Is Dr. Feser right that "Canon Lawyers like Ed Peters have shown, the arguments claiming to establish that Francis’s Election was invalid are also no good"?
"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." - Latin language expert Br. Alexis Bugnolo
Alexis Bugnolo said…
The link to Peters was the only apparent piece of evidence from a canon lawyer in the post so let's see what was actually said by Peters on canon law on that subject:
Two small but persistent arguments attack the very foundation of Francis’ papacy: first, Benedict XVI’s resignation was invalid (take your pick as to reasons why, but mostly because of pressure allegedly brought on Benedict, as supposedly evidenced by his resignation wording), so there was no vacant Holy See to fill, and so a conclave could not elect a pope; or, second, various irregularities were committed before or during the conclave itself, so the election of Francis was invalid.
Both sets of arguments are offered in inexcusable ignorance of Canon 10 (which sets a high standard indeed for declaring any kind of ecclesiastical acts invalid, etc.), but the arguments alleging the invalidity of Benedict’s resignation are so vacuous that no time will be spent refuting them here. On the other hand, some (okay, basically one) of the claims that irregularities allegedly committed in the conclave itself resulted in an invalid election do have a modicum of plausibility and deserve at least a brief hearing. So here goes.
These latter arguments seem to fall out along three lines, two of which are patently groundless:
Contrary to Universi Dominici Gregi... [https://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/28/francis-was-never-pope-call-me-unpersuaded/]
In this post we will not deal with Universi Dominici Gregi, that is the Francis conclave, but only with Feser's statement the "invalidity of Benedict’s resignation [auguments] are no good."
Also, we will not go over Peters above claim against "Benedict XVI’s resignation was [possibly] invalid... because of pressure allegedly brought on Benedict." It was covered in this post: https://www.thecatholicmonitor.com/2022/04/does-feser-think-cd-kasper-canon-law.html .
It appears that Peters in terms of canon law only presents the following evidence in his post:
"Both sets of arguments are offered in inexcusable ignorance of Canon 10 (which sets a high standard indeed for declaring any kind of ecclesiastical acts invalid, etc.), but the arguments alleging the invalidity of Benedict’s resignation are so vacuous that no time will be spent refuting them here."
The canon lawyer mentions Canon 10, but doesn't explain using that canon why as he said he doesn't have "time [to].. refut[e]" the "vacuous" arguments. Obviously, we would love to know his reasons why the arguments are "vacuous," but none are given.
It appears that Feser's canon law argument may possibly need a little more evidence than is shown above unless the argument is based on the authority or expertise of Peters calling stuff "vacuous."
Excuse me if I'm wrong in saying that the argument below which includes a statement by Peters on canon law interpretation seems to offers just a little tiny bit more evidence:
Latin language expert Br. Alexis Bugnolo says the only correct way to
approach the validity or invalidity of Pope Benedict XVI's
resignation is an objective reading of what the two words ministerium
and munus mean by means of using canon 17's criteria and not a
subjective reading of what the two words may possibly have meant in the
mind of Benedict:
"Canon 17 requires that Canon 332 S2 be read in accord with the meaning of canon 145 S1 and canon 41... requires that ministerium and munus be understood as referring to two different things."
(From Rome, "Ganswein, Brandmuller & Burke: Please read Canon 17, February 14, 2019)
When I read that I thought it would be extremely helpful if he could go into detail on the above by going into canon 17, canon 332 S2, canon 145 S1 and canon 41. He has done just that.
But, before we get to that it is important to understand that Pope John Paul II promulgated the current canon law which is the supreme law of the Catholic Church.
Moreover, it is important to understand that canon 17 is the key to understanding the supreme law of the Church.
Canon lawyer Edward Peters explains:
"Canon 17... states 'if the meaning remains doubtful and obscure, recourse must be made to parallel places.'"
(CatholicWorld Report, "Francis was never pope? Call me unpersuaded," September 28, 2017)
Now, finally, we get to Br. Bugnolo who has explained in overwhelming detail in the following treatise using canon law why some people may be wrong in saying ministerium and munus are synonyms that mean the exact same thing or nearly the exact same thing:
Munus and Ministerium: A Textual Study of their Usage
in the Code of Canon Law of 1983
Ministerium in the Code of Canon Law
. In the Alphabetic index of which one can find hyperlinked, all the words found in the Code, in their different Latin forms.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- from having any ministerial participation in the celebrating of the Sacrifice of the Eucharist and/or in any other ceremonies of worship
- from celebrating the Sacraments and/or sacramentals and from receiving the Sacraments;
- from exercising (fungi) ecclesiastical officia and/or ministeria and/or munera and/or from positing acts of governance.
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.
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.
Can. 1384 – Qui, praeter casus, de quibus in cann. 1378-1383, sacerdotale munus vel aliud sacrum ministerium illegitime exsequitur, iusta poena puniri potest.
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.
Munus in the Code of Canon Law
Can. 145 – § 1. Officium ecclesiasticum est quodlibet munus ordinatione sive divina sive ecclesiastica stabiliter constitutum in finem spiritualem exercendum.
Canon 145 § 1. An ecclesiastical office (officium) is any munus constituted by divine or ecclesiastical ordinance as to be exercised for a spiritual end.
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.
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.
Can. 1484 – § 1. Procurator et advocatus antequam munus suscipiant, mandatum authenticum apud tribunal deponere debent.
Canon 1484 §1. The procurator and advocate ought to deposit a copy of their authentic mandate with the Tribunal, before they undertake their munus.
4 nequit valide consequi dignitatem, officium aliudve munus in Ecclesia
- He cannot validly obtain a dignity, office and/or any munus in the Church.
Pray an Our Father now for reparation for the sins committed because of Francis's Amoris Laetitia.