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Steven O'Reilly: "Tons of Problems with Francis, including Possibly being an Anti-pope. There should be an Imperfect Council"

On June 24, the Catholic Monitor was honored to have Catholic pundit Steven O'Reilly post in its comment section. O'Reilly at Roma Locuta Est, who always bends over backward to be fair and respectful, said:

"There are tons of problems with Francis, including possibly being an anti-pope. There should be an imperfect council to examine many things."

Last year, the Catholic pundit commented on the former highest doctrinal authority in the Church, ex-Prefect of the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Muller who apparently admitted that Francis could be an anti-pope.

Remember that only an anti-pope when he speaks "ex cathedra" can speak what is "invalid" because the false pope's papacy is invalid.

LifeSiteNews reported that Cardinal Muller said:

"'[I]f he [Francis] spoke ex cathedra... make[ing] possible the ordination of women... in contradiction to the defined doctrine of the Church,' he continues"

"'It would be invalid,' he adds."
(LifeSiteNews, "Cardinal Muller: No pope or council could permit female deacons, 'it would be invalid," Friday July 26, 2019)

O'Reilly showed the Vatican I background to the Muller statement. Moreover, he added that it could, also, possibly mean Francis is an heretical anti-pope:

"However, as Catholics well know, this poses an obvious difficulty. Vatican I defined the dogma of papal infallibility in the following terms (emphasis added):

'…the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, when carrying out the duty of the pastor and teacher of all Christians in accord with his supreme apostolic authority he explains a doctrine of faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, through the divine assistance promised him in blessed Peter, operates with that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer wished that his church be instructed in defining doctrine on faith and morals; and so such definitions of the Roman Pontiff from himself, but not from the consensus of the Church, are unalterable.'  (Pastor Aeternus cited in Fundamentals of Catholic Doctrine, Denzinger, 1839)"
"In addition, this definition is followed by a canon, which states: 'But if anyone presumes to contradict this definition of Ours, which may God forbid: let him be anathema' (Denzinger 1840).

Clearly, a faithful Catholic will note the seeming disconnect between what Pastor Aeternus defined infallibly, and what Cardinal Müller said above. But, the Cardinal is no dummy as to suggest ex cathedra statements can be disregarded. This suggests, to me at least, a hidden, unstated and inescapable implication in the Cardinal’s statement, as well as being an indication of how he and other Cardinals are now privately viewing Pope Francis–though this is speculative."

"There is only one way, in logic at least, for a Catholic to accept Vatican I on papal infallibility but reject a heretical declaration that seemingly meets the formal conditions of being ex cathedra.

Given that a true pope is protected by the Holy Spirit from teaching an error ex cathedra, it follows that if a man, seemingly “pope,” were to teach something which denies or conflicts with a known truth of the Catholic Faith it must be either (1) the man thought to be “pope” was never a true pope to begin with, or (2) the man thought to be “pope” had, at some point in the past, already fallen through heresy or apostasy from the Petrine office. Those are the logical implications as I see them. Whether these are intended by the Cardinal or not with respect to Francis, in such a hypothetical scenario as he outlined, I cannot say."

"If this a fair analysis, it may suggest the Cardinal and at least a few others in the Sacred College are actively considering one of these options to be a real possibility in the case of Pope Francis. If nothing else, it certainly is a shot across the bow of Pope Francis. It does suggest, along with other statements from the likes of Cardinal Brandmuller, that some in the “resistance” are reaching the point where they can bend no more. So, after so many years, we may be reaching a decisive moment."

Moreover, in the recent post at the Monitor,  O'Reilly not only admitted "[t]here are tons of problems with Francis, including possibly being an anti-pope. There should be an imperfect council," but treated others viewpoints "in a straightforward way, and with respect." Below is his back and forth with two Catholic Monitor readers:


Steven O'Reilly said…
There are tons of problems with Francis, including possibly being an anti-pope. There should be an imperfect council to examine many things.

That said, Dr. Mazza's and A. Socci's theses is/are not the answer -- nor any BiP theory. Regarding Dr. Mazza's thesis. The Declaratio makes clear a new conclave is to be held to elect a "new Supreme Pontiff." The Latin is the same in Universi Dominici Gregis, JPII's conclave rules.

BXVI modified those rules in specific anticipation of the March 2013 conclave (cf. Normas Nonnullas, Feb 22, 2013)--so this reveals his mind on his resignation, and the papacy (e.g., what his successor *is*) only days from the effective date of his resignation (Feb 28, 2013). In Normas Nonnullas, BXVI modified UDG slightly (e.g., UDG 87), but leaving intact most of UDG, such as that the one elected is asked 'do you accept your election as SUPREME PONTIFF?' The same term in the Declaratio. Thus, BXVI in the Declaratio points us to UDG and its definition of "Supreme Pontiff."

