Where Robert de Mattei is wrong

This week, Catholic Family News, the traditional private Catholic Newspaper founded by the late John Vennari, publishes an article entitled, “Socci’s Thesis Falls Short: Review of the Secret of Benedict XVI“, an English translation of an article which was published on Jan 8, 2019 online at Cooperatores Veritatis. The translator is a Giuseppe Pelligrino. (Socci’s book details facts and canonical arguments why Pope Benedict XVI is still the Pope, and Bergoglio an Anti-Pope, that is uncanonically elected). I will comment on the English version of the article.

The author, Dr. Roberto de Mattei, I have long admired, and have had the occasion to meet in person. His foundation, the Lepanto Foundation does much good work, and thus I bear him no animus. Nay, if the author of that article was someone unknown or not influential at Rome, I would probably have paid it no attention at all.

Moreover, the purpose of this present article is not to defend Socci’s book.  Rather it is to address the grave errors contained in De Mattei’s article, which on account of his personal reputation are magnified in the minds of many, and thus represent a danger to souls.

Here, then, I will discuss the errors briefly in the order they appear in that English translation by Signor Pellegrino.

The first error of which is that De Mattei sustains that the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI is valid, because there has been a peaceful and universal acceptance of the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

I will put aside the fact that several recent polls (not scientific) have shown that as much as 70% of Catholics reject Bergoglio as pope, because there is a more serious error to address, than disputing whether there is in fact a peaceful and universal acceptance of Bergoglio’s election.

Signor De Mattei is learned enough to own a copy of the Code of Canon Law. So I humbly suggest he read Canon 359 and consider publicly withdrawing his assertion that a peaceful and universal acceptance of an apparent papal election establishes it to be held as valid by Catholics.  For, that canon reads in Latin:

Can. 359 — Sede Apostolica vacante, Cardinalium Collegium ea tantum in Ecclesia gaudet potestate, quae in peculiari lege eidem tribuitur.

When translated into English — here I give my own translation — that canon says:

Canon 359 — When the Apostolic See is vacant, the College of Cardinals only enjoys that power in the Church, which is granted to it in particular law.

This is the reference to the power of the College to elect the Pope.  So, according to Canon 359, when there is no pope, the Cardinals have the authority to elect a pope.

Now, if the resignation of a pope is in doubt, then obviously, there is a doubt whether the Apostolic See is vacant, and therefore the Cardinals have doubtful authority. And when a resignation of a pope has not taken place, or a pope is not dead, the Apostolic See is not vacant, and therefore the Cardinals have NO power to elect another.

So, it should be obvious then, that “the peaceful and universal acceptance of the election of a pope by a College of Cardinals” which HAS NO POWER to elect a pope, because the See is NOT vacant, DOES NOT MAKE THE ELECTION VALID.

Second, De Mattei claims this principal regarding the acceptance of the election of a pope on the basis of commonly held opinion. But if he has studied Canon Law, he should know that Canon 17 does not permit common theological or canonical opinions to be interpretative guides to reading any canon, when the text of the canon expressly forbids an act to take place by denying the body which acts the power to act. For in such a case the mind of the Legislator takes precedence.

Third, what is worse, De Mattei then cites the Vatican translation of Canon 332 §2, where he admits that it denies that a papal resignation is valid on the grounds that anyone accepts it (in its final condition)! How that squares with the theory of peaceful and universal acceptance is impossible to imagine, since it undermines the validity of its application to the case of a disputed resignation. It does so, because obviously a Conclave called during the life of a pope who has not resigned, is called either because that College knows he has not and does intend to elect an Anti-Pope, and then it does not matter who accepts him, his election is invalid; or in the case the College opines that a resignation is valid, and they proceed to act as if there is no pope. But as canon 332 §2 declares, that they think it is valid, does not make it valid. Therefore, even if they think it is valid, when it is not valid, they cannot appeal to Canon 332 §2 to claim the authority in Canon 359 to lawfully elect another. Rather, they must follow Canon 17 and apply it. And so, whether the subsequent election be accepted or not, in the case of elections which follow papal resignations, the principal cited by De Mattei is improperly cited at best because it pertains to another case.

