Could any Pope or the "Pastoral" Vatican II Popes have become Heretics & might Pope Benedict's apparent Vatican II Resignation be in "Substantial Error"?
- "'Let no mortal being have the audacity to reprimand a Pope on account
of faults, for he whose duty it is to judge all men cannot be judged by
anybody, unless he should be called to the task of having deviated from
the faith. (Si Papa)'"
"Pope Innocent III: 'For me the faith is so necessary that, whereas for other sins my only judge is God, for the slightest sin in the matter of the faith I could be judged by the Church.' (propter solum peccatum quod in fide commititur possem ab Ecclesia judican)" - Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) in "Si Papa" (The Remnant, "Answering a Sedevacantist Critic," March 18, 2015)
- I don’t think myself…I have to do more research. I don’t think he's [Pope Benedict is] guilty of heresy per se. As a matter of fact, what my research has uncovered is that there’s a slight possibility that he might be right, because the church has actually never come down and defined the mechanics of how you are made a bishop in the church. There’s an outside possibility that he could be right, in which case his renunciation was valid. I could send that to you to maybe put in the show notes. But the fact of the matter is he could be in just error. You know just genuine sincere error; if that’s not the way the mechanics of the church, if that’s not a correct ecclesiology. - Catholic historian Edmund Mazza- The first cause is what I have called “the spirit of Vatican I”—Vatican I, mind you. That council gave a narrow definition of papal infalllibility together with a broad description of the pope’s unique position as vicar of Christ in the visible body of the Church on earth. Tragically, instead of being accepted in its modesty and understood in continuity with the fuller understanding of the papacy’s relationship with tradition that I have summarized in this talk, the constitution Pastor Aeternus was taken by many as an endorsement of a hyperpapalism that concentrates all authority, all truth, all law, and the sum total of “Catholic identity” in the papal office and in the very person of the pope, as if it then EMANATES from him to every other authority. Although the most flamboyant ultramontanes lost at the council, their cultus of the Roman Pontiff not only survived but thrived, leading over time to the phenomenon of the superstar pope whose every word and action is transmitted instantly across the globe to a palpitating audience awaiting guidance. - Theologian Dr. Peter Kwasniewski [https://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2021/08/the-popes-boundenness-to-tradition-as.html]
- When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of EMASCULATED liars is easy to control. - Theodore Dalrymple
The renowned Catholic philosopher Edward Feser in writing about the 2019 "open letter" to Francis explained that it is possible for any pope including the Vatican II popes to be heretics:
Contrary to what some people suppose, that does not mean that Catholics cannot ever criticize a pope for prudential or even doctrinal errors. . What it means is that there is no one on earth with the authority to do anything about it if the pope ignores such criticism. Vis-à-vis the governance of the Church, his only superior is God.
Pozzo said that Dignitatis Humanae "is not about doctrine or definitive statements, but... pastoral practice." (Die Zeit, August 2016, Interview with Archbishop Guido Pozzo)
Feser gives a brief summary of the history before and after Vatican II of the teaching on this subject and the ambiguity of the document:
"That depends. In the Catholic context, the traditional teaching, vigorously and repeatedly upheld by the 19th century and pre-Vatican II 20th century popes, is that ideally Church and state ought to cooperate. Contrary to an annoyingly common misunderstanding, these popes were not teaching that non-Catholics ought to be coerced by the state into becoming Catholics. Nor were they teaching that non-Catholics should be forbidden from practicing their own religions in the privacy of their own homes, their own church buildings or synagogues, etc. Rather, the issue was whether, in a country in which the vast majority of citizens were Catholic, non-Catholics ought to be permitted to proselytize and thereby possibly lead Catholics to abandon their faith. It was not denied that there can be circumstances in which such proselytizing might be tolerated for the sake of civil order. The question was whether non-Catholics have a strict right in justice to proselytize even in a majority Catholic society. And the pre-Vatican II popes taught that they did not have such a right, and that in a Catholic country the state could in principle justly restrict such proselytizing (even if there are also cases where the state might not exercise its right to such restriction, if this would do more harm than good)."
