Pope John Paul II admitted that a Papal Renunciation could be invalid

AAC Chair Throne Pope John Paul II

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Don’t let anyone tell you to shut up, when you point out that some are saying the renunciation of Pope Benedict was or could be invalid.

Don’t let them coerce you by telling you that it is absurd to suppose that a Papal act be invalid.

Don’t let them get away with such a claim!

Why?

Because, no less that Pope John Paul II declared that a papal resignation could be invalid!

First, the FACTS of the Laws

And not only declared, but he enshrined the possibility into the Papal Law on Conclaves: Universi dominici gregis, n. 3, where it says in Latin:

3. Praeterea statuimus, ne Cardinalium Collegium de iuribus Sedis Apostolicae Romanaeque Ecclesiae ullo modo disponere valeat, nedum de iis sive directe sive indirecte quidquam detrahat, quamvis agatur de componendis discidiis aut de persequendis factis adversus eadem iura perpetratis, post Pontificis obitum vel validam renuntiationem.(14) Curae autem sit omnibus Cardinalibus haec iura tueri.

Which in good English is:

3. Moreover, We establish, that the College of Cardinals not be able to dispose in any manner of the rights of the Apostolic See and Roman Church, much less to detract anything from them either directly or indirectly, even though it be done concerning the resolution of disputes or the prosecution of deeds perpetrated against the same rights, after the death and/or valid renunciation* of the Pontiff. (14) Moreover, let it belong to the care of all the Cardinals that these rights be watched over.

* The reference to a “valid renunciation” is to Canon 332 §2, which lays down 2 reasons for an invalid renunciation (lack of freedom in renouncing the petrine munus, and lack of due manifestation of the renunciation of the petrine munus).

Some would like to have it that Canon 332 §2 is merely laying down the requisites to be observed in a papal resignation, and that it does not exist to be used by anyone, let alone a layman, to discern or determine when a resignation is valid or not.

The assertion is a perfect form of gas-lighting: You cannot let the masses use the Code of Canon Law, you cannot let them read the Papal Law on Conclaves, but if they do, you must convince them that what they see does not mean what it says or that what they read there is something they cannot use in an argument or apply to any particular case! Thus might be the counsel of any modern day Screwtape to his Trad inc. minions.

This objective is supported by the absurd arguments being used to attack those who are examining the resignation, such as that argument evinced by Mr. Sammons the other day:

Evidently, if we take Mr. Sammons at his word, he must rail against Pope John Paul II, against the Papal Law on Conclaves and against the Code of Canon Law of 1983, all which admit the possibility of an invalid renunciation! — Evidently railing against Popes is o.k., so long as you recognize that they are popes. — This seems to be the new dogma of Trad Inc. Even though Catholic Tradition holds that in nothing can a pope be judged but faith.

Having seen this form of gas-lighting, we must begin to ask ourselves, “Whom we should listen to or obey? A Layman or Pope John Paul II?”

After all, to turn Mr. Sammon’s rhetoric against him: What does it matter what Mr. Sammons wants?

Second, the Implications of the Law

As it has been amply proven that Pope John Paul II held that a papal renunciation could be invalid, we should use the intellects God gave us to use and think about what that means. We should not let the gas-lighting false apostles, out there, stop us from thinking.

First, if a papal renunciation could be invalid. That means that objectively speaking it could be invalid. That means that it can be recognized by men who are capable of knowing objective reality. That means that men should recognize it if it be, and should NOT harken to any propaganda to ignore the problem. Because, obviously, if Pope John Paul II wanted us to listen to propagandists who do not want us to see that a resignation was invalid when it was invalid, he would never have mentioned that there could be an invalid resignation.

Second, that means that the Church has the duty to recognize an invalid resignation is invalid, since the Code of Canon Law binds everyone in the Church. The Papal Law on Conclaves binds the Cardinals, and so they are also obligated to recognize an invalid resignation is invalid.

Third. Now how is anyone to do that? Pope John Paul II shows us how in canons 40 and 41, where everyone in the Church who has an office is obliged to examine the administrative act of his superior to see if it is effective and authentic. Though canon 41 speaks only of acts which are null or inopportune, clearly an invalid resignation is both.

That means it was the duty of all the Cardinals as of 11:45 AM, February 11, 2013, when the Consistory ended (approximately, as I do not know the precise minute of termination) until today to examine the act. If the act was invalid, they were obliged to omit the Conclave, and if they find now that it is invalid, they are obliged to say the conclave was invalid.

CONCLUSION

So you see, now, how wrong Cardinal Burke was, when he condemned a whole category of Catholics as “extremists” if they doubted that Bergoglio was the pope. Because if that doubt arises from an invalid resignation, then they are not only NOT extremists, they are the most faithful Catholics in the Church, and they are doing what all Cardinals should have done and still refuse to do!

No, your Eminence, there are No Extremists here, but there are a lot of Presumptuous Princes!

Now almost no one in the Church is a canon lawyer, but a good number of the Cardinals are. And if you have studied canon law or civil law, then you know a general principle of law which is applicable in this case:

A cessation of power is never to be presumed!

As I mentioned previously, this general principle of law is enshrined in Canon 21 (and implied in many other canons, such as canon 40). It is really a summation of common sense. Because if one presumed the cessation of power, then the rule of law would break down, because presumption has a way of inclining to disorder and chaos, in particular, to the kind of disorder and chaos we have seen in the Church for nearly 7 years.

Now a papal renunciation pertains to a cessation of power, as the learned and eminent Canonist I spoke with recently admitted. Therefore, we cannot presume a pope has validly resigned. The presumption, rather, is that he has not resigned. Presumption here refers to the inclination of our judgement prior to seeing the facts and evidence.

Now Canon 332 §2 says that a pope resigns when he resigns his munus.

But Pope Benedict in his act of Feb. 11, 2013, renounces the ministerium he received.

