Investigating the causes of Pope Benedict’s invalid Abdication

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By Br. Alexis Bugnolo

As is now notorious, Pope Benedict’s act of resignation of February 11, 2013 was invalid on account of not being in conformity with Canon 332 §2. Here at, the From Rome Blog, I have written about this extensively and subjected the text to a Scholastic analysis, demonstrating, I believe, conclusively, that the signification of the text can not be rationally said to conform to the norm of the law.

As a Latin translator of Ecclesiastical texts, I have wondered daily for six months how a mind such as that of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, could fall into such a grievous substantial error of mistaking the very object (cf. 126) of the act of a papal resignation, which is a renunciation of the Petrine Munus, to be rather a renunciation of the Petrine Ministry.

Ann Barnhardt sees malice in this, in an attempt to bifurcate the papacy. Her collaborators in Germany have found much evidence to this effect.  But as a Franciscan, who is obligated by the Rule of Saint Francis to recognize the canonically elected popes and show them respect, I consider it my duty to investigate other causes which involve less or no culpability. I take the position of the international Association, Veri Catholici, that we need not presume malice, ignorance suffices, if ignorance can be demonstrated.

In my recent article, the other day, on the Falsification of the Vernacular translations of the text of Renunciation, I showed conclusively that the Vatican has misrepresented the signification of the Latin Text of the act, which is the only official canonical text.

In that study, however, it was evident that the German translation was anomalous, that is, that it had entirely different errors than the other translations. These anomalies led me to today’s investigation.

Archbishop Gänswein and the German Translation of the Code of Canon Law

In the German translation of the Act of Renunciation, the anomalies are as follows:

  1. The Latin word, munus, is translated as Dienst.
  2. The Latin word, ministerium, is translated  sometimes as Amt, sometimes as Dienst.
  3. The syntactical association of the act of renunciation is followed by the correct translation of ita ut.

Following the forensic principle of Aristotle, that where there are 2 differing consequences there are 2 different causes, but when there is the same consequence, there is a unity among causes, I am led by comparison to conjecture why this may be the case.

Recall, if you may, the speech given by Archbishop Georg Ganswein at the Pontifical University of St Gregory the Great, in 2016, which sparked so much amazement, because in it, he said that Pope Benedict still shared in the Petrine Ministry and held the Papal Office.

Recently, however, Archbishop Gänswein, to both a German journalist and a journalist working for Life Site News, withdrew his assertions, claiming that he had misused the words for office and munus, in his German text.

Now, supposing that the Act of Renunciation, in the German translation, was overseen by Archbishop Gänswein, we might conclude that he has something to do with the anomalies it contains

This consideration alone, however, did not satisfy me, so I examined the causes for the Archbishop’s errors in German. Naturally, therefore, I went back to the Code of Canon Law in the Latin (the official text) and to the Vatican’s German translation (unofficial, but in practice used by German Speakers).

At the Vatican Website, you notice immediately that the German translation of Pope John Paul II’s Code of Canon Law is better linked than the English. In the German, the index contains links from each line of text, but in the English, the index contains links only in the titles to the books. This gives one to think that some German speaker was using the German translation of the Code quite frequently and has the authority to get the Vatican webmaster to add all the referential URLs, to make that edition more facile in its use.

This argues that Archbishop Gänswein, if not Benedict himself, frequently used the German translation.

O.K., that appears to be an obvious assumption, but there is a problem.  THE GERMAN TEXT IS ERRONEOUS. And not in a small way! In a very crucial manner: it gets the translation of Munus  WRONG! And that in a way that anyone using it, as a guide on how to Renounce the Papal Office, would write an invalid formula of resignation!

Let me explain, therefore, Why and How, Perhaps, Pope Benedict got his Act of Renunciation wrong in the Latin, and thus never in fact or before God resigned.

The key Canons which one must consult regarding how to write a valid act of renunciation of the papal office are canon 332 §2 and canon 145 §1. This is because in the former, the conditions for a valid resignation are stated, and in the latter, the nature of every ecclesiastical office are defined.

Let’s look at each in the German:

Can. 332 — 2. Falls der Papst auf sein Amt verzichten sollte, ist zur Gültigkeit verlangt, daß der Verzicht frei geschieht und hinreichend kundgemacht, nicht jedoch, daß er von irgendwem angenommen wird.

The error in this German translation is minor: it renders the Latin, Pontifex Romanus (Roman Pontiff) with the German, Papst, (Pope).  However, it correctly translates the sense of the Latin, munus, as Amt.  Because, in this canon, the Latin, Munus, has the sense of office, which is what the German, Amt, means.

It must be noted, here, that in the German translation of the Act of Renunciation, the author of that text in the crucial act of renunciation uses the correct German word for a VALID renunciation, Amt! — The only problem is, Pope Benedict XVI did NOT resign in German, he resigned in Latin!

But this anomaly of the German translation of the Act of renunciation does reveal, that at least ONE German speaker, the author of the translation, THOUGHT the act was a renunciation of the Papal MUNUS.

Now, let’s look at the other canon:

Can. 145 — § 1. Kirchenamt ist jedweder Dienst, der durch göttliche oder kirchliche Anordnung auf Dauer eingerichtet ist und der Wahrnehmung eines geistlichen Zweckes dient.

The importance of canon 145 §1 in the Code of Canon Law is this, that it DEFINES the nature of an ecclesiastical office (officium) as a munus.  As I have discussed in my commentary on Boniface VIII’s Quoniam, the Latin word, munus, is the perfect word for an ecclesiastical office, since it signifies both that the office is a dignity, a charge or burden, and a gift, which upbuilds the one who receives it with grace. There is no 1 word in any modern language, to my knowledge, which has all the senses of the Latin word, munus.

For this reason, its difficult to translate munus properly, which is why I use the Latin word even in English prose. (The German Translation of the Code, which appears on the Vatican Website, seems to be that by Father Winfried Aymans, JCD, an eminent doctor of Canon Law from the Diocese of Bonn, Germany. Who however, does not seem to be a Latinist per se, though, to his merit, he be a signer of the Correctio Filialis)

So in this German translation, we see the TERRIBLE error:  Every ecclesiastical office (Kirchenamt) is defined as a Dienst!  But Dienst as every German speaker knows, means what we in English mean by service, and what every Latin speaker means by ministerium.  So the German translation of canon 145 says:  Every ecclesiastical office is a ministry! When the Code of Canon Law in Latin actually says: Every ecclesiastical office is a munus!

