Benedict XVI thinks your idea is “simply absurd”

Some people are suggesting that Benedict XVI’s resignation wasn’t legal and that he is still Pope.  I wrote about that HERE.

From CNA:

Benedict XVI affirms validity of his resignation

Vatican City, Feb 26, 2014 / 03:47 am (CNA).- Today the Italian newspaper La Stampa has published excerpts of a letter from Benedict XVI, who wrote to affirm the existence of only one Pope, Francis.

“There is absolutely no doubt regarding the validity of my resignation from the Petrine ministry,” wrote Benedict XVI in a letter published on Feb. 26.

His letter was a response to La Stampa’s inquiries regarding “various interpretations that have been circulating in the press and on the web regarding his gesture,” the article noted. Some have questioned whether or not Benedict XVI’s resignation was valid, a speculation the retired Pontiff roundly rejected.

“The only condition for the validity of my resignation is the complete freedom of my decision. Speculations regarding its validity are simply absurd,” he wrote. ["asurdo speculare"]

The article’s author, Vatican expert Andrea Tornielli, described Benedict XVI’s words as “brief and to the point.”

[...]

In the meantime, I can report that the sun rose this morning and water is still… still… wet.

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Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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44 Responses to Benedict XVI thinks your idea is “simply absurd”

  1. Robbie says:

    I think the fact a story like this has gotten so much attention demonstrates why it’s probably not the best idea for a pope to resign. It opens the door to crackpot conspiracy theories and the net effect of that is it diminishes the papacy. I suppose if Benedict’s successor had been perceived to be more in line with him or even slightly more conservative, we’d hear nothing like this. But because Francis is generally perceived to be a liberal, fear of looming changes means some need to find a way to diminish or discredit them. I think that’s the same reason the Cardinal Siri rumors continue to swirl in the nether reaches of the internet. If they can convince themselves he was actually elected, it negates VII.

  2. slainewe says:

    To be perfectly frank, what I find “simply absurd” is the very idea that a pope can “resign”. He is the Holy FATHER! Can a father resign?

    If the pope is not a father, well, why do we call him this. Why not call him “president,” elect him for terms and be done with it.

    I recently saw an old Western in which an Indian tribe left an old member with a prayer blanket in a cave to die. A cowboy found him, nursed him back, and brought him back to the tribe. The tribe responded as though seeing a ghost. They had already “buried” him and his return was contrary to the natural order. They threatened to kill both him and the cowboy. So the old man returned to his cave.

    Right or wrong, this is how I feel about seeing the “pope emeritus” in public – it seems out of the natural order. His resignation diminishes my filial respect for the papacy. It’s just an office now.

    So I can understand why people want to see papal resignation (in general) as invalid. I allow it can be done, but to me it is a tragedy. And so unnecessary! So many of the duties of the papacy can be shared by viceroys. All I expect the Holy Father to do is to make sure we have holy bishops. After that, he can walk in the garden all day and night.

  3. Gemma says:

    While I am not going to dispute this. I read for the first time yesterday a prophecy given to Blessed Elizabeth Canori Mora that has me pondering about this situation.” It talks about a crisis in the church and “two Popes” that reign and a chastisement. After seeing the pics of the consistory and than reading this story of the saint and someone emailing me about Frontline documentary on the Vatican I had to wonder…

  4. mamajen says:

    “Absurd”? But that’s meeeaaannnn!

    I, for one, am glad we had a Pope who didn’t let the possibility of offending/worrying/puzzling people interfere with doing the will of God. If only more of our Church leaders would follow that example…not by resigning (well, maybe in some cases), but by growing spines and doing what needs and ought to be done.

    It seems a lot of people want to blame their lack of faith on Benedict or Francis or others. When God told us we should have faith like a child, I don’t think saying “well, he made me do it” when we’re called out as wrong is what he had in mind.

  5. Unwilling says:

    He protests too much! ?