Therefore, at this point, before any further study, each and every Cardinal had the duty to presume that the renunciation was invalid. He had to presume this, because, the presumption of law requires that he hold that there has been no cessation of power, when a pope renounces ministerium instead of the required munus.

Canon 17 then requires the Cardinals to examine the Code of Canon Law (as I did here) to understand the proper sense of terms, or the canonical tradition (as I did here), or the mind of the Legislator (as was done by Father Walter Covens here).  But all of these conclude the renunciation of ministry does not effect a renunciation of the papacy.

So who is the extremist now? The Catholic who holds, as he should, to what the law presumes? Or the Cardinal who did not do his duty nor his homework but rails at Catholics who have done what he neglected to do? Presuming against the very presumption of the law.

It almost seems as if the Cardinals were already inclined to rid themselves of Pope Benedict, and so, whether he was in error or not, whether he wanted to  bifurcate the papacy or not, whether the renunciation was valid or not, they did not bother one iota to due their due diligence before convening in Conclave. — If there ever was a reason to doubt the validity of the Conclave of 2013, this is the first and prime of them all!

Third, Action Item:

Ask your favorite priest, Bishop or Cardinal, when did he apply canons 40 and 41 to the Papal renunciation?

Because in those 2 canons, all who hold an office in the Church — even the simple priest who is no longer mentioning Benedict in the Canon of the Mass, where the name of the Roman Pontiff is named — all, I say, had the duty to examine the Latin text of the Renunciation and determine whether it fulfilled the requirements of the Latin text of Canon 332 §2. So ask them, “On what day and hour, in what place and with what books and references did you do your duty specified in canons 40 and 41 as regards the declaration of Pope Benedict XVI on Feb. 11, 2013, called, “Non solum propter”?” — You have every right to ask this question, before listening to anything they say about the renunciation, because obviously, if they never did their duty, they have no moral right to tell you anything about what the Act of Renunciation means, let alone, to regard anyone else as the Pope, other than Benedict.

(For more information about Canons 21, 40 and 41 and what should have been done on Feb. 11, 2013, after Pope Benedict XVI read his Act of renunciation, see here).

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CREDITS: The image of the Pope is from https://agrellcarving.com, who carved the Throne on which he is sitting and which produces other fine products of furniture (This is not a paid advertisement, but the image is copyright by Agrell Carving).

Pope Benedict’s Renunciation is invalid for 6 Canonical Reasons

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

As Catholics begin the effort to make known to the clergy that they were defrauded of their loyalty to Christ’s Vicar on Feb. 28, 2013, it is important to have at hand a short summary of the canonical problems in Pope Benedict XVI’s declaration of Feb. 11, 2013, Non solum propter. (Official text here at Vatican website)

Here is such a short summary.

6 canonical errors in the Act of Renunciation

  1. In the Act, the Roman pontiff renounces “the ministry committed to him through the hands of the Cardinals” on the day he was elected. But canon 332 §2, in the official Latin text of that canon, requires that the renunciation be of the petrine “munus”, that is the Papal Office (cf. canons 331, 333, 334, 749). Therefore, the act is NOT a renunciation of the papacy. Thus, in regard to canon 332 §2, the act is an ACTUS NULLUS. And if it  be said or thought to be an act of renunciation of the papacy, then the assertion or estimation is false by reason of Canon 188, which declares IRRITUS any renunciations of office vitiated by substantial error, that is by an error which touches the substance of the act (which, in this case, is constituted by the essence of the act as an act of renunciation of the munus, not of the ministerium).*
  2. In the Act, the Roman Pontiff does not name the office by any proper canonical term, and thus the act is also an ACTUS INVALIDUS by reason of the requirement of canon 332 §2, that the act be duly manifested (rite manifestetur), since that which is not named is not manifest.
  3. In the Act, the Roman Pontiff’s liberty regards that which he does, not that which he does not do, which, since he does not do it, whether he be free to do it or not, is not expressed. Therefore, the act is an ACTUS INVALIDUS by reason of the requirement of canon 332 §2, that the act be freely executed (libere fiat).
  4. In making a declaration of renunciation, instead of renouncing, the act is also an ACTUS NULLUS, because canon law does not regard declarations to be canonical acts. They are merely announcements. (cf. Penal section on announcements regarding persons who have incurred latae sententiae excommunications ipso iure).
  5. In making what appears to be a renunciation of the papacy, without naming the papal office as required by Canon 332 §2, the man making the declaration, inasmuch as he is the man, who received the office and who is attempting to separate himself from the office, had need to obtain from the man who is the Pope, an express derogation of the terms of canon 332 §2, in virtue of canon 38, and since he did not, since no concession of derogation of that requirement is mentioned in the act, then by reason of canon 38, the act, which is both contrary to the law of Canon 332 §2 and gravely injurious of the right of the faithful to know who is the true pope and when he has canonically resigned, is an ACTUS SINE EFFECTU, that is an act which lacks all effect.
  6. Finally, in renouncing “the ministry”, the Roman Pontiff posits a legal act which is not foreseen in the Code of Canon Law, since no canon therein speaks of a renunciation of ministry. Therefore, the act is an ACTUS NULLUS according to the norm of law. Therefore, in accord with canon 41 no one with an office in the Church has any duty to recognize it.

__________

* I do not include substantial error as one of the canonical errors in the Act, because the act was never one of a renunciation of the papal office. The argument that substantial error vitiates the act, technically, has more to do with the mis-perceptions or false claims made about the canonical value of the act, than with the act itself. Speaking of substantial error is thus necessary when discussing it with someone who is operating under the false premise that the Pope renounced the papacy, but eventually one must talk about the reality of what the Pope actually said on that day, and distinguish that reality from the misperception which was published to all the world.

POST SCRIPT: Note that in the title of this post I use the word “invalid” in the common sense of an act which does not effect what one thinks it effects, but properly speaking the term should be “vitiated” or “erroneous”, because as you can see from the list of 6 canonical errors, 3 regard nullity, 2 regard invalidity, and 1 regards being without effect.