In fact, in the code of Canon Law, in the Latin, Pope John Paul II never speaks of any ecclesiastical office as a ministry (ministerium), but always as an office (officium) or munus.

This means, that if any German speaker read canon 145 §1 in the German, as found on the Vatican Website, and probably in most German translations of the Code of Canon Law, he would be mislead into thinking that to resign an ecclesiastical office its sufficient to renounce the ministry of that office! — But this is precisely the error in the Papal Resignation!

If we go back to the other vernacular translations of the Act of Renunciation, which I analyzed in my previous post, we see that all of them follow the erroneous German translation of munus in the German Translation of the Code of Canon Law! But, illogically and inconsistently, also follow the erroneous Latin text of Pope Benedict when he says ministerium in the Act of resignation.  Thus the vernacular translations (excepting the German) are reading in some places the Latin original of the renunciation, in other places, the German translation of the Code and Act of resignation!  This is the scientific reason why the vernacular translations are worthless if not maliciously contrived.

The error in canon 145 §1 might also explain why Pope Benedict thought that in writing ministerio in the Latin text of his renunciation, he thought he was writing munus, because the erroneous translation makes it appear that the German for munus is the same as the Latin, ministerium. For the German of Canon 145 §1 says that every Amt is a Dienst (which in Latin is a ministerium, but in canon 145 §1 is the German translation for munus), and the German of Canon 332 §2, says a Pope resigns when he renounces his Amt. So it appears that Benedict was mislead into thinking that in Latin, if he renounced his Amt, he could sufficient signify that by renouncing his ministerium!

I pray to God, therefore, that SOMEONE in the Church, who can speak with Pope Benedict XVI in person, makes this known to him!

 

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The Vatican has known all along that Benedict’s renunciation was invalid as written, and here’s the proof!

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The Falsified Letter of Pope Benedict was not a novelty, the Vatican had already falsified all the translations of Benedict’s Act of Renunciation.

By Br. Alexis Bugnolo

April 8, 2019 A.D. — The Vatican has known all along that Pope Benedict’s Act of Renunciation was not in conformity with the requirements of Pope John Paul II’s Code of Canon Law, and the documentary evidence to prove it has been published by the Vatican for 6 years.

The Code of Canon Law requires that the man who is Pope resign in a specific manner, in in the Canon 332 §2:

§ 2. Si contingat ut Romanus Pontifex muneri suo renuntiet, ad validitatem requiritur ut renuntiatio libere fiat et rite manifestetur, non vero ut a quopiam acceptetur.

The literal English translation of this Canon reads:

§2. If it happen that the Roman Pontiff renounce his MUNUS, there is required for validity that the renunciation be made freely and manifested duly, but nto that it be accepted by anyone whomsoever.

But the text of the renunciation in the Latin original reads thus:

Quapropter bene conscius ponderis huius actus plena libertate declaro me ministerio Episcopi Romae, Successoris Sancti Petri, mihi per manus Cardinalium die 19 aprilis MMV commisso renuntiare…

The correct translation of this key text is:

On which account, well aware of the weight of this act, I declare with full liberty, that I renounce the Ministry of the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Saint Peter, committed to me through the hands of the Cardinals on the 19th of April 2005, …

This glaring ERROR of mistaking the ESSENTIAL object of a papal renunciation as regarding the Petrine Ministry instead of the Petrine Munus (office) made the act have no legal effect (cf. canon 126 and 188).

BUT TO HIDE THIS INVALIDITY, the Vatican HAS PUBLISHED FALSIFIED translations into the vernacular of the act, which specifically ALTER the nature of the act and conceal that invalidity.  This was one of the key and necessary acts of the Coup d’etat, of February 2013, of which I wrote previously.

The FALSIFICATIONS are these:

  1. In all the translations, the double occurrence of the word MUNUS, in the Latin original is CONCEALED by translating it with the same word used to translate the Latin MINISTERIUM, which occurs thrice in the text.
  2. The syntax of the clause of effect which follows the verb RENUNIET in the Latin, has been altered to make it appear to allow a metanymic manner of signification, when in the Latin it permits NO SUCH reading.
  3. The syntax of the second independent clause following the DECLARO has been altered to make it appear as definitive command to convene a Conclave.

These 2 errors make it appear that in the mind of Pope Benedict there is NO distinction between the Petrine Office (which must be resigned) and the Petrine Ministry (which you can resign without resigning the office).* It also makes it appear that his act of resignation of the ministry effects the loss of office.

Now since ALL the vernacular translations have this error, its clear that the Vatican has DELIBERATELY AND WITH AFORETHOUGHT publicly misrepresented the nature of the Papal Act to make it appear to be in conformity with the Code of Canon Law.

But don’t take my word for it, see the Vatican Website to review each translation. In the texts below which I have cut and pasted directly from the Vatican Website, I have colored in RED the falsifications of munus and ministerium, and/or the alterations of the Syntax, and placed in BLUE the correct translations of MINISTERIUM or the syntactical forms where they occur in each.

The Falsified English

The English as it appeared on the Vatican Website on April 8, 2019:

Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the barque of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects.  And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

The Falsified Italian

Italiano as it appeared on the Vatican Website on April 8, 2019:

Carissimi Fratelli,

vi ho convocati a questo Concistoro non solo per le tre canonizzazioni, ma anche per comunicarvi una decisione di grande importanza per la vita della Chiesa. Dopo aver ripetutamente esaminato la mia coscienza davanti a Dio, sono pervenuto alla certezza che le mie forze, per l’età avanzata, non sono più adatte per esercitare in modo adeguato il ministero petrino. Sono ben consapevole che questo ministero, per la sua essenza spirituale, deve essere compiuto non solo con le opere e con le parole, ma non meno soffrendo e pregando. Tuttavia, nel mondo di oggi, soggetto a rapidi mutamenti e agitato da questioni di grande rilevanza per la vita della fede, per governare la barca di san Pietro e annunciare il Vangelo, è necessario anche il vigore sia del corpo, sia dell’animo, vigore che, negli ultimi mesi, in me è diminuito in modo tale da dover riconoscere la mia incapacità di amministrare bene il ministero a me affidato. Per questo, ben consapevole della gravità di questo atto, con piena libertà, dichiaro di rinunciare al ministero di Vescovo di Roma, Successore di San Pietro, a me affidato per mano dei Cardinali il 19 aprile 2005, in modo che, dal 28 febbraio 2013, alle ore 20,00, la sede di Roma, la sede di San Pietro, sarà vacante e dovrà essere convocato, da coloro a cui compete, il Conclave per l’elezione del nuovo Sommo Pontefice.

