Why are the Catholic Experts like Edward Peters & LifeSiteNews Afraid to Debate Dr. Mazza, Barnhardt & Br. Bugnolo on "the Fact is that Munus and Ministerium Do Not Mean the Same Thing"?
On Tuesday, the great (Fr.Z) summarized some important points made by Catholic scholar Dr. Ed Mazza and Ann Barnhardt on the Pope Benedict XVI resignation:
Let’s play the mind exercise out a little more and hack through some of the issues which I have heard raised by, for example, Ann Barnhardt, who is without question of the mind that Benedict is still Pope and Francis is a usurper antipope. Along with Ann is a smart fellow with well-articulated arguments, Edward Mazza.
I’ll try to spin out what they have been discussing. I hope I don’t put my foot wrong and mischaracterize their positions. I’m happy to be corrected.
It seems that… in their view…
Benedict did NOT legitimately resign, because the language he used at the time he announced his resignation is confused. The confused language suggests that Benedict intended to resign the active dimension of his role, his ministerium (for example, doing stuff as Bishop of Rome and doing stuff as Pope to the larger world). However, he did not intend to resign his munus as Vicar of Christ. Much turns on the technical term munus.
The fact is that munus and ministerium do not mean the same thing, though they are often bound together. For example, one carries out a certain ministry in the Church because he holds an office, a munus. Canon law says that the Pope has to resign the munus.
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. … If it should come to pass that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is required for validity that the resignation is made freely and that it be properly manifested, but not that it is accepted by anyone.
But Benedict said in his resignation:
Quapropter bene conscius ponderis huius actus plena libertate declaro me ministerio Episcopi Romae, Successoris Sancti Petri, mihi per manus Cardinalium die 19 aprilis MMV commisso renuntiare ita ut a die 28 februarii MMXIII, hora 20, sedes Romae, sedes Sancti Petri vacet et Conclave ad eligendum novum Summum Pontificem ab his quibus competit convocandum esse.… For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
Words have meanings. It is not right simply to conflate munus and ministerium as if they are interchangeable. They are closely tied to each other but they are not synonyms. Not even close.
It is interesting to read the Canon that introduces the figure of the Roman Pontiff, the Pope:
Can. 331 — Ecclesiae Romanae Episcopus, in quo permanet munus a Domino singulariter Petro, primo Apostolorum, concessum et successoribus eius transmittendum, Collegii Episcoporum est caput, Vicarius Christi atque universae Ecclesiae his in terris Pastor; qui ideo vi muneris sui suprema, plena, immediata et universali in Ecclesia gaudet ordinaria potestate, quam semper libere exercere valet. … The bishop of the Roman Church, in whom persists the office given by the Lord uniquely to Peter, the first of the Apostles, and to be transmitted to his successors, is the head of the college of bishops, the Vicar of Christ, and the pastor of the universal Church on earth. By virtue of his office he possesses supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely. [https://wdtprs.com/2021/06/the-question-of-two-popes-bothers-a-lot-of-people-some-thoughts/]
Fr. Z's post reminded me of a piece I wrote last year that asked "Why are Edward Peters and LifeSiteNews afraid of a real debate with [Latin language expert] Br. Bugnolo?":
Below is an exchange between a frequent Catholic blog commenter who apparently claims to be a priest Fr. VF and a commenter with the tag Amateur Brain Surgeon (who
is supposed to have a blog) in the Catholic Monitor comment section on
lack of citation of canon law in defending ones position on if Pope
Benedict XVI's resignation is invalid or not:
Fr. VF said in response to a Amateur Brain Surgeon comment:
"I read ABS, and I see lots of name-calling. I see gratuitous assertions, but no citations from any text. And I see a great, big Straw Man. Namely, the Barnhardtists DO NOT claim to read anybody's mind. They quote the WORDS of the instrument of resignation. Again, something ABS never quotes or analyzes."
Amateur Brain Surgeon responded:
"Dear Father VF. ABS notes you cited no Canon having to do with the legitimacy of occult claims."
"Bullets Barnhardt is not an expert in Canon Lawyer. She has no education in Canon Law. She has no degree in Canon Law. She has no experience in Canon Law."
"You believe her claims about Canon Law."
"Barnhardt claims she does know the intent of the former Pope and has an absurd post (Thermonuclear something or other) claiming that what Ratzinger wrote about the beliefs of others is what he personally held as his own beliefs even though what she quoted was the word of Ratzinger about the ideas and beliefs of others."
