An End to the Discussions on the Validity of Pope Francis

Opposing Armies

(I am heartily dismayed that in the last week, we have gotten into a consuming argument on the validity of the election of Pope Francis. First, it is entirely contrary to the focus of this site. Second, the whole idea is based on a minority interpretation of canon law. If there were an actual deficiency, it would need to be clear, compelling, and indisputable. Otherwise, it would rightfully be seen as the fig leaf covering over a coup against an inconvenient Pope. Set that precedent and you will never see the end of rival factions seeking advantage in legalisms rather than the large truths of the faith. It would reduce the College of Bishops to roving bands of rival warlords. Frankly, I think it a satanic seduction to a “fix” of current controversies that would permanently enfeeble and introduce disorder into the hierarchy.

Over the course of its 2000-year history, the Church has only had about two dozen Popes who were largely unworthy of their office. In every such age, the faithful managed to live their faith with fidelity or groups of Bishops (sometimes only small groups) raised resistance until, inevitably, the evil ran its course and accomplished what was intended through it and God gave better times. Often, in the aftermath of such controversies, the Bishops and the faithful were recollected to the supreme importance of fidelity – which they had forsaken for a time.

I am not a fan of Pope Francis – or of the predatory and heterodox clerics he seems to prefer to promote. But if a support beam in a house is deficient, I am not an enthusiast for blowing up the house in order to fix it. The simple way of fidelity and faith is the answer for me. Bishop Athanasius Schneider, also dismayed by the problems in the Church, has written quite powerfully on the mortal dangers of trying to remove even an heretical Pope.

Desmond Birch is going to address this issue in the comments below this article. He asked me, preparatory to that, to put up this article (beginning with a few introductory comments by Birch), written by Cdl. Joseph Ratzinger when he was prefect of the Congregation on the Doctrine of the Faith. If you read it through, pay particular note to item #7 where Ratzinger begins to discuss the limitations of primacy and item #10 where he flatly denies that primacy grants any Pope absolute power. The form I received it in was not easily compatible with the WordPress format, so I have conciliated it – and have removed footnotes.

I am going to allow two days of discussion on this subject. At midnight, Mountain Time, on Friday, the discussion on this subject ends and we get completely back to our focus here: Acknowledge God, Take the Next Right Step, and Be a Sign of Hope. And now, the article in question: – CJ)

This article below is a must read – BEFORE we discuss what Ambrose meant by “Ubi est Petrus, Ibi est Ecclesia”. It was written by Cardinal Ratzinger when he was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith [CDF]. Here goes:


Reflections of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect
Tarcisio Bertone, Archbishop emeritus of Vercelli, Secretary – Desmond Birch

1. At this moment in the Church’s life, the question of the primacy of Peter and of his Successors has exceptional importance as well as ecumenical significance. John Paul II has frequently spoken of this, particularly in the Encyclical Ut unum sint, in which he extended an invitation especially to pastors and theologians to “find a way of exercising the primacy which, while in no way renouncing what is essential to its mission, is nonetheless open to a new situation.” In answer to the Holy Father’s invitation, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith decided to study the matter by organizing a strictly doctrinal symposium on The Primacy of the Successor of Peter, which was held in the Vatican from 2 to 4 December 1996. Its Proceedings have recently been published.

2. In his Message to those attending the symposium, the Holy Father wrote: “The Catholic Church is conscious of having preserved, in fidelity to the Apostolic Tradition and the faith of the Fathers, the ministry of the Successor of Peter.” In the history of the Church, there is a continuity of doctrinal development on the primacy. In preparing the present text, which appears in the Appendix of the above-mentioned Proceedings, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has used the contributions of the scholars who took part in the symposium, but without intending to offer a synthesis of them or to go into questions requiring further study. These “Reflections” – appended to the symposium – are meant only to recall the essential points of Catholic doctrine on the primacy, Christ’s great gift to his Church because it is a necessary service to unity and, as history shows, it has often defended the freedom of Bishops and the particular Churches against the interference of political authorities.

I. Origin, Purpose and Nature of the Primacy

3. “First Simon, who is called Peter.” With this significant emphasis on the primacy of Simon Peter, St Matthew inserts in his Gospel the list of the Twelve Apostles, which also begins with the name of Simon in the other two synoptic Gospels and in Acts. This list, which has great evidential force, and other Gospel passages show clearly and simply that the New Testament canon received what Christ said about Peter and his role in the group of the Twelve. Thus, in the early Christian communities, as later throughout the Church, the image of Peter remained fixed as that of the Apostle who, despite his human weakness, was expressly assigned by Christ to the first place among the Twelve and was called to exercise a distinctive, specific task in the Church. He is the rock on which Christ will build his Church; he is the one, after he has been converted, whose faith will not fail and who will strengthen his brethren; lastly, he is the Shepherd who will lead the whole community of the Lord’s disciples. In Peter’s person, mission and ministry, in his presence and death in Rome attested by the most ancient literary and archaeological tradition – the Church sees a deeper reality essentially related to her own mystery of communion and salvation: “Ubi Petrus, ibi ergo Ecclesia.” From the beginning and with increasing clarity, the Church has understood that, just as there is a succession of the Apostles in the ministry of Bishops, so too the ministry of unity entrusted to Peter belongs to the permanent structure of Christ’s Church and that this succession is established in the see of his martyrdom.

4. On the basis of the New Testament witness, the Catholic Church teaches, as a doctrine of faith, that the Bishop of Rome is the Successor of Peter in his primatial service in the universal Church; this succession explains the preeminence of the Church of Rome, enriched also by the preaching and martyrdom of St Paul. In the divine plan for the primacy as “the office that was given individually by the Lord to Peter, the first of the Apostles, and to be handed on to his successors,” we already see the purpose of the Petrine charism, i.e., “the unity of faith and communion” of all believers. The Roman Pontiff, as the Successor of Peter, is “the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of unity both of the Bishops and of the multitude of the faithful” and therefore he has a specific ministerial grace for serving that unity of faith and communion which is necessary for the Church to fulfill her saving mission.

5. The Constitution Pastor aeternus of the First Vatican Council indicated the purpose of the Primacy in its Prologue and then dedicated the body of the text to explaining the content or scope of its power. The Second Vatican Council, in turn, reaffirmed and completed the teaching of Vatican I, addressing primarily the theme of its purpose, with particular attention to the mystery of the Church as Corpus Ecclesiarum. This consideration allowed for a clearer exposition of how the primatial office of the Bishop of Rome and the office of the other Bishops are not in opposition but in fundamental and essential harmony. Therefore, “when the Catholic Church affirms that the office of the Bishop of Rome corresponds to the will of Christ, she does not separate this office from the mission entrusted to the whole body of Bishops, who are also ‘vicars and ambassadors of Christ’ (Lumen gentium, n. 27). The Bishop of Rome is a member of the ‘College’, and the Bishops are his brothers in the ministry.” It should also be said, reciprocally, that episcopal collegiality does not stand in opposition to the personal exercise of the primacy nor should it relativize it.

6. All the Bishops are subjects of the sollicitudo omnium Ecclesiarum as members of the Episcopal College which has succeeded to the College of the Apostles, to which the extraordinary figure of St Paul also belonged. This universal dimension of their episkope (overseeing) cannot be separated from the particular dimension of the offices entrusted to them. In the case of the Bishop of Rome – Vicar of Christ in the way proper to Peter as Head of the College of Bishops – the sollicitudo omnium Ecclesiarum acquires particular force because it is combined with the full and supreme power in the Church: a truly episcopal power, not only supreme, full and universal, but also immediate, over all pastors and other faithful. The ministry of Peter’s Successor, therefore, is not a service that reaches each Church from outside, but is inscribed in the heart of each particular Church, in which “the Church of Christ is truly present and active,” and for this reason it includes openness to the ministry of unity. This interiority of the Bishop of Rome’s ministry to each particular Church is also an expression of the mutual interiority between universal Church and particular Church. The episcopacy and the primacy, reciprocally related and inseparable, are of divine institution. Historically there arose forms of ecclesiastical organization instituted by the Church in which a primatial principle was also practised. In particular, the Catholic Church is well aware of the role of the apostolic sees in the early Church, especially those considered Petrine – Antioch and Alexandria – as reference-points of the Apostolic Tradition, and around which the patriarchal system developed; this system is one of the ways God’s Providence guides the Church and from the beginning it has included a relation to the Petrine tradition.

II. The Exercise of the Primacy and Its Forms

7. The exercise of the Petrine ministry must be understood – so that it “may lose nothing of its authenticity and transparency” – on the basis of the Gospel, that is, on its essential place in the saving mystery of Christ and the building-up of the Church. The primacy differs in its essence and in its exercise from the offices of governance found in human societies: it is not an office of co-ordination or management, nor can it be reduced to a primacy of honour, or be conceived as a political monarchy. The Roman Pontiff – like all the faithful – is subject to the Word of God, to the Catholic faith, and is the guarantor of the Church’s obedience; in this sense he is servus servorum Dei. He does not make arbitrary decisions, but is spokesman for the will of the Lord, who speaks to man in the Scriptures lived and interpreted by Tradition; in other words, the episcope of the primacy has limits set by divine law and by the Church’s divine, inviolable constitution found in Revelation. The Successor of Peter is the rock which guarantees a rigorous fidelity to the Word of God against arbitrariness and conformism: hence the martyrological nature of his primacy.