Carissimi Fratelli, vi ringrazio di vero cuore per tutto l’amore e il lavoro con cui avete portato con me il peso del mio ministero, e chiedo perdono per tutti i miei difetti. Ora, affidiamo la Santa Chiesa alla cura del suo Sommo Pastore, Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo, e imploriamo la sua santa Madre Maria, affinché assista con la sua bontà materna i Padri Cardinali nell’eleggere il nuovo Sommo Pontefice. Per quanto mi riguarda, anche in futuro, vorrò servire di tutto cuore, con una vita dedicata alla preghiera, la Santa Chiesa di Dio.

The Falsified Spanish Text

The Spanish as it appeared on the Vatican Website on April 8, 2019:

Queridísimos hermanos,

Os he convocado a este Consistorio, no sólo para las tres causas de canonización, sino también para comunicaros una decisión de gran importancia para la vida de la Iglesia. Después de haber examinado ante Dios reiteradamente mi conciencia, he llegado a la certeza de que, por la edad avanzada, ya no tengo fuerzas para ejercer adecuadamente el ministerio petrino. Soy muy consciente de que este ministerio, por su naturaleza espiritual, debe ser llevado a cabo no únicamente con obras y palabras, sino también y en no menor grado sufriendo y rezando. Sin embargo, en el mundo de hoy, sujeto a rápidas transformaciones y sacudido por cuestiones de gran relieve para la vida de la fe, para gobernar la barca de san Pedro y anunciar el Evangelio, es necesario también el vigor tanto del cuerpo como del espíritu, vigor que, en los últimos meses, ha disminuido en mí de tal forma que he de reconocer mi incapacidad para ejercer bien el ministerio que me fue encomendado. Por esto, siendo muy consciente de la seriedad de este acto, con plena libertad, declaro que renuncio al ministerio de Obispo de Roma, Sucesor de San Pedro, que me fue confiado por medio de los Cardenales el 19 de abril de 2005, de forma que, desde el 28 de febrero de 2013, a las 20.00 horas, la sede de Roma, la sede de San Pedro, quedará vacante y deberá ser convocado, por medio de quien tiene competencias, el cónclave para la elección del nuevo Sumo Pontífice.

Queridísimos hermanos, os doy las gracias de corazón por todo el amor y el trabajo con que habéis llevado junto a mí el peso de mi ministerio, y pido perdón por todos mis defectos. Ahora, confiamos la Iglesia al cuidado de su Sumo Pastor, Nuestro Señor Jesucristo, y suplicamos a María, su Santa Madre, que asista con su materna bondad a los Padres Cardenales al elegir el nuevo Sumo Pontífice. Por lo que a mi respecta, también en el futuro, quisiera servir de todo corazón a la Santa Iglesia de Dios con una vida dedicada a la plegaria.

The Falsified French

The French as it appeared on the Vatican Website on April 8, 2019:

Frères très chers,

Je vous ai convoqués à ce Consistoire non seulement pour les trois canonisations, mais également pour vous communiquer une décision de grande importance pour la vie de l’Église. Après avoir examiné ma conscience devant Dieu, à diverses reprises, je suis parvenu à la certitude que mes forces, en raison de l’avancement de mon âge, ne sont plus aptes à exercer adéquatement le ministère pétrinien. Je suis bien conscient que ce ministère, de par son essence spirituelle,  doit être accompli non seulement par les œuvres et par la parole, mais aussi, et pas moins, par la souffrance et par la prière. Cependant, dans le monde d’aujourd’hui, sujet à de rapides changements et agité par des questions de grande importance pour la vie de la foi, pour gouverner la barque de saint Pierre et annoncer l’Évangile, la vigueur du corps et de l’esprit est aussi nécessaire, vigueur qui, ces derniers mois, s’est amoindrie en moi d’une telle manière que je dois reconnaître mon incapacité à bien administrer le ministère qui m’a été confié. C’est pourquoi, bien conscient de la gravité de cet acte, en pleine liberté, je déclare renoncer au ministère d’Évêque de Rome, Successeur de saint Pierre, qui m’a été confié par les mains des cardinaux le 19 avril 2005, de telle sorte que, à partir du  28 février 2013 à vingt heures, le Siège de Rome, le Siège de saint Pierre, sera vacant et le conclave pour l’élection du nouveau Souverain Pontife devra être convoqué par ceux à qui il appartient de le faire.

Frères très chers, du fond du cœur je vous remercie pour tout l’amour et le travail avec lequel vous avez porté avec moi le poids de mon ministère et je demande pardon pour tous mes défauts. Maintenant, confions la Sainte Église de Dieu au soin de son Souverain Pasteur, Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ, et implorons sa sainte Mère, Marie, afin qu’elle assiste de sa bonté maternelle les Pères Cardinaux dans l’élection du Souverain Pontife. Quant à moi, puissé-je servir de tout cœur, aussi dans l’avenir, la Sainte Église de Dieu par une vie consacrée à la prière.