Having made a modification to UDG 87 where this question is asked of the elected, BXVI left UDG 88 untouched. UDG 88 expressly says that upon acceptance of his election, the one elected (if already a bishop) is IMMEDIATELY **Bishop of Rome**, "true pope", etc., and thus acquires "full and supreme" authority over the Universal Church.

BXVI would not and or could not have made the changes he did and or left untouched what he did, IF he did not think his successor would BOTH be Bishop of Rome AND have "full and supreme" authority over the Universal Church. The language of his changes (i.e., Normas Nonnullas), and JPII's original text in UDG refer only to one man.

The point being, Dr. Mazza's theory, as well as Socci's, and BiP in general cannot account for Normas Nonnullas, and thus fail as theories. I lay this out in a recent series of articles on my blog (RomaLocutaEst) which critique Dr. Mazza's thesis.

Justina said…
Mr. O'Reilly, I--as someone who leans heavily BiP myself but who tries to be proactive about seeking the truth in this (as in every) matter and adjusting my opinions accordingly--want to thank you for your straightforward and evenhanded response to Dr. Mazza. In the context of a combox I can only ask about a couple small things you have asserted. Nevertheless, your clarifications would be appreciated.

1. Your argument seems to boil down to, "take things at face value, until we know any different.". Yet how will we ever know any different, unless we stop taking things at face value? In marriage cases before a tribunal, there is a presumption of validity; sacraments are, so to speak, innocent until proven guilty. The same does not hold true for offices. As Mr. Martinez has explained carefully on this blog, "a doubtful Pope is no Pope.". If we know there are reasons to believe UDG has been violated (NN notwithstanding), then intellectual honesty obliges us to consider Bergoglio a cardinal only, until competent ecclesial authority says otherwise.

2. Your comments about Ratzinger not returning to the private sphere strike me the same way Dr. Mazza's "Supreme Pontiff" distinctions strike you--as "much ado about nothing.". If all Joseph Ratzinger meant was that he never gets to live in personal obscurity any more, this wouldn't account for the oft-rehashed anomalies of wearing white, residing in the Vatican, etc. In fact your interpretation is counterfactual, inasmuch as BXVI is now a far more "private" person--cut off from interviewers, friends, ability to move about freely--than he would have been had he returned to his former way of life as other resigned popes have done and as you say is all he ever meant to do. If the BiP position has some flies in its ointment, the "Pope Emeritus" problem remains one in yours.

Please continue commenting here and elsewhere, as well as posting important information on your own blog. For my part I strongly disagree with the ad hominem remarks directed towards you by Brother Bugnolo. Still, I believe your own analysis stops short in several ways, and I for one would like to hear how you wrestle with this issue all the way through.

In Their Hearts said…
Concerning Benedict's resignation let's set the record straight:

1. We are not at the time of the antichrist! Why? Precisely because with the Consecration and conversion of Russia, the world will experience "an era of peace," promised by Our Lady at Fatima.

2. Revelations and prophecies in Sacred Scripture are NOT always given chronologically, at least in a clear fashion. All one has to do is read the Commentary of St. Thomas on 2 Thess. 2. There St. Thomas divides the two events mentioned by St. Paul, the Mystery of Iniquity, i.e., the "revolt" or as it is sometimes translated the "falling away," and the coming of the antichrist, the man of sin, the son of perdition with a space of time between them--most likely the period of peace promised by Our Lady.

3. Benedict chooses his words very carefully, but HE DID NOT choose the future tense to say that "the See WILL be vacant." He used the subjunctive which has specific uses but basically it represents not a fact but an idea. It was not a mistake, nor was he hiding anything; he was testing the Cardinals for their knowledge of Latin! Although I give a technical explanation with the translation in my Treatise what Benedict ultimately says is that "a conclave is needing to be called PROVIDED the see is vacant. No one has shown where this is wrong--they can't because I very carefully document what I say. Hence IN NO WAY can it be said that Benedict was splitting the Petrine Office from the Roman See, PRECISELY AND ESPECIALLY SINCE HE WAS DETERMINED TO REMAIN IN THE VATICAN!!!

4. Benedict publicly stated that his renunciation was made freely and was valid. For any attempt to say that he made an error one HAS AN OBLIGATION TO SHOW EITHER THAT BENEDICT WAS STUPID OR THAT HE INTENDED TO LIE; or as the rage in some quarters has it, Benedict intentionally "pulled the wool over the eyes" of those dressed in sheep's clothing. But this must be proved as well!!!