8. The characteristics of exercising the primacy must be understood primarily on the basis of two fundamental premises: the unity of the episcopacy and the episcopal nature of the primacy itself. Since the episcopacy is “one and undivided” the primacy of the Pope implies the authority effectively to serve the unity of all the Bishops and all the faithful, and “is exercised on various levels, including vigilance over the handing down of the Word, the celebration of the liturgy and the sacraments, the Church’s mission, discipline and the Christian life” on these levels, by the will of Christ, everyone in the Church – Bishops and the other faithful – owe obedience to the Successor of Peter, who is also the guarantor of the legitimate diversity of rites, disciplines and ecclesiastical structures between East and West.

9. Given its episcopal nature, the primacy of the Bishop of Rome is first of all expressed in transmitting the Word of God; thus it includes a specific, particular responsibility for the mission of evangelization, since ecclesial communion is something essentially meant to be expanded: “Evangelization is the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity.” The Roman Pontiff’s episcopal responsibility for transmission of the Word of God also extends within the whole Church. As such, it is a supreme and universal magisterial office; it is an office that involves a charism: the Holy Spirit’s special assistance to the Successor of Peter, which also involves., in certain cases, the prerogative of infallibility. Just as “all the Churches are in full and visible communion, because all the Pastors are in communion with Peter and therefore united in Christ,” in the same way the Bishops are witnesses of divine and Catholic truth when they teach in communion with the Roman Pontiff.

10. Together with the magisterial role of the primacy, the mission of Peter’s Successor for the whole Church entails the right to perform acts of ecclesiastical governance necessary or suited to promoting and defending the unity of faith and communion; one of these, for example, is to give the mandate for the ordination of new Bishops, requiring that they make the profession of Catholic faith; to help everyone continue in the faith professed. Obviously, there are many other possible ways, more or less contingent, of carrying out this service of unity: to issue laws for the whole Church, to establish pastoral structures to serve various particular Churches, to give binding force to the decisions of Particular Councils, to approve supradiocesan religious institutes, etc. Since the power of the primacy is supreme, there is no other authority to which the Roman Pontiff must juridically answer for his exercise of the gift he has received: “prima sedes a nemine iudicatur.” This does not mean, however, that the Pope has absolute power. listening to what the Churches are saying is, in fact, an earmark of the ministry of unity, a consequence also of the unity of the Episcopal Body and of the sensus fidei of the entire People of God; and this bond seems to enjoy considerably greater power and certainty than the juridical authorities – an inadmissible hypothesis, moreover, because it is groundless – to which the Roman Pontiff would supposedly have to answer. The ultimate and absolute responsibility of the Pope is best guaranteed, on the one hand, by its relationship to Tradition and fraternal communion and, on the other, by trust in the assistance of the Holy Spirit who governs the Church.

11. The unity of the Church, which the ministry of Peter’s Successor serves in a unique way, reaches its highest expression in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, which is the centre and root of ecclesial communion; this communion is also necessarily based on the unity of the Episcopate. Therefore, “every celebration of the Eucharist is performed in union not only with the proper Bishop, but also with the Pope, with the episcopal order, with all the clergy, and with the entire people. Every valid celebration of the Eucharist expresses this universal communion with Peter and with the whole Church, or objectively calls for it,” as in the case of the Churches which are not in full communion with the Apostolic See.

12. “The pilgrim Church, in its sacraments and institutions, which belong to this age, carries the mark of this world which is passing.” For this reason too, the immutable nature of the primacy of Peter’s Successor has historically been expressed in different forms of exercise appropriate to the situation of a pilgrim Church in this changing world. The concrete contents of its exercise distinguish the Petrine ministry insofar as they faithfully express the application of its ultimate purpose (the unity of the Church) to the circumstances of time and place. The greater or lesser extent of these concrete contents will depend in every age on the necessitas Ecclesiae. The Holy Spirit helps the Church to recognize this necessity, and the Roman Pontiff, by listening to the Spirit’s voice in the Churches, looks for the answer and offers it when and how he considers it appropriate. Consequently, the nucleus of the doctrine of faith concerning the competencies of the primacy cannot be determined by looking for the least number of functions exercised historically. Therefore, the fact that a particular task has been carried out by the primacy in a certain era does not mean by itself that this task should necessarily be reserved always to the Roman Pontiff, and, vice versa, the mere fact that a particular role was not previously exercised by the Pope does not warrant the conclusion that this role could not in some way be exercised in the future as a competence of the primacy.

13. In any case, it is essential to state that discerning whether the possible ways of exercising the Petrine ministry correspond to its nature is a discernment to be made in Ecclesia, i.e., with the assistance of the Holy Spirit and in fraternal dialogue between the Roman Pontiff and the other Bishops, according to the Church’s concrete needs. But, at the same time, it is clear that only the Pope (or the Pope with an Ecumenical Council) has, as the Successor of Peter, the authority and the competence to say the last word on the ways to exercise his pastoral ministry in the universal Church.

14. In recalling these essential points of Catholic doctrine on the primacy of Peter’s Successor, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is certain that the authoritative reaffirmation of these doctrinal achievements offers greater clarity on the way to be followed. This reminder is also useful for avoiding the continual possibility of relapsing into biased and one-sided positions already rejected by the Church in the past (Febronianism, Gallicanism, ultramontanism, conciliarism, etc.). Above all, by seeing the ministry of the Servant of the servants of God as a great gift of divine mercy to the Church, we will all find with the grace of the Holy Spirit – the energy to live and faithfully maintain full and real union with the Roman Pontiff in the everyday life of the Church, in the way desired by Christ.

15. The full communion which the Lord desires among those who profess themselves his disciples calls for the common recognition of a universal ecclesial ministry “in which all the Bishops recognize that they are united in Christ and all the faithful find confirmation for their faith.” The Catholic Church professes that this ministry is the primatial ministry of the Roman Pontiff, Successor of Peter, and maintains humbly and firmly “that the communion of the particular Churches with the Church of Rome, and of their Bishops with the Bishop of Rome, is — in God’s plan — an essential requisite of full and visible communion.” Human errors and even serious failings can be found in the history of the papacy: Peter himself acknowledged he was a sinner. Peter, a weak man, was chosen as the rock precisely so that everyone could see that victory belongs to Christ alone and is not the result of human efforts. Down the ages the Lord has wished to put his treasure in fragile vessels: human frailty has thus become a sign of the truth of God’s promises. When and how will the much-desired goal of the unity of all Christians be reached? “How to obtain it? Through hope in the Spirit, who can banish from us the painful memories of our separation. The Spirit is able to grant us clear-sightedness, strength, and courage to take whatever steps are necessary, that our commitment may be ever more authentic.” We are all invited to trust in the Holy Spirit, to trust in Christ, by trusting in Peter.

91 thoughts on “An End to the Discussions on the Validity of Pope Francis

  1. I am looking forward to laying this topic to rest. Forevermore.

    I love the following paragraph, Charlie, for maintaining HOPE, for you remind us that this Passion time of the Church WILL pass. Too, your words keep us on course for what we CAN do. Living our faith with fidelity WILL bring a glorious healing.

    “Over the course of its 2000-year history, the Church has only had about two dozen Popes who were largely unworthy of their office. In every such age, the faithful managed to live their faith with fidelity or groups of Bishops (sometimes only small groups) raised resistance until, inevitably, the evil ran its course and accomplished what was intended through it and God gave better times. Often, in the aftermath of such controversies, the Bishops and the faithful were recollected to the supreme importance of fidelity – which they had forsaken for a time.”

    Bottom line:We CAN navigate these waters. Christ is with us. We can do this. We can!

    Liked by 9 people

    1. Thank you God, for putting this issue to rest! I had thought of proposing a separate thread to discuss the matter of Benedict vs Francis…. so I could easily not refer to it. I further thought to discontinuing my read here, as it has been a hinderance to my prayer. I have felt an uncomfortable feeling reading comments, notably of this issue.

      I have pondered: If you do not acknowledge Pope Francis as your Pope… then to whom do you receive the benefits (Sacraments) of the Church?

      – ?

      Thank you Charlie for ceasing this subject. I described my feelings in another posting, so I shall not repeat here.


      Liked by 9 people

      1. Ha! Sean, if you take a moratorium until Friday night, I will certainly understand…but we’ll just consider it “shore leave,” and I expect to see you back offering your usual worthy insights on Saturday!

        Liked by 4 people

        1. I didn’t know this was a Liberty cruise! I spent my shore leave emailing my Knights of Columbus and local Pastors on the following subject: Letter campaign to our local, County governments.

          Click to access Prolife-Putnam-Resolution.pdf

          Putnam County NY has passed a resolution condemning Gov. Cuomo of his latest pro abortion legislation. I have attached this document for your edification.

          May I request to send this document to your respective government representatives? I intend on drafting a letter of request to my local Town Supervisor and our County Administrator requesting a similar resolution to be proclaimed.