The Falsified Portuguese

The Portuguese as it appeared on the Vatican Website on April 8, 2019:

Caríssimos Irmãos,

convoquei-vos para este Consistório não só por causa das três canonizações, mas também para vos comunicar uma decisão de grande importância para a vida da Igreja. Depois de ter examinado repetidamente a minha consciência diante de Deus, cheguei à certeza de que as minhas forças, devido à idade avançada, já não são idóneas para exercer adequadamente o ministério petrino. Estou bem consciente de que este ministério, pela sua essência espiritual, deve ser cumprido não só com as obras e com as palavras, mas também e igualmente sofrendo e rezando. Todavia, no mundo de hoje, sujeito a rápidas mudanças e agitado por questões de grande relevância para a vida da fé, para governar a barca de São Pedro e anunciar o Evangelho, é necessário também o vigor quer do corpo quer do espírito; vigor este, que, nos últimos meses, foi diminuindo de tal modo em mim que tenho de reconhecer a minha incapacidade para  administrar bem o ministério que me foi confiado. Por isso, bem consciente da gravidade deste acto, com plena liberdade, declaro que renuncio ao ministério de Bispo de Roma, Sucessor de São Pedro, que me foi confiado pela mão dos Cardeais em 19 de Abril de 2005, pelo que, a partir de 28 de Fevereiro de 2013, às 20,00 horas, a sede de Roma, a sede de São Pedro, ficará vacante e deverá ser convocado, por aqueles a quem tal compete, o Conclave para a eleição do novo Sumo Pontífice.

Caríssimos Irmãos, verdadeiramente de coração vos agradeço por todo o amor e a fadiga com que carregastes comigo o peso do meu ministério, e peço perdão por todos os meus defeitos. Agora confiemos a Santa Igreja à solicitude do seu Pastor Supremo, Nosso Senhor Jesus Cristo, e peçamos a Maria, sua Mãe Santíssima, que assista, com a sua bondade materna, os Padres Cardeais na eleição do novo Sumo Pontífice. Pelo que me diz respeito, nomeadamente no futuro, quero servir de todo o coração, com uma vida consagrada à oração, a Santa Igreja de Deus.

The Falsified German

The German as it appeared on the Vatican Website on April 8, 2019:

Liebe Mitbrüder!

Ich habe euch zu diesem Konsistorium nicht nur wegen drei Heiligsprechungen zusammengerufen, sondern auch um euch eine Entscheidung von großer Wichtigkeit für das Leben der Kirche mitzuteilen. Nachdem ich wiederholt mein Gewissen vor Gott geprüft habe, bin ich zur Gewißheit gelangt, daß meine Kräfte infolge des vorgerückten Alters nicht mehr geeignet sind, um in angemessener Weise den Petrusdienst auszuüben. Ich bin mir sehr bewußt, daß dieser Dienst wegen seines geistlichen Wesens nicht nur durch Taten und Worte ausgeübt werden darf, sondern nicht weniger durch Leiden und durch Gebet. Aber die Welt, die sich so schnell verändert, wird heute durch Fragen, die für das Leben des Glaubens von großer Bedeutung sind, hin- und hergeworfen. Um trotzdem das Schifflein Petri zu steuern und das Evangelium zu verkünden, ist sowohl die Kraft des Köpers als auch die Kraft des Geistes notwendig, eine Kraft, die in den vergangenen Monaten in mir derart abgenommen hat, daß ich mein Unvermögen erkennen muß, den mir anvertrauten Dienst weiter gut auszuführen. Im Bewußtsein des Ernstes dieses Aktes erkläre ich daher mit voller Freiheit, auf das Amt des Bischofs von Rom, des Nachfolgers Petri, das mir durch die Hand der Kardinäle am 19. April 2005 anvertraut wurde, zu verzichten, so daß ab dem 28. Februar 2013, um 20.00 Uhr, der Bischofssitz von Rom, der Stuhl des heiligen Petrus, vakant sein wird und von denen, in deren Zuständigkeit es fällt, das Konklave zur Wahl des neuen Papstes zusammengerufen werden muß.

Liebe Mitbrüder, ich danke euch von ganzem Herzen für alle Liebe und Arbeit, womit ihr mit mir die Last meines Amtes getragen habt, und ich bitte euch um Verzeihung für alle meine Fehler. Nun wollen wir die Heilige Kirche der Sorge des höchsten Hirten, unseres Herrn Jesus Christus, anempfehlen. Und bitten wir seine heilige Mutter Maria, damit sie den Kardinälen bei der Wahl des neuen Papstes mit ihrer mütterlichen Güte beistehe. Was mich selbst betrifft, so möchte ich auch in Zukunft der Heiligen Kirche Gottes mit ganzem Herzen durch ein Leben im Gebet dienen.

This German translation is even more falsified than the others, becuase it INVERTS the translations for Munus (Amt) and Ministerium (Dienst) to make it appear that the resignation was a resignation of office!

Finally, I concede that I cannot read Arabic or Polish, but perhaps you can bet how those texts were also falsified?

____________________________

FOOTNOTE

* See my Scholastic Question: “Why the Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI must be questioned,” (English, Espanol) for the philosophical, theological and canonical explanation. As for renunciations of ministry, Priests, Bishops and even Deacons resign the ministry when they retire or lose the clerical state. In such cases they may or may not retain the faculties of the priesthood, but continue to be Priests, Bishops or Deacons. Before Vatican II, when Bishops continued in office until death, it was very common to see reigning Bishops who could not exercise the episcopal ministry in matters of governance or liturgical functions, because they became totally senile or bed ridden or incapacitated. The modern concept of a co-Adjutor Bishop reflects this reality, wherein a reigning Bishop no longer feels capable of exercising the ministry which flows from the office, which he, however, continues to hold. — Note, however, that there is no Canon in the Code of Canon Law which regards a papal renunciation of ministry, because, since the Office of Peter is necessary for the Church by Divine Promise, the exercise of its ministry is a necessary good for the Church and consequently a grave obligation for the one who holds it. Thus, he who holds the munus can always exercise the ministry, even if he personally renounces it. Furthermore, its not really necessary even to declare such a renunciation, as the Pope can delegate many of his powers to Cardinals, Vicars and Legates apostolic, even as his physical powers fail him. — For all the rest, see the Scholastic Question in which I consider in its second part, all the reasons for holding the act of renunciation as it appears in the Latin original, and refute them point by point.