5. Benedict demonstrated that it is the Pope, to whom St. Paul was referring, who was holding back the mystery of iniquity which was active from the time of St. Paul, so when Benedict “stepped aside," he did so “that he may be revealed in his time.” Benedict was in a way “taken out of the way,” but he did it in a way that preserved the Indefectibility of the Church, by remaining the true Pope whereby the enemy of the Church was only a figurehead," or if you will is an anti-Pope." The Church had been filled with apostates to the extent that NO POPE could expose of get rid of them, not even if he were regarded as a most saintly Pope. They had to be allowed to expose themselves.

Steven O'Reilly said…

Thanks for your comments. Regarding your two major points:

1. I do believe we have to accept Bergoglio as the presumptive pope, but at the same time be cognizant of errors. I don't believe my argument boils down to "take things at face value, until we know any different." I haven't sat by and simply watched. On my blog I've explored and discussed various theories which I would like an imperfect council to explore, including what Bergoglio's Jesuit vows meant for his ability to *accept* his election; whether Bergoglio is a heretic *before* the conclave, whether Bergoglio is a formal/material heretic as pope, and various potential UDG violations. For example, my articles on the "Influential italian gentleman", whose identity I hypothesize in the articles and wherein spell out the potential UDG violation. But, even while we pursue avenues of investigation, we must recognize the limits of the evidence to make or reach 'dogmatic' conclusions, such as "Benedict *is* still pope" as some do. There may yet be some theory to explain "Francis"...but I am convinced it will not be BiP for the reasons presented on my blog.

2. As to flies in the BiP ointment...there are many. Are there any in the anti-BiP argument? I don't believe so. I have long admitted that Benedict should have gone off into some remote monastery never to be seen nor heard from again. His style of dress, and address, etc., are certainly unfortunate. But, ultimately, they are all just ornaments of a resigned pope. He could dress like a cowboy...but it wouldn't make him one. Put lipstick on a's still a pig. He is an ex-pope, "former pope", in fact, by his own explicit admission. Even the title "emeritus" signifies he is NOT what he was, i.e., he is no longer "the pope". I have my theory as to why he chose these things, but it is speculative.

Now even if we admit, arguendo, things that Ganswein, or even Benedict said, *might* be construed in a BiP way, what BiP-ers fail to admit or see the possibility of, is that these statements can also be construed in a natural, simpler, and non-controversial way as well...a way that does not make Benedict a heretic, or someone who changed the nature of the papacy without first warning us it was possible(!) (e.g., see my points on Ganswein, and the BXVI's last audience in my rebuttal of Dr. Mazza's thesis).



In Their Hearts said…
Dear Mr. O'Reilly,

Why do you ignore my comment about the use of the Latin Subjunctive, given just above your response to Justina? Along with the use of the Subjunctive "vacet" in Benedict's text, there is also the unprecedented postponement (to 28 Fecruary 2013 @ 8:00 p.m. Rome time) of his resignation beyond the announcement date for his so-called "resignation" from the Papacy (11 Fecruary 2013). I suggested that you read Antonio Socci's book, "The Secret of Benedict, Is He Still Pope?" wherein he brings out this very anomaly regarding the nature of certain special "Juridic Acts." In his treatment of the anomaly, Socci shows how certain "Juridic Acts" demand that they be done through the speaking or reading of the intention of the parties involved. The effective date of those special "Acts," peculiar to the cases of Marriage and Resignation from an important Office, which are ratified by God Himself, is the very date upon which the words of "Act" are spoken.

Since it is God who ratifies the marriage vows, recited by the Bride and Groom, which are indissoluble, it is He Who also ratifies the "Act" of "acceptance" of the one elected by the Cardinals to be the Pope. Now although the Papal Office does not consist of an indissoluble bond or commitment, it is God only Who is able to terminate those bonds--by the death of one of the marriage partners or by a resignation by Pope. But God is not going allow the Pope who resigns to determine on his own a date beyond the actual date of resignation; for God, Who ratifies the "acceptance" of the Pope elect, will only release a resigning Pope from the Office when he utters his resignation. As was stated this is an unprecedented situation, but the very capable Canonist whom Socci had consulted did say that to set a date or a condition would invalidate any resignation from the Petrine Office. The problem, however, is that Benedict DID NOT RESIGN FORM THE OFFICE, AND HENCE THE PROPER AUTHORITIES OF THE CHURCH MUST SERIOUSLY LOOK INTO THE MATTER. But, since he did not resign from the Office, it could be said that God is not involved in that resignation as it was stated by Benedict.

I ask you, Mr. O"Reilly, to be attentive to the real nature of the situation and address those matters that have an actual impact upon upon Benedict's renunciation.

Justina said…
Mr. O'Reilly, one thing I truly appreciate is that you have treated my viewpoint as I have observed you treating the viewpoints of others--in a straightforward way, and with respect.

(I still disagree with you, however, here and there.)