    I never thought of denying that the Pope resigned. Nor do I really doubt it…now.
    But slainewe makes some startling analogies. Now I wonder.
    [shaking my head rapidly to rattle and settle the brains]

    Doesn’t the Italian you supply mean “absurd to speculate “? It’s probably absurd to speculate whether or not your parents are right that cheese is better than eggs. You are getting cheese anyway. But they might be wrong.

  6. Bev says:

    I read Benedict’s resignation statement 1000 times, hoping to find a loop-hole. There isn’t one. He effectively resigned. Francis is the pope. I am very unhappy about this but perhaps this is the PUNISHMENT I deserve as a consequence for my sins.

  7. Michael_Thoma says:

    To the anti/non-Papal resignation crowd,
    Why can a Pope not resign? The Patriarchs of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholics can and do – they are as much Holy Fathers of their Particular Church as the Pope is of the Latin Church. There is still much confusion among Latins about the tri-form role of the Pope as Head of the entire Catholic Church, Primate of the Latin Church, and Bishop of Rome; strangely, even among Traditional and well-educated Latins. Please understand how and why a Pope is free to resign at any time, and why it in no way diminishes the authority of the See.

  8. BillyT92679 says:

    Two things

    1. A pope can resign. Benedict was not the first, and probably won’t be the last. It doesn’t “diminish” the papacy any more than St. Celestine diminished the papacy. Nothing any pope does ever diminishes the papacy, even your Benedict IX and Alexander VI. They might diminish your view of the papacy.
    The papacy is an office, a supreme episcopal office (not a Holy Order beyond bishop… even the Ultramontanes usually never thought that)

    2. I know this is a place for traditionalists. Fine. But to equate this current pontificate to some kind of temporal punishment for sins is, at best, imprudent, and at worst, close to schismatic. It’s an affront and it puts Father Z in a bad and embarassing light, for which he is not culpable for at all.

  9. Ben Kenobi says:

    “So I can understand why people want to see papal resignation (in general) as invalid. ‘I allow it can be done’, but to me it is a tragedy. And so unnecessary! So many of the duties of the papacy can be shared by viceroys. All I expect the Holy Father to do is to make sure we have holy bishops. After that, he can walk in the garden all day and night.”

    It is odd that one who affirms that he, alone, allows the office of the Pope to function would argue for offloading obligations from the pope to others.

  10. Bosco says:

    mamajen,
    God bless your enthusiasm! Bravely spoken, but our Faith (as I’m sure you know) is not in any particular Pope, or Pope’s style, or non-infallible papal utterance, or that every action of any particular Pope will necessarily reflect “the Will of God”.

    We must be ardent for the Faith and the Vicar of Christ tasked with defending it, of course, but nonetheless we ought be cautious as well for fear of falling into a sort of papolatry.

    You are quite right to refer to:

    “When God told us we should have faith like a child…”

    but may I add that Jesus also said:

    “Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves. ” Matthew 10:16

    Peace be with you.

  11. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Papal resignation is not new. It is just so old that we haven’t seen it for a loooooong time.

    And that’s one reason why people sometimes ought to exercise the less used options – so that they don’t go away entirely.

  12. slainewe says:

    “I, for one, am glad we had a Pope who didn’t let the possibility of offending/worrying/puzzling people interfere with doing the will of God.”

    How can it be the will of God that a bridegroom (in this case the Vicar of Christ – the Bridegroom of the Church) give his bride to another while still alive?

    There are men crippled by war, accident, or disease who would be happy for their wives and children to have healthier men in their places, but they are not allowed to resign as bridegrooms and fathers.

    Is it any wonder that Germany has lost faith in the permanence of marriage?

  13. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Bev,

    forgive me, but I prefer a Pope who resigned to a Pope who made the appearance of resigning while not actually doing so. Why would we, then, hope to find a loophole?

    We might wish he had not resigned in the first place, but that’s another matter.

  14. Imrahil says:

    Also, dear slainewe, I prefer a papal resignation if the only alternative is to delegate important parts of the Papacy to effectual vice-popes. Not to mention that in the normal course of things, they would quickly institutionalize and remain even when there is a vigorous Pope again.

