural merits.
Dear Professor Feser:
I read with interest your article on “The Uselessness and the Scandal of Benevacantism.” Here in Italy, we have gone a long way on the question of the “two Popes,” with an investigation by the undersigned produced in the magazines Libero, ByoBlu, and RomaIT, spanning two years and comprising more than 200 articles, making use of the contribution of numerous specialists: theologians, Latinists, canonists, psychologists, linguists, historians etc.
First, two very trivial considerations. The first is that if Pope Benedict had really wanted to abdicate, as the official narrative would—given the discretion, modesty, and correctness of the man—he certainly would not have made all those messes: to remain with the pontifical name, dressed in white, in the Vatican, under a canonically non-existent papacy emeritus. What good is it? Out of vanity? For the sake of throwing a billion or more faithful into confusion? HERE
Second consideration: since the undersigned has argued for two years that the Pope is only him and Bergoglio a usurper, when the Holy Father Benedict replied to me by letter, he should undoubtedly have denied me in the most decisive way, and instead sent me a sentence very kind “even with every good intent, it is not really possible to receive it” in a letter accompanied by his coat of arms as reigning Pope. The only answer he could send from that canonical situation that I have identified HERE.
What I have ascertained is that Pope Benedict XVI, pushed into abdication by the Mafia of St. Gallen and the victim of a sort of general mutiny by the Curia, in 2013 applied an anti-usurpation plan prepared since 1983, when, borrowing it from German dynastic law (the so-called Fuerstenrecht), Cardinal Ratzinger had imported into Roman Canon Law the distinction between title and the practical exercise of power, munus and ministerium HERE.
If the munus is renounced, according to canon 332.2, there is abdication. However, this renunciation must be simultaneous because the munus is the investiture that grants (or withdraws) God himself and obviously God cannot be given assignments on expiry, like a butler.
Benedict did, however, the exact opposite: he renounced the ministerium, postponing the entry into force of this renunciation after 17 days without, moreover, ratifying absolutely nothing after “time X”, 20.00. On what occasion could a bishop renounce only practical power in a deferred way without then juridically ratifying anything? Only in the case of self-exile in an impeded seat, canon 412, in fact, HERE.
Consistently, Benedict spoke in the Declaratio of “seat of Rome” and “seat of St. Peter,” as identified by the lawyer Arthur Lambauer. Since only the “Apostolic See” has juridical personality to be left vacant and the renunciation of the ministerium does not produce any vacant see, the Latin verb vacet must be translated (even more literally) as: “empty see.”
In fact, Benedict took the helicopter at 17.00 on February 28, leaving the physical headquarters in Rome empty by 20.00. From Castel Gandolfo, where at 5.30 pm he said that he would no longer be the “supreme pontiff” (and not the Supreme Pontiff), that is, that he would no longer be the pope in the highest position (there would be another, illegitimate, more in vista) and HERE also announced the time at which he would enter the premises, 13.00 on March 1st, with a subtle, but clear reference to the ancient papal time system: HERE.
Furthermore, in a second objective sentence of the Declaratio, Pope Benedict specified that the next Supreme Pontiff (upon his death or regular abdication) “must be elected by those to whom it belongs.” Perfectly: the next real pope, who will succeed Benedict, will have to be elected only by the real cardinals appointed pre-2013, as Archbishop Viganò has also recently confirmed.
In fact, as emerges from the book Latest Conversations (2016), Benedict has never sworn allegiance to Bergoglio. When Peter Seewald asks him: “How could he swear obedience to Francis?”, Benedict replies: “The pope is the pope, no matter who he is.”
Pope Ratzinger has, we could say, “led into temptation” his enemies, who, dominated by the lust for power, hungrily grabbed the first declaration that smelled of resignation … and choked on it. In fact, given that Benedict remained the pope in an impeded seat, with the divine investiture (the munus ), Bergoglio illegally exercised power and made himself anti-pope. Proof of this is that the canonists of the Vatican and the University of Bologna have been put to work precisely to find a solution between pope emeritus and pope impeded HERE. Benedict did not “back away from the wolves” at all, he apparently slipped away and the modernists alone fell into the trap.
The other column of my investigation, in addition to the canonical aspect outlined above, is however the so-called Ratzinger Code, a convenient expression to define a typical subtle but ironically logical communication system, with which Pope Benedict, for nine years, confirms exactly the prohibited venue, HERE.
Since in this status the pope is a prisoner, confined and not free to express himself, Benedict speaks only to those who have “ears to hear” using the same communicative style of Christ with his enemies: amphibologies, initial misunderstandings, references to Scripture, HERE.