 

An Index to Pope Benedict’s Renunciation

So much has been written about Pope Benedict’s renunciation of Feb. 11, 2013, that it is easy to forget or miss important articles. Since a lot of visitors who come to The From Rome Blog want to read about Benedict’s renunciation, it is helpful to have in one post, a list of all the Articles published here.

This is a topical, not chronological list: that is, it lists articles according to what aspect of the controversy they principally deal with, not according to the date they were published.

Before reading any of the Articles, see this public notice about FACTS VS CONJECTURE

And make sure to read the last section, which is the MOST important: What we must now do!

The Renunciation of Feb. 11, 2013

Latin Text of Non Solum propter

Vernacular Translations of Non solum propter

The History of the Claim that the Text means Benedict resigned the Papacy

Why Pope Benedict Renounced the Ministry which He had received from the Cardinals

What Pope Benedict says His resignation means and meant

  1. Pope Benedict XVI in Feb. 2013 said in every way possible that He had not resigned the Papacy
  2. Pope Benedict XVI on Feb. 14, 2013 explained to the Clergy of Rome how to see that He had not resigned the Papacy
  3. How the Vatican’s attempt to get Benedict to call Bergoglio the Pope failed in June 2019

What in truth does the Act of Renouncing the Ministry mean or effect?

  1. Jesus Christ’s Point of view on this.
  2. Pope John Paul II admitted that a Papal renunciation could be invalid.
  3. The 6 Canonical Errors in the Act of Renunciation, which deprive it of all effect.
  4. The Canonical Argument that the Act does not cause the loss of the Papacy (ppbxvi.org)
  5. Video Explanation, prepared by Brian Murphy with input from Br. Bugnolo
  6. Ann Barnhardt’s authoritative Video on Substantial Error
  7. L’argomento canonico che dimostra che la Rinuncia non effettua la perdita del papato
  8. What Pope John Paul II taught about Munus and Ministerium, and how it binds the whole Church.
  9. The Magisterial Teaching of Pope Boniface VIII regarding the necessity of renouncing the Munus
  10. Why, on account of only resigning the Ministry, Pope Benedict made it dogmatically impossible that Bergoglio be the Pope
  11. Why, on account of only resigning the Ministry. Pope Benedict made it canonically impossible that Bergoglio’s election as pope was valid.

A Scholastic Investigation into the Canonical Meaning of the Resignation

Here Br. Bugnolo has gathered all the major arguments for and against and shows which side has the better argument.

The Dubious Arguments and outright Falsehoods used to defend that the renunciation caused Benedict to lose the Papacy

WHAT CATHOLICS SHOULD DO IN RESPONSE

A Nonsensical Act: What the Latin of the Renunciation really says

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Let us read Non solum propter
according to the rules of Latin grammar

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

In my previous article, Pope Benedict’s Forced Abdication, I spoke of the evidence which seems to indicate that Pope Benedict’s resignation was demanded and that the text of Renunciation was hurriedly prepared, which left it full of errors: at the end of which, I promised to examine the text and expose these errors. I did this yesterday in my article entitled, Clamourous Errors in the Latin of the Renunciation, wherein I detailed and identified more than 40 grammatical and canonical errors in the text.

Now, I will fulfill the promise I made yesterday to give an English translation of what the Latin really does say, rather than what most translators (including myself here) attempt to make it say, to make it intelligible. So, I warn my readers, what follows is a discourse, written by someone with scarce knowledge of Latin, and thus, that the English translation will appear to be a poor translation, when it is in fact an exact rendering of the sloppy and erroneous Latin.

Since I am a published translator, however, I will try to give the document the best possible English syntax within the rules of Latin grammar, without however altering the Latin signification.

The Translation

Not solely for the sake of three acts of canonization, have I convoked you towards this Consistory, but also to communicate on behalf of the life of the Church your act of decision-making of great importance. Having scouted out my conscience again and again before God, I have arrived at certain cognition — my strengths by my worsening age are no longer apt — to administer the Munus petrinum equitably. I am well conscious that this Munus according to his spiritual essence ought to be pursued not only by doing and speaking, but no less by suffering and by praying. Yet, however, in the world of our season, subjected to hasty acts of change, and perturbed by questions of great value on behalf of the life of faith, a certain vigor of body and soul is necessary to steer the Barque of Saint Peter and the Gospel to announce, which (strength) in me in these furthest months is lessening in such a manner, that to well administer the ministry committed to me, I ought to acknowledge my incapacity. On which account, well conscious of the weight of this act I declare in 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, to vacate from the 28th of February, at 20:00 hours, Rome time, the See of Saint Peter, and that a Conclave to elect a new Supreme Pontiff be convoked by those who are competent.

Dearest Brothers: from my whole heart you I thank for all your physical love and the work, by which you bore with me the weight of my ministry and I ask pardon for all my failings. Moreover, now We completely trust the Holy Church of God to the care of the Most High Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and We implore His holy Mother, Mary, to assist with Her maternal goodness, the Cardinal fathers in electing a new supreme pontiff. As far as regards myself, may I also wish to serve with my whole heart in a future by a life dedicated to prayer for Holy Mother Church.

DISCUSSION

The Act is confused by switching between the first person singular and plural. It is signed with the name of the We, the Pope, but most of it is said by the I, who is Ratzinger. It contains the glaring errors which render the act canonically nullus (null), namely, it is a declaration of the man, Ratzinger, that he is going to renounce on Feb 28. But he never did renounce on that day.

It is also canonically, invalid, because it refers to a renunciation, never made, of the ministry received from the Cardinals. But what is that. That is canonically nothing, since a ministry flows from an office, or if it does not flow from an office, it is like being a lector or acolyte. Neither of which is the Papal Office.

It is also canonically, irritus, that is improperly manifested, because what on earth does it say and mean and why is the man who is the Pope saying that which has no effect in Canon Law?