In Their Hearts said…
Having searched the internet, I have found no one who espouses the same arguments as I do; in other words, as far as I can tell, I am the only one who claims that Benedict’s renunciation is valid. I am convinced as well that such is the truth, because Benedict himself claims that his renunciation was free and valid and he certainly is not a liar. Furthermore, my thesis has never been assailed or refuted. It has only been silenced.
Now, according to my Philosophy professors from Laval University, a common good is something that can be shared by many without being diminished. God is TRUTH Itself, and truth is one of the objects of the intellect along with the other transcendentals ( God, being Truth Itself, therefore, is the only being who has an absolute claim on truth, but it is truth in the human mind that makes man free. Hence, every person has a right to truth, when it is morally capable of being common, especially it concerns spiritual matters, such as salvation, the teaching of the Church, etc. Only the Truth is that which can guide one through the quagmire of which the Church is full today--"forewarned is forearmed."

But In Their Heart's thesis, not having ever been declared to be in error and therefore contains the truth of the matter of Benedict’s renunciation, is treated as if it doesn’t exist, or is something that cannot be shared even though what is argued deals with a common good. This is truly a sin against truth, as well as against God, Who is Truth Itself, is it not?

I ask anyone's candid response to this question, and also an explanation why it is that the truth I put forth does not see the light of day. Is it not a mortal sin to withhold from others or prevent Truth be given to others when it is necessary for making the proper decisions in the most difficult times?

Steven O'Reilly said…
Two hearts,

Thanks for your comments. I was not ignoring you. Justina had commented first, and I was otherwise engaged for the remainder of the day. That wasn't clear to me that all your points were even in response to me. But, regarding them:

Points 1 and 2: They don't appear relevant to anything I've said re BiP. If I am missing something on that score, please clarify.

Point 3: I am not a Latinist in any sense of the word. But, I would make three points. First, another BiP theorist, Br. Bugnolo, has a translation that differs from yours--as I understand it. I tend to use his in my responses to various BiP theories, since that is the general reading BiPers seems to accept (at least the "standard theory" of BiP).

In making my second point, I'd stress again I am not a latinist is any sense of the word. That said, common sense suggests to me your translation is off. That is, if you must go to the lengths of writing an explanation in a treatise to demonstrate your translation; that very fact in itself seems almost a proof your rendering must NOT be -- at a minimum -- the plain, obvious reading of the text.

Third, it doesn't make sense for BXVI to go through the trouble of the Declaratio, and saying a conclave should be called only "provided" that the See is empty. Of course it was going to be vacant as Feb 28, 2013, 20:00 hours, Rome time...that was the ultimate point of the document. All of his actions demonstrate he intended the reality of the matter, e.g., see Normas Nonnnullas. I refer you to my replies to Dr. Mazza's thesis on the question of the Declaratio, Normas Nonnullas, the last audience, and Ganswein.

Regarding Point 4...I think we're in agreement on that. I've made that point as well. If one says BXVI did not resign freely, one must defend calling BXVI a liar. But, I'd add, one must call him a liar as well if one says he did not resign, e.g., he calls himself a "former pope" in a letter to Cardinal Brandmuller.

Regarding Point 5...I disagree with your thesis as outlined. I've argued on my blog ( -- see the "Summa Contra BiP" -- that BXVI fully renounced the papacy. He retains nothing of the office or ministry. Therefore, all BiP theories are erroneous. To suggest he still has some authority...or full authority, etc; but still allowed Bergoglio to be among us is to call BXVI worse than a liar. It would be monstrous if this were part of some complicated ploy on BXVI's part. I must reject your thesis.

As to your theory being unique; it seems there are as many as 4-6 unique BiP theories. But, Socci seems to believe he kinda resigned and kinda didn't. No? Dr. Mazza believes BXVI successfully resigned part of the papacy, e.g., the "bishop of Rome" part.

Thanks for the discussion.



Steven O'Reilly said…


thank you! And thank you for your points and the respectful discussion, as well.

God bless,


Steven O'Reilly said…

Two Hearts,

A quick follow up on setting conditions on the resignation. I've heard it before, and recently read it again...but I forget where at the moment...that St. Pius XII had submitted some sort of pre-resignation that would be effective if he were ever taken from Rome by the Germans during WWII. Again, I might be mistaken, but I believe I had heard that JPII also had some sort of resignation that would be effective should he be incapacitated. Hearing this, it wouldn't surprise me if more of the modern popes at least had had such a document.

As to one canonist's opinion, while certainly of interest, I am sure others would differ -- and I would suspect the consensus would be against him. Certainly, it seems to me at least to be a matter of common sense that a 'resignation if condition applies' document would be of benefit to the Church.


Pray an Our Father now for the restoration of the Mass and the Church as well as for the Triumph of the Kingdom of the Sacred Heart of the Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of the Mary.