Finally, De Mattei is, in my opinion, intellectually dishonest, when he says that Violi’s canonical study of Pope Benedict’s act of Feb 11, 2013 contributes to the confusion. Because that study, which is cited in the preface of the Disputed Question, published here in November, is a very scholarly well thought out and precise study without any animus or polemic, which gives great clarity to the canonical signification of that papal act. To say that it causes confusion therefore is not based on Violi’s work, but rather seemingly on a desire to advance his own opinion by insulting a scholar who shows greater knowledge of Canon Law than himself.

As for Archbishop Ganswein’s discourse at the Gregorian University, at first glance it does seem to be confusing. But when you research, as Ann Barnhardt has done, what opinions regarding the mutability of the Papacy were being discussed at Tubingen, when Fr. Joseph Ratzinger was a professor of Theology there, then you would rather say its revealing, not confusing at all.

For those who want to understand the correct canonical argument, why Pope Benedict XVI is the Pope and why Bergoglio was never pope, supported by Canon Law and all the evidence, and put in simple terms, see “How and Why Pope Benedict’s Resignation is invalid by the law itself.”


Poll: Who do you think is the true Pope?

Retired Pope Benedict XVI greets Pope Francis at Vatican



Photo Credits:   CNS photo/L’Ossevatore Romano via Reuters (May 2, 2013)


The Validity of Benedict’s Resignation, Part II: Ad Contrarium


By Br. Alexis Bugnolo

In the previous article, entitled, The Validity of Pope Benedict’s Resignation must be Questioned, I recited the history of the controversy over the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on the topic of substantial error in the resignation and then proceeded to explicate 20+ arguments against the validity.

Here, I will list the arguments for the validity, inasmuch as I find and understand them. If you know of more, let me know in the comments section below.  After each argument pro-Validity, I will post, for the reader’s convenience the argument against it — deviating in this small manner from proper Scholastic form. There is no particular order among the arguments, but the strongest ones are at the end.

Whether Pope Benedict XVI by means of the act expressed in his address, “Non solum propter”, resigned the office of the Bishop of Rome?

Ad contrarium:

And it seems that he did:

1. Because, Pope Benedict XVI as pope is above Canon Law. Therefore, he does not need to resign according to the form of Canon 332 §2.  Therefore, he resigned validly.

Ad obj. 1: To argue that the Pope is above Canon Law, and therefore the resignation is valid, is a sophism, which when examined is equivalent to 2 other erroneous propositions, namely:  “The Pope as pope is above canon law, ergo etc.”, and “The Pope as the man who is the pope is above the Law, ergo etc.”  To the first, I say: In the first case it is true that the Pope as pope is above canon law. However, the Pope when renouncing his office, does not renounce as Pope, but as the man who is the pope. Therefore the argument is praeter rem.  To the second, I say: It is false to say the Pope as the man who is pope is above Canon Law, because the mind of the Legislator of the Code of Canon law, Pope John Paul II, in canon 332 §2, expressly declares when a papal resignation is such and is to be regarded as valid.  Therefore, if a pope resigned in a way which was valid, but which the Faithful had to regard as invalid according to the norm of that Canon, there would be chaos in the Church. However, in interpreting the mind of a legislator, one cannot presume any thesis which would make the law defective. Therefore, Pope John Paul II did intend to bind the man who is pope, in a papal resignation. Therefore, the second is false also.

2. Because it is clear that Pope Benedict wanted to resign. Therefore, he did resign. Therefore, his resignation is valid.

Ad obj. 2.: To argue that the Pope wanted to resign, therefore he did resign, is to employ a sophism which conceals an undistributed middle term. For if the pope wanted to resign the ministerium of the office, then he did resign the ministerium. But such a resignation is not conform with Canon 332 §2, since it does not resign the munus. Therefore, it is invalid.  Likewise, if the pope wanted to resign the munus, then he did NOT resign the munus if he said ministerium. And then even if he thought he did, its invalid, per canon 332 §2 according to the act, and according to canon 188 on account of substantial error.