I owe an apology to Professor Radaelli

Dr. Enrico M. Radaelli

Dr. Enrico M. Radaelli

By Br. Alexis Bugnolo

As my faithful readers may know, I began the From Rome Blog, on September 7, 2013 A.D. with a book Review of Enrico Maria Radaelli’s book, Il Domani Terribile o Radioso? del Dogma, which was a profound medication on the importance of recognizing Beauty as as one of the transcendentals of being. I remain ever thankful that my review so pleased Professor Radaelli that I had the honor of dining with him about a week thereafter.

I met him only on another occasion or two, and he urged me on in my proposal to blog, taking up the more profound questions of the day. I was at the time much immersed in my preparation of the English translation of the Commentaries of Saint Bonaventure, but I took heed of his encouragement.

Often it happens, that a chance meeting or reading will lead to greater things, of which one has not the foggiest notion or daring imagination to foresee. And at other times a slight negligence or carelessness about a chance reading or meeting can be the cause of grave omissions.

I see this now, more than 6 years after the events of February, 2013.  At that time I was a student in the Faculty of Theology of Saint Bonaventure, at Rome, and I was given a copy of Professor Radaelli’s Supplica to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, in which he urges the Pope to take back his renunciation. He published this on Feb. 18, 2013.

At the time my mind focused only on one part of his argument: namely the faulty notion that whereas a pope could lawfully resign, it was metaphysically unsound to do so. Reading Professor Radaelli’s paper in Italian, which you can read from this link, today, here, I had the difficulty of thinking about his entire argument and the problem he was addressing, since I think in English. I saw that the Professor had written with the most profound emotion and philosophical sense, but I dismissed what he warned of, summarily, since I was given to the same fault of many Catholics, namely of holding that papal power is such that there can be no question of immorality or defect in anything a Pope could lawfully do.

An acquaintance who had served several Bishops in Italy as their private secretary also in those days approached me to ask my opinion of the resignation. He told me that there was an article in the Corriere della Sera about clamorous errors in the text of the resignation, which would make it invalid. I remarked curtly, that how could the Vatican be ignorant of Latin, after all. And upon reading Canon 332 §2 in the English and Italian found nothing to object to. — Though I remained unsatisfied that there was not yet an English translation of the act of renunciation, which, if I remember correctly, only appeared in March after Bergoglio took the name “Francis.”

Professor Radaelli’s work is entitled, Why Pope Benedict XVI should withdraw his resignation: it is not yet time for a new Pope, because if there is one, he will be an Anti-Pope. (This English translation of the Title, is my own). The Italian is:

Now, I can see that Professor Radaelli had a profund metaphysical sense which went way beyond my grasp at the time. He was warning the world that a papal resignation had to be in conformity with the metaphysical nature of the Papacy, as an office and gift of grace originating and bestowed by the Living God, Who is Being and Existence Himself. Not being a native speaker of Italian I did not at that time see what was motivating him so strongly to object. I see now that it was that the resignation, in Italian, was being called a dimissione, that is a letting-go of office. This is the secular term for leaving office. It implies that the office is entirely in the power of the one holding it, is something secular, and has no metaphysical realty of itself other than a relation to those served.

But this is precisely the nature of a ministerium in Latin, when considered in of itself. Thus, the metaphysical sense of Professor Radaelli was giving off a loud alarm. He did not express this alarm in terms of canonical invalidity but of moral non conformity.

Though no one at the time was discussing the issue of ministerium vs. munusbecause nearly everyone was reading a faulty Italian translation of the act of renunciation (prepared by the Vatican) and no one was reading the Code of Canon Law in Latin — the Professor was speaking prophetically in a true sense to warn the Church of Rome of the dire consequences to come.

For this reason, because of my own cavalier attitude to Professor Radaelli’s work, I owe him an apology. And I think the whole Church does also.

I only awoke to the problem when I actually looked at the Code of Canon Law, Canon 332 §2 in the Latin, and the text of the renunciation in Latin. Then I saw immediately the problem. Further investigation of what Canon 17 required confirmed it.

Today, I know by acquired human reason and by divine faith that Pope Benedict never validly resigned, because to affirm the opposite would require that one reject the entire Catholic Faith, right reason and human language itself. The inherent perfection of Beauty, as a transcendental of being which is inscribed in all things, a perfection which is expressed in the balance of good and truth and unity in a perfect harmony and order, preaches most loudly to all who will hear Her, that such is the case.

Apologies, Professor! Please forgive me!

Bishop Schneider gets his Papal History wrong

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Henry III (1017-1056). Called the Black. Holy Roman Emperor. 3 Popes Deposed at the Synod of Sutri (1046). Engraving by A. Closs. Colored. (Photo by: PHAS/UIG via Getty Images)

In his recent article at Rorate Caeli, Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider writes a long article to quell the raging doubts Catholics now have regarding Bergoglio’s claim to the papacy.

But in that Article the learned Bishop gets his history lesson wrong, when he writes:

Popes were deposed several times by secular powers or by criminal clans. This occurred especially during the so-called dark ages (10th and 11th centuries), when the German Emperors deposed several unworthy popes, not because of their heresy, but because of their scandalous immoral life and their abuse of power. However, they were never deposed according to a canonical procedure, since that is impossible because of the Divine structure of the Church. The pope gets his authority directly from God and not from the Church; therefore, the Church cannot depose him, for any reason whatsoever.

(Emphasis added)

As I recited in my article, Yes a Pope can be canonically deposed, the history of the Papacy contradicts the Bishop’s assertion, for the Church does recognize as legitimate a Synod which canonically deposed 3 claimants to the papacy, one of which had to be the legitimate pope.

I quote my own article:

The events are summarized by John Cardinal Newman, and summarized in the Old Catholic Encyclopedia summarizes the events:

The proceedings of the Synod of Sutri, 20 December, are well summarized by Cardinal Newman in his “Essays Critical and Historical” (II, 262 sqq.). Of the three papal claimants, Benedict refused to appear; he was again summoned and afterwards pronounced deposed at Rome. Sylvester was “stripped of his sacerdotal rank and shut up in a monastery”. Gregory showed himself to be, if not an idiota, at least a man miræ simplicitatis, by explaining in straightforward speech his compact with Benedict, and he made no other defence than his good intentions, and deposed himself (Watterich, Vitæ Rom. Pont., I, 76); an act by some interpreted as a voluntary resignation, by others (Hefele), in keeping with the contemporary annals, as a deposition by the synod. The Synod of Sutri adjourned to meet again in Rome 23 and 24 December. Benedict, failing to appear, was condemned and deposed in contumaciam, and the papal chair was declared vacant. As King Henry was not yet crowned emperor, he had no canonical right to take part in the new election; but the Romans had no candidate to propose and begged the monarch to suggest a worthy subject.