          One way of defeating this latest legal monstrosity is to announce our displeasure to our government representatives. I suggest one and all to contact their respective groups and affiliations to individually draft similar letters and mail via USPS.

          Liked by 4 people

      2. I was almost ready to go AWOL myself. It is so tendentios and for the most part boring. I’ll finish what is started here only. Will not be led down any garden off-topic paths. Am attending at the Cathedral the funeral of an old Pastor, Fr Cuneo. See you all later.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Great question, Sean. When I pray for an indulgence, I pray for the intentions of the Holy Father or the Supreme Pontiff and I trust that God knows Ubi est Petrus admitting all the while that in this singular time in history, I, unlike you, do not know.


  2. Well, the ex-Anglican priests in my RCIA group said prior to Pope Francis they were afraid of having to believe every word from an absolute Pontiff if they became Catholic…..and now that they understand a bit of how infallibility is limited and the reactions of us Catholics, they are much more comfortable and unafraid of the idea of a Pope.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Yes, Katicos, I think there may be great graces that come from rebuking the papolatry that has become so insistent in the last century. There are great graces to be had in the revealing of who the bad actors really are through much of the hierarchy – and they would have stayed hidden if we had had an orthodox Pope at this point in salvation history. I think God is accomplishing much to strengthen His Church…but because it is not in the sedate, holy ways we expected, we are too busy yelling to realize how much seed for good is being sown at this very moment.

      Liked by 13 people

      1. I am in complete agreement with you, Charlie. Thank you your observations give me much hope.


  3. Ditto to the first three comments. Any more detail from me is pretty much over my head.

    I’m focused on staying willing and thankful. Looking forward to the travel schedule and hoping it works for Charlie to visit eastern Iowa.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. The main reason I dislike Pope Francis’ reign is his abandonment of the Church in China. I pray for him to change his mind or to take steps to aid those he has placed in harm’s way. I pray that Jesus will forgive this grave error and shield the faithful from more misguided efforts to please men and not God. But pray for him I do. And I pray I may live to see his successor, whoever and whenever that may be, have the strength to lead the Church back between the pillars of devotion to the Virgin Mary and the Holy Eucharist. I pray that God is preparing him even now due to what he witnesses Francis doing and steeling him for the monumental task of restoring faith and trust in the holy institution.

    More Jesus and Mary. Less papal politics and pandering. But, yes, he is my Pope and will still have the benefit of my prayers out of respect for the Petrine office.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Beautifully articulated, Marisa, more Jesus and Mary and less politics and pandering. To be sure Francis has my prayers, but I am not morally certain with the evidence of BiP that the Papal Office needed to be filled.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you Charlie. for the work, and for your opening observation right below:

    “I am heartily dismayed that in the last week, we have gotten into a consuming argument on the validity of the election of Pope Francis. First, it is entirely contrary to the focus of this site. Second, the whole idea is based on a minority interpretation of canon law.” [DB BRAVO]

    If someone presents comment on the above Document written by Cardinal Ratzinger when Prefect of the CDF [at the request of Pope St. John Paul II] — “THE PRIMACY OF THE SUCCESSOR OF PETER IN THE MYSTERY OF THE CHURCH” — it will be reasonably expected that they read that document in its entirety – with some degree of care – and their questions will be related to its contents.

    POINTER: If you haven’t put some serious thought into the following passage by then, you will probably not understand or follow the discussion of Ambrose’ epigram, : ‘Where Peter is, there is the Church’.

    I was asked what it means? One clue is the following quote from the document:

    “In particular, the Catholic Church is well aware of the role of the apostolic sees in the early Church, especially those considered Petrine – Antioch and Alexandria – as reference-points of the Apostolic Tradition, AND AROUND WHICH THE PATRIARCHAL SYSTEM DEVELOPED; this system is one of the ways God’s Providence guides the Church and from the beginning it has included a relation to the Petrine tradition.”

    As adult Catholics – particularly at this time in Salvation History — it is reasonably expected of serious adult Catholics that they would be at least ‘basically’ familiar with the material in that Document.

    We can speak more of this tomorrow. And please, let’s keep the discussion centered on this teaching of the Church on the Office of Peter found therein. You will notice a painfully obvious lack of discussion of Canon Law in it.

    All my love in Christ


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  6. Question for Desmond Birch: I have long believed that the Holy Spirit chooses the succesor to St. Peter and that the Pope is a reflection of the will of God for the specific time period he reigns. One reason I believe this is that the apostles left the determination of a successor to Judas Iscariot, not to a ballot, but to drawing lots. Is this an inaccurate assessment of the Holy Spirit’s role in the election of a Pope?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I will let Desmond elaborate, but NO, that is NOT the teaching of the Church. The Holy Spirit offers inspiration in a special way to the Cardinals at a conclave – but they retain free will to embrace the Spirit or to follow their own ambitions. The Cardinals choose the Pope, not the Holy Spirit – though if the Cardinals are holy, they will benefit from the special inspiration the Holy Spirit makes available. After a Pope is selected, God gives him an anointing – and an extravagant abundance of graces are available to him. But the Pope, too, retains free will. He can accept those graces – or push forward on his own agenda.

      I must say, some of these things that are popular, but that I saw as little more than mystical superstitions delayed my consideration of the Church entirely. You have to take into account ALL of doctrine, and God is absolutely adamant in refusing to interfere with free will. He offers an extravagance of grace but it is up to each of us, high or low, to accept or reject it by our actions. It bothered me for a long time that many of my Catholic friends seemed to think that God didn’t really mean it about free will, as He was constantly taking the wheel and directly governing men’s affairs whatever their free will wanted. It seemed a very cheap grace to me – as I think we ALWAYS have to be reaching out to God. I was deeply relieved when I went into my period of extensive private study just after starting RCIA that however many of my Catholic friends believed such things, the Church, itself, did not.

      Liked by 10 people

      1. Thank you, Charlie. I agree with this regarding free will. In fact, I am a firm believer.
        I guess my question has more to do with the idea that the election of the Pope is according to the Holy Spirit’s will, and in the unfortunate case of those who resist His inspiration, His permitting will.

        “The ultimate and absolute responsibility of the Pope is best guaranteed, on the one hand, by its relationship to Tradition and fraternal communion and, on the other, by trust in the assistance of the Holy Spirit who governs the Church.” (cf. 10. above) While the election of the Pope may involve fallible people, the teaching on papal infallibility shows that the Holy Spirit is absolutely in control in matters of faith and morals. Thanks for the chance to hone in on the deeper question so if I may, Does the Holy Spirit direct the election of the Pope, either through His inspiration within the college of cardinals or, when He permits a bad choice for the greater good of His holy Church?

        Liked by 5 people

        1. Now that last line is a deeply insightful question, Marisa. Even when people intend and do evil, it advances God’s will despite their intentions. Now God never actively intends evil, but it is a profound question whether, confronted with a stiff-necked faithless people, He allows evil to prevail to, in essence, prepare the ground for the rising of good. Certainly the saying that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church intimates this.

          Liked by 8 people

          1. Amen, Marisa and Charlie. I think we cannot extract from this line of pondering the reality that from a long line of stiff-necked, faithless people came the priests from whom some became bishops and cardinals. We have noted here before that leaders reflect the people… and this includes the Church.

            We have a corrupt hierarchy – not totally, but certainly pervasively – and via the free will exerted in the conclave came a pope whose actions have perpetuated concerns of faithlessness. Think now of how you have conveyed, Charlie, that the response (personal conversion and enlistment into Our Lady’s Army with praying sacrificing troops) of those who returned to faithfulness has shortened the length – and, as God in His Mercy would do, most likely mitigated, in additional ways, the intensity – of the Storm.

            I dunno, looking at what God allowed in the most recent conclave in light of that reflection Desmond shared wherein he noted this current mess in which we find ourselves festered and expanded via centuries of faithlessness, it seems to me God left us to our own self-created misery – including the recent conclave – as if to say: How’s it working out for ya, Kids, when you spend centuries disdaining the Covenant I made with you?

            Liked by 6 people

            1. I am so grateful to be allowed to be part of this discussion as prickly as it is and as marginalized as it makes me feel. You are, all of you, very generous indeed.

              Here, Bekita, is something that I think you may agree with and as this thought goes to my moniker I think it also goes to the recent discussion about “settled science and settled religion” as well as the Rule of Law and the instruction from Jesus to let my “yes be yes and my no, no”. (I think it was with Sean Sullivan that I had this following discussion regarding my moniker.)

              Just as in the spectrum of Catholics there are so-called cafeteria Catholics so too in Islam, there are moderate Muslims. BUT when it comes to the teachings of Christ made in fullness in His Church–Catholicism is Catholicism. So too in Islam, it is what it is–Islam is Islam. Truth is Truth.

              And here is the thought with which you, Bekita, may agree: I wonder why it is that there is some ignominious connotation in the label “uber-arch conservative” or why there are any labels at all regarding Catholics? Catholic used to mean Catholic. It seems to me that at the point in time that labels–like elbows–started getting thrown about in the Church, it was a sign that the “smoke of satan” had entered Her and the insidiousness of Modernism slipping into the world and our culture could have been identified as that “something’s-not-right” feeling.

