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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"

Catholic Monitor Comments:

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.




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