Now, its not heresy to say that something happened, even if nutty Sedevacantists fell off their toilets when I wrote my article in September, accusing me of heresy. If the Church did depose a Pope canonically, its clearly not heresy to say that they did, or that the Church holds in practice that the Church can. Why since 2 of the deposed popes are depicted on the frieze of the Lateran (constructed in the 19th century), you could even argue the Vatican endorses both their papacies and their deposition, since Pope Clement II is also depicted there, who replaced all three.

Whether the Divine Constitution of the Church opposes such a notion or not, I think, is a concept of the constitution of the Church which excludes her history. Because if the Divine Constitution of the Church does make that impossible, then it’s also illicit, and thus immoral. But the Church has recognized the validity of the Synod of Sutri for 10 centuries, and the validity of the election of Pope Clement II for 10 centuries. So if anyone can quote a theologian or canonist after Sutri who said otherwise, quote him. But can we rely on his authority and not that of the Church by Her tacit acceptance? If we rely on such an opinion, are we not constrained to say the Church was in error for 10 centuries? And if we say that, are we not heretics?

As I said before, if Benedict IX did sell the papacy to Gregory VI, then the sale effected nothing, since you cannot validly sell an ecclesiastical office. That means that Benedict IX was the true Pope, because even if he did resign after the sale thinking he did sell the office, he was in substantial error and therefore his resignation was invalid. I suppose one could argue the Synod was in substantial error thinking it could depose Benedict or anyone for that matter, and that therefore Clement II’s election was invalid on account of substantial error, but the Church has never said that. The Frieze above the interior columns of the Lateran sill show Clement II as the one true valid Pope during the years of his reign.

I think its more probable, that whereas the Pope cannot be deposed as pope or for being pope, the man who is pope, who sins against the office by Simony or Heresy, can be deposed. But I admit that is my private fallible opinion. The Church’s Magisterium has not addressed such a specific case, to my knowledge, to handle the Synod of Sutri. The probability which causes me to hold such an opinion is that such an opinion avoids contradicting defined dogma and canons, by admitting an exceptional case in which the Law Maker Himself would not want otherwise unbending laws to prevail.

 

Siscoe’s Triple shell game

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Recently at One Peter Five, a website which is subtitled, “Rebuilding Catholic Culture. Restoring Catholic Tradition”, Robert Siscoe has published an article to quell the raging doubts Catholics have about the legitimacy of Bergoglio’s claim to the papacy: the first part of which is entitled: “Dogmatic Fact, the One Doctrine which proves Francis is Pope“, and the second part of which is entitled, “For Each Objection, an answer why Francis is Pope“.

There is nothing much to be said for his article other than it’s a lawyer-esque attempt to convince his audience using 3 different shell games.  As you may know, a shell game is where you put a ball under one shell and then quickly shuffle the shells on a table top so that the onlooker loses track of which of the shells contains the ball, and then you ask the onlooker to guess under which shell the ball is.  In American popular discourse, a shell game, therefore, is a trick whereby you pretend that something is one thing at one time, when it really is not.

Here are Siscoe’s 3 Shell games:

The Church

In Siscoe’s mouth the verbal expression “The Church” has two distinct meanings: the Church founded by Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church, AND the mass of those who uncritically accept that the resignation of Benedict XVI is valid because they never examined its conformity to Canon 332 §2.

The Shell Game that Siscoe plays with these 2 senses can be reduced to a simple Sophistic argument (i.e. invalid syllogism), thus:

Major: The Chuch (founded by Jesus Christ) cannot be deceived about who is the Pope.

Minor: The Church (of all those who have not examined the resignation of Benedict) accept Bergoglio as Pope Francis.

Conclusion: Therefore, The Church (founded by Jesus Christ) accepts Bergoglio as Pope Francis.

This kind of argumentation is a false illation, because the term “The Church” has not the same signification in both the major and minor premises of the syllogism.  Aristotle calls this the Sophism of the undistributed middle term, or the equivocation.

Fallible Private Opinion

In Siscoe’s mouth, the phrase “Fallible Private Opinion” has two senses:  in one sense its a judgement about something wherein the judgement may or may not be correct, because its not based on objective reality but on an interpretation of reality.  In the other sense, its any fact of objective reality which he wants to ignore for the sake of his argument.

The Shell Game that Siscoe plays with these 2 senses can be reduced to a simple Sophistic argument (i.e. invalid syllogism), thus:

Major: No merely infallible private opinion about dogmatic facts can assert itself as more authoritative than the judgement of the majority of men and women in the Church, since the Church’s sensus fidelium and Her indefectibility protects Her from error.

Minor: That Benedict’s act of renunciation regards the ministerium and not the munus, is a fallible private opinion.

Conclusion: Therefore, no one has the right to sustain that Benedict’s resignation is invalid against the vast majority of the members of the Church.

The error of this illation is found chiefly in the Minor. Because, that Benedict said ministerio not muneri in his act of renunciation is NOT a private opinion, but a fact of history.

Siscoe may not know it, but the Science of Logic teaches that the verity of premises flows down to their conclusions in valid illations.  Thus:

Major: That Benedict renounced his ministerium, is a fact of history.

Minor: That canon 332 §2 requires the renunciation of munus, is not a fallible private opinion, but a fact of law, being the very text of the Law.

Conclusion: That Benedict’s act of resignation is not in conformity with canon 332 is a fact of history.

Siscoe might want to ignore canon 38, which says that any Motu Proprio which runs counter to the terms of the law, EVEN IN THE CASE IN WHICH the one positing the act is IGNORANT of the law, is invalid UNLESS there is an express derogation from the law by the competent authority (in this case by the Pope), but Canon 38 is there and Catholics cannot ignore to apply it to this case.  Thus the conclusion infallibly follows, since the act of resignation contained no derogation from canon 38 or 332, that:

Benedict did not validly resign.