3. Because Pope Benedict, after his resignation, publicly declared that he validly resigned. Therefore, he validly resigned.

Ad obj. 3.: To argue that the Pope resigned validly because after his resignation he publicly declared that he resigned validly, is to employ a subterfuge. Because in that public declaration he declares that he resigned the Petrine ministry validly. That he resigned the Petrine ministry validly, is not disputed. But if that is what he resigned, then he did not resign the munus. Therefore, that act did not effect a resignation of the office. Therefore if it be asserted to be a valid papal resignation, the assertion is false according to canon 332 §2.

4. Because, Pope Benedict, after his resignation, publicly declared that he freely resigned, therefore he resigned.

Ad obj. 4.: It is true that liberty in a resignation is one of the necessary conditions of a papal resignation according to Canon 332 §2, but it is not true that it is the only condition. The first condition is that it be a resignation of munus. It was not. Therefore, this argument is praeter rem.

5. Because, Cardinal Sodano, as Dean of the College of Cardinals, in convoking the College, acted as if it were valid, therefore it is valid.

Ad obj. 5: There is no Canon of the Church or special delegation by the Roman Pontiff which makes the decision of the Cardinal Deacon to call a conclave efficacious of the validity of an invalid resignation, or authoritatively determinative of the validity of a resignation. Therefore, that he did so, proves nothing. Nay, canon 332 §2 expressly denies this.

6. Because the College of Cardinals convened to elect a Successor of Pope Benedict, therefore by that act declared or made the resignation valid.

Ad obj. 6.:  There is no Canon of the Church or special delegation by the Roman Pontiff which makes the decision of the College of Cardinals to conclave or elect a Pope, efficacious of the validity of an invalid resignation, or authoritatively determinative of the validity of a resignation. Therefore, that they did so, proves nothing. Nay, canon 332 §2 expressly denies this.

7. Because the whole College of Cardinals after the resignation and after the Conclave of 2013 acts and holds that Jorge Mario Bergoglio is the true and valid pope.

Ad obj. 7: I reply the same as for obj. 7.

8. Because the whole world accepts that Jorge Mario Bergoglio is Pope Francis.

Ad obj. 8: Canon 332 §2 in saying, “and not whether it be accepted or not by anyone whomsoever” in its final phrase, expressly denies this. Therefore, it is false.

9. Because, a Catholic must hold as Pope, whomsoever the Cardinals, or the Bishops, or the Clergy of Rome, hold to be the Pope.

Ad obj. 9.: I reply the same, as to obj. 8.

10. Because the election of a Pope by the Cardinals is a dogmatic fact, which all Catholics must accept.

Ad obj. 10.: While it be true that the valid election of a Pope by the Cardinals is a dogmatic fact which all Catholics must accept, it is not true if the election were invalid. But an election is invalid if the previous pope is still living and has not yet validly resigned. Therefore, this objection is invalid, inasmuch as the resignation be invalid. Therefore, of its self it is insufficient to prove the point argued.

11. Because the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI is a papal act, which cannot be questioned, according to the addage: prima sedes a nemini iudicatur.

Ad obj. 11.: While it is true that the acts of the Roman Pontiff are juridical acts which cannot be questioned, it is not true that declarations made in the first person by the man who is pope, which are the matter of such acts or declarations, cannot be judged. That such an act can be judged is proven by Canon 332 §2 which judges such acts. That such matter of the papal act is not an act of the pope as pope, has already been proven above.

12. Because, a Catholic in good conscience must presume, that if the resignation were not valid on account of the use of the word ministerium not munus in the key phrase of the act, that the Cardinals, in accord with canon 17, either demonstrated to themselves that he sufficiently resigned the papacy, or held private council with the Holy Father, Pope Benedict, to know his mind and meaning, at which time he privately signified that he had resigned the papacy in resigning the ministry of the Papacy.

