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.

 

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

07-Ratzinger-ciao-OR

By Br. Alexis Bugnolo

There being few in the Church today who know the Latin tongue well enough to read and 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.