Archbishops Don’t Make Doctrine In Press Conferences

From a reader, after yesterday’s blog post:

Then I thought that maybe because PB intended the weird “bifurcated papacy” a dual papacy never before done in papal history, that someone might care enough to follow up on it, but we find that we are back in the same place.

The thing always comes down to numbers. If 300 Cardinals declared “heretic!”, he’d be gone already, back Buenos Aires gumming things up again. But we have perhaps, 5?
Is that enough? How many manly Cardinals do you need? We are alarmingly short on manly anything.
Can 1 manly, faithful Cardinal declare heresy and depose him? It doesn’t seem likely, but I don’t know anything. I have a feeling that if that were the case, Vigano would have already done it. But our one man had to go into hiding and toss darts from behind a tree.

Perhaps it is the right day to shed some light on this.

1. Benedict never wanted to bifurcate the papacy. Benedict never said that two people now share the power of the office. He never said that two Popes are in charge.  Understand that Benedict is deeply embedded in the Italian culture and he simply wanted to avoid what every Italian would think of him on his abdication:

[………………..] colui

che fece per viltade il gran rifiuto

“The one who, out of cowardice, made the great refusal”. This is, as every Italian child knows, Celestine V, though Dante never said so explicitly.

That’s it. That’s all there is. He is saying, as he has abundantly declared, “I do not abdicate out of cowardice. I do not throw away the honour of having been elected Pope. I merely want to retire because my forces are not sufficient anymore”.

Also: the title he chose, and therefore the thinking he used, is well-known to every better educated Italian. In Italy, every university Professor is called, upon retirement, “Professore Emerito”.

This is meant to mean exactly what Benedict stated: the professor is not in charge anymore, but the honour of the position remains with him forever, it stays with him for life.

No one thinks he still has the job.


Not one.

The words and the concept are elementarily clear to every Italian, and Ratzinger has lived there for the better part of his life. It is clear enough what he wanted to say. The rest is  fluff.

You might say that this is a very cerebral way of doing things, and that the man is making the affair unnecessarily complicated. Well you know what? The man is cerebral, he is complicated. Always was.

2. It never ceases to amaze me that a power hungry archbishop gives a press conference and puts in the mouth of the Pope something he never said, and suddenly it becomes Catechism for the entire planet. Gaenswein was obviously making a power play, stating that he wants his voice to have more importance.

Who the heck is Gaenswein? Can he formulate some new doctrine? Heck, not even Benedict could formulate a new doctrine of the Papacy! Can we please stop fishing for interviews and press conferences to try to invent abstruse arguments about something that was never stated?

3. One Cardinal could not declare a Pope heretic and validly depose him. Athanasius ignored Honorius and refused to give him obedience, but he never deposed him. There would have to be a number of Cardinals that make the exercise such that they can say that they legitimately represent the Church. How many is that? Let the cardinals come out and the faithful will be able to gauge whom they represent. But it certainly can’t be one, or two, or three. It would need to be more than individual dissent, however right. It would be a revolt against heresy from the inside of the Church.

4. Vigano’ is not a Cardinal, he is an Archbishop. Bishops can certainly depose a Pope. But again, they would have to be many, certainly more than, say, one or two dozen Cardinals. They would have to be enough in number that they can believably present themselves as the protectors of Catholicism. They would, methinks, have to be supported by a number of believable, sound Catholic theologians. They would likely have to be sponsored by at least one Government, both paying for the substantial expenses of an imperfect council and giving the Bishops the relevant structures, buildings, administration staff, permanence and visibility. Poland, or Hungary, or even Italy come to mind. The theologians who defied John XXII clearly had the Crown of France behind them.

It is important that bishops and cardinals speak out. The Lord will do the rest in due time. When the time is right, we will discover that Providence has arranged for the means and the ways.  It is not for us to state a number, or the criteria to make things sufficient to depose a Pope. It is not possible or expedient to say in abstract “we need at least 15% of the living cardinals representing all Continents”, or stuff like that. We need to trust that, when a challenge is mounted, true Catholics will easily recognise whether it is the true expression of the Church or not.

But it must start from someone. It must start from someone like Athanasius, who does what is right because it is right, not because he knows it will succeed.

Where is our Athanasius? I don’t see him anywhere.

We need to pray harder for one.



Posted on November 21, 2018, in Traditional Catholicism. Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. Thank you. This is good information, a question I have had for a long time.

    I did not realize there was any doubt PB may not have said what Gaenswein attributed to him. If he did not, that makes all the difference. I believed it to be accepted that he did say those things about the papacy.

    Thank you for the information about the numbers. It has to start somewhere, but either way, yes, the Lord is in charge and will raise up faithful Cardinals from the stones if He must. We seem to be very far indeed from a response similar to what we would need to right this ship.
    I’m grateful for your blog, and all the excellent commentary and information.
    Especially appreciated are the Francis photos.