Ad obj. 12.: While it is true that a Catholic should be disposed to presume such, such presumption does not make an invalid resignation valid. Nay, in accord with Canon 332 §2, one must note that the final cause of an invalid resignation is that it not be manifested according to the norm of law (rite manifestastur). Which norm requires a public act, that is, an act witnessed by at least 2 witnesses and made verbally. Such an act has never been published. So even if it were made, its a secret act, and it would not make an invalid resignation, valid.

13. Because Pope Benedict said, “I declare that I renounce the ministry which I had received from the hands of the Cardinals, … so that the See of St. Peter be vacant on …”, he clearly indicated that his renunciation was to effect a loss of office (munus), therefore his resignation was in accord with Canon 332 §2, despite not explicitly using the word munus, as that Canon requires for validity. Therefore, the resignation was valid.

Ad obj. 13.: This objection was refuted in the arguments of the First Part, but its complexity deserves a fuller answer for those minds which cannot understand how it is invalid. First, as demonstrated in the First Part of this Article, a resignation is valid if it includes a resignation of munus; it is not valid if it does not. And according to Canon 17, if there is any doubt as to whether munus is included in canon 332 §2 as a sine non qua condition or according to its signification in a broader sense, one must have recourse to other parts of the Law, the canonical tradition, and to the mind of the Legislator (John Paul II) of the Code. As has been shown elsewhere, there is no basis for an argument from canon 17 that ministerium can mean munus. However, since ministerium is followed by 2 subordinate clauses, the argument that it is invalid, must respond to that condition. For in Latin, some subordinate clauses can alter the signification of the main clause. And it is true that there is a poetical form, in which part of a thing can substitute for the whole, as when at Mass in the Latin Rite we say, “Come under my roof” to mean “come into my soul”. However, as regards the Latin of the text of the renunciation, to say, “which I received from the hands of the Cardinals” imposes no necessity of reference to the Petrine Ministry per se, because Ratzinger also at that time received the Episcopal and Pastoral Ministry for the Diocese of Rome. The second clause, “so that the See of St Peter be vacant”, has been shown in Part I to necessitate no necessity. For those who do not understand Latin grammar, this needs to be explained. Because, in a subordinate clause such as “so that … be vacant”, the clause is a clause of purpose of the kind which begins with the particle “ut”, and thus is a pure clause of purpose which indicates only a goal. If the subordinate clause of purpose had begun with “in the kind of way which” (quomodo) or “in such a way as to” (in tali modo quod) it would have been a purpose clause of characteristic which has the power to alter the manner of signification in the main clause, and allow the use of metynomic signification, that is, when a part refers to the whole. Since Pope Benedict did not say anything of that kind, this way of reading the subordinate clause is not possible. Hence it remains invalid.  However, even if a metonymic signification was had, it remains invalid per canon 332 §2, since it would not be duly manifested. Because just as if one were to pronounce marriage vows by saying, “I take you to be my Viennese strudel” instead of saying “I take you to be my wife”, an interpretation would be necessary to be resorted to, to make the phrase signify taking a wife, so in an act of resignation a metonymic manner of signification renders the act invalid because it publicly does not duly manifest the intention.

14. In his act of resignation Pope Benedict XVI declared two things. The First regarding his resignation, the second regarding the convocation of a Conclave “that a Conclave to elect a new Supreme Pontiff be convoked by those whose duty it is”. He would not have said this, if his intention was not to resign the office of the Papacy. Therefore, he did resign the office of the papacy.

Ad obj. 14.: This argument is a conflation of two arguments, one of which has previously been refuted, viz. that one which regards his intention, which was refuted in Ad obj. 2. Here I will respond to the other, that which regards the papal command to convene a Conclave.   That the Pope declared that a conclave be convened to elect a new Roman Pontiff forms the second independent clause of his verb, “I declare”. Thus it is logically independent and bears no necessity in the alteration of the signification of the first clause, which regards the resignation.  Thus if the resignation not be duly manifested in accord with Canon 332 §2, that the Pope declares a Conclave be called is a papal declaration which is totally vitiated by the substantial error in his first declaration. Thus canon 188 invalidates the execution of this command. This is especially true, because in the declaration of convocation he does not require the convocation to take place before or after he ceases to be pope, or on a specific date or even during his life time. To see this more clearly, recall the example from the arguments against the validity, wherein a hypothetical pope declares, “I renounce bananas so that on Feb. 28, at 8 PM, Roman Time, the see be vacant” and simply add, “and that a Conclave be convened to elect a new Roman Pontiff”.  As can be seen in this hypothetical, the second declaration does not make the first valid, it just continues the substantial error: a substantial error which also makes the Conclave of 2013 and all the acts of Bergoglio as pope invalid.