It is also a nonsensical act of declaration by the man, Ratzinger, that a Conclave must be called. And that he is going to renounce to make the chair of Peter vacant or go on vacation (the Latin is ambiguous). Why add the consequences or intent of the act of renunciation, which is going to be made, but which was never made, UNLESS there is some doubt that the act you are making will cause the Chair of Peter to be vacant and necessitate a Conclave?

The Latin text obviously was NEVER shown to a Latinist who had the authority and opportunity to correct it. The Latin text was also obviously never shown to a canonist, who had the authority and opportunity to correct it.

I think it is safe to presume, therefore, that the text was never shown to anyone to be recognized according to the norm of Canon 40 nor acted upon according to the norm of Canon 41. For Canon 40 requires that all subordinates determine whether the written administrative act of their superior is authentic and complete. And this act is so rife with errors one can doubt a Pope wrote it, seeing that he has dozens of experts to help him write his acts. On that basis, one should have asked if he was handed this act and forced to sign and read it! Also, on account of Canon 41, since it is an actus nullus, one has no obligation to put it into effect, and if he does put it into effect he is guilty of the usurpation of power; likewise, by the same Canon, every subordinate is obliged to omit its execution until he confers with the superior who posited it regarding the inopportune commands contained in it, such as seeming to call for a Conclave when you have not yet renounced the Papal office.

Finally, if the act meant something, it meant that on Feb 28, 2013, the Pope was going to renounce the Petrine Ministry. Since the Pope never did that at that hour, it does not even effect a renunciation of ministry!

Thus, Pope Benedict XV remains the only true Pope with all his rights an privileges as before Feb 11, 2013. This act will go down in history as an embarrassment to the papacy. That the Cardinals pretend nothing was or is wrong with it, either means that they certainly are not competent to elect a Roman Pontiff, or that they were complicit in forcing his resignation. Both may explain the ‘what’ they have not been doing since Feb. 11, 2013.

 

The Church of Rome Now Knows that Benedict is the Pope!

All Leading Members of the Clergy have been informed

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

A Member of the Swiss guard on duty near the Palazzo Sant’Uffizio, who kindly paused his duty for a moment, this morning, so I could snap his foto. May the true Spirit of the Swiss Guard in defending the true Pope and him against all false claimants now take hold of the entire Church of Rome!

As of noon today, November 15, 2019, the Church of Rome has been informed that Pope Benedict XVI is still the Roman Pontiff and Successor of Saint Peter on account of having not resigned according to the norm of Canon 332 §2.

I can personally testify to this, in a court of law, because I have personally shared, in English or Italian, my scholastic question demonstrating conclusively, with 39 arguments, that Pope Benedict never renounced the petrine munus, as required by Canon Law, the Natural Law, the Moral Law, the Evangelical Law and Divine right. I have done this in printed version and or via email from my personal account.

I first personally shared the information with His Holiness in February of this year, in the English version, and again in April. Then in October, I shared it with him again in the Italian version. I have shared it with all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, whom He has elevated to that dignity and who reside in Rome. I have shared it with all the men whom either are Cardinals or are thought to be such, who head the Congregations of the Roman Curia. I have shared it with the Cardinal Governor and the Head of the Swiss Guard, with Cardinals Mueller, Brandmueller, Sarah and Burke.

I have shared it with nearly all the clergy of the Roman Church: with the Cardinal Vicar appointed by His Holiness and with the man who exercises that ministry at the request of Bergoglio. I have shared it with all the auxiliary Bishops of Rome, having personally hand-delivered a printed copy to the Curia at the Lateran. I have shared it with all the clergy of the City, who are priests or monsignori, who have an email address which is published (more than 650).

I would share it with all the clergy and deacons who do not have an email address, but that would cost about 1000 euro fore mailing and printing costs, which I do not have (as a friar I have no money) nor is anyone offering at the present.

I NOW ASK THE ENTIRE CHURCH TO PRAY TO THE HOLY SPIRIT so that the clergy of the Church of Rome might recognize their GRAVE AND SOLEMN DUTY to adhere to Christ’s true Vicar and insist that the CANONS OF THE CHURCH be upheld AND THUS depose the USURPER who is raping HOLY MOTHER CHURCH on a daily basis!

For more information about this see ppbxvi.org

If you support the Church of Rome taking action on this information, please leave your comment below as a testimonial, and indicate the Diocese in which you live, so that your testimony can show that the entire Church of God wills this problem solved!

How the Code of Canon Law upholds Liturgical Tradition

Pope Saint Pius X offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass according to the Missale Romanum of Saint Pius V, which remains still the liturgical law of the Roman Church.

The fundamental principles of the Code affirm the liturgical traditions of the Church and require that the code be understood as such.

We can see this from Canon 2, which reads in Latin:

Can. 2 — Codex plerumque non definit ritus, qui in actionibus liturgicis celebrandis sunt servandi; quare leges liturgicae hucusque vigentes vim suam retinent, nisi earum aliqua Codicis canonibus sit contraria.

Which in English translation says:

Canon 2 :  The Code does not for the most part define the rites, which are to be observed in celebrating liturgical actions: on which account the liturgical laws in force up to now retain their vigor, unless any of them be contrary to any of the canons of the Code.

Here the determinative term in the Code is “liturgical laws” (leges liturgicae). In the Roman Rite, as has been observed by many: the new form of the mass, the Novus Ordo, had been celebrated for 13 years at the time the new Code of Canon Law was promulgated in 1983. As such it had not yet obtained any force of law by mere custom, which requires 30 years (canon 26). It also had not the support of a papal law, since Pope Paul VI in 1969, when publishing the decree, Missale Romanum, neglected to give the new form of the mass the force of law, leaving only minor aspects of the Missale to be determined by his decree and significantly — by the Hand of God — leaving unsaid in a legal act his will that it be imposed or become law (cf. canon 37).