  2. “It is important that bishops and cardinals speak out. The Lord will do the rest in due time. When the time is right, we will discover that Providence has arranged for the means and the ways. It is not for us to state a number, or the criteria to make things sufficient to depose a Pope.” We are the Divine Intervention. God acts through us. Natural events may demonstrate God’s will, but we have a responsibility to act as well.

  3. The fact of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI (not Joseph Ratzinger) carrying out his chosen Papal munus “within the enclosure of St. Peter always and forever”, mitigates against your “no one thinks he still has the job”.

    Many people actually think that. A growing number, perhaps. The retired Bishop of Corpus Christi for one. He makes a compelling case. We can’t help seeing what we see, two Popes within the Vatican walls. Haven’t seen it before. We do see it now. It all begins with that.

    • You, and others, have misunderstood my text.
      I have not said that no one doubts that Francis is Pope. I have said that no one doubts that a Professor Emeritus is not in charge and, buy the same token, no one one should think that Benedict is.
      That many are wrong and are senselesslt flogging this dead horse I can see very clearly. This is why I write against it.

  4. Thanks for this. Whenever I read someone arguing that Benedict’s resignation was invalid because of substantial error, your post here is exactly what pops into my mind. I don’t remember Benedict every saying that he intended to hold on to any aspect of the papacy, just that the honor of the position stays with him forever. It’s nice to have some backup, as it were.

    I see that Ann Barnhardt has a long presentation that she made available on her blog. I haven’t watched it so I can’t fully comment on it, but based on her time stamps it doesn’t seem she tries to answer any of the points you make here.

    Anyway, thanks again.

    • And no one answers to the question of what the heck will they do when Benedict dies. The only logical answer is: they will become Sedevacantists.

  5. I believe Francis is pope, but: If we go by your reading, Pope Benedict either is 1) not clever enough or 2) too clever by half. If 1), when I first heard he had abdicated, I thought it was another “great refusal.” I don’t know Italian. But like many college-educated Americans, at least until recently, I read the Inferno in school. I also have read the whole Divine Comedy since. If 2, then Benedict maybe figures English has become a global language, so most people, being unaware of Dante, will hear Pope Emeritus Benedict as “Pope…Benedict,” causing a desired confusion. The confusion then will flush all the heretics into the open, including Pope Francis. Or maybe not.

    • Too clever by half.
      Too complicated and convoluted.
      A cerebral man creating a problem in people way more intelligent than him, because he does not understand how simple people can be.
      Most of all, a man too worried with his legacy and not worried enough about his lack of action against the homomafia.

  6. But you have *not* refuted the charge.

    Benedict XVI did not fully renounce the Papacy. That is clear by the physical evidence.

    They say they didn’t change doctrine on who may receive the Eucharist. True. The words remain, as ever. Yet sodomites and re-married are allowed to receive.

    They say Benedict fully and freely abdicated. Yet he remains there, as before: His Holiness, Pope (Emeritus) Benedict XVI, in white, in the Vatican, with the contemplative munus of the Papacy, (the prayerful connection between God and Peter).

    If Pope Benedict XVI had left Rome in his clerical collar to Bavaria as Fr. (Cardinal) Ratzinger, I would agree with you. He did not. I do not accept this thing that has never been seen before in the history of the Church. I do not accept “Emeritus” Popes. It is not part of Sacred Tradition. It is a departure.

    • He does not remained there *as before*. He has said he is not i charge anymore. You can’t simply ignore the facts on the table because they seem to agree with an absurd fantasy.
      The day Benedict comes out and officially challenges Francis, stating that he either freely resigns (which he can only do if he is the Pope) or he is an Antipope, you will at least have the argument that there are two competing claims. But there aren’t any.
      Stop dreaming.

  7. When has it ever been licit for a Pope to “retire” from their duties?

    When you’re elected Pope – you are Pope not just in title – but also in the official duty of holding the office for the rest of your life.

    When exactly did it become orthodox for popes to walk away from their papal duties? And when did it become sound canon law for another pope to be elected in their place?

    • A Pope has always been allowed to retire from his duties.
      It has always been this way.
      Several Popes have abdicated. Other Popes have been elected in their place.

  8. Of course BXVI is not going to renounce PF…it was his modernist idea to bifurcate the papacy:+) Honestly, I don’t know what to think of this bat crazy anymore other than to pray that Heaven cleans up this unholy mess as soon as possible. God bless~

    • Benedict wanted to make way for a new Pope, without being remember as a new Celestine. No one doubted this five years ago. You can’t make the validity of a papal election dependant of whether you like the Pope.

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