15. Canon 332 §2 does require the resignation of office. But ministerium also means office. Therefore, when Pope Benedict renounced the ministerium, he renounced the munus.

Ad obj. 15.: Canon 332 §2 reads as follows:  If it happens that the Roman Pontiff renounce his munus, there is required for its validity alone that it be freely made and manifested rite, and not that it be accepted by anyone whomsoever.  As can be seen from this Canon — which is the only one dealing with papal resignations — the fundamental condition is that the Pope resign his “munus”.  Now while some modern translations translate that as office (English), others as charge (Spanish), others as function (Italian), its clear from the Code of Canon Law that its primary canonical meaning is office. This can be seen from its use in the Headings of the New Code for chapters on Ecclesiastical Offices. This is confirmed by a direct citation of canon 145 §1, where every ecclesiastical office is called a “munus”, not a ministerium.  An examination of the Code also reveals that a ministerium is never called an “office”.  Now since the Code of Canon Law requires in Canon 17, that the Code itself be read in accord with the tradition of canonical texts, the sources of canon law and the mind of its legislator (Pope John Paul II), these facts should be sufficient evidence to exclude the possibility that “ministerium” can be read as munus. This is confirmed by the comparison of Canon 332 §2 with the corresponding canon in the Code of Canon Law promulgated under Pope Benedict XV, where it speak of a Pope renouncing, but does not say what he renounces. Its evident and significant that Pope John Paul II in the 1983 code added the word “munus” to specify what must be renounced to effect a papal resignation. Its also evident that in that Code of Canon Law “ministerium” refers to the exercise of an office. Furthermore, if one examines all previous papal resignations for which there is textual evidence of the formula of resignation, the words which signify office are always found: onus, munus. Ministerium is not found. Proper names for the office are found, such as episcopatus or papatus. Or the dignity resulting from the office is named with the words honor or dignitas. Thus, in accord with Canon 17, all the sources of authoritative interpretation conclude upon 1 result: that a Pope only resigns when he resigns the munus, the office, not the execution of the office, ministerium. Therefore, even if Pope Benedict intended, and in private afterwards asserted or asserts or will assert, that he intended to use “ministerium” for munus, his act of renunciation is invalid on account of that substantial error, in virtue of canon 188, and it cannot be made valid by any subsequent act. It would have to be redone with the word, “munus”. So the argument is invalid by a sophistry, of reading “munus” in its major according to its Latin signification, but reading “ministerium” in the minor according to its vernacular usage. Thus, its conclusion is reached through an undistributed middle term, and thus is invalid also.

The Vatican Coup d’Etat of Feb. 2013


December 18, 2018 — A silent secret Coup d’Etat occured at the Vatican nearly 6 years ago, the facts of which case have only recently come to light.  The leading figures in the takeover were Cardinals Sodano and Bergoglio.  The former, the Dean of the College of Cardinals, charged with calling a Conclave in the event of the death or valid resignation of the Roman Pontiff; the Latter, the head of the Saint Gallen Mafia, which had plotted since 2004 to take over the Church and transform the Catholic Religion into a hollow mockery of the Gospel.

The coup d’etat was put in motion by the decision by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to resign from active ministry on February, 11th, which he announced to the world in the Latin text, “Non solum propter”. (For the original text and English translation, see here).  The carefully worded text, based on the distinction put forward by Karl Rahner in 1974, in his work, Vorfragen zu einem okumenischen Amtsverstandnis, that one could retain the munus petrinum and share the ministerium petrinum, renounced the latter and explicitly affirmed the holding of the former.