    He has prefects and presidents and that’s a good thing. But I don’t think that, apart from signing in forma generali decrees of the Curia, the Pope is at this moment doing so much that is not a substantial part of the Papal job-description as such. In fact, even in what is, the Pope does have to delegate, and do some things again personally, perhaps according to personal preferances; though he should, and I believe does, remain doing general supervision of the Curia.

    Appointing bishops, for one thing, is, I imagine, a quite substantial amount of actual work. And I don’t think it is the only job rather substantial in the Papacy.

  15. Jason Keener says:

    I personally didn’t care for the fact that Benedict XVI was at the consistory the other day, and I would bet any money he was only there because Pope Francis insisted that he be there. Of course, Benedict XVI, being the saint that he is, is going to show complete obedience to the Supreme Pontiff and go along with it. When Benedict said he was going to retire to a life of private prayer and stay out of the public eye like a monk, I think that is what he should do. I also don’t think Benedict should attend the canonization of Blessed John Paul II, no matter how close they were. If Pope Francis retires in a couple of years, we could very well have two former Popes living at the same time with the reigning Supreme Pontiff. Is that really a situation that we want? On the other hand, maybe we should all just get over it because Bishops the world over co-exist peacefully with their living predecessors with little confusion to the faithful. Hmmm……… I don’t really know what to think for sure.

  16. Bosco says:

    We must all be particularly vigilant and prayerful in these times, and always remember the words of St. Paul to the Galatians:

    “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.
    But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!
    As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” Galatians 1:6 – 8

  17. Michael_Thoma says:

    How can it be the will of God that a bridegroom (in this case the Vicar of Christ – the Bridegroom of the Church) give his bride to another while still alive?
    Can this not be said of any bishop in any See? After all, one who is ordained to the Episcopate is ‘in the person of Christ’ to the fullest ministerial sacramental degree. How can any bishop resign and another be appointed/selected to fill his See? Take it one degree higher, how can any Patriarch resign and another be appointed/selected to fill his See – is he not the Father of his Particular Church in the highest degree? Take it another degree higher – there’s the proper way to look at the Papal See. It is not the individual that makes it, rather it’s the See that makes the Individual.

  18. slainewe says:

    “It is odd that one who affirms that he, alone, allows the office of the Pope to function would argue for offloading obligations from the pope to others.”

    There are plenty of things a pope does that are not essential to the Office – like the globetrotting of recent popes which is so exhausting. Or writing texts that are extraneous to the fighting of the heresies at hand. Perhaps modern popes should take the advice Jethro gave to Moses:

    “So Moses’ father-in-law said to him, ‘The thing that you do is not good. Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself. Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you: Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God. And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do. Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Then it will be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge. So it will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you. If you do this thing, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all this people will also go to their place in peace.’”

    All the pope need be is a good father, keeping his family whole and healthy and safe. A father in a wheelchair can do this as well as any other man. He just needs to know his limitations and ask for help.

  19. CrimsonCatholic says:

    @slainewe

    Bishops are required to resign at 75, and priest can also retire. Why do believe the Pope cannot when it has happened twice before Pope Benedict reign. Your words imply that the Pope Emeritus is not a priest anymore, which is not the case.

  20. HighMass says:

    Again and Again one tells them self…..valid or not, popes can resign can’t they…….Our Dear Sweet Benedict is no longer sitting on the throne of St. Peter……sad as it is…..Those of Us who love Him, miss him daily…He was totally misunderstood by everyone from inside and outside the Church.

    About the Cardinal Siri rumors??? Why did white smoke pour out of the chimney on 10/26/58, and Vatican Radio announced a new Pope was elected, the popes guard were assembled, etc…..to uncanny….is it true well who knows only God….
    One does wonder if this rot that Benedict XVI spoke of wasn’t betrayal from within. The Liberals rejoiced when Pope Benedict resigned, those of us who love him and wish he was still Pope wept.