In Their Hearts said…
Dear Mr. O'Reilly,

Regarding your comments on my five point comment above you reply: "Points 1 and 2: They don't appear relevant to anything I've said re BiP. If I am missing something on that score, please clarify." Although you may consider those first two points dealing with the nature and circumstances surrounding Benedict's resignation, you indeed did not include them in your BiP arguments, but that was the precise reason why I was addressing these two points to you. Perhaps you don't consider that events, circumstances, conditions in the Church among many other matters as important, I don't know. However, I do consider them important and that they ought to be brought into any consideration on what is going on in the Church today.

Regarding your comment on not knowing Latin, one ought to know some Latin in treating of such a momentous act as Benedict's renunciation. That being said I must disagree with Br. Alexis' translation: “so that on February 28, 2013, at 20:00 Roman Time [Sedes Romae], the see of Saint Peter be vacant.” This translation in no way reflects the Subjunctive; on the contrary it is a very clever way to use the Present Future Indicative, which states a fact as opposed to stating an idea, a possibility, etc. which the Subjunctive does--in which case the translation should have been "may be vacant". The reason Brother uses provides an Indicative translation is so that he can say that Benedict made a mistake and hence the resignation is invalid. I'm sorry, but I cannot agree either that Benedict made a mistake or that he was intentionally trying to say the wrong thing, which would indeed be lying; it certainly wouldn't be a so-called mental reservation since that sentence as Brother translates it can only be understood in ONE WAY. Secondly, Benedict uses “ita ut”, not “ut” alone, which according to the Latin dictionaries means “in such a way,” to such an extent,” “on condition that,” “only insofar as.”

As for going to lengths to explain the translation I gave to that long sentence by Benedict where he declares his intention to resign from the “ministry” is because most people don't know Latin and I felt that every possible use of that construction ought to be set out. Furthermore, it is in no way a refutation as such of my translation in saying that it is so lengthy.

Concerning the comment “Third, it doesn't make sense for BXVI to go through the trouble of the Declaratio, and saying a conclave should be called only "provided" that the See is empty. Of course it was going to be vacant as Feb 28, 2013, 20:00 hours, Rome time...that was the ultimate point of the document.” it must be stressed that given the word Benedict used here, namely “ministry,” he DID NOT RESIGN FROM THE OFFICE. In the history of Canon Law, until Vatican Council II, the only words used to refer to the Petrine Office were “Papatus” and “Munus.” And even Br. Alexis shows that there is a difference in meaning between “Munus” and “ministerium.” Hence, since Benedict is NOT resigning from the Petrine Office he could use a time limit, precisely because, as I mentioned in an earlier comment, it is not legitimate to use time limits and conditions in “Juridical acts” concerning such important matters as the Papal Office or Marriage.

I will comment on your last points in another commentary.
In Their Hearts said…
Dear Mr. O'Reilly,

In the whole of your Summa Contra the BiP Theory there is an implicit denial of a basic Philosophical principle: "Actio sequitur esse" (Action follows being). The FACT that Benedict wears the white Soutane, calls himself His Holiness Pope Benedict, intentionally lives within the Vatican, has the Prefect of the Papal Household as his Secretary, wears a Papal Ring (from Pope Paul, I believe), among many other actions and events, one cannot really honestly state what you do state: "Of course it was going to be vacant as Feb 28, 2013, 20:00 hours, Rome time...that was the ultimate point of the document. All of his actions demonstrate he intended the reality of the matter, e.g., see Normas Nonnnullas."

Furthermore, if you hold that his resignation was valid, but also admit that he established a date separate from the date of his actual declaration of resignation, you are pitting yourself against a renowned Canonist whom Antonio had consulted concerning that later date of 28 February 2013 as the effective date for his resignation. In his book "The Secret of Benedict XVI, Is He Still the Pope?" Socci quotes Francisco Patruno as indicating that Benedict's resignation would be invalid given that did set a later date. And since his resignation was invalid HE WOULD STILL BE POPE. You are going to have to be more consistent in your arguments if you are going to have any credibility.

It is true that Benedict, in his letter to Cardinal Brandmuller: "I can very well understand the deep-seated pain that the end of my papacy has inflicted on you and many others." I do not read German, however, it is certain that Benedict is not going to tell the good Cardinal that is actually still Pope in a letter whose contents could easily become public.

Yes, you are correct in saying: "But, Socci seems to believe he kinda resigned and kinda didn't. No?" He even suggests that Benedict resigned from all exercise of the three Powers of Office, but goes no further. In my Treatise, I do say the same thing, however, I maintain that it would not be right to "step aside" from all exercise and then rest on one's laurels. this is because an office (MUNUS) means or connotes a DUTY; one must in some way, in order to hold the office has an obligation to exercise his power in some way.