Hence, canon 2, must be read as requiring the decree, Missale Romanum of St Pius V, to remain in force, since it was the principle liturgical law still enforce at the time the new Code was promulgated. We see this affirmed in part by the motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, of his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, which says the ancient liturgy was never abrogated. Those who argue, that that same decree gave force of law to the new liturgy, have little to argue upon, since in it Pope Benedict limited himself to affirming the facts of law, not in promulgating new ones. That he recites a history of liturgical innovations since the reign of Pope John XXIII determines nothing, because a narrative is not a law or legal decree.

In this, we see that Pope Benedict XVI was simply manifesting the intent of John Paul II in promulgating the Code. The authentic meaning is for tradition, and all other canons need to be read in that light, in virtue of canon 17, which as has been often said here at the From Rome blog, requires that all canons need to be read in the light of canonical tradition and the mind of the legislator and their proper senses.  Since the liturgical innovations of Paul VI were not yet law or customary law in 1983, they cannot be appealed to in the reading of any canon in the present code, and those who do so are violating canons 2 and 17.

Finally, the most important thing to remember, when there arises any controversy over the liturgy at the canonical level, is that the context of the New Code approves the Ancient Liturgy. Never cede to the revolutionaries or those duped by the practice of putting praxis above law and custom, that the New Code upholds the innovations.

For example, let’s apply canon 2 and 17 to the reading of canon 938, which reads:

Can. 938 — § 1. Sanctissima Eucharistia habitualiter in uno tantum ecclesiae vel oratorii tabernaculo asservetur.

§ 2. Tabernaculum, in quo sanctissima Eucharistia asservatur, situm sit in aliqua ecclesiae vel oratorii parte insigni, conspicua, decore ornata, ad orationem apta.

§ 3. Tabernaculum, in quo habitualiter sanctissima Eucharistia asservatur, sit inamovibile, materia solida non transparenti confectum, et ita clausum ut quam maxime periculum profanationis vitetur.

§ 4. Gravi de causa, licet sanctissimam Eucharistiam, nocturno praesertim tempore, alio in loco tutiore et decoro asservare.

§ 5. Qui ecclesiae vel oratorii curam habet, prospiciat ut clavis tabernaculi, in quo sanctissima Eucharistia asservatur, diligentissime custodiatur.

And in English says:

Canon 938: §1 Let the Most Holy Eucharist be habitually reserved in only one tabernacle of the church and/or oratory.

§2. Let the tabernacle, in which the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved, be situated in some conspicuous, fittingly ornate part of the church and/or special oratory, (which is) apt for praying.

§3 Let the tabernacle, in which the Most Holy Eucharist is habitually reserved, be immovable, constructed of non transparent solid material, and so closed that the danger or profanation be most of all prohibited.

§4 For grave cause, it is licit to reserve the Most Holy Eucharist, especially at night time, in some safer and decorous place.

§5 Let he who has the care of the church and/or oratory, take care that the key to the tabernacle, in which the Most Holy Eucharist be reserved, be most diligently guarded.

Now let us examine this Canon carefully to understand what it means and does not mean.

First of all it speaks of two kinds of tabernacles, those in which the Sacrament is kept (nn. 1-5) and those in which it is kept habitually (nn.  1,3, 4). Thus it does not require that there only be one tabernacle as many have been told it means.  It only requires that for the most part, the tabernacle in which the Sacrament is habitually kept, be one. What does this mean? It means, that there should be numerically only one tabernacle in which the Sacrament is kept 24/7. However, there can be other tabernacles where the Sacrament is kept for a time, which is apt for praying (ad orationem). Here the Code uses the classical Latin term for liturgical prayer, orare, and thus signifies the Mass and any other liturgical service. But for security, another tabernacle at night time, in a more secure place can be had. So from this canon we can see at least 3 kinds of tabernacles are approved. The one for liturgical prayer, the one for habitual reservation, and the one for night time security.

Now, if we read this canon in the light of canon 2 and canon 17, which require us to understand it in continuity with liturgical and canonical tradition, we can see that it in no way at all abolishes the usage which was common for centuries of having a tabernacle on every altar (ad orationem), a tabernacle for principle reservation of the Sacrament and a tabernacle in a secure place, such as the Sacristy, for security.

In fact, when one recalls that Pope Pius XII magisterially taught that to separate the tabernacle from the altar would be an error,* we can see from canon 17, that canon 938 must be understood to include the obligation that at least the tabernacle for prayer (ad orationem) be situated upon an altar. That means, that in § 2 of Canon 938 it is requiring that it be upon an altar. And that canon 2 and canon 938 §2 is allowing it also to be upon the High Altar and every altar where public prayer is offered (ad orationem), since there is no greater praying that at the Altar where the Mass be offered.

Thus this canon in no way causes or requires that other tabernacles not be used or be removed. And if anyone order that a contrary practice be executed, then the subject receiving such an order has the right to refuse its execution. If the order be given verbally and not in writing, then the subject can refuse to comply on the grounds of canon 40, which makes all compliance invalid prior to receiving the administrative act in written form. He may, but is not required, then ask that a rescript first be granted (canon 60) codifying in written form and a legal act the order. If the order be given in writing or by rescript, then if the written act does not contain reference to a grant of authority (to the one commanding) to derogate from canon 2, 17 or 938, then the one receiving the written command can refuse it on the grounds of canon 41 and 38, namely, that such an act is nullified in virtue of canon 38, because it runs contrary to the law of canon 938, and that thus in virtue of canon 41 the one receiving such a command can omit its execution.

______

* Pius XII, Allocutio, Assisi, Sept 22, 1956: “To separate tabernacle from altar is to separate two things which by their origin and nature should remain united.” (complete text here in PDF)

 

Munus and Ministerium, a Canonical Study

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Munus and Ministerium: A Textual Study of their Usage
in the Code of Canon Law of 1983

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

The study of Canon Law is a recondite field for nearly everyone in the Church except Canon Lawyers. And even for Canon Lawyers, most of whom are prepared to work in the Marriage Tribunals of the Church, most of the Code of Canon Law is not frequently referred to.