  21. slainewe says:

    @CrimsonCatholic

    Yes, I have pondered the fact that bishops are given emeritus status, but the natural state in the Church is that there are many brother bishops while there is only ONE Vicar of Christ – Bridegroom of the Church Universal.

    The bishops do not represent Christ as does Peter, whose very existence, distinct from his duties, is the Rock of ONENESS unifying all the bishops. The pope could be on life-support and still fulfill his most essential function.

    And a “retired” bishop is still a bishop. His essential function to ordain new priests and confirm the faithful remains intact. A “retired” priest is still a priest. His essential function to confect the Eucharist and forgive sins remains intact. But the Pope Emeritus is not the pope, because there can be only one pope on earth at one time. He gave away his essential function as Vicar of Christ. This is the difference that I cannot resolve in my puny brain. For me, looking at him now is like looking at a ghost. God’s will be done, but I wish he had kept his initial resolve to stay cloistered.

  22. Michael_Thoma says:

    ONE Vicar of Christ – Bridegroom of the Church Universal… He gave away his essential function as Vicar of Christ.
    I think your problem is that this theology is quite strained. You must remember that all bishops are in some way Vicars of Christ – they are not Vicars of the Pope. Christ is the Bridegroom of the Church, I don’t think it’s ever officially been suggested that the Pope vicariously takes on Christ’s role as Bridegroom of the Church.

  23. Captain Peabody says:

    The Pope is not the “bridegroom of the Universal Church.” That is Christ. I’ve honestly never even heard this title used for the Papacy before.

    The Papacy is not a personal relationship or status; it is an office. Every Church office is a sacramental sign of the supreme authority of Christ within the Church, and the supreme relationship of Christ with the Church. Individual persons gain this status upon acceding to the office, and lose it upon leaving the office. The one subject to which all these offices point is Christ himself, who of course never ceases to be.

    Pope Benedict for a time was called upon to exercise Christ’s pastoral care over his whole flock, and to serve as an icon of the Father’s care for all his people. Now he does so no longer. Pope Francis now serves as the icon of this universal care and authority–but the power, and its ultimate subject, has not changed.

  24. tcreek says:

    Where will this all end?
    Say in 10 years, when Pope Francis is 88, he becomes incapacitated and must resign. He thus becomes Emeritus II since Emeritus I Benedict is still alive. The conclave then elects a new pope from Swahililand. With both Emerituses in attendance he takes the name, Benedict Francis the First. This for hermeneutics of continuity sake since the new pope, at least in name, doesn’t wish his teaching to be confused with the previous Emerituses.

    One good thing in all this. No worries about lodging. The papal apartment is immediately available. But then the previous lodging of Cardinal Barkari (Benedict Francis I) at Motel 6 on the Appian Way is still available. It is pretty close to St. Peter’s and Walmart.

  25. slainewe says:

    @Michael_Thoma

    “How can any bishop resign and another be appointed/selected to fill his See? Take it one degree higher, how can any Patriarch resign and another be appointed/selected to fill his See – is he not the Father of his Particular Church in the highest degree? ”

    Fact is, I don’t understand resignation on the episcopal level either. And I wonder if it has not contributed to the bishops’ CEO view of their Sees rather than that of a bridegroom, and the people’s attitude towards them as CEO’s rather than fathers.

    Why cannot an auxiliary bishop just remain so until the death of the bishop?

    But again, I see the papacy as different in that there is only ONE pope among bishops, and that a pope does not remain a pope when he “resigns.” He is an ex-pope, at least until death. Then we don’t know. Will he be allowed to take a turn as “Peter” at the Pearly Gates until the next pope enters Heaven? I wonder…

  26. CrimsonCatholic says:

    @ Bosco

    I don’t think anything mamajen said came close to “worship of the pope”. If you were really concerned with this, then you would be better off addressing quite a few of the people that comment on this blog. I have seen quite a few people that have canonized the Pope Emeritus even though he still walks upon this Earth.