(edwardfeser.blogspot, "Liberalism and Islam, January 7, 2016)
One knows a Vatican II document is a disaster when a defender of Dignitatis Humanae (DR) like Fr. Brian Harrison says:
"The effect DR have been much more harmful than beneficial for the Church, the world and most important, the honor due to Christ the King . . . The form in which it presents its truth is so one-sided, so poorly explained, so perilously open to unorthodox interpretation, and so infected with the spirit of liberal humanism, that its promulgation has turned out to be a cause of rejoicing for the Church's worst enemies: freemasonry and all the other forces which seek to promote the ever more total secularization of society, the ever more complete exclusion of Our Lord Jesus Christ from His rightful sovereignty over the public life of nations, and confusion and division within the Church itself." [http://www.dailycatholic.org/issue/05Dec/dec14agg.htm]
Christopher Ferrara stated why Dignitatis Humanae brought about (to quote The Catholic Monitor) the "[u]pholding Catholic teaching on paper but not in reality has led to widespread corruption... has required a culture of lies... that allowed men like McCarrick to flourish":
"There is no question that the Popes before Vatican II consistently condemned the modern notion of "religious liberty"-----i.e., that everyone in society must have the right, both privately and publicly, to practice, preach and otherwise manifest the doctrines of the religion of his choice, even if that religion is filled with error and immorality. That such a "right" attacks both public morality and the very foundation of Catholic social order (where it exists) hardly needs to be proved. There cannot, obviously, be any "right" as such publicly to deny the Divinity of Christ or to preach in favor of contraception, abortion, divorce[, homosexuality] and other evils. No one has the right to do or to say what is wrong. A right to commit wrong is utter nonsense. Stated negatively, a right not to be prevented by the State from committing wrong is equally nonsensical. The State might for prudential reasons, as St. Thomas observed, tolerate certain public errors and vices, but there is no question of any right to be tolerated in spreading them." [http://www.dailycatholic.org/issue/05Dec/dec14agg.htm and https://www.thecatholicmonitor.com/2021/06/vigano-vatican-iis-dignitatis-humanae.html]
He basically says whoever accepts the Petrine Ministry, it’s a forever, it’s an always. So how do we understand that? So I did a deep dive into how does he understand munus. And what I discovered is that Vatican II, surprise, surprise, introduced a new wrinkle into how we understand priesthood, episcopacy and even the papacy. So let me give you a brief quote from Vatican II... Gaudiaum et spes...
... It goes like this “Without higherarchical communion the sacramental ontological munus, which ought to be distinguished from the canonical juridical aspect, cannot be exercised”. Now let me break that down for the average person in the pew. In other words, what Vatican II is saying is that when you are consecrated a bishop you are given a sacramental, which means that you can never get rid of it, ontological meaning it’s transcendent, munus. What does munus mean here? It means a gift that allows service.
How’s the best way of expressing this? Vatican II talks about this in Gaudiaum et spes: Christ has three munira. To teach, to sanctify and to govern. The priests and bishops, and for that matter, the pope, what do they do? They teach, they sanctify and they govern and these are the three munira or the munis’...
... That is distinguished from the canonical, canon law, juridical law aspect. It’s like this. Traditionally the church has understood that there is something called potestas ordinis, which is the sacred power to teach to govern and sanctify; that a priest or a bishop gets when they are ordained or consecrated. That is directly from God. You never lose it, but because you can lose it. Like you said a priest who gets de-frocked, or a pope who resigns. Like Pope Celestine, back in the Middle Ages, they would no longer have their munus, their office.
So there must be something, another aspect to the munus besides the sacramental ontological, or you would never lose it, if you follow what I mean. There are also theologians that tell us, Thomas Aquinas, Bellarmine and Vatican I, they tell us that there is also the canonical juridical aspect. So in other words a bishop becomes the Bishop of Los Angeles, New York, or wherever, Paris. That is a grant of authority given to him by the Pope, by the church, which is separate from the munus that was given to him when he was consecrated a bishop, and somehow the two work together.