However, when it comes to the problems of determining the validity of a canonical act, the expertise among Canon Lawyers becomes even more difficult to find, since the circumstances and problems in a single canonical act touch upon a great number of Canons of the Code of Canon Law, and thus require the profound knowledge and experience of years of problem solving to be readily recognized.

For this reason, though popularly many Catholics are amazed that after 6 years there can still be questions and doubts about the validity of the Act of Renunciation declared by Pope Benedict XVI on February 11, 2013, it actually is not so surprising when one knows just a little about the complexity of the problems presented by the document which contains that Act.

First of all, the Latin of the Act, which is the only official and canonical text, is rife with errors of Latin Grammar. All the translations of the Act which have ever been done, save for a few, cover those errors with a good deal of indulgence, because it is clear that whoever wrote the Latin was not so fluent in writing Latin as they thought, a thing only the experts at such an art can detect.

Even myself, who have translated thousands of pages of Latin into English, and whose expertise is more in making Latin intelligible as read, than in writing intelligible Latin according to the rules of Latin grammar can see this. However, we are not talking about literary indulgences when we speak of the canonical value or signification of a text.

For centuries it was a constant principle of interpretation, that if a canonical act in Latin contained errors it was not to be construed as valid, but had to be redone. Unfortunately for the Church, Cardinal Sodano and whatever Cardinals or Canonists examined the text of the Act prior to the public announcement of its signification utterly failed on this point, as will be seen during this conference.

This is because if there are multiple errors or any error, the Cardinal was allowed and even obliged under canons 40 and 41 to ask that the text be corrected.

This evening, however, we are not going to talk about the lack of good Latinity in the text of the Act nor of the other errors which make the text unintelligible to fluent Latinists who think like the Romans of Cicero’s day when they see Latin written, but rather, of the signification of Canon 332 §2, in its fundamental clause of condition, where it says in the Latin, Si contingat ut Romanus Pontifex muneri suo renuntiet, which in good English is, If it happen that the Roman Pontiff renounce his munus….

The entire condition for a Papal Renunciation of Office in the Code of Canon Law promulgated by Pope John Paul II is founded on this first clause of Canon 332 §2.  It behooves us, therefore, when any say that the Renunciation was valid or invalid, to first read this Canon and understand when a renunciation takes place and when it does not take place.

For this purpose, in this first intervention at this Conference, I will speak about the meaning of the two words, Munus and Ministerium, in the Code of Canon Law.  I will speak of both, because, in Canon 332 §2 Pope John Paul II wrote munus and in the Act of Renunciation, Pope Benedict XVI renounced ministerium.

This study is not an idle one, or even only of academic interest. It is required by Canon Law, because in Canon 17, it says, that when there arises a doubt about the signification of a canon, one is to have recourse to the Code of Canon Law, the sources of canonical tradition and the Mind of the Legislator (Pope John Paul II) in determining the authentic meaning.

According to Canon 17 the words of Canoon 332 §2, therefore, are to be understood properly. Therefore, let us examine the Code to see what is the proper meaning of the words munus and ministerium.

Ministerium in the Code of Canon Law

This study is something everyone with the Internet can do. Because there exists an indexed copy of the Latin text of the Code on line at Intratext.com.  In the Alphabetic index of which one can find hyperlinked, all the words found in the Code, in their different Latin forms.

For the word Ministerium, there are 6 forms found:  Ministeria, Ministerii, Ministeriis, Ministerio, Ministeriorum, Ministerium.  Respectively they occur 7, 13, 3, 17, 3, 25 times each in the Code.

Let us take a look at each, briefly.

Ministeria:

The Nominative and Accusative Plural:  Occurs 7 times. In canons 230, 232, 233,  237, 385, 611 and 1035.  Each of these refer to one or more of the sacred ministries or services exercised during the Divine Liturgy, whether by priests, lectors, acolytes etc..

Ministerii:

The Genitive. Occurs 13 times.  In canons 233 twice, 276, 278, 519, 551, 756, 759, 1370, 1373, 1375 1389, 1548.  These refer to the sacred service (canons 233, in canon 271 §2, 1, to the duties of the pastoral ministry (ministerii pastoralis  officia as in canon 276, 278 or 551) which sanctify the priest, and specifically in relation to munus in several canons:

In Canon 519, where it says of the duties of the Pastor of a Parish:

Can. 519 – Parochus est pastor proprius paroeciae sibi commissae, cura pastorali communitatis sibi concreditae fungens sub auctoritate Episcopi dioecesani, cuius in partem ministerii Christi vocatus est, ut pro eadem communitate munera exsequatur docendi, sanctificandi et regendi, cooperantibus etiam aliis presbyteris vel diaconis atque operam conferentibus christifidelibus laicis, ad normam iuris.

Which in English is:

Canon 519:  The parish priest is the pastor of the parish assigned to him, exercising (fungens) the pastoral care of the community entrusted to him under the authority of the Diocesan Bishop, in a portion of whose ministry in Christ (in partem ministerii Chirsti) he has been called, so that he might execute (exsequatur) the munera of teaching, sanctifying and ruling for the same community, with the cooperation also of the other priests and/or deacons and faithful laity assisting in the work, according to the norm of law.

Let us note, first of all, that here the Code distinguishes between the munera of teaching, santifying and ruling from the entire ministry of Christ a part of which is shared by the Bishop.

And again in Canon 756, when it speaks of the munus of  announcing the Gospel, it says, after speaking of the duty of the Roman Pontiff in this regard in conjunction with the College of Bishops:

756 § 2.  Quoad Ecclesiam particularem sibi concreditam illud munus exercent singuli Episcopi, qui quidem totius ministerii verbi in eadem sunt moderatores; quandoque vero aliqui Episcopi coniunctim illud explent quoad diversas simul Ecclesias, ad normam iuris.

Which in English is:

756 §2  In regard to the particular Church entrusted to him, every Bishop, who is indeed the moderater of the whole ministry of the word to it, exercises (exercent) this munus; but also when any Bishop fulfills that conjointly in regard to the diverse Churches, according to the norm of law.