But, Archbishop Ganswein provides the answer in his speech on 20 May 2016 at the Gregorian University. He says early in his talk there is ONLY ONE POPE, and then says in paragraph 18 of that speech: "He has left the Pontifical Throne and yet, with the step of 11 February 2013, has not absolutely abandoned this ministry. He has instead integrated/supplied the personal office with a collegial and synodal dimension, as if a ministry in common, as if with this he had wanted to validate once again the invitation contained in that motto which the then Joseph Ratzinger took for himself as Archbishop of Munich and Freising and which later on he naturally maintained as Bishop of Rome: 'cooperatores veritatis', which signifies precisely 'cooperators of truth.'” I explain that after resigning from the regular exercise of the three Powers of the Petrine Office, the Powers of Governance, of Teaching and of Order, he established a sort of "Curia" with two members; as Abp. says, there is an active member and a contemplative member. This does not signify any splitting of the Papacy; notice that Ganswein doesn't say "two Popes," but "two MEMBERS." Simply put, Benedict is the contemplative member and Ganswerin is the active member, and they exercise the Power of Order in a special way, mainly by undertaking the requests of Our Lady of Prayer and Sacrifice. In this way Benedict carries out that which the Papacy is all about, namely the spiritual end for which Christ established the Church.
Steven O'Reilly said…

Two Hearts,

Thanks again for your comments.

Again, regarding your original points 1 and 2, I certainly don't believe "that events, circumstances, conditions in the Church" are not important. Of course, I consider them important. I am just not sure what you want me to address in reference to them and in specific regard to the question at hand: BiP. I certainly do not believe the points you make in 1 or 2 make your thesis more or less probable.

Regarding not knowing Latin. Yes, of course, it would be best if we all knew Latin. That is ideal. However, I do not believe lack of latin knowledge or of any other language is an insurmountable obstacle to entering the debate, or having and expressing an opinion. One looks for and finds translations to work with--in any field of study, as necessary. If you are not a full blown scholar of Greek, it should not be an absolute barrier to prevent one from discussing scripture. Certainly you cannot mean to say only Latinists can debate BiP. Obviously, one looks for translations to work with.

Given Br. Bugnolo has published a portion of his translation of the Declaratio and it is the only translation I am aware of that BiP theorists seem to accept, it makes sense for me to use it on that basis. I said that before. Now, you say above the "The reason Brother uses provides an Indicative translation is so that he can say that Benedict made a mistake and hence the resignation is invalid." Perhaps you are not suggesting the contrary, but I fully accept that the reason Brother has translated it the way he has, is that it is the translation he fully believes is the most accurate. Whether it is the most accurate for other Latin scholars I have no clue--I am not a latinist, but perhaps the two of you might debate the question, citing other current Latin scholars as well.

Now, my point on your treatise's discussion of the Latin was not intended to say because it is lengthy it is not true. Rather, I was making the point that to me, as a matter of common sense, your rendering must not be plain and obvious if it requires a treatise, which is not to say I therefore meant it was not true. Clearly, something might be neither plain nor obvious, but still be true. But, consider, if your rendering was the plain and obvious translation, certainly Br. Bugnolo and others would have reached the same conclusions as you. But he hasn't, and "they" haven't. Also, I've been rereading Socci recently, and I don't recall him appealing to a translation similar to yours on this point. I assume some of the canonists he interviewed would have raised this specific translation issue if there was a dispute, and he would have raised it in his book if he thought it helped his argument. I don't recall him doing that. If I am wrong on that score, please point out where Socci discusses it, as I'd be interested in seeing it.

Finally as to the munus vs. ministerium question, I've addressed this question on my blog (, either in my series of rebuttals of Dr. Mazza's thesis or of BiP in general ("Summa Contra BiP").



Aqua said…
In my (extensive) past communications with Steven O’Reilly, I have concluded there is no evidence that will ever convince him that Pope Bergoglio’s Papacy is invalid. You can present a veritable Everest of evidence, and ultimately he will consign it to the trash bin ... awaiting an “Imperfect Council”.

And so, for all the words and pretenses at debate and consideration and beard stroking ... ultimately it cannot be known, for him, until an Imperfect Council is called and decided. And absent that Council, Pope Bergóglio is our Pope and must be obeyed as such. Sad. Tears and woe. Submit to all the heresy and do the best you can, sob.

That is bad advice, as far as I’m concerned. There is solid, quantifiable evidence that the resignation that led to this disaster was in substantial error. Anyone can read the resignation text and the app,if able Canon Law. Just as anyone can witness a murder, read the applicable law and privately judge a crime, awaiting formal judgement.

The Apostles, especially St. Paul, called us to think and judge for ourselves any teaching that diverged from Sacred Tradition. I see no evidence we are called to accept official error, until an Imperfect Council corrects the error one day for our Great Grandchildren (too bad for us as we go to judgement). But that is precisely what Steven O’Reilly advises.

