Meet Giovanna Chirri, mother of the notion that Benedict resigned the papacy

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This is our English translation of the article published by ChiesaRomana.info yesterday.

How did it happen that the entire world
thinks that Pope Benedict XVI
renounced the papacy?

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Behind every great man, there is a woman;
and behind every great act of a man, the insistence of a woman.

Today, nearly the entire world believes that Pope Benedict XVI renounced the papacy on Feb. 11, 2013.

And perhaps, dear readers, you think so too.

But the truth of what really happened that day has been obscured by the psychological presumption induced by the announcement made moments after the renunciation, by Mrs. Chirri. I am not kidding you!

Did you know that? The entire world thinks that way because of a single tweet, from a pool reporter for ANSA, known as Mrs. Giovanna Chirri. and here is that tweet:

In English, that reads:

B16 has resigned. He leaves the pontificate as of February 28.

This tweet is in fact the first announcement of the renunciation. It caused Giovanna Chirri to become immediately the most famous journalist in the world, for that moment. For the sake of posterity she subsequently gave several interviews so that we all might understand better the series of events which took place on that day.  Here is her testimony, given to the magazine, Familiga Cristiana, on the third anniversary of the Renunciation (Italian original here), the English translation of which is our own:

Though the Consistory should have concluded at that moment, the Pope remained seated, and began to read, again in Latin, from a white sheet which he held in his hand.  He said two things first of all: that he had not convoked the Cardinals solely to hear his approval of two decrees for the canonization of saints, but that he had to say something “important for the life of the Church”, and that he was growing old: his precise words were ingravescente aetate.  At these words I felt as if a hand was placed upon my throat and a ball was being inflated in my head: because Ingravescentem aetatem is the document whereby Pope Paul VI took from the Cardinals the right to elect a pope, after they obtained their eightieth year of age: they were words which signified retirement.  Benedict XVI continued to speak in a Latin, which fortunately was much more comprehensible than that of Cardinal Amato; he spoke for some time, saying that he no longer had the strength to govern the Barque of Peter in a world which is increasingly face paced.  He explained that in conscience he had decided to leave, that the Cardinals will have to hold a Conclave to elect a successor and that he was establishing the beginning of the sede vacante at 8 pm on February 28.

I heard what he said but as one who had not heard; I was breathless and my legs trembled as I sat. I could not hold my left hand steady, even when I tried with my right hand.  I began to make telephone calls seeking help and confirmations.  At the Vatican, where obviously, everyone had something else on their mind, no one picked up the phone.  I was prey to a sensation of terror which I had never experienced in my life.  At this point, Pope Ratzinger had finished speaking. Some of the faces of those present grew pale; Monsignor Guido Pozzo, sitting next to him, seem to have turned to stone; different Cardinals had fixed stares and the muscles of their faces were frozen.  In an unreal silence, the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Angelo Sodano, said in Italian: “This news strikes us as a bolt of lighting out of the blue”.

As you continue to read her testimony in Italian, you see immediately that after three years, she has understood in part the error she made that day, for she no longer speaks of a renunciation of the papacy, but expressly now speaks only of a renunciation of ministry.

Hence, if on February 11, 2013, Mrs. Chirri announced to the world one thing, and three years after in 2016, she explains that Benedict had renounced something else, perhaps we can shake off our presumption that what she said first was correct? One thinks so.

Compare what she said in 2014 on the first anniversary of the renunciation, when she was interviewed by Antonio Sanfrancesco, likewise of Famiglia Cristiana, in an article entitled, La Giornalista che diede la notizia, Non rispiravo, ero terrorizato (qui). A title – which in English, means: The Giornalist who broke the story, I could not breath, I was terrorized – which does not give the reader any confidence that she had a clear mind at the moment of her tweet.

This history and the alteration of the narrative is important for all of us because, according to the norm of Canon Law, there is no canon which regards a renunciation of ministry!  This is because in the Code of Canon Law of 1983, ministry is never associated with power or office, but only with action or the execution of a duty.  Moreover, in canon 1331 §2 °4, ministry is not even listed among those things which an excommunicated person is forbidden to acquire.  Hence, in the Code, an excommunicate can exercise a ministry.

Obviously, if the thing, according to its genus, which Pope Benedict renounced on Feb. 11, 2013 is something which someone not in communion with the Church or with the pope, can exercise, how can it be possible that in renouncing it Pope Benedict separated himself from the papal office? That does not make sense. It’s not even rational to contemplate.

Hence, it appears that in changing her story, Mrs. Chirri no longer agrees with what she wrote on that day:

Indeed, let us read that tweet with precision: it contains the words, dimesso, lascia and pontificato, which in English are resigned, leave and pontifcate.  But no where in the Latin text of the renunciation does Pope Benedict use any Latin words which mean these things!

Hence, if we are to speak properly and with precision, her tweet is not a report of news, but an interpretation of the event, an interpretation which arises out of the state of her mind in that moment in which she rushed to get the scoop on the news before any other journalist.

Now, at last, perhaps the time has come for the Church to recognize that none of us is obligated to understand that act of renunciation according to the state of mind of Mrs. Chirri, the Mother of the Papal Resignation. I call her, “the Mother of the Papal Resignation”, because in the understanding of the world, it was she who gave everyone to understand the act as an act of renunciation of the papacy, not merely of the ministry, an understanding and interpretation which all who study Canon Law are forcing themselves to find in the Code of Canon Law, but fail to do so, because it ain’t there.