Let us note here simply that the Code distinguishes between the exercise of a munus and the ministerium of preaching the word.

Again in canon 759, ministerii is used regarding the preaching of the word. In Canon 1370 it is used in reference to the contempt of ecclesiastical power or ministry. In canon 1373, it is spoken of in regard the an act of ecclesiastical power or ministry. In canon 1548 in regard to the exercise of the sacred ministry of the clergy.

In canon 1389, it is spoken of in the context of power, munus and ministry. Let us take a closer look:

Can. 1389 – § 1.  Ecclesiastica potestate vel munere abutens pro actus vel omissionis gravitate puniatur, non exclusa officii privatione, nisi in eum abusum iam poena sit lege vel praecepto constituta.

2. Qui vero, ex culpabili neglegentia, ecclesiasticae potestatis vel ministerii vel muneris actum illegitime cum damno alieno ponit vel omittit, iusta poena puniatur.

Which in English is:

Canon 1389 §1  Let the one abusing Ecclesiastical power and/or munus be punished in proportion to the gravity of the act and/or omission, not excluding privation of office, unless for that abuse there has already been established a punishment by law and/or precept.

2. However, Let him who, out of culpable negligence, illegitimately posits and/or omits an act of ecclesiastical power and/or ministry and/or of munus, with damage to another, be punished with a just punishment.

Let us note here that the Code in a penal precept distinguishes between: potestas, ministerium and munus. This implies that in at least one proper sense of each of these terms, they can be understood to signify something different or distinct from the other.

This finishes the study of the occurences of ministerii.

Ministeriis

The ablative and dative plural form. Occurs 3 times.   In canons 274 and 674, where it refers to the sacred ministry of the priesthood and to the ministries exercised in parish life, respectively.

And in Canon 1331 §1, 3, where the one excommunicated is forbidden to exercise all ecclesiastical duties (officiis) and/or ministries and/or munera (muneribus) The Latin is:

Can. 1331 – § 1.  Excommunicatus vetatur:

1 ullam habere participationem ministerialem in celebrandis Eucharistiae Sacrificio vel  quibuslibet aliis cultus caerimoniis;

2 sacramenta vel sacramentalia celebrare et sacramenta recipere;

3 ecclesiasticis officiis vel ministeriis vel muneribus quibuslibet fungi vel actus regiminis ponere.

The English  is:

Canon 1331 §1.  An excommunicate is forbidden:

  1. from having any ministerial participation in the celebrating of the Sacrifice of the Eucharist and/or in any other ceremonies of worship
  2. from celebrating the Sacraments and/or sacramentals and from receiving the Sacraments;
  3. from exercising (fungi) ecclesiastical officia and/or ministeria and/or munera and/or from positing acts of governance.

Let us note again, that the Code distinguishes in this negative precept the terms Officia, Ministeria and Munera. This means, very significantly, that in the Mind of the Legislator, there is a proper sense in which these terms can each be understood as excluding the other. All three are named to make the signification of the negative precept comprehensive of all possible significations.

Ministerio

 The Ablative and Dative singular form. Occurs 17 times. Canons 252, 271, 281, 386 refer to the ministries exercised in the liturgy or apostolate. Canon 545 uses ministerio in reference to the pastoral ministry being proffered, 548 likewise in reference to the pastor of a parish, 559 likewise. Canon 713 refers to the priestly ministry, canons 757, 760 and 836 to the ministry of the word. Canon 899 to the priestly ministry of Christ. Canon 1036 speaks of the need a Bishop has to have knowledge that a candidate for ordination has a willingness to dedicate himself to the life long service which is the duty of orders.

Canon 1722, which has to deal with canonical trials, speaks again of the sacred ministerium, officium and munus exercised (arcere) of the one accused. Distinguishing all three terms to make a comprehensive statement of what can be interdicted by a penalty.

This far for the 17 instances of ministerio.

Ministeriorum

The genitive plural form. Occurs 3 times. In canon 230 in regard to the conferral of ministries of acolyte and lector upon laymen. In canon 499 in regard to having members of the Presbyteral Council of the Diocese include priests with a variety of ministries exercised all over the diocese. And in canon 1050, in regard to those to be ordained, that they have a document showing they have willingly accepted a live long ministry in sacred service.

And finally the Nominative Singular form.

MINISTERIUM

Of which there are 25 occurrences in the Code.

First and most significantly in Canon 41, the very canon that Cardinal Sodano had to act upon when examining the Act of Renunciation by Pope Benedict.

The Latin reads:

Can. 41 — Exsecutor actus administrativi cui committitur merum exsecutionis ministerium, exsecutionem huius actus denegare non potest, nisi manifesto appareat eundem actum esse nullum aut alia ex gravi causa sustineri non posse aut condiciones in ipso actu administrativo appositas non esse adimpletas; si tamen actus administrativi exsecutio adiunctorum personae aut loci ratione videatur inopportuna, exsecutor exsecutionem intermittat; quibus in casibus statim certiorem faciat auctoritatem quae actum edidit.

The English reads:

Canon 41: The executor of an administrative act to whom there has been committed the mere ministry (ministerium) of execution, cannot refuse execution of the act, unless the same act appears to be null from (something) manifest [manifesto] or cannot be sustained for any grave cause or the conditions in the administrative act itself do not seem to be able to have been fulfilled: however, if the execution of the administrative act seems inopportune by reason of place or adjoined persons, let the executor omit the execution; in which cases let him immediately bring the matter to the attention of (certiorem faciat) the authority which published the act.