              Believe it or not I do not like to be the odd-man out and I truly care that so much ink is being needlessly spilled here. Once again I am eternally grateful to Charlie that he has allowed this window of time–distracting as it seems and may even end up being.

              I am not Jesus so please don’t take this next observation as if I’m saying that I am He. Perhaps the introduction of BiP into your midst is so unsettling and dismaying to many here at ASOH because like Jesus’ Incarnation, birth, life, death, and resurrection, BiP is not what you expected or have been seeking. However, I believe like me you all sincerely seek the Truth, that Pearl of Great Price. And as Charlie so recently reminded us, perhaps like grace Truth might be free but it’s not cheap. Perhaps the price in this instance is being dismayed and unsettled for a time.

              I agree with you, Bekita, that God draws good from everything all the time. It is His nature. His is also a nature of order not chaos. As Charlie also said recently (something to this effect), “He will bring fruits and He will rectify the mess we have.” I believe He will in His time and in His way; neither of which are mine.


              1. III, it’s been said and repeated here: the “unsettling and dismaying” aspect about the BiP topic is the distraction it’s become. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is just that: emeritus; Pope Francis is our validly elected Pope.

                The most disturbing aspect about the BiP push are these two realities as conveyed by Charlie:
                “The focus here is what we can do to build each other up and act to renew the culture. We do discuss, sometimes at length, particular problems, along with noting some possible solutions we think have potential. To note this movement – and that it has some credible supporters, would have been perfectly reasonable. Your insistence on it, though, sought to change the very focus and purpose of this site…” It will be refreshing to refocus.

                And: “…for this to be serious, it would have to be clear, compelling and indisputable that it was disqualifying. If only a matter of competing interpretations, the reality is it would (rightfully) be seen as an over-clever effort to rid the Church of an inconvenient Pope. Even those who advocate for it would know very well that it was NOT mounted out of love for rigorous application of procedure, but as a fig leaf over a political coup against an inconvenient Pope. Once that precedent is established, you have politicized canon law as a tool to be used as a cudgel against theological opponents. Open that Pandora’s box and you have created all sorts of new opportunities for the evil one to make mischief and attack the Church. Whenever an Orthodox Pope (as most of them are) is seated, every bad actor will be looking for technicalities and glitches to attack the legitimacy and, perhaps, bring down their enemies. I think your prescription just opens the door for a whole host of “Mueller Investigations” to distract from the key mission of the Church by dividing it into warring factions.” This a wise and significant insight, I do believe, and it points to how the BiP movement presents very serious dangers for the life of the Church.


                1. And here is the point of departure that seems to escape most everyone so far: BiP is not about whether or not Francis is a heretic or the conclave was dicy or even if there was forceful coercion motivating the resignation. As I told Doug today in a comment on the Grace is Free But not Cheap post, BiP is about the black-and-white words of the Declaratio from Feb 11, 2013 and the black-and-white words of Canon Law. <blockquoteYes, Doug, as confusing as it may seem, a second resignation that is in accord with the law would be valid. That is what I understand the evidence that experts in Latin and Canon law are indicating. This is the conclusion I understand they have reached through their study of the black-and-white evidence that is found in the words of the Declaratio and Canons 332.2, 126 (I believe), and 17. The possible invalidity is more apparent when the Latin texts are used. (Go figure, the translations of the Declaratio into the vernacular may have been somewhat ‘tweaked’ by the Vatican.)

                  The canonical apologia can be found here:

                  Correct me if I’m wrong, but your analogy about the sale of a house and the paperwork that goes along with it assumes that everyone doing the closing and transfer are on the up-and-up. Right? And that if there is a mistake, eventually the Rule of Law will apply IF the mistake is allowed to be made manifest. Correct? Everyone involved at the Vatican may not be on the up-and-up.

                  It will be refreshing to refocus. There may even be a slight tweak in your focus, but if you (individually and as a community) stiff-neckedly refuse to examine the evidence for BiP (not what you think BiP is), you may never know. To my mind that is in part what this interruption has been about.


                  1. Islam, now you are just repeating your same arguments in somewhat different words, convinced that people don’t understand them. Most people DO understand your arguments, but largely reject them. Most people have concurred that attempting to remove a Pope for ANY tendentious grounds is fraught with danger that they do not wish to go to. You think to ignore that by saying that you are not talking about removing a heretic, thus trying to refute an argument that, in the large sweep, no one is making. Even though I am keeping comments open on this until my re-post tomorrow morning, if all you have to offer is the same arguments re-packaged, not all your comments will be cleared. And please address yourself to the arguments people are actually making, rather than to the arguments you wish they would make so as to legitimize your advocacy.

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                    1. Here seems a deflection, Charlie, they aren’t my arguments. They are arguments being made by experts to whom I have given links for people to examine the for themselves if they choose. You are a force at your blog as is proper. By your permission this dialog is going forward. I thought that I was answering people’s questions as I know how to in the way that I understand the apologetics of BiP to run. I can’t help it if the necessary side effect of BiP would be the removal of either a Cdl Sarah-type Pope or a Francis-type pope. The removal of whatever-type pope is not the starting point of BiP. I’m sorry if this is redundant, but since the subject is BiP as far as I can tell I am answering people’s actual questions about BiP.


                    2. We are almost done, folks. The post I have to end it is in draft for final moderation and when it goes up, discussion on this subject is closed. Much earlier than I originally said, but I get that most of you are as weary and offended by it as I am. This is NOT our focus and will NOT become our focus.

                      Liked by 2 people

                2. I have changed my mind in one respect. Today is the only day we will have to beat this dead horse. Tomorrow I will repost a piece I ran very early last year to close this out. Once that piece is up, conversation on this subject is finished. Sadly, that doesn’t mean we will never find ourselves beating a dead horse again – but it does mean you will have to beguile me with a fresh corpse.

                  Beckita, I appreciated your earlier comment that I was being too harsh on myself. The thing is, if you are quick to shut down any dissent or anything that is off focus, you risk shutting down some otherwise sincere people who can and are willing – but struggle – to think out of their little box. (“The dwarves are for the dwarves” – read C.S. Lewis’ “The Last Battle” in the Narnia Series for that marvelous reference). On the other hand, when you indulge it for too long, it distracts the entire community’s attention, gets it focused on extraneous matters of little heft, and squanders their time. It, frankly, can be a tough balancing act. Yet, in the past few months, I have allowed this site to be hijacked twice for purposes contrary to our stated, clear purposes. I regard this as something of a sign from God that I need to tighten up a bit, while still not squashing those who may be sincere. I will work far more diligently to keep us on point from here on.

                  Liked by 3 people

                  1. I honor the balancing act, Charlie, and reaffirm my gratitude for how well you do it. We all get out of balance in some ways, at some times, and the beauty is that it’s not a permanent condition. So kudos for this discernment to shut down the discussion on this topic after today and to tighten up and keep us better focused.

                    Truly, there have been some wonderful gems of knowledge and insight which emerged from the past few days. Not to be lost is the need to nix any papolatry and continue praying, fasting and sacrificing for Pope Francis, the entire hierarchy and the return of all God’s people back to Him. Too, our TRUST in God must encompass the reality that we’ve gone through these cycles within the Church in the past and He has, again and again, intervened in wondrous ways when we completely rely on Him and do our part. He IS with us. We CAN do all things in Him Who strengthens us. We CAN continue to allow Him to shine His Light – through, with and in us – into the darkest darkness around us.

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            2. And yet just a few years before many of the same Cardinals elected Benedict whom most of us found more to our liking in the way of desiring to be orthodox. So how could things have gone south so soon? Dunno but I am more simple than my wife, who studies more theology in my family. I liked Benedict better, but trust God that Francis is valid and that God is able to work through imperfect instruments, myself included.

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              1. Bob, the object of BiP is not about whether I like a Pope or not. The object of BiP is about the Rule of Law. According to his renouncement speech on Feb 11, 2013 which he made in Latin, Pope Benedict renounced the Petrine Office–theministerium–and not the Papal Office–the munus. Something to compare this situation to is what happened when JPII was in a coma after the assassination attempt. Did JPII administer the Petrine Ministry? No, he was in a coma. Did JPII retain the Papal Office? Yes, he was in a coma not dead and he hadn’t resigned the munus as is specifically stated in Canon 332.2. This is some of the black-and-white evidence that theologians and canon lawyers have been examining. So it’s not about whether or not I like Benedict better than Francis. It’s about the law.


                1. Yet you said, yourself, earlier, that you would not even have noticed this had Cdl. Sarah been Pope. If you are only a devotee of the law when you think it will benefit your ideological position and ignore it when it won’t, you are not a devotee of the law at all. Ironic that you should use the rhetorical devices favored by the new left in order to accomplish what you think to be an orthodox position.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. But isn’t this what happens with EVERY marriage annulment that is successfully granted? If the marriage was a happy one, no one would generally notice that there was some impediment at the beginning that prevented it from being a valid marriage, such as “lack of form” or unknowingly being too closely related.

                    If the marriage goes bad, however, then these impediments may come to light and the marriage annulled. So, in this case, if Cardinal Sarah had become Pope, perhaps no one would have noticed the Canon Law issues. But the issue is still whether the Canon Law criticisms or whether JP II’s rules regarding the conclave were followed in order to have a valid resignation/election.