ORIGINAL CREDITS: Testo di Famiglia Cristiana citato dall’articolo citato qui sopra. L’immagine in evidenza, della Sig.ra Chirri trovato sulla pagina di Famiglia Cristiana nel articolo di 11 Febbraio 2014, citato qui sopra, ma senza attribuzione di proprietà intellettuale. Si presume fair use per tutti due. Il tweet di Chirri è replicata dal suo conto su Twitter che è ancora in rete.

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)

Barnhardt’s 2nd Video and the other Meaning of Benedict’s Tacit Consent

Yesterday, Ann Barhnhardt posted her second Magisterial Study of Pope Benedict’s Invalid Resignation and the theological currents behind it. See here. You have to listen to this entire video to understand anything about what is going on in the Vatican today.*

_______________

*There is only one small factual error in what Mrs. Barnhardt says in this video, namely, when she says that all the vernacular translations of Benedict’s Act of Renunciation were made from the Italian translation, that is not true, the German is unique, as I have shown previously.

Considerations

It’s rationally impossible to exclude, after Barnhardt’s marshalling of evidence, that Pope Benedict did not have a vicious and malign intention in renouncing only the Petrine Ministry, and not simply a substantial error of saying ministerium instead of munus.

This being the case, I can now offer a reasonable explanation of Why the Pope did NOT contest ANY of the 39 arguments I sent him?, which argue his resignation of ministerium did not effect a resignation of munus:  The surprising answer is that Benedict acknowledges that it was NEVER his intention to resign the petrine munus, and was in fact his intention to resign only the petrine ministerium.  — If you recall, in my Scholastic Question, which I sent him, I openly stated that I did not dispute the act effected a renunciation of ministerium.

There are 2 conclusions from this inference, which I say has sound probability on the basis of the 55 year history of Joseph Ratzinger in the speculations regarding transforming the papacy.

The first is that, if asked, Pope Benedict will admit openly and candidly before witnesses that he retains the Petrine Munus.  He will however, on account of his error, say he does not hold the Petrine Office or the Papacy.  This will seem to be an illogical self-contradiction, since it does not accord with the Latin text of Canon 145 §1: but in the Germanic School of theology to which Ratzinger belongs, the office of the Papacy is conceived as pertaining to the Petrine Ministry, that is, the active exercise of grace and vocation.

The second conclusion is, that every Catholic who accepts the teaching of Vatican I, will see that there are now 2 reasons for the renunciation of Benedict being null and void:*  namely, not only substantial error, but malign intention.  The malign intention (dolus) being to split the Papal Office.  Both causes are causes of  the act being null and void in canon 188.*

If these 2 considerations are true, then it will be difficult to understand from speaking with Benedict at any time, for a direct answer which indicates the renunciation was invalid to effect his no longer being the Pope.

The solution of the problem, therefore, must come solely from a canonical analysis, because neither as a private theologian, Joseph Ratzinger, nor as the Pope, does he have any authority to split the Papal Office from the Papal Ministry, nor to ascribe the office of the Papacy to the one who has the Papal Ministry, but not the Papal Munus.

Finally, I wish to praise Mrs. Barnhardt for her correct theological and moral characterization of those who have contested that the renunciation was invalid, arguing instead with a faulty notion of “universal acceptance”, as “demonic”, “satanic” and “free-masonic”.

For the Good of the Church, I will close by calling on all the Cardinals, Bishops, Clergy, Religious and Laity, especially of the Roman Church, to return to the norm of Canon 332 §2 and recognize that

  1. Pope Benedict is still the Pope, Bergoglio was never the Pope.
  2. His renunciation of ministry effects nothing in Canon Law.
  3. He is theologically confused as regards holding that the Papal Office is constituted by the one who exercises the Petrine Ministry, not the One who holds the Petrine Munus.
  4. His deliberate intention to renounce only the Petrine Ministry was morally reprehensible and should be reprehended.
  5. Anyone who speaks with Pope Benedict must resort to correcting him, because he not only committed a juridical error, but also a moral error, in renouncing only the Petrine Ministry.

_____________________________

* Barnhardt and myself, as well as nearly all the other commentators on this controversy, have been saying that Benedict’s resignation was invalid. The correct Canonical phrase, however, is that Benedict never renounced the Papal Office. Because, Benedict resigned nothing, in that he never used the verb resign.  (The English translation of Canon 332 §2 has “resign” in the place of the Latin “renounce”.)  Also, Canon 188 does not declare acts of renunciation invalid, it declares them “irrita“, that is, not properly done, or in other words, never done at all.

Can. 188Renuntiatio ex metu gravi, iniuste incusso, dolo vel errore substantiali aut simoniace facta, ipso iure irrita est.

The importance of the distinction in Canon Law regarding juridical acts which are invalid and juridical acts which are irrita is that, if a juridical act of the pope be in question, since one cannot dispute the legitimacy of papal acts, you cannot judge them valid or invalid. But if they were never done, never existed, that is, if they were irriti, then they never happened. And it’s no sin or crime, but true justice to say that they are such.

 

 

Investigating the causes of Pope Benedict’s invalid Abdication

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By Br. Alexis Bugnolo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s look at each in the German:

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

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

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

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

Now, let’s look at the other canon:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Vatican Coup d’Etat of Feb. 2013

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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.  Sodano, 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.

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NOTES

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)