Peaceful and Universal Acceptance

These words mean two things in the mouth of Siscoe: in one sense they mean universal and peaceful and CANONICAL acceptance by the Church (see last quotation in part II). In the other sense they mean peaceful and universal acceptance CANONICAL OR NOT by the Church (see the citation of Saint Alphonsus dei Liguori).

So Siscoe’s usage of both terms can be reduced to this syllogism:

Major: The acceptance (Canonical) by the Church of of a man as Pope requires that all accept him as validly elected.

Minor: Bergoglio has been accepted (even if it be unCanonically).

Conclusion: Bergoglio must be accepted by all the Church as validly elected.

Siscoe’s illation is false because he is using 2 different senses of accepted. If he used the ancient reflex principle in its proper context, as he cites it in the final citation of that article, and did so AT THE BEGINNING of his article it would be obvious that he is beating against the air, because since the controversy regards whether Benedict canonically resigned, the key quality to be examined in the resignation is its conformity to canon law.

In Conclusion

Siscoe misunderstands the notion of infallibility.  Infallibility as a quality is the natural property of God alone as Infinite Truth. Infallibility as a charism of grace is vouchsafed to only a validly elected successor of Saint Peter. But infallibility is a quality of every true proposition, on account of truth being per se infallible, even if the thing asserted be asserted by a non infallible created person without any gift of grace.

Siscoe also seems to not know the distinction between an opinion and a fact. One can have an opinion about whether there is life on Mars, because we yet do not know if there is or is not. But one cannot have an opinion of whether there is life on Earth, since that is a fact.  An opinion can be had when both sides, pro and con, are possibles. But when there can be no truth on one side of the judgement, an opinion is impossible.

NOTE WELL: In this controversy, there is a fallible private opinion which is being asserted by some as superior to truth, reality and law, and it is this: that the renunciation of ministerium effects a renunciation of munus. Those who hold this opinion have yet to prove it, and the only valid proof must be in accord with the norm of Canon 17.

Vatican recognizes Benedict as the Pope

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The image comes from Ann Barnhardt’s website, where she says she has confirmed its authenticity.  Father Paolo Borgia, is, according to Wikipedia, an assessor in the Vatican Secretary of State. The Secretary of State has the duty to respond to official correspondence received from the pope.

These affirmations coupled with Bergoglio’s public invitation to the crowds gathered at the 2019 Youth Day in Panama, “Wave your hands at Pope Benedict”, give all Catholics pause to think:

Because, suppose it be true that Bergoglio is Pope Francis, that is, is the true Pope. Therefore, it follows that when he invites us to call Benedict, Pope, he affirms publicly that Benedict is pope. But the Catholic Faith says there can only be one pope at a time. This is defined dogma, as per Vatican I.  Therefore, since the first one to hold the title of pope is the true pope, since no one can claim the title until the title be renounced, then it follows that Bergoglio in inviting all to call Ratzinger the pope, is in fact saying that he is not the Pope and has no valid claim on the papacy.

Thus all Catholics now, must call Benedict the Pope and stop calling Bergoglio pope.

But if you reject this argument, saying, that when Benedict resigned, we should ignore that he renounced the ministerium, though Canon 332 §2 requires the renunciation of munus, and that when Francis speaks we should ignore that he called Benedict, “el papa”, then, should you NOT ask YOURSELF if you have just put yourself above the Pope, whomsoever he be, and made YOURSELF THE INFALLIBLE INTERPRETER OF THE POPE.

Hence, those who hold that Bergoglio is the Pope, now, must have 3 popes: Bergoglio, Ratzinger and themselves.

Those who hold that Benedict made a small mistake in his act of renunciation, however, are the Catholics, with only one Pope, Pope Benedict XVI, just as the Church teaches there should be only 1 pope.

So ask yourself, which is more Catholic?

Boniface VIII’s Magisterial Teaching on Papal Renunciations

Translation and Commentary by Br. Alexis Bugnolo¹

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The election of Pope Boniface VIII

Pope Boniface VIII, Quoniam (Sexti Decretalium Liber. I, Tit. VII, chapter 1):

Quoniam aliqui curiosi disceptatores de his, quae non multum expediunt, et plura sapere, quam oporteat, contra doctrinam Apostoli, temere appetentes, in dubitationem sollicitam, an Romanus Pontifex (maxime cum se insufficientem agnoscit ad regendam universale Ecclesiam, et summi Pontificatus onera supportanda) renunciare valeat Papatui, eiusque oneri, et honori, deducere minus provide videbantur:  Celestinus Papa quintus praedecessor noster, dum eiusdem ecclesiae regimini praesidebat, volens super hoc haestitationis cuiuslibet materiam amputare, deliberatione habita cum suis fratribus Ecclesiae Romanae Cardinalibus (de quorum numero tunc eramus) de nostro, et ipsorum omnium concordi consilio et assensu, auctoritate Apostolica statuit, et decrevit:  Romanum Pontificem posse libere resignare.

Nos igitur ne statutum huiusmodi per ipsis cursum oblivioni dari aut dubitationem eandem in recidivam disceptionem ulterius deduci contingat:  ipsum inter constitutiones alias, ad perpetuam rei memoriam, de fratrum nostrorum consilio duximus redigendum.

My Translation:

Since some debaters curious about those things, which are not very expedient, and desiring rashly to know more than is opportune, against the teaching of the Apostle (1 Tim. 6:4), have seemed to draw forth less cautiously a solicitous doubt, whether the Roman Pontiff (most of all when he acknowledges himself (to be) insufficient to rule the universal Church, and to support the burdens (onera) of the Supreme Pontificate) be able [valeat] to renounce the Papacy [Papatui], and its charge [oneri], and honor [honori]:  Pope Celestine V, Our predecessor, when he presided over the government of the same Church, willing to cut off the matter of any hesitation over this, having held a deliberation with His brothers, the Cardinals of the Roman Church (of whose number We were at that time), established and decreed by (his) Apostolic Authority, from the concordant counsel and assent of Ourselves, and of the same: that the Roman Pontiff can freely resign.