                    I am not saying that Benedict XVI is still the Pope, but I feel the questions deserve to be taken seriously. Practically speaking, though, unless a Cardinal or active Bishop forces the issue, then we have to presume that Francis is a valid Pope.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. That is an insightful thought, Dave. I think the difference in the two sacraments are dramatic, but be that as it may, if the College of Cardinals consents to the election, the election is valid. It is interesting to think, though, that what begins as a marriage that is deficient, may become a valid one by the conduct of the spouses in case of deficient intent. The parallel you have made is not exact, but it is insightful. If a significant group of elector Cardinals were to take this position, I would pay attention. Even so, my duty is to Acknowledge God, Take the Next Right Step and Be a Sign of Hope. I would still oppose it, for the new source of factionalism it could engender.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    2. Dave, others also think the evidence is worthy of examining. Keep in mind that there is the fact that some, like Professor Radaelli, DID in fact get the invalidity-according-to-the-law part of BiP and published his request to Benedict to rescind his Declaratio on February 18, 2013 before the free-will decisions by the Cardinal Electors at the possibly unnecessary conclave. I had no reason to be looking, but others were.


                  2. Again, Charlie but you seem to peg me as someone I am not. Also, the context of my remark about Cdl Sarah has been taken out of context and the main thrust of my point about BiP being examined by others according to the law revealing the enemies plan to fundamentally transform the papacy that Desmond and you are so beautifully instructing us about is lost in your attempt to paint me as an enemy leftist. Why? What is your motivation? I am asking you directly so that I do not assume. I noted at another time that one of the unsettling dynamics that sometimes seems to kick in at ASOH (as welcoming and truly magnanimous as it is here) is the Rene Girard/Gil Bailey pneumonic phenomenon of scapegoating. My message of BiP has been merely to ask you to look at the evidence and the topics that surround the issue of BiP. In all of the mountains of evidence that is out there, most of it does not even involve Francis and his reign. Aa mentioned before that is a distraction from BiP as well as a blessing.


                    1. I have looked at the evidence and found it wanting. Will you sometime figure that out? And I will NOT support trying to oust a Pope over technical deficiencies because I am out of sync with him. Period. People who are as single-mindedly determined to prove they are right rather than making their point and MOVING ON are about the only ones who find this site scapegoating, at times.

                      Liked by 2 people

              2. Bob, I am rather simple too. I do remember being at an Archdiocesan event hosted at the residence of then at Cardinal Francis shortly after the election of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. All the buzz and the rage in Chicago at the time was that Cardinal Ratzinger was too old for the what we (the Church) needed at the time and mostly likely would not live for many years after his appointment. When I asked Cardinal George about his thoughts on the matter, he said assuredly to all in attendance, in a nutshell, fear not, God is in charge.

                Trusting God in all things, sounds like a sound approach to all matters. 😉

                Liked by 6 people

          2. Thank you very much, Charlie. I will continue to ponder this and prepare my own “mea culpas” as we approach the Triduum. Might be an appropriate meditation for Spy Wednesday, too. As you have correctly said before, we are the ones who helped in the killing of our Lord, sometimes even with a two-faced kiss.

            Liked by 4 people

    2. Marisa, if you could convince me that Popes LIberius and Honorious were God’s first choice for Pope in their respective election/selection processes [which is highly unlikely] that might give me a moment’s pause. [But I have thought long and hard on this for approximately half a century – and come to the following conclusion – no, that isn’t intelligibly reasonable.]

      Let’s just think about this for a moment. God sent chastisement after chastisement at Pharoah – the purpose – to get him to ‘Let my people go’. Even when Pharaoh’s only son dies on the night that all the first born in Egypt were killed – even that doesn’t get through Pharaoh’s arrogance and stubborn pride. And that very fact is one key to our discussion.

      Now Saul who was a very arrogant and proud to be a Pharisee, was willing to murder Christians – because they would not bow to the Pharisaic rules of Judaism – and instead followed a man the Pharisees had arranged to be executed on a cross like a common crimina. According to the oral tradition, the one who a short time later held the cloaks of the men who stoned St. Stephen to death – that man was the Pharisee Saul [renamed Paul as a Christian].

      One miraculous Divine intervention/chastisement in Paul’s case – and Paul was open to conversion, and to reason.

      GOD DOES NOT SHUT DOWN THE ‘FREE WILL’ OF CARDINALS AT CONCLAVES FOR PAPAL ELECTIONS EITHER. He well may send them inclinations. He may even send them a pain ‘somewhere’ iF they are prejudiced against some good man.

      [A little humor may be in order: That’s what he did to the Philistines when they arrogantly seized the Arc of the Covenant. He gave their men “painful swellings in their secret places” – at least that is the delicate way Jerome referred to the painful condition God sent them. It was so bad the Philistine men could not sit down without big fluffy cushions. Yes, he sent them a painful intervention. But they still had their free.will]

      Meanwhile back in serious discussion: God NEVER EVER takes away free will. In Pharoah’s case he may have dried up the graces somewhat. But evil Pharoah was still free to choose to obey God or not.

      The Electors – likewise whether of good or bad will – remain ‘free’ to make up their mind.

      All my love in Christ


      Liked by 6 people

      1. Oh my, what a beautiful answer. I wish I had sent my refinement of my question sooner, to save you the trouble, but then we would all have missed this, humor and all. Forgive me if, like Abraham, I dare to ask yet further.
        And take your time because it’s after 1 AM in PA and I probably need to sleep on this anyway.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Desmond,

        “According to the oral tradition , the one who a short time later held the cloaks of the men who stoned St. Stephen to death – that man was the Pharisee Saul”. (Emphasis mine.)

        Actually, Scripture, not just the oral tradition, states that Paul watches over the cloaks of the men stoning Stephen:

        “Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him; and the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.” (Acts 7:58)

        “And when the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him.” (Acts 22:20)

        So while Saul may or may not have physically “held” these cloaks in his arms, Scripture clearly states that he was entrusted with safeguarding them.

        Now, it’s part of the oral (small “t”) tradition that Saul is thrown off of his horse on the road to Damascus. Scripture never mentions an animal although it’s not unreasonable to infer that he was riding a horse / mule / donkey.

        Thank you for your faithfulness to the Lord in all of the good work you do for Him and His people.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. There has been a long academic argument over this, i.e., was Saul actually our Paul. I’ve alwys thought it was abundantly clear. But a surprising number ave disagreed. That’s why I specified rhe ‘oral’

          Liked by 3 people

          1. Desmond,

            There are endless academic arguments over Scripture and many of the prevailing arguments of 20th century scripture scholarship that punctured a traditional understanding and seemed irrefutable are now being challenged by a new generation of faith-filled Scripture scholars like Scott Hahn, Brant Pitre, etc. The “Ignatius Study Bible” (with notes and commentary by Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch) sees Saul in Acts 2 as the man who becomes Paul. Sometimes the Scriptures say what they mean and mean what they say. On the other hand, there is exegesis in the New American Study Bible that relies heavily on 20th century scholarship that is clearly wrong. Benedict XVI cautioned us against Scripture scholars who proceed from a “hermeneutics of suspicion”. I’m curious to know what scholars raised the point that Saul was not Paul.


            Liked by 2 people

            1. I likewise see Saul in it. However, it is NOT absolute. The Church in Her official exegesis has never declared on this point – just as she has never declared as a matter of faith that Job either is or is not a real personality – rather than a metaphore. Ergo, when i discuss Job, I leave both interpretation open, as I do not have more authority than the Church.

              Liked by 3 people

              1. Desmond,

                What is the “official exegesis” of the Church”? Where does one find this “official exegesis”? Pope Benedict, the preeminent theologian of our time and an outstanding Scriptural exegete, sees Paul as “Saul of Tarsus”.

                In his General Audience of Oct. 25, 2006, Pope Benedict said:

                “The first of these, called by the Lord himself, by the Risen One, to be a true Apostle, is undoubtedly Paul of Tarsus. He shines like a star of the brightest magnitude in the Church’s history….Certainly, after Jesus, he is one of the originals of whom we have the most information…Luke tells us that his name originally was Saul (cf. Acts 7: 58; 8: 1), in Hebrew also Saul (cf. Acts 9: 14, 17; 22: 7, 13; 26: 14), like King Saul (cf. Acts 13: 21), and he was a Jew of the diaspora, since the city of Tarsus is situated between Anatolia and Syria.” There is no mention of a legend or of an apocryphal device used by Luke.

                Clearly, Pope Benedict does not see Saul of Tarsus as a mythic archetype like Job of the Old Testament. Pope Benedict compiled his general audience on Paul into a book entitled, “St. Paul”. In this book Benedict writes:

                “A Jew of the diaspora, [Paul] spoke Greek although his name was of Latin origin. Moreover, it derived by assonance from the original Jewish Saul / Saulos, and he was a Roman citizen.” Benedict sees Paul and Saul of Tarsus as the same person.