  27. Gemma says:

    I think the problem in all this is when a bishop, etc. resigns or retires he does not cease to be a bishop. This has been how we have been trained to think from a early age. So how is the pope”s title different from a cardinals,etc. Otherwise, he is retired Pope Benedict XVII in reality. I think this is where the confusion comes from. Explanation is needed.

  28. Michael_Thoma says:

    Why cannot an auxiliary bishop just remain so until the death of the bishop?The title auxiliary is not sacramental, it is purely functional. Bishop is sacramental. He is a bishop but his exercise of authority is not his own. If the bishop is unable to function due to age or infirmity, why should the one exercising authority pretend to do so in the name of another?

    But again, I see the papacy as different in that there is only ONE pope among bishops, and that a pope does not remain a pope when he “resigns.”Again, you are mingling the functional and sacramental qualities without differentiating. There is only one person able to be Bishop of Rome at one time. Should this person feel unable to function due to age or infirmity, or mental distress, etc – the person who replaces him becomes Bishop of Rome. This holder of the position of Bishop of Rome also is Father of the Latin Church, and Head of the Church.

    You seem to have created a separate supra-episcopacy termed “pope”, which only one man can hold until death – that was and never has been the Tradition of the Church, nor the proper understanding of the Papacy.

  29. Suburbanbanshee says:

    The pope isn’t the bridegroom of the Bride. He’s the best man, unless you think Peter was the Bridegroom in Revelation. (And y’ know, the original Peter was married already and had a mother-in-law, so kinda problematic there….)

  30. Iacobus M says:

    My understanding is that one reason why papal resignations have been so rare is that, at one time, it could lead to serious bloodshed and unpleasantness, such as the schism of the 14th century. That seems pretty unlikely at present, although the presence of a retired Pope could conceivably undermine the authority of the ruling Pope. I would imagine that Benedict’s public appearance indicates that Pope Francis feels established enough at this point that such a possibility doesn’t worry him.
    Iacobus M
    http://vitafamiliariscatholica.blogspot.com/

  31. Bosco says:

    @CrimsonCatholic,
    You say:

    “I don’t think anything mamajen said came close to “worship of the pope”. Nor do I and neither did I say so. You have misread the general thrust of my observation.

    Notwithstanding, you further commented:

    “If you were really concerned with this, then you would be better off addressing quite a few of the people that comment on this blog.”

    Your suggestion that: “If you were really concerned with this…” characterizes my comment as insincere and uncharitable. I’m sure you didn’t mean it that way.

    I should be grateful if anything of the substance of my remark strikes you as mistaken.

    Peace.

  32. slainewe says:

    @Michael_Thoma
    “I don’t think it’s ever officially been suggested that the Pope vicariously takes on Christ’s role as Bridegroom of the Church.”
    @Captain Peabody
    “The Pope is not the “bridegroom of the Universal Church.” That is Christ. I’ve honestly never even heard this title used for the Papacy before.”

    I perhaps should have said, “The pope is Vicar of Christ WHO IS the Bridegroom of the Universal Church.” But I don’t see the difference. Peter wears the ring that makes him the Bridegroom of the Church Militant here and now. He raises up children for Christ (like the seven brothers who married the widow of the eldest brother in the parable) but he is the real bridegroom for all practical purposes.

    If this is not true, and there is no need to see the papacy as a lifelong commitment to the Bride of Christ, does not the example of John Paul II become (objectively) a selfish gesture of clinging to an office beyond his time, rather than heroic virtue? How can any pope justify STAYING in the Chair until death now?

  33. Darren says:

    Re: water is still… still… wet.