Vatican II says that without hierarchical communion, without being in union with the pope and the Catholic bishops, the sacramental ontological munus or the potestas ordinis, which is distinguished from the canonical juridical aspect, which we were just talking about, it cannot be exercised. At consecration you’re given the gift, the munus, to teach, to sanctify and to govern, but you’re not allowed to exercise that unless you’re in hierarchical communion, unless the pope has given you a canonical juridical office. You know, Bishop of San Diego or whatever...
... Through my research what I’ve discovered is that Joseph Ratzinger, the darling of the parity of Vatican II, and of the post-Vatican II church, he is on record on multiple occasions as saying that what really counts is your sacramental, ontological munus, and not the canonical juridical office, if you will. Let me explain why this is important. The devil’s in the details, so to speak...
... Canon law, as it is generally understood is pretty simple. It says Canon 332 part 2, says “If it happens that the Roman Pontiff renounces his office… “In the original Latin, of the 1983 code of Canon law, the word is munus. If it happens that the Roman Pontiff renounces his munus, it is required for validity that the renunciation is made freely, and be properly manifested.” You know, which is why he gave a declartio on February 11th 2013, but not that it be accepted by anyone at all. It’s not like the pope has to turn in his resignation to a superior. He has no superior. The key thing here is, again he has to renounce his munus, his office. But, now we get back to the sacramental ontological munus versus the canonical juridical munus, if you will. Let me introduce a quote from Joseph Ratzinger from Principles of Catholic theology from 1987, available from Ignatius press. Basically he says, “I disagree with those who teach that “The papacy is not a sacrament that it is only a juridical institution, but this juridical institution has set itself above the sacramental order.”
Let me unpack that. Razinger is arguing that what’s important foremost is the sacramental ontological munus not the “office” that perhaps comes and goes. Obviously, Benedict ruffled a number of feathers with his renunciation and his taking on the office of Pope Emeritus, right? For example, Cardinal Walter Brandmuller, one of the dubia fathers, was very upset. Roberto De Matei, Dr. Matei was upset and Dr. Matei went on record saying, “look there is no such thing as a sacramental papacy. It is only a juridical institution.” Yet we have this quote. And, why is that? You could never lose it if it was sacramental, but you can lose it if it is just a juridical office...
... What does Joseph Ratzinger say? He says, “No, no, no. “I disagree with those people who say the papacy is not a sacrament, that it’s only a juridical institution. That juridical institution has set itself above the sacramental order.” Now here is another quote from Ratzinger right after the counsel. This is from his book Theological highlights of Vatican II, Published 1966 by Paulist Press.
Again another money line. “The ministry of the bishop, meaning munus in Latin is not an externally assigned administrative power, but rather, is itself sacramentally-based. The ruling of the church and its spiritual mystery are inseparable.”
Now here’s another interesting quote, I’ll try to weave this in. The very month, February 2013, when Pope Benedict makes this renunciation. Gianfranco Ghirlanda, a Jesuit, the former rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and a very highly respected doctor of law, in of all publications it was Cattolica Civilta, the Jesuit- [La Civilta Cattolica]...
... He says that Ratzinger”s view of the sacramental ontological munus, when applied to the juridical office of the Bishop of Rome, is going to create major problems. Let me give you his exact words. “The greatest difficulty that arises from the affirmation, that the primacial power of the Roman pontiff comes from his Episcopal consecration and not from the acceptance of the election, would be that in the event that the pope resigned from his office, not because of death, he would never lose the power as it is conferred by a sacramental act, which has an indelible character.” Well, this is precisely what Benedict has stated in his interviews with Peter Seewald, why he’s Pope Emeritus, and not simply Bishop Emeritus, or Cardinal. It’s why he still issues apostolic blessings in his own name and why his proper form of address is still His Holiness, but here’s the wrinkle. Ghirlanda and other candidates and theologians, not to mention centuries of saints and scholars, hold that Ratzinger is just plain wrong and that’s not how it works
He’s just wrong. Here’s the problem, if Ratzinger had ever been convinced of the real truth of the matter, I argue, he likely, would never have renounced the papacy, seeing as how committed he is to fulfilling his Petrine vow and living only for the Lord and his flock. So what do you call this? This is called substantial error. When your will chooses something based on the fact that your intellect has bad information. This is the theory that I personally hold to, why I think his resignation, or his renunciation was invalid. And I can go into more detail on that...