                Besides Benedict, we have outstanding Scripture scholars like Scott Hahn and N.T. Wright (a brilliant Anglican exegete) saying Paul was Saul. Most importantly Luke, one of the four Evangelists, who travelled with Paul and chronicled his exploits in the Acts of the Apostles telling us that the Paul is Saul of Tarsus.


                1. Frank, I think you are misunderstanding what I’ve said – have completely missed my point.

                  I never denied Saul of Tarsus was Paul the Apostle. Quite the contrary,

                  I simply said there is no Scriptural proof that they are one and the same. And Pope Benedict doesn’t say that in anything you quoted him on either – not that I saw.
                  [He would be free to believe it the same as I do – but neither of us can prove it from Scripture.]

                  Where did I say that Saul of Tarsus could be seen as a mythical archetype. You are implying that I did – and I clearly did not. Please do not attribute to me words or positions I have never stated.

                  The Book of Acts 7:58 says: “Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him; and the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.” that’s all Acts says about Saul.


                  IT DOESN’T – as anyone can plainly see.

                  Many Catholics believe that the Saul named in Acts 58 is the same Saul as ‘Saul of Tarsus’. So do I, and I can’t prove it. And neither can they.

                  But the Church has nowhere in official exegesis of Scripture stated that Catholics are bound to believe that the young Saul of Acts is the Saul of Tarsus who became Paul the Apostle. Nowhere.

                  You won’t even find it as a surmise in the Catechism.

                  I’m not telling you what you must believe on this issue. You appear to be trying to tell me what I must or am bound to believe. Neither one of us has the authority to tell the other what he must believe on this. Only the Church can do that.

                  Back to the main point: ABOVE YOU ARE TRYING THROUGH BENEDICT – TO PROVE WHAT I NEVER DENIED. In actual fact I confirme I privately believe — that Saul of Tarsus is the Saul in Acts 7:58. But I don’t believe it because Scripture says it – because Scripture doesn’t say it.

                  The question was whether Scripture tells us that the young Saul in Acts 7:58 ,is Saul of Tarsus. It doesn’t. And while Benedict probably believes it as I do – he doesn’t say Scripture says this. He doesn’t even appear to be addressing that issue in anything you quoted. Show me what I missed if he did.

                  Benedict simply identifies Saul of Tarsus with Paul the Apostle. Nowhere I’ve seen in what you quote does Benedict say that Acts’young Saul is the Saul of Tarsus who is the Apostle Paul. Even if he did, which he doesn’t, it would not be binding on Catholics.

                  I think this should be abundantly clear at this point.

                  All my love in Christ



                  1. Desmond,

                    I didn’t put words in your mouth. These are your words — “I likewise see Saul in it. However, it is NOT absolute. The Church in Her official exegesis has never declared on this point – just as she has never declared as a matter of faith that Job either is or is not a real personality – rather than a metaphore. Ergo, when i discuss Job, I leave both interpretation open, as I do not have more authority than the Church.” You yoked a historical figure (Paul) with a mythic figure (Paul) who is employed to teach theological lessons.


                    1. Frank, I think the two of you may be talking past each other. Desmond is not saying Saul of Tarsus is not definitively the Apostle Paul, only that it is not definitive that the young man named Saul named in Acts 7:58 is Saul of Tarsus. I suspect the two of you may be agreeing with each other vigorously. He most assuredly is not suggesting Saul of Tarsus is a mythological figure or even that the young man named Saul in question is – though his construction of the comparison is a bit ambiguous.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. What I said is pretty simple. Charlie understands and clearly explains it below. Acts 7:58 simply says a young man named Saul was involved in the stoning of St. Stephen. IT DOES NOT SAY THAT PARTICULAR SAUL IS SAUL OF TARSUS. It says no more about him that he was a young man. It doesn’t say where the young man was from. Ergo, it cannot be demonstrated from that passage in Acts that the young men named Saul in 7:58 is Saul of Tarsus. WE DON’T KNOW FROM ACTS WHERE THE YOUNG MAN WAS FROM. And neither Benedict in the quote you gave, nor I, say say any different. Reread Charlie’s response.

                      All my love in Christ


                      Liked by 1 person

                  2. A textual analysis of Acts says that Saul, Saul of Tarsus and Paul (also from Tarsus – Acts 22:3) are the one and the same man.

                    1 – “Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him; and the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.” (Acts 7:58)

                    2. – And Saul approved of their killing him.
                    That day a severe persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria. Devout men buried Stephen and made loud lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church by entering house after house; dragging off both men and women, he committed them to prison. (Acts 8:1-3)

                    2. Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. (Acts 9:1-5) The “meanwhile” and “still” in verse 1 means we’re still talking about the same Saul. Jesus instructs Saul to continue to Damascus.

                    3.) Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. (Acts 9:10-11)
                    Jesus says the man named Saul, the man watching the cloaks and who was ravaging the church was from Tarsus.

                    4.) “But Saul, also known as Paul” (Acts 13:9a) This is the first time Saul is called Paul

                    5.) “And when the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him.” (Acts 22:20) So Paul says he is “Saul” in Acts 7:58. And Jesus said Saul was from Tarsus. Again, Paul say he is from Tarsus, “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus…” (Acts 22:3)

                    6.) ““I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, educated strictly according to our ancestral law, being zealous for God, just as all of you are today. I persecuted this Way up to the point of death by binding both men and women and putting them in prison, as the high priest and the whole council of elders can testify about me. From them I also received letters to the brothers in Damascus, and I went there in order to bind those who were there and to bring them back to Jerusalem for punishment.

                    “While I was on my way and approaching Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone about me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ Then he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth[b] whom you are persecuting.’ Now those who were with me saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me. I asked, ‘What am I to do, Lord?’ The Lord said to me, ‘Get up and go to Damascus; there you will be told everything that has been assigned to you to do.’ Since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, those who were with me took my hand and led me to Damascus.

                    “A certain Ananias, who was a devout man according to the law and well spoken of by all the Jews living there, came to me; and standing beside me, he said, ‘Brother Saul, regain your sight!’ In that very hour I regained my sight and saw him. Then he said, ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear his own voice; for you will be his witness to all the world of what you have seen and heard. And now why do you delay? Get up, be baptized, and have your sins washed away, calling on his name.’ (Acts 22:3-16)

                    Scripture says that “Saul” is Saul of Tarsus and that Saul of Tarsus is Saint Paul.

                    This is my final reply on this subject. The a post below is one I had put up earlier.


            2. When I have some time, I will go through my library and find some of the texts which point out that we are not bound to hold that this personage is the Paul we know as the Apostle to the Gentiles.

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              1. Desmond,

                “Dei Verbum” Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation states that:

                “Holy Mother Church has firmly and with absolute constancy held, and continues to hold, that the four Gospels just named, whose historical character the Church unhesitatingly asserts, faithfully hand on what Jesus Christ, while living among men, really did and taught for their eternal salvation until the day He was taken up into heaven (see Acts 1:1).”

                “Besides the four Gospels, the canon of the New Testament also contains the epistles of St. Paul and other apostolic writings, composed under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, by which, according to the wise plan of God,those matters which concern Christ the Lord are confirmed, His true teaching is more and more fully stated, the saving power of the divine work of Christ is preached, the story is told of the beginnings of the Church and its marvelous growth, and its glorious fulfillment is foretold.”

                “Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” (Acts 9:1-6). Now this passage concerns Christ who says, “Saul, Saul”. Dei Verbum states that “those matters which concern Christ are confirmed”.

                Christ has chosen Saul to carry out the work that was long talked about in the Old Testament — to bring the Light to the Nations. Saul of Tarsus plays an essential part in Salvation History and his conversion foreshadows the conversion of the Nations. We learn about Paul primarily through Scripture and not through oral tradition. It is wrong to reduce Scripture into tradition, especially with a small “t”. The fact is that Saul / Paul is part of both Scripture and of Apostolic Tradition (Capital “T”).


      3. And I think God once sent hornets when He wanted Saul’s men to leave a certain cave? We have free will but certain things can change our minds. How, in my stupid humanness, I wish God would convince us to change our minds more often like that!!

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Some people are moved by hornets. Some men are not moved even at the cost of the life of their only son, or a plague of frogs or locusts, etc. Paul refers to this in the term, ‘The mystery of iniquity.’

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      4. Desmond, thank you for mentioning the role of grace and especially the grace of conversion in the case of Saul/Paul. What I have seen in this regard pertaining to BiP is that many Catholics (like Dr. Taylor Marshall) who either did or did not like Benedict for whatever reason and were eased by his orthodoxy have felt betrayed by what they view is his abandonment of them. For this reason, they focus on his earlier theology that tended toward Modernism and refuse to allow for his journey (free-will choice and conversion) away from Rahner’s positions. They seem to be satisfied to wallow in their perceived betrayal and this presents a stumbling block to their even looking at the evidence and discussion surrounding BiP. Of course this is only my observation.