    Did not Al Gore invent “dry water” when he invented the internet? I believe that on page 1793, paragraph 2 of the “Affordable Care Act” it states that “drinking dry water will save the planet from climate change and therefore increase the overall health of the populace. Drinking the old wet water will disqualify one from the benefits of the affordable care act and incur a fine not less than US$1000.00 and the mandatory tattoo on the forehead stating ‘I love the AFA’ “

    Maybe I am wrong…

  34. Captain Peabody says:

    The reason bishops remain bishops when they resign is because one enters the office of Bishop through the sacrament of Holy Orders, which communicates a unique sacramental character to the one receiving it. A priest who becomes a bishop receives a new sacramental character and new sacramental powers, in addition to the ones he already gained at his ordination to the priesthood. This sacramental character, like that imparted in Baptism, cannot be removed, even if the bishop is excommunicated, deposed from office, or goes to hell.

    However, once a bishop is ordained and given this sacramental character, he is then assigned by the Church to a particular office in a particular city. With this office come the particular responsibilities, relationships, jurisdictional powers, and privileges of the diocesan Bishop of that particular diocese.

    The Pope is simply the Bishop of Rome, who, because of the unique status of his diocese as the Primatial See of Christendom, possesses by virtue of his office a universal jurisdiction in his official acts. The Pope’s acts themselves, and his sacramental powers, are not by nature different from those of any Bishop–the difference is his office: that is to say, his particular duties, responsibilities, and privileges.

    As Universal Primate of Christendom, tasked with shepherding the Universal Church, the Pope naturally has responsibilities that go far beyond those of any other bishop, as well as unique privileges (such as that of speaking infallibly in certain circumstances). However, he exercises the same basic sacramental authority to bind, loose, teach, and shepherd as any other bishop.

    That is to say, a resigned Pope remains sacramentally a Bishop, but cannot exercise the powers, duties, and privileges of the Papal office that he has left, any more than the “Bishop Emeritus” of a diocese can claim the privileges and duties of that diocese.

    All of this is well established by Catholic tradition.

  35. mamajen says:

    CrimsonCatholic,

    Thank you. Indeed, I said no such thing (but I get similar comments a lot).

    Benedict himself is alleged to have said that “God told him” to resign. But even if Benedict said no such thing, I am certain that he believed it was God’s will, otherwise he would not have done it. We know he prayed a great deal. I can’t comprehend how people who claim to love him can believe that he got something so important wrong!

  36. Suburbanbanshee says:

    If you don’t believe that papal resignation is possible, you should take it up with Pope St. Pontianus, who resigned his office because he was being exiled to the mines (along with antipope and eventual saint St. Hippolytus, who reconciled with St. Pontianus while they were in the mines). The idea was that Rome shouldn’t be deprived of a bishop and pope while he was off taking forever to die in the mines. So everybody had an election while St. Pontianus and soon-to-be-St. Hippolytus sailed off for slow martyrdom.

  37. The Cobbler says:

    I was under the impression that all priests (and Benedict is still that!) acted in persona Christi, who’s the Bridegroom of the Church, in that sense “marrying” the Church in becoming a priest.

    Suburbanbanshee beat me to bringing up Pope St. “I Spent My Retirement a Slave in the Mines” Pontian. I’m always surprised nearly everyone talks about St. Celestine as though it was his idea. ;^) (I’m also somewhat amused when people talk as though merely having Pope Francis were a chastisement. It’s been a while since we had to worry about Popes being sent to the mines, hasn’t it?)

  38. lana says:

    i recently spoke with someone who said he and 300 others of his order went to rome to see Pope Benedict. He was not feeling well and the 300 men had to go home without their visit. The Pope has duties like this, he cant just appoint good bishops and sit around. i am sure he felt deeply distressed at having to disappoint these men, and it must have happened several times. worse than that, the urgent and pressing matters of modern times require energy and complete focus. if he was not up for it, he was not up for it, and God surely could have changed that if He wanted. like all of us, the Pope has to pray for light in his decisions, and i am sure the Holy Spirit was quite clear on something this important. So, let us leave the Holy Spirit to his job and stop second-guessing.