This very obscure distinction in the Latin text allowed a coup d’etat, that is an unlawful take over of the Vatican. Because, according to the norm of Canon Law, the Cardinal Deacon was NOT empowered by the act of resignation to call a Conclave. Nay, he was obliged to confer with his Holiness as to the nature of the Vicar he wanted to appoint to govern the Vatican in his retirement, and ask direction on how the institution of the College of Cardinals could accomplish this, since the rules of a Conclave only regard the election of a successor not a Vicar sharing the active ministry.

No sooner had Pope Benedict XVI read his text, that Cardinal Sodano began to play up the event, by saying out-loud in Italian: “‘Holiness, this news catches us like a lightning bolt in a clear blue sky.’” (source)

Then the Italian journalist, Giovanna Chirri, a pool reporter for the Italian News Cooperative, ANSA, after attempting to speak with Cardinal Sodano by phone, following the consistory, and receiving the go ahead from Fr. Lombardi, ran the fake news story that the Pope had resigned his office.  She went to far in later reports to claim that she understands Latin perfectly, and that the renunciation was unequivocal!

Amazingly, Chirri announced this “news” via Twitter! Here is the historic tweet, upon which the entire Catholic world bases its idea that Benedict resigned the papacy!

However, the full responsibility and liability for the decision to call a Conclave to elect another Pope — during the lifetime of a Pope who only retired from active ministry, but did not resign his office — must be laid at the feet of Cardinal Sodano. That he was urged to this by the Saint Gallen Mafia may be supposed, but the evidence from the Law of the Church is indisputable.  As Canon 332 §2 reads in its official form, which in Latin — a Latin in which Cardinal Sodano is fluent, says:

CANON 332 § 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 law of the Church is clear: a pope resigns when he resigns his Munus (muneri suo renuntiet). And the validity of such a resignation arises from the act itself when it is conform with the norm of law (rite manifestetur) and is free.

The crime of Sodano consists in the pretense he made, based on the common translations of that Canon into modern languages, that you could renounce the office of the papacy without renouncing the petrine munus.

Obviously, canonically speaking, its impossible to demonstrate that a renunciation of ministerium is a due and proper manifestation of a renunciation of munus according to the norm of law, when the law itself says that papal resignations regard only the munus.*

Cardinal Sodano was of an age in which he could not vote in any further Conclaves, but by summoning a Conclave to elect another pope AND omitting a conference with His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, he set in motion a revolution which resulted in Jorge Mario Bergoglio seizing control of the Vatican government and presenting himself to the world as the Vicar of Christ.

How many of the Cardinals who attended the Conclave of 2013 raised questions about this is not yet publicly known. However, its not a question of any form of secrecy to which they were or are bound, since if any of them noticed the sleight of hand of Sodano, he would have spoken about it before the Conclave began.

Today it is evident to the whole Catholic world that Bergoglio is an Anti-Pope in the sense that he has not the Faith of the Church and daily attacks the Faith. May God grant that Catholics everywhere read the Latin text of Canon 332 §2 to see that a renunciation of active ministry does not renounce the papal office, and that therefore the Conclave of 2013 was illicity convened and uncanonical, and that Bergoglio was never the Pope, never the Bishop of Rome, never the Successor of Saint Peter.



For further reading, I recommend:  How and Why the Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on Feb. 11, 2013 is invalid by the law itself.

* Can. 17 — Leges ecclesiasticae intellegendae sunt secundum propriam verborum significationem in textu et contextu consideratam; quae si dubia et obscura manserit, ad locos parallelos, si qui sint, ad legis finem ac circumstantias et ad mentem legislatoris est recurrendum.

Cardinal Sodano was obliged, by this canon, in the matter of any doubt concerning whether the act of Benedict XVI was valid per canon 322 §2, to look in the Code itself for the usage of ministerium and munus. However, in the Code there is no equation of these two terms. Not finding one, he would be obliged to look at the canonical history of the term munus in papal resignations, in which in previous resignations the word munus, not ministerium, has always been used. So he had no grounds to call a Conclave. (cf. Dos graves razones, by Juan Suárez Falcó, and Fr. Stefano Violi, The Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI Between History, Law and Conscience)


Literal English Translation of Benedict XVI’s Discourse on Feb. 11, 2013 A. D.