That doesn’t work for me. And I think his pretension to debate in good faith, when in reality he won’t accept any Catholic’s judgement below the level of Bishop called to vote in formal Council is dishonest.
In Their Hearts said…
Dear Mr. O'Reilly

From this quote from Part 1 of your Response to Dr. Mazza: "Reading this canon, BiP-ers observe that while canon 332.2 speaks of resigning the “munus”; Benedict specifically only renounces the “ministero.” This, they conclude, means that Benedict thought he could either (1) separate the ministry/ministero from the office/munus . . .," you apparently hold that the Petrine Office and the exercise of it are one. This is not true! We must consider that the Munus Petrinum was established by Christ with three Powers: The Power of Governance, the Power of Teaching (Magisterium), which together make up the Power of Jurisdiction, as well as the Power of Order. These constitute the essence of the Petrine Office. Now, it is obvious that the Pope does not exercise the three Powers at once, nor does he exercise any Power continually!

In other words, if we consider the power of sight, we know that one doesn't always have to be "seeing." i.e. exercising that power. If he is sleeping, if he closes his eyes, if he needs strong glasses, it doesn't mean that the Power is gone. If we take the last example, we could say that the power is damaged, but the power is still there. Hence, it cannot be said that the use (exercise) of the eye is in fact the power. If a house is wired so that electric "power" can run the lights in every room. Just because one or the other of the lights are not "on" it doesn't mean that the power doesn't exist. The power is at the switch but the switch may not be turned on. I think you get the idea. Power and the exercise of it are distinct. There is also a philosophical explanation, but there's no need to go int it here.

But lets take a couple Popes in the History of the Church. Pope Caius lived at the time of the persecutions of the Church and at one point had to go into hiding. While in hiding, he was not able to exercise his power of Governance or his power of teaching. He could, however, exercise his power of Order, in a limited way. The same goes for Pope Gregory VII who went into exile toward the end of his life and for Pope Pius VII who was in captive by Napoleon. These latter two were not able to exercise their powers of Jurisdiction, though they could still to a certain extent exercise the Power of Order. Does this mean that they were no longer Pope? No, nowhere will one find that they were no longer considered Pope.

What Benedict did was to excuse himself from the normal "exercise" of the Three Powers by his Renunciation Declaration, but, but then he placed himself, canonically, in a position
analogical position of the three Popes just mentioned as I explained in one of my above comments--creating a type of Curia with Benedict as the contemplative member and Abp. as the active member.

God bless and Our protect you always
Steven O'Reilly said…

Two Hearts,

Thanks for your comments. On the munus and ministerium question, you are reading into my statement, and incorrectly so--I do not believe the office and the exercise of it are the same thing. I suggest you read my 3-part rebuttal (and addendum) of Dr. Mazza's thesis if you are interested in my position. The quote you selected is a restatement of the position of certain BiPers. The question was not whether the two things are distinct or not, but whether one is separable from the other, i.e., whether one could really resign the ministry only while keeping the munus. Some BiPers seem to say "yes" (e.g., Socci seems to think this) while others seem to say "no" -- and, in the latter case, this constitutes a "substantial error" on Benedict's part, making his resignation invalid.

Another example from earlier, Dr. Mazza argues via his theory (a BiP variant) that Benedict separated the "ministry of the Bishop of Rome" from the Petrine munus. Thus, he believes as I understand him, Benedict in his act of renunciation renounced ONLY being the Bishop of Rome while maintaining for himself the Petrine primacy. Thus, Dr. Mazza believes that although Francis really is the Bishop of Rome, he not hold the Petrine Primacy.

In my rebuttal of Dr. Mazza, I granted, arguendo, his premise that such a separation was possible. However, my personal view is such a separation is impossible, i.e., my view is that the Petrine primacy in Rome is Divinely willed. Furthermore, I would also reject that Benedict could truly resign only the "active ministry" while keeping some sort of "contemplative ministry" of the Petrine ministry for himself. I reject that it is possible. I reject that is what he either actually did, or attempted to do. Thus, I must reject your thesis as well.

Anyway, I will not argue the case all over again in detail here...that's why I have a blog of my own. :-) You are welcome to read what I believe and argue there in detail, and comment to your heart's content, as is anyone else for that matter. I am generally pretty good about responding to everyone, though I cannot guarantee you'll like my answers any better there.