  39. slainewe says:

    @lana

    I don’t think anyone here is “second-guessing” the Holy Ghost. And, since you believe the pope has light in his decisions, he certainly can choose not to meet with all (or any) of those who desire to see him in person. His role is up to him. I accept that and had no intention of giving the impression that I know better than him. I am just airing my confusion over the whole affair, with hope that someone could give me a bit of information that would allow me to make more sense of it. I probably could do a better job of displaying more humility in my posts. I go back and forth with blogging in general – it can be such an occasion for sin. Well, Lent is upon us and I’ll be giving it a break.

  40. Arkanabar says:

    A word to all you wise conspiracy theorists:

    The Church is NOT merely a human institution. It is also the work of the Holy Spirit. To say that Cdl. Roncalli received a stolen papacy and promoted heresy thereby is to say that Hell is stronger than the Church. At that point, you’re affirming Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin. Do you want to go there?

    Pope St. Celestine V declared that Papal resignations are valid. Now, either he was right, in which case they are, or else he was wrong, in which case he promoted heresy as valid doctrine, and thus was no longer the pope. Papa Ben affirmed this declaration of St. Celestine V as doctrinally correct. So he, too, either is right, and can validly resign, or else has promoted heresy as valid doctrine, and is no longer Pope.

    Make up your minds. Or better yet, “Pray, hope, and don’t worry.”

  41. JuliB says:

    Jason said: “I personally didn’t care for the fact that Benedict XVI was at the consistory the other day, and I would bet any money he was only there because Pope Francis insisted that he be there. ”

    Perhaps Pope Francis is also looking for a loophole?

  42. MAJ Tony says:

    Fact: Benedict is no longer the Pope. Fact: Francis IS the Pope. Can’t people deal with reality? There comes a time when you get on with your life and accept it. Honestly, I think many of the comments on here are evidence of a problem with many self-proclaimed Traditionalists, which is a tendency to so overemphasize Church hierarchy and some “small-t” traditions (in this case “Pope-for-life”) to the point of practically turning that into a cult-like obsession (like standing “Quo primum” against liturgical changes).

  43. MAJ Tony says:

    Regarding the current Pope and liturgy, maybe folks should read THIS article about how he CLEANDED UP the abuses in Argentina: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-francis-and-the-liturgy/

  44. Johnno says:

    This is why clarity is nice. No mincing words. It’s best to avoid confusion and novelties.

    But Pope Benedict XVI has unfortunately led to this confusion through statements saying that the Papacy is not something one can simply give up, but leaves an indelible mark:

    “Here, allow me to go back once again to 19 April 2005. The real gravity of the decision was also due to the fact that from that moment on I was duty bound always and forever to the Lord.”

    “Always—anyone who accepts the Petrine ministry no longer has any privacy. He belongs always and completely to everyone, to the whole Church (…) he no longer belongs to himself….”

    “The ‘always’ is also a ‘forever’—there is no longer a return to the private sphere. My decision to resign the active exercise of the ministry does not revoke this.”

    This reading creates the delusory confusion that Benedict XVI has only retired from ‘active ministry’, much like a priests do yet remain priests, and thus Benedict remains ‘pope’ even after retiring. Which is something very new and spurns ideas that he somehow still exercises Petrine privileges.

    So unlike previous ‘retired’ pontiffs who went back to being cardinals, he for the first time in history put upon himself the title of ‘Pope Emeritus’ despite objections like those from Canonist Gianfranco Ghirlanda who stated before, “It is clear that a pope who has resigned is no longer pope, and thus no longer has any power in the Church and cannot meddle in any affair of government. It can be asked what title Benedict XVI will retain. We think there should be attributed to him the title of Bishop Emeritus of Rome, like every other diocesan bishop who resigns.”

    And Pope Francis also continually refers to him as “His Holiness Benedict XVI.”

    This is also why it’s best that a Pope should die before electing the next one. It lends itself to additional confusion that we do not require. And why titles like ‘Pope Emeritus’, and actions of keeping the Papal crown in your court of arms etc. are unwise.

    Hopefully this confusing era comes to an end with Benedict XVI and Francis and nobody else follows such examples.