By Br. Alexis Bugnolo

There being few in the Church today who know the Latin tongue well enough to read an analyze a canonical text, I offer here my own translation of the discourse which Pope Benedict gave during the Consistory of Feb. 11, 2013 A. D..  You can find modern translations of this discourse at the Vatican Website, with notable errors and seemingly purposeful misrepresentations.  Compare my own with theirs, if you like, to know which words have been altered in the vernacular versions.

Declaration of Pope Benedict XVI, Feb. 11, 2013 A. D.

Not only for the three canonizations have I called you to this Consistory, but also so that I may communicate to you a decision of great moment for the life of the Church. Having explored my conscience again and again before the Lord, I have arrived at certain recognition that with my advancing age my strengths are no longer apt for equitably administering the Petrine Office [munus Petrinum].

I am well aware that this office [munus], according to its spiritual essence, ought to be exercised not only by acting and speaking, but no less than by suffering and praying.  Moreover, in the world of our time, subjected to rapid changes and perturbed by questions of great weight for the life of faith, there is more necessary to steer the Barque of Saint Peter and to announce the Gospel a certain vigor, which in recent months has lessened in me in such a manner, that I should acknowledge my incapacity to administer well the ministry [ministerium] committed to me.  On which account, well aware of the weightiness of this act, I declare in full liberty, that I renounce the ministry [ministerio] of the Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, committed to me through the hands of the Cardinals on April 19, 2005, so that on February 28, 2013, at 20:00 Roman Time [Sedes Romae], the see of Saint Peter be vacant, and that a Conclave to elect a new Supreme Pontiff be convoked by those whose duty it is [ab quibus competit].

Dearest brothers, I thank you with my whole heart for every love and work, by which you bore with me the weight of my ministry [ministerii], and I ask pardon for all my failings.  Moreover, now We confide God’s Holy Church to the care of Her Most High Shepherd, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and We implore His Mother, Mary, to assist with Her maternal goodness the Cardinal fathers in electing a new Supreme Pontiff.  In my own regard, I wish to serve in the future by a life of prayer dedicated to the Holy Church with my whole heart.

[From the halls of the Vatican, Feb. 10, 2013]


Translator’s Commentary

As can be seen from Ganswein’s talk at the Pontifical Gregorian University in May of 2016, and from the other comments made by Benedict XVI afterwards, this text regards the resignation of ministry, not office. If one were to say it effects the resignation of office, he would be in substantial error, as I have demonstrated elsewhere.

Unlike Archbishop Ganswein, when he spoke at the Pontifical Gregorian University in May of 2016,  I translate munus as office, following not only all the Latin Dictionaries which I have at my disposal, but the Latin text of Canon 145, which defines every office in the Church as a munus. See also, Pope Paul VI’s decree, Christus Dominus, which uses the same term for office.

I translate vacet as the main verb of a subordinate subjunctive clause of purpose, introduced by ita ut, “so that”. Those who opine that such a form of vaco, vacare can be translated as could be vacant know nothing about Latin and how as a Classical tongue it lacks the conditional mood. (Cf. my Ecclesiastical Latin Grammar, for an explanation on how to translate the subjunctive mood in Latin, into English).

Having spoken with one of the most eminent Latinists who has worked at the Vatican, I note that the Sedes Romae refers to the time Zone, and is not an appositive to Sedes Sancti Petri. Note there are 2 things declared:  that I renounce... and that a Conclave be convoked….  Note also, that in the original text the commisso in the phrase, “committed to me through the hands of the Cardinals” was erroneously written and spoken as commissum.  (Cfr. Pope Gregory XIII’s 1582 edition of the Decretales Gregorii IX. Book. I, Tittle III, de Rescriptis, c. XI.)

Finally, if you find any typographical errors, let me know. as I understand there are some out there who hate the truth so much, that if they find one, they believe the rest of a text by a translator is of no value.