... Now, if such an ontological entity is metaphysically impossible, it means that his will chose something based on erroneous knowledge in his intellect. Now let me give you an example. Substantial error normally happens when it comes to matrimony and canon lawyers know a lot about this. Let me give you a quick example: if a man, let’s say he’s an aristocrat, stipulates that he will only marry an imperial Romanov descendent, and maybe he sends out a match maker to find himself a spouse. They used to do that in the old days, 100 hundred years ago. In fact, the match maker finds him somebody, a Russian girl named Natasha Romanova. And he marries her thinking that she is, in fact one of the imperial family bloodline, when in fact she is an Avenger...
... the Black Widow. She’s from the Avengers. Well then guess what? The marriage never happened in the eyes of God due to substantial error. Because he stipulated that he was only going to marry this person if they were a Romanov heir, a Romanov bloodline. Now there are other criteria for substantial error. It comes up in contractual law, but this is what I call the stipulation variety, it is the one I think seems to fit in Benedict’s case.
In other words, had he known that the truth of the matter is there is no such thing as a sacramental papacy and when you renounce the office, that’s it. You’re not papal in any way shape or form anymore. I honestly believe based on everything he’s said for the last 60 years, he would not have resigned. You see how he clings to it? How he talks about once you say yes to God and you become a Shepard, a follower of Peter, it’s a forever...
... Here we go with Vatican II. I mean the documents of Vatican II are up for grabs, right? What is the proper interpretation of them? And what I’ve found out, I’ve been in touch with Italian canonists and it’s kind of an open secret that Cardinal Ratzinger, Joseph Ratzinger, didn’t know his law, didn’t know his theology. I could give you more quotes from him where he’s really into this idea that the church before Vatican II didn’t understand the theology of office correctly. Let me throw this in here. This might be interesting. This is from Principles of Catholic theology, published in 1987, Ignatius press. He is talking about Pope Pius XII. He says that Pope Pius XII, in 1947 changed the wording for the ordination ceremony, and he’s talking about what it was before Pius changed it.
Ratzinger says, the medieval rite is formed on the pattern of investiture in a secular office. Its key word is potestas. However since 1947, the key word is now ministerium or munus. “Service and gift.” Then he comes up with a doozy. He says “The most crucial event in the development of the Latin West was, I think, the increasing distinction between sacrament, potestas ordinis and jurisdiction, potestas jurisdicciones.” In other words between liturgy and administration as such. And he finishes by saying, “I think we should be honest enough to admit the temptation of mammon in the history of the church, and to recognize to what extent it was a real power that worked to the distortion and corruption of both the church and theology, to their inmost core. The separation of office as jurisdiction from office as sacramental rite was continued for reasons of prestige and financial benefits.”
It’s all right there Patrick, it’s clear as day. He had an erroneous understanding. You know, thanks to the Nouvelle theologie of what it means to… Like you said peanuts, right? Charlie Brown. If I was Linus I could say to Pope Benedict, as respectfully as possible, “Joseph Ratzinger you’re the only person in the world who could take an easy thing like resigning and turning it into a problem.”
I don’t think myself…I have to do more research. I don’t think he’s guilty of heresy per se. As a matter of fact, what my research has uncovered is that there’s a slight possibility that he might be right, because the church has actually never come down and defined the mechanics of how you are made a bishop in the church. There’s an outside possibility that he could be right, in which case his renunciation was valid. I could send that to you to maybe put in the show notes. But the fact of the matter is he could be in just error. You know just genuine sincere error; if that’s not the way the mechanics of the church, if that’s not a correct ecclesiology. [https://www.patrickcoffin.media/is-benedict-xvi-still-the-pope/]
Pray an Our Father now for reparation for the sins committed because of Francis's Amoris Laetitia.