  7. Disruptions, distractions, perturbations… clear signs of the evil one’s handiwork.

    Let’s take seriously that part of the Priestly Prayer in John 17:20-21. And keep in mind Jesus prayed it right before heading out for the garden, betrayal, arrest, etc.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Indeed, it is past due that we stop trying to define what God is, what Jesus is and what the Church is according to our own wishful thinking and focus on what God has revealed to us through His prophets and especially through Jesus Christ. the way the truth and the life. We are not in control and it is even sinful to try to influence thought and truth toward our own speculation without firm basis. I am heartened by Charlie and Desmond and many others who continually steer us back to the right direction. Indeed it is a distraction to continue to allow picking at the wounds of discontent and serves no good purpose. May the Holy Spirit continue to protect and guide us, that we be open to that guidance that we may be led to all holiness and truth. Watch and pray, pray and watch. TRUST in the Lord.

    Liked by 7 people

  9. Over the past months, as various commentators keep raising the idea that the election of Francis was somehow invalid, I have been tempted to at times to jump into the fray, at least to the point of spending valuable time reading, studying and thinking about the question. Each time I have had these inclinations, Charlie’s words about Francis being the validly elected Pope would come back to me. Charlie’s steadfast holding of his position on this point has helped me to form my present view of the situation and has helped me to stay on course when I was tempted to wander.

    My present thoughts on this are: 1. Francis is the truly elected Pope. 2. In terms of any discussion to the contrary, I have neither the education in cannon law or church history to resolve such a question. 3. There are other, much more immediate, things in my life that God is calling me to attend to.

    While questions concerning the whole Church are important, it is not right for me to spend time and mental/spiritual energy on things about which I have insufficient knowledge and information, which God has not placed within my sphere of responsibility, and which would get in the way of doing the things that God has called me to work on in the here and now.

    Over the past couple of days I have seen references to a recent poll which shows that, for the first time, there are in the United States, a greater per cent of people who do not believe in God, or who have no particular belief about God, than there are Catholics, or Evangelical Christians. The harvest is great but the workers are few. God is putting right in front of us the things that need to be done. We must try not to get distracted by issues and controversies which will keep us from the tasks at hand.

    My humble thoughts on this issue.

    Thank you Charlie and Desmond for your instruction and guidance.


    Liked by 10 people

    1. Thanks for the link, Maggie. I read the article last evening and was especially struck by Pope Emeritus Benedict’s closing remarks. I found his expression of gratitude to Pope Francis to be, also, an expression of hope that Pope Francis leads us ever more deeply in focusing on “the Light of God.”

      Noting that the Church today is and always has been made up of wheat and weeds, of “evil fish” and “good fish,” he says that to proclaim both “is not a false form of apologetics, but a necessary service to the Truth.”

      But the devil is identified in the Book of Revelation as “the accuser who accuses our brothers before God day and night” because he “wants to prove there are no righteous people.” Today, the accusation against God is “above all about disparaging His Church as bad in its entirety and thus dissuading us from it,” he says.

      But he stresses that, also today, the Church is “not just made up of bad fish and weeds,” but continues to be the “very instrument” through which God saves us.

      “It is very important to oppose the lies and half-truths of the devil with the whole truth,” Benedict says. “Yes, there is sin in the Church and evil. But even today there is the Holy Church, which is indestructible.”

      And he recalls the “many people who humbly believe, suffer and love, in whom the real God, the loving God, shows Himself to us,” as well as “His witnesses (martyres) in the world.”

      “We just have to be vigilant to see and hear them,” he says, adding that an “inertia of the heart” leads us to “not wish to recognize them” — but recognizing them is essential to evangelization, he says.

      Benedict closes by thanking Pope Francis “for everything he does to show us, again and again, the light of God, which has not disappeared, even today. Thank you, Holy Father!”

      Liked by 6 people

      1. This part of Benedict’s letter reminds me of Abp Jan Pawel Lenga’s open letter from Feb 2015 ( when he says what so many here at ASOH profoundly understand and try to live: “many people who humbly believe, suffer and love, in whom the real God, the loving God, shows Himself to us,” as well as “His witnesses (martyrs) in the world.” Like Charlie has said, “every last farthing will be paid”; there is no easy way out of the mess we’ve participated in and allowed to foment when we told God to leave and He left us to our own devices. I see Francis as part of God’s plan to reveal how bad things are. Everywhere. This is a blessing.


  10. If we prayed for Pope Francis as much as we argue and fret about him, things would straighten out a whole lot sooner.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. So true that praying for Pope Francis is key, Rose. Also true: when problems arise healthy dialogue ensues as it aids in understanding and acceptance of what is so that we respond with prayer – including the prayer of doing, fasting and all manner of sacrificing.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Lil’ Wild Rose.

      Screen names are one of those interesting little sidebars. Seems we all want to be understood to some degree and really has me pondering what’s in a name. Sometimes God sees fit to call someone by something new (e.g. – from Simon to Peter… Cephas… rock, from Saul of Tarsus to Paul… humble). Of course we have our given names that have meaning. I’ve never really lived up to mine, and I don’t always like the way some people call me by it… but I’m always consoled to hear my ma use it. Even when she’s mad at me, it’s still a loving hug from her at the heart of it.

      Simple is good. I like yours because it’s simple, but it’s also suggests a certain self awareness –– descriptive, expressive and hopeful. There’s this one: Doug. Is there anything less pretentious than that, and yet how much beautiful meaning that name has come to represent here over time. Crew Dog. Oh, community and loyalty… simple as that. I could go on, but have a habit calling up what’s close.

      Sometimes in marketing you hear talk of a “rebrand,” or at the very least a “brand refresh.” I don’t really want to compare that to God giving a name update, but there is a whiff of common ground there.

      Ah, we groan as one, awaiting the day where God calls us by our true names. Not even remotely sure how that will sound, or what it will truly mean, but hopefully it roughly translates thusly: “Here is the fella that overcame himself.”

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Lil’ Wild Rose is one of my very dearest friends. I say no more so as not to break her anonymity here – but boy, this woman is truly a saint in the making.

        On names, MP, a few years ago at a private breakfast for people who had organized a presentation from me, the local Mayor of the town floored me when he said, “I always knew that if a true prophet arose he would be called Charlie Johnston.” Everyone laughed and I asked how in heaven he had ever thought such a thing. Somewhat abashed he explained that he did not know an actual name, just that it would have to be a plain guy who used his regular name rather than, say, “Joseph of the Divine Spirit” or some other such pretentious stuff.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. Ha!. Upon introducing myself by my real name at one such event, followed by my abbreviated screen name for clarification, I recall a fella quipping, “ah, the squirrel guy!” And here I was going for the “potato salad guy.” Just don’t call me “Mikey,” and for Heaven’s sake, don’t anyone call Charlie by “Chuck.”

          Liked by 4 people

    3. Indeed, Lil’ Wild Rose. And not forgetting that when we pray the Rosary there’s a plenary indulgence attached (with other conditions) if the Pope’s intentions are included. The Enchiridion Indulgentiarum, 1968, has the details. Easily Google-able, and it’s in English too, not a mixture of Latin and Greek 😎 Not that there’s anything wrong with a mixture of Latin and Greek, of course, both lungs, and all that! Hagios o Theos, Sanctus Deus, as we’ll shortly be praying/singing in just one week’s time. Wow… only a week away. Blessed Holy Week to all. J.

      Liked by 3 people

  11. I guess if Jesus had appeared today instead of 2000 years ago, he might have chosen apostles who were gay, actors, environmentalists, communists, abortionists, scientists, politicians and the like!
    Since the church is made up of such as these today, it stands to reason that our prelates and Pope’s are influenced by and concerned with these people no less than Jesus was with His time periods “pack of sinners”.
    Having free will to be who we think we are/should be never trumps our responsibility as a Christian but it still colors it. But God judges the heart no matter how uninterpret it can seem to outsiders. Thank God for purgatory less none of us make it to heaven!

    Liked by 5 people

  12. I’m thinking that many here are “gettin’ wrapped around de axle” over matters of which we have limited understanding and near zero control.
    Just ’cause a Pope is valid does not guarantee a Good-One!
    Catholic Grade School Church History was all about Golden Light and Rose Colored Glasses. Ya have to go to “College Level” to “Get the Rest of the Story”.
    The Church has had Bad-Popes and many who just “Voted-Present” over the past 20 centuries. The history of The Vatican is just like any other center of power & wealth …. a place that attracts all manner of shysters, thieves, grifters and deviants…… a place full of intrigue, villainy, rumors and “unpleasantness”! ….. just like we be seein’ now ;-(

    Ecclesiastes 1:9-10
    “What is it that hath been? the same thing that shall be. What is it that hath been done? the same that shall be done. Nothing under the sun is new, neither is any man able to say: Behold this is new: for it hath already gone before in the ages that were before us”.

    Sooooo …. It’s JESUS, I TRUST IN YOU! ….. Pray!! ……. and stand ready in the night to protect loved ones, undo the damage caused by Bad Guys and rebuild Our Church …. AND Our Nation! …… Just like Good-Guys have always had to do…… or … Ya can cry: Woe is Me! … and sit in a depressed heap in some dark corner. Your choice.