God bless,

In Their Hearts said…
Dear Mr. O'Reilly,

OK so you do maintain that the Office and the "exercise" of the Office are distinct, since you say that "I do not believe the office and the exercise of it are the same thing." However, you question "whether one could really resign the ministry only while keeping the munus." But since they are in fact distinct, it cannot be denied that it is possible that they can be separated. The real question is whether it is proper to do so. In one of my comments above I indicated that it would be improper to do so, but please listen to a Canonist. Socci, in his latest book on Benedict states: The canonical literature is unanimous. Luigi Chiappetta writes that 'the Roman Pontiff freely accepts his office, and he can freely renounce it, presuming for liceity (through a moral, non-juridical impetus) a just and proprotionate reason." A serious reason is generally considered to be a loss of mental faculties; otherwise, while it would be a valid resignation, it would be a morally deplorable act. The canonist Carlo Fantappie also confirms that the renunciation of the papacy can happen only 'in truly exceptional cases and for the superior good of the Church.' This is 'the condition for renouncing the office [of pope] without falling into a grave fault before God." This should be sufficient to dispel any doubt you have about "resign[ing] the ministry only while keeping the munus."

Furthermore, the three instances, mentioned in an earlier comment, when previous Popes were forced through circumstances of hiding, exile or captivity which made it impossible to for them to exercise the Powers of Teaching and Governing, though they could exercise the Power of Order to a certain extent, they were still considered Pope, and without any moral guilt from the non-exercise of the Jurisdictional Powers.

For Benedict while he was active, there is no question that he was being forced by the "deep state" in the Church, over which he had NO CONTROL, to do what he knew was wrong and being prevented from doing what he knew should be done. Thus he said at his last General Audience on 27 Feb. 2013: "I have asked God insistently in prayer to grant me his light and to help me make the right decision, not for my own good, but for the good of the Church. I have taken this step with full awareness of its gravity and even its novelty, but with profound interior serenity. Loving the Church means also having the courage to make difficult, painful decisions, always looking to the good of the Church and not of oneself."

Nevertheless, having renounced the usual exercise all three Powers in his Declaration, he did not allow himself to be without some exercise of his Power of Order. Further on in the Audience he says: I no longer bear [the Italian verb "porto" can also mean 'carry out'] the power of office for the governance of the Church, but in the service of prayer I remain, so to speak, in the enclosure of Saint Peter." And as mentioned in a comment farther up, he set up a kind of Curia with himself as the contemplative member and Abp. Gainswein as the active member, precisely in order be able to exercise the Power of Order. To do this, I maintain that with the great power a Pope posses, it was to epieikeia that Benedict had recourse. In his "Canon Law" textbook Cicognani defines epieikeia as "The benign application of the law according to what is good and equitable, which decides that the lawgiver does not intend that, because of exceptional circumstances, some particular case be included under his general law." Benedict therefore had the right and duty to establish a means if exercising, to a certain extent, the Power of Order.

In Their Hearts said…
Dear Aqua,

Benedict is NOT POPE by default, rather his renunciation is absolutely valid! I maintain that Benedict made no substantial error and have given the proof earlier in this blog and in the previous one: "Steven O'Reilly: 'Tons of Problems with Francis, including Possibly being an Anti-pope. There should be an Imperfect Council'"

Please read the comments from both blogs and present any objections you may have. Benedict is one of the most brilliant minds of our times, an academic, a Professor, Prefect of the CDF and Pope. I think it a bit rash to judge that he would make a mistake, and whoever claims so must prove it. Besides, he himself stated that he was free and that his renunciation was VALID. I hereby challenge you to refute what I have said.

God bless.

Aqua said…
@ InTheirHearts: Funny you would phrase your objection that way. Actually, Pope Benedict XVI IS Pope, by default ... until he validly and completely resigns his Office (Munus, in the Latin).

This he did not do. Go read his LATIN original resignation (not the translations); the one that counts is Latin. He resigned his Ministerium. He specifically retained his Munus, Office of Pope.

Now, Steve and many others contend that’s good enough. Ministry, Office, whatever.

Steve and many others contend it doesn’t matter that Pope Benedict retained his Title, Ring, attire, Vatican residence, and bestows Apostolic blessings on new Cardinals. There has never been an Emeritus Pope within the entire history of the Church. Senile old man. Confused. Needed a place to stay, so, he chose the Vatican ... whatever.

King Edward VIII abdicated his royal Throne in 1936. He was banished, as all prior abdicated Popes were similarly banished, into exile - never to return to England. King Emeritus Edward VIII? No. Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor - *his prior state*. Did he continue to advise and wear the crown, signet ring and royal robes? Did he walk the halls the castle? No. Edward moved to France and America and lived on a pension for he rest of his days. THAT is an abdication. And then ... King George VI reigned IN.HIS.PLACE.

Read Canons 331, 332, 333, but especially 332 § 1,2.

It refers, most powerfully and succinctly to Munus, Office.

Ministerium is what he DOES.

Munus is WHO HE IS.

And Pope Benedict XVI still occupies the Papal Munus. “By default” ... he remains Pope. And there can be but one, by direct commandments of God.

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