Then, ministerium occurs again in canon 230, in reference to the ministry of the word, where officia is used in the sense of duties. In canon 245, in regard to the pastoral ministry and teaching missionaries the ministry. In Canon 249 again in regard to the pastoral ministry, in 255 in regard to the ministry of teaching, sanctifying etc.., in 256, 257, 271, 324 in regard to the sacred ministry of priests, in Canon 392 in regard to the ministries of the word. In Canon 509 in regard to the ministry exercised by the Canons of the Cathedral Chapter. In Canon 545 in regard to the parish ministry, in canon 533 in regard to the ministry exercised by a Vicar. In canons 618 and 654 in regard to the power received by religious superiors through the ministry of the Church. In Canon 1025, 1041, and 1051 to the usefulness of a candidate for orders for service (ministerium) to the Church. In Canon 1375 to those who exercise power and/or ecclesiastical ministry.

Ministerium occurs significantly in canon 1384, regard to the penalites a priest can incurr.

Can. 1384 – Qui, praeter casus, de quibus in cann. 1378-1383, sacerdotale munus vel aliud sacrum ministerium illegitime exsequitur, iusta poena puniri potest.

Which in English is:

Canon 1384  Who, besides the cases, concerning which in canons 1378 to 1383 the priestly munus and/or any other sacred ministerium is illegitimately executed, can be punished with a just punishment.

The Code explicitly distinguishes between munus and ministerium as entirely different and or distinct aspects of priestly being and action.

To finish off, the Code mentions Ministerium, again in Canon 1481 in regard to the ministry of lawyers, 1502 and 1634 to the ministry of judges, and in 1740 to ministry of the pastor of a parish.

This completes the entire citation of the Code on the word Ministry in all its Latin Forms, singular and plural.

In summation, we can see already that the Code distinguishes between proper senses of ministerium and munus, habitually throughout its canons and uses ministerium always for a service to be rendered by a layman, priest, Bishop, lawyer, judge or to or by the Church Herself. It never uses ministerium as an office or title or dignity or charge.

Munus in the Code of Canon Law

Munus is a very common term in the Code of Canon Law, occurring a total of 188 times.

The Latin forms which appear in the Code are Munus (77 times), Muneris (26 times), Muneri (2 times), Munere (48 times), Munera (20 times) Munerum (6 times) and Muneribus (9 times).

While the length of this conference does not me to cite them all, I will refer to the most important occurrences.

I will omit citing Canon 331, 333, 334 and 749, where speaking of the Papal Office, the code uses the words Munus. In no other canons does it speak of the Papal office per se, except in Canon 332 §2, which governs Papal renunciations, where it also uses munus.

But as to the proper sense of munus in the Code, let us look at the most significant usages:

First as regards predication, where the Mind of the Legislator indicates when any given proper sense of this term can be said to be a another term.

This occurs only once in canon 145, §1

Can. 145 – § 1. Officium ecclesiasticum est quodlibet munus ordinatione sive divina sive ecclesiastica stabiliter constitutum in finem spiritualem exercendum.

Which in English is:

Canon 145 § 1.  An ecclesiastical office (officium) is any munus constituted by divine or ecclesiastical ordinance as to be exercised for a spiritual end.

Second, as regards the canons governing the events of Feb. 11, 2013, there is  Canon 40, which Cardinal Sodano and his assistants had to refer to in the moments following the Consistory of Feb 11, 2013:

Can. 40 — Exsecutor alicuius actus administrativi invalide suo munere fungitur, antequam litteras receperit earumque authenticitatem et integritatem recognoverit, nisi praevia earundem notitia ad ipsum auctoritate eundem actum edentis transmissa fuerit.

In English:

Canon 40: The executor of any administrative act invalidly conducts his munus (suo munero), before he receives the document (letteras) and certifies (recognoverit) its integrity and authenticity, unless previous knowledge of it has been transmitted to him by the authority publishing the act itself.

Third, as regards to the distinction of munus and the fulfillment of a duty of office, there is Canon 1484, §1 in regard to the offices of Procurator and Advocate in a Tribunal of Eccleisastical Jurisdiction:

Can. 1484 – § 1.  Procurator et advocatus antequam munus suscipiant, mandatum authenticum apud tribunal deponere debent.

Which in English is:

Canon 1484 §1.  The procurator and advocate ought to deposit a copy of their authentic mandate with the Tribunal, before they undertake their munus.

Note here, significantly, that the Code associates the mandate to exercise an office with the undertaking of the munus (munus). Negatively, therefore, what is implied by this canon is that when one lays down his mandate, there is a renunciation of the munus.

Finally, in regard to possibile synonyms for munus, in the Code we have Canon 1331, §2, n. 4, which is one of the most significant in the entire code, as we shall see: There is forbidden the promotion of those who are excommunicated:

4 nequit valide consequi dignitatem, officium aliudve munus in Ecclesia

Which in English reads:

  1. He cannot validly obtain a dignity, office and/or any munus in the Church.

If there was every any doubt about the Mind of the Legislator of the proper sense of terms in the Code of Canon law regarding what Munus means, this canon answers it by equating dignity, office and munus as things to which one cannot be promoted!

Note well, ministerium is not included in that list!  thus Ministerium does not signify a dignity, office or munus!

This study of Munis and Ministerium in the Code thus concludes, for the lack of time. We have seen that the Code distinguishes clearly between the terms of officium, munus, ministerium, potestas and dignitas. It predicates officium of munus alone, It equates dignitas and munus and officium. It distinguishes between potestas and ministerium.

The only sane conclusion is, therefore, that munus and ministerium are distinct terms with different meanings. They cannot substitute for one another in any sentence in which their proper senses are employed. Munus can substitute for officium, when officium means that which regards a title or dignity or ecclesiastical office.

Thus in Canon 332 §2, where the Canon reads, Si contingat ut Romanus Pontifex muneri suo renuntiet. The Code is not speaking of ministerium, and if it is speaking of any other terms, it is speaking of a dignitas or officium. But the papal office is a dignitas, officium and a munus.  thus Canon 332 §2 is using munus in its proper sense and referring to the papal office.

——

(This is a transcript of my first talk at the Conference on the Renunciation of Pope Benedict XVI, which took place at Rome on Oct 21, 2019, the full transcript of which is found here)