We, therefore, lest a statute of this kind, enacted through the same, be given up to oblivion or the same doubt be drawn forth furthermore in a repeated debate: judge that the same is to be registered among the other constitutions, ad perpetuam rei memoriam, (drawn) from the council of our brother (Cardinals).

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FOOTNOTES

  1. Many thanks to Dr. Cyrille Dounot, Professor of Law in the Faculté de Droit et de Science Politique, at the Université d’Auvergne, France, for making the Latin text of Boniface’s decree, Quoniam (VI, 1, 7, 1), available to me, from the Corpus Iuris Canonici, Vol II, Liber Sextus, Clementinae and Extravagantes, cum glossis, Lyons, France, 1584, cols. 197-199.

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MY COMMENTARY

Benedetto Caetani, the future Pope Boniface VIII, was born around 1235 A. D., of an ancient Roman family. He studied jurisprudence at the University of Bologna and served in the papal government during his long career. Pope Martin IV made him Cardinal Deacon of Saint Nicholas in Carcere, in 1281 A. D., and Pope Nicholas IV, Cardinal Priest of St. Martin in Montibus ten years later. He succeeded Pope Celestine V in 1294, after the former renounced the papacy.

Pope Boniface studied canon law in an age in which its study was confined to gathering the canons of the ancient Church and those decreed in historic synods and commenting on them to deduce the fundamental principles of law by which the Church would be rightly governed. His decree, Quoniam, must be seen in this light, as we can see from the text.

There are two motives for Pope Boniface in writing Quoniam. The historical and the ecclesiological. Historically, inasmuch as he was elected following the resignation of Pope Celestine V, and on account of his untimely demise shortly after being sequestered by Boniface to the Castle of Fumone, Italy, Boniface had good reason to enshrine in Church Law the affirmation that a pope can freely resign. Second, ecclesiologically, Boniface wanted to put to rest doubts that swirled around the nature of the papal office, whether it was a vocation which could only be accepted, and never rejected, or whether it was an office, in the sense of a duty or charge, which could be lain down just as much as taken up.

In its form, Quoniam, is a memorial rescript, that is, its a written document which records what was said and decided in consistory by his predecessor, Pope Celestine V, with the Cardinals. Pope Boniface’s authority to issue the rescript, therefore, is twofold: he was both an eye witness participant in the discussions and as Roman Pontiff he had the authority to determinatively decide upon questions of canon law.

While Boniface’s central purpose was merely to affirm a point of papal power, the matter of his rescript touches upon the nature of the papal office as it was conceived in the minds of Pope Celestine V and his cardinals:  as an office, as a duty, as a dignity.  The office is that of the papacy (papatus), a Late Medieval term derived from the popular address of the Roman Pontiff, pope, in Greek (papas).  The duty is a charge or burden (onus), not only a sober term for the magnitude and importance of the affairs it must conduct, but also a term which implies that this duty is bestowed from on high, a reference to Our Lord’s creation of the office in Matthew 16:18. Finally, the papal office is a dignity (honor), which distinguishes and elevates the one who accepts his canonical election above all others in the Church.

From Boniface’s rescript, by which he establishes Quoniam among the perpetual constitutions of the Church, we can see a direct and faithful reflection in the present Code of Canon Law, in Canon 332 §2, which terms the papal office a munus, affirms that a renunciation of munus is validly effected when the Pope acts freely, and requires a public act. In its final clause, Canon 332 §2 reaffirms that the power of renunciation lies solely in the papal office by denying that its validity arises from the act of renunciation being accepted by anyone at all.

Its clear, then, from the magisterial teaching of Pope Boniface VIII, that the papal office is not a ministry, but rather a unique dignity, office and duty, which in being renounced, must be renounced in its own nature according to what it is. That even those who doubted that a pope had such power, in Boniface’s day, affirmed these things are contained in the context of the doubt they raised, namely, whether a pope could renounce the papacy, its charge, and its honor.

Contrariwise, inasmuch as Pope Boniface affirms that a pope can renounce these things, he affirms that all three must be renounced to effect a papal renunciation, on this account, that in affirming the papal power extends over these, he implicitly asserts that if the papal power does NOT extend over each of these, then the renunciation has not taken place.

This follows from the rules of the science of Logic, which teaches that every negation must be understood strictly. Thus, since a renunciation is a form of negation, a renunciation of the papacy must renounce the office, the charge and the dignity. If one renounced only the exercise of the office and continued to exercise the passive ministry, retain the dignity of being called Your Holiness, giving the Apostolic Blessing, wearing the clothing which only the Pope can wear, it would be clear that one’s resignation had not occurred, because there is no renunciation of all right, unless all right be renounced.

Pope Boniface VIII, eminent legal scholar that he was, obviates these problems which arise from renunciation-law by using the intransitive form of the verb to resign [resignare] in his final affirmation of papal power. This is because, unlike “to renounce” [renuntiare], to resign implies of itself the renunciation of office and all its right, on account of its original meaning to re-signare, or undo the seal which enacted or approved a thing. In Latin, resignare, thus, has the meaning of annul or cancel, as well as resign, and recalls the powers invested in the office of Saint Peter, when Our Lord said: whatsoever you loose ….

The present Code of Canon Law by employing the verb to renounce [renunciare], thus requires that the object of the act munus, be a word which is full of meaning, rich in meaning, and encompassing all that is essential to an act of renunciation of papal office: the office, the charge and the dignity. The brilliance of the Latinity of those who prepared the New Code under Pope John Paul II is seen in this one word, munus, which means both gift [munus in Latin means gift, its used in the Liturgy for the gifts of the Magi], and office [canon 145 terms every ecclesiastical office a munus], charge [munus and onus in Latin share this meaning] and that which up-builds a person [munire in Latin means to build up, or fortify]. In English we see this in the words ammunition and munificence. On this account, if one were to renounce the papal office with any term which is not co-extensive with all three aspects of the Papal office, its clear that the renunciation would be incomplete, and therefore of no effect in law. Nay, since we men are creatures whose understanding is bound up with the words we use to express ourselves, its clear that if one were to use another term with deliberation, his consequent actions would reflect that partial renunciation and incomplete resignation. This should be now obvious to all, who have eyes to see.