"How can one know Ratzinger was writing about the ideas and beliefs of others and not his own ideas and beliefs ?"
"Well because he quoted the words of them and named them and then he footnoted them by name but Bullets claims their ideas and beliefs are his ideas and beliefs.”
"That is not the way to grow The Occult Cult."
"Here is the assessment of the resignation by one who has a Doctorate in Canon Law."
Unfortunately, Amateur Brain Surgeon fails to cite what Edward Peters in those posts and any other posts actually says. Since he apparently knows Peters so well maybe he will cite what he says about Canon 17 which is the part of the thesis Latin language expert Br. Alexis Bugnolo uses citing canon law from the original Latin text showing in overwhelming detail why ministerium and munus are not to be used interchangeably.
I would love for Amateur Brain Surgeon,
Peters, LifeSiteNews, Steve Skojec, Chris Ferrara or anyone to actually
argue citing canon law instead of name-calling or throwing out straw-men
Amateur Brain Surgeon is apparently using what LifeSiteNews' anonymous theologian is saying on intent which as Br. Bugnolo shows if one follows what even Peters says about Canon 17 means ministerium and munus must be used according to how canon law objectively defines them as and not by supposed subjective intentions.
Mr. Amateur Brain Surgeon if you know Peters, please get him to debate Br. Bugnolo. But, I won't hold my breath. It appears Peters and LifeSiteNews are afraid of real debate.
Why are Amateur Brain Surgeon, Peters and LifeSiteNews afraid of a real debate on Canon 17 which "requires that ministerium and munus [must] be understood as referring to two different things"?
The rest of this post is a rehash of a past post which overviews LifeSiteNews' position, a quote of Peters on Canon 17 and Br. Bugnolo's thesis showing why the LifeSiteNews anonymous theologian is wrong.
On December 6, 2019, LifeSiteNews co-founder
Stop for a moment of silence, ask Jesus Christ what He want you to do now and next. In this silence remember God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost - Three Divine Persons yet One God, has an ordered universe where you can know truth and falsehood as well as never forget that He wants you to have eternal happiness with Him as his son or daughter by grace. Make this a practice. By doing this you are doing more good than reading anything here or anywhere else on the Internet.
of the Church St. Francis de Sales totally confirmed beyond any doubt
the possibility of a heretical pope and what must be done by the Church
in such a situation:
"[T]he Pope... WHEN he is EXPLICITLY a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church, and the Church MUST either deprive him, or, as some say, declare him deprived, of his Apostolic See."
(The Catholic Controversy, by St. Francis de Sales, Pages 305-306)
Saint Robert Bellarmine, also, said "the Pope heretic is not deposed ipso facto, but must be declared deposed by the Church."
- "If Francis is a Heretic, What should Canonically happen to him?": http://www.thecatholicmonitor.com/2020/12/if-francis-is-heretic-what-should.html
- "Could Francis be a Antipope even though the Majority of Cardinals claim he is Pope?": http://www.thecatholicmonitor.com/2019/03/could-francis-be-antipope-even-though.html
- LifeSiteNews, "Confusion explodes as Pope Francis throws magisterial
weight behind communion for adulterers," December 4, 2017:
The AAS guidelines explicitly allows "sexually active adulterous couples facing 'complex circumstances' to 'access the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.'"
- On February 2018, in Rorate Caeli, Catholic theologian Dr. John Lamont:
"The AAS statement... establishes that Pope Francis in Amoris Laetitia has affirmed propositions that are heretical in the strict sense."
- On December 2, 2017, Bishop Rene Gracida:
"Francis' heterodoxy is now official. He has published his letter to the Argentina bishops in Acta Apostlica Series making those letters magisterial documents."
Pray an Our Father now for the restoration of the Church by the bishops by the grace of God.
- Intel Cryptanalyst-Mathematician on Biden Steal: "212Million Registered Voters & 66.2% Voting,140.344 M Voted...Trump got 74 M, that leaves only 66.344 M for Biden" [http://catholicmonitor.blogspot.com/2020/12/intel-cryptanalyst-mathematician-on.html?m=1]
- Will US be Venezuela?: Ex-CIA Official told Epoch Times "Chávez started to Focus on [Smartmatic] Voting Machines to Ensure Victory as early as 2003": http://catholicmonitor.blogspot.com/2020/12/will-us-be-venezuela-ex-cia-official.html