    NEWS & MILINET: Article for Christians–11 April
    Benedict XVI Breaks His Silence on the Catholic Church’s Sex-Abuse Crisis

    French Priest Slain by Jihadists Moves Towards Sainthood

    The Bedrock of Friendship

    Depressed and Desperate: The Day I Called Dr. White

    The Reformation’s Legacy in the Birthplace of Calvinism

    Abe Lincoln’s Letter to His ‘Great and Good Friend,’ Pope Pius IX


    Instagram Bans Babylon Bee Founder’s Pro-Life Cartoon as ‘Hate Speech’

    Mike Pence: Pete Buttigieg ‘Knows Better’ than to Criticize my Christian Faith

    U.S. Extradites Julian Assange for ‘Conspiracy with Chelsea Manning in 2010’

    Barr Confronts Congressional Democrats

    Klein: ‘Tlaib Falsely Accuses Jews of Dual Loyalty’ — Wraps Herself in Flag of Palestinan Authority

    The Fake News ‘Surge’ in Hate Crimes

    Kim Foxx Plays The Race Card To Save Herself From Her Jussie Smollett Fiasco

    BUSTED: Mount Vernon Debunks Politico’s Fake News Story About Trump’s Visit To Washington’s Estate

    House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff May Be No More

    McConnell: We’re Seeing ‘Full Socialism on Display’ in the 2020 Dem Presidential Primaries

    Good Samaritan killed after picking up tabs at Waffle House

    New Migrant Caravan Sets Out in Honduras

    California Prosecutors: Michael Avenatti to be Indicted on 36 Counts

    On Point: Manila’s Beijing Bromance Wrecks on Pag-asa Island–Austin Bay

    China Is Closing the Innovation Gap: Report–Brandi Vincent

    Finnish government collapses…why it matters–Mike Huckabee

    Click to access FinnishGovtCollapeses-7.pdf

    Restoration of Holy Stairs Lets Visitors to Rome Follow in Pilgrims’ Knees
    US weekly jobless claims drop to the lowest level since 1969
    Feds bust $1.2 billion Medicare scam; doctors and medical executives among those charged
    Amazon Workers Are Listening to What You Tell Alexa
    Chuck Todd [MSNBC] Furious AG Barr to Investigate Alleged Spying On Trump Campaign
    Trump should resist giving up his tax returns with every bone in his body–Henry Olsen
    Attorney general says he believes ‘spying did occur’ in campaign probe of Trump associates
    Ex-Obama Counsel Expects to Be Charged Soon in Mueller-Related Case
    Oops: Maxine Waters grills banks on student loan crisis even though feds took over in 2010
    Trump to boost troop deployments at U.S. southern border again
    ‘Dangerous People Are Coming Here and the Good People Are Dying,’ Trump Warns in Texas Visit
    The Border Is Broken. And There’s No Plan to Fix It.
    ‘It’s not a baby’: Student says a baby born alive after a botched abortion should not receive medical care
    Instagram ‘star’ sobs in viral video at idea of having to get a real job after her account was deleted: ‘I am not work material!’


    Liked by 5 people

  13. I recently read the book called Bad Shepherds. It’s a look at history that makes (some of) our current crop of questionable clerics seem well-behaved and quaint. In certain perilous times there were perhaps more McCarricks than JPII’s. It discusses men, including Popes, that were somewhere between incompetent and evil. Some Popes were purely political appointments made by the emperor or some local politician or governor. Many were hereditary postings, like other kings of that period. One was possibly 18 years old. Some were guilty of various sins and crimes ranging from sexual misbehavior to bribery to murder. There were Cardinals who were laypeople the day before. Some were possibly 12 years old (or thereabouts). At one point over 80% of bishops were Arian heretics.

    There are a few main points made by the book or by my summary:

    *God is in control and the church survived despite some very, very bad leaders.
    *The Holy Spirit DOES NOT directly choose the Pope, but Permits
    *Popes have only VERY limited infallibility which does not include books, interviews or comments from the plane. Individual bishops have none. Those Bishops or priests who accuse us of sin or disloyalty when we disagree with the Pope on his politics or quotes or appointments can safely be ignored because they apparently don’t have a clue about church teaching or they don’t care.
    *Periods of terrible clerics were also periods of great sanctity among some laypeople, enough to save the church from collapse
    *The human side of the church (leadership) tends to closely mirror the culture of the day. Despite this, Church teaching and sacraments survive because God brings up enough holy priests/religious and laypeople to make sure it survives.
    *There are many holy priests/religious who should not be lumped into the same category as corrupt bishops and cardinals who seek power
    *The answer is to persevere and try to preserve and defend the church, and the evil will pass. *Abandoning ship is not the answer because eventually the ship will right itself and your new boat will sink.
    *Trying to claim the Pope is invalid is not helpful, it’s just shortsighted.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. At one point [359 A.D.] you could count the number of Bishops faithful to the Divinity of Jesus Christ, who were still in charge of a Diocese – on the fingers of less than two hands. That is no exaggeration.

      Liked by 4 people

  14. Yes—I can’t understand getting all twisted up about this issue. I can’t control anything that’s going on, but I believe I can impact our world by fidelity to the Church and prayer! I don’t know who is good, who is bad, I don’t know if Pope Francis is the legitimate Pope. There is nothing I can do about it if he isn’t. I am forever a Catholic, and whatever else is blowing up, I stay focused on Jesus Who brought us the true Church. I have always wanted to know the truth about everything, but I have given up worrying about it. The filth that has been unearthed initially blew me away, but now I just don’t freak out about anything. It’s a tough time, but an amazing time to be alive–so just hunker down!

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I’m not getting into the discussion about the validity of Pope Francis. I just have a little story to tell. Last summer, my sister-in-law brought me two rosaries from her trip to Rome and said I could pick one. I wanted both, of course(!), but chose the pretty white one. I didn’t really want it because it had Pope Francis’ face on it and I wasn’t a fan of his, yet felt attracted to it. For a long time, I wouldn’t use it and it always was in a tangle when in my pocket. After thinking about him a lot and praying for him, I started to use this rosary. The other night while praying before bed, I thought about Pope Francis and imagined him sad and wishing he were back ministering on the streets in Argentina. All of a sudden, I felt great compassion and love for him. Not that I agree with all of his ideas about the world’s issues, but my heart has softened towards him and for that I am grateful.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Believe it or not, I’m with you, Kim. I can look at the evidence for BiP and discern what if anything it means to me. I see myself as a small cog in God’s big picture and I am grateful to still be able to partake of the sacraments and call on the hosts of heaven in all my needs. May God bless you and yours in the tough time of hunkering down.


  15. Two things I wish Pope Francis would do:
    Continue to verify the benefits of Medjugorje.
    Unite the dates of Easter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just so you know, uniting the dates on which Easter is celebrated is not an administrative function, but a diplomatic one. The reason there are two dates are because, when the Orthodox split away from the Church in 1054 A.D., they came up with an alternate method of calculating when Easter should fall. There is the Catholic celebration of Easter and the Orthodox celebration. The Pope cannot command the Orthodox in this.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Although, in the 9th century, the “Celtic” Church had a similar dispute over the date of Easter, the matter being eventually resolved at the Synod of Whitby when the Roman practice was accepted. End of story, Roma locuta est.

        Some modern-day anti-Romanists over here continue to try to resurrect all that and use it for their own ends, to build their own ideas of an “independent” church (lower-case intentional). You can guess the sort of esprit du jour they also favour. Sad, but not new, despite their imaginings.

        Liked by 2 people

  16. “Even those who advocate for it would know very well that it was NOT mounted out of love for rigorous application of procedure, but as a fig leaf over a political coup against an inconvenient Pope. Once that precedent is established, you have politicized canon law as a tool to be used as a cudgel against theological opponents. Open that Pandora’s box and you have created all sorts of new opportunities for the evil one to make mischief and attack the Church.”

    Charlie, with respect, I guess that depends on whether you believe in objective reality. The evil one hates objective reality, being the Father of Lies and all that. We are called to seek reality by assenting to revealed truths and by acknowledging observable data through our rational intellect.

    Let’s set aside the entirety of canon law for a moment, and simply consider the observable facts. Benedict didn’t resign the Office, neither in the original Latin declaratio, nor in his spoken word as he delivered it in Latin (video easily searchable). Then he created a number of peculiar novelties specific to his “new role”, and even lied about some of them, e.g. “No other clothes were available.” He continues to be addressed as His Holiness and continues to do things that only popes do, like go by his papal name and impart his apostolic blessing. The situation is entirely unprecedented in the history of the Church. There is tremendous confusion, souls are at risk, and people are losing their faith over this (or rather, what has been born of this).

    But let’s go back to his not resigning the office, but only the active ministry. If that happened, which it did, or rather it’s what he tried to do, but the effect would be that he resigned none of it. Whether he intended to split the papacy, or he intended to retain the whole thing, the effect is the same. But we don’t even need to explore intent. He didn’t resign the office; that’s the ontological reality. Neither cardinals nor anyone else has the power/jurisdiction to “accept” a pope’s resignation. Their acceptance of it, or willingness to go along, has zero effect on ontological reality. And so, the conclave they convoked was invalid.

    Reality is not determined by popular vote, otherwise Arianism would be a matter of dogmatic certainty.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Here here, Charlie… I am a very simple minded person who cleans a mean toilette but know Pope Francis is our legitimate pope… plus I actually love him. I think I get him🤗

    Liked by 1 person

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