And this explains the strange, apparently incomprehensible speech of Archbishop Georg Gänswein of 2016: “As in the time of Peter, even today the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church continues to have a single legitimate Pope. And yet, for three years now, we have been living with two Successors of Peter living among us – who are not in a competitive relationship with each other, and yet both with an extraordinary presence”.
There is only one legitimate pope … but there are two popes. How is it possible? Obvious: THERE IS A LEGITIMATE POPE AND AN ILLEGITIMATE POPE. They are not in competition because one is pope and the other is not.
And the secretary adds to the dose: “Since the election of his successor Francis, on March 13, 2013, there are therefore not two popes, but de facto an enlarged ministry – with an active member and a contemplative member”. There are not two popes, that is: only one IS the pope. There is a MEMBER who is the pope without being one (Bergoglio) and one who IS and is the only legitimate pope. For this he uses the indistinct word “member” and uses auxiliary verbs perfectly. This explains the mystery of the extended ministry. It is not a canonical question, but a historical-theological-eschatological one.
Then there is a sensational canonical “little help” by Gänswein-Ratzinger: “The key word of that Declaratio is munus petrinum, translated – as happens most of the time – with” Petrine ministry “. And yet, munus, in Latin, HAS SEVERAL MEANINGS: it can mean service, task, guide or gift, even prodigy. Gänswein refers precisely to the fact that the munus, which is translated with the word ministry (as well as ministerium) is the key to understanding its Impeded See.
If munus can have various meanings, including that of gift, office, title, and not only of practical exercise, the ministerium is used in canon law ONLY as a practical exercise. Therefore, distinguishing the two entities, Ratzinger excluded any synonymy and renounced only the practical exercise, not the title, ergo he exiled himself in the impeded seat. For this reason, only in the German translation of the Declaratio where Amt (munus) and Dienst (ministerium) are used the two entities are swapped places, probably to confuse the sharp-eyed German clergy, HERE
This also explains the emeritus papacy, which has no juridical capacity, but is to be understood as a simple qualifying adjective to distinguish between the two the true pope: from the verb “emeritus”, he who deserves, who has the right to be pope.
The purpose of the impeded venue? Allowing modernism, heresy, and apostasy in the Church to come to light and that, when the Impeded See is discovered, the wheat is separated from the chaff: “separate believers from non-believers,” as he said to the Herder Korrespondenz monthly publication.
Here we understand, in addition to the condescension that Ratzinger reserves for Bergoglio, (like Christ with Judas) all the gigantic, millennial, eschatological design of which Benedict XVI is the protagonist: His “extended ministry” is in common with the usurper antipope, with the pope illegitimate, and Benedict welcomes it because Bergoglio also has an (unconscious) role in cooperating in the truth, just as Judas, we could say, was a participant in Christ’s sacrifice.
The hypothesis of the substantial and involuntary error identified by you is therefore completely to be discarded because over the course of these nine years, Pope Benedict has communicated externally with the Ratzinger Code in books, letters, interviews, declarations in a subtly logical, but very clear and unambiguous. Sometimes with amphibology, saying “the pope is one” without explaining which one, other times with historical references such as when in Last Conversations he wrote: “No Pope resigned for a thousand years and even in the first millennium he was an exception. “
Given that six popes abdicated in the first millennium and four in the second, the only way to correctly interpret that phrase is to refer exactly to the particular type of resignation of Benedict: from the ministerium. In fact, in the first millennium, before the Gregorian Reformation, there were a couple of popes, Benedict VIII and Gregory V who had to renounce the ministerium because they were driven out, only temporarily. HERE (English version).
There are dozens of messages in the Ratzinger Code, already treated by myself and will soon be published in a book. Some are extremely subtle, like that of the Carnival, in which Benedict explains that he chose February 11 in relation to the German Carnival Monday; others of pure logic such as the “red mozzetta puzzle;” others quite simple as when to the question: “According to Malachi’s prophecy, could you be the last pope as we know him?”, Benedict replies: “Anything can be”. And Pope Francis, then, is not his successor? No.
But there are also the so-called “zero km messages” that do not require any effort, as when Benedict XVI sent his apostolic blessing in February (exclusive PREROGATIVE of the reigning pope), or as in the letter sent by the Secretariat of State to a woman: “Dear Madam, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI accepted the courteous letter of October 21 with which he wished to address expressions of filial affection. Grateful for the sentiments of devotion expressed, the Supreme Pontiff encourages us to turn our gaze to the heavenly Father with ever greater confidence…” As law, the Pope Emeritus is the Supreme Pontiff. HERE
There are many issues that need a careful summary to be digested.
In this article HERE a question / answer I think of having exemplified everything in an easily summarized way.
With cordial greetings from Rome,