Hermeneutic of whatity?

Crux having a bit of fun: “Since Francis is in continuity with tradition, his critics aren’t”

Benedict XVI, in his latest book interview with Peter Seewald, admits himself that he was on the so-called “progressive” side during Vatican II, and the accusations of modernism and heresy against their side was abundant. He personally was accused of heresy after his article “New pagans and the Church,” and his bishop, Cardinal Joseph Wendel, wanted to block his appointment as a professor in Bonn for the same reason.

In the end, the biggest blessing probably is to have Benedict still alive and able to answer us himself. In his latest book-interview, Peter Seewald asks him: “So, you don’t see a rupture with your pontificate [in the pontificate of Francis]?”

Benedict responds: “No. I think that some places can be misinterpreted and… When some places are isolated, taken out, the oppositions can be constructed, but not if we look at the whole.

“There are maybe new accents, but no ruptures.”

~

Here we go again. The latest fad of the neo-modernist Frankapologists trotting out Ratzinger to claim legitimacy for the regime.

But I’m going to see if we can’t make this a teaching moment about how to read critically. The first thing to do is to remember to be intelligent readers., to look at this and ask questions.

I had a discussion with a friend the other day, another journalist of similar mind. She has concluded that “Ratzinger the conservative” was false all along. I replied that there are still a few logical possibilities, not excluding that someone is lying about what he’s saying (not Peter Seewald, whose journalistic integrity no one questions). This second thing is clearly at work here. Go ahead and scan through that article. How much of the text has quote marks? Not a lot.

The whole crew is now focused on one task:  to show that Francis is fine-just-fine and to discredit opposition. And because there are still a lot of people around in the “conservative” end of the Church who idolize Ratzinger, he’s going to get used a lot for this purpose.

I also know someone else who contacted Peter Seewald and asked him if this book, with its sanguine opinion of Francis, was written before or after Amoris Laetitia, and the answer was, “Well before.” So, take that for what it’s worth.

We could ask who the author of the piece is, maybe Google his name. We could ask why so much of the article is his own writing, paraphrasing what he thinks Ratzinger meant and said, and not direct quotes from the book. We could ask ourselves why we should believe his interpretation of it.

We could also make a careful note that the inflammatory headline is not included anywhere in the text, even by implication, from Benedict.

Whoever this Hrvoje Vargić character is, the headline was clearly from his little brain, and not from anything directly in the book. As we can  see from this bit of pinch-faced school-marm scolding in the last paragraph:

“Benedict rejecting accusations of a break under Francis is probably the best sign of continuity, and recognizing this is important. If we understand that Pope Francis is in line with tradition, then we can also understand that many of the ideologues attacking him are not.”

Hrvoje Vargić… Here he is talking a bunch of Francispeak to a meeting of the neo-Catholic organization the World Youth Alliance, a group started in the US as a “conservative” liaison with the UN that has since morphed into some kind of NGO/New Movement thing.

Is this really the best Crux can do? A 30-something “yoot leader” to scold us over our concerns? Really?

Anyway… whatever.

But let’s look for a moment at the underlying assumption here: that Ratzinger is a spokesman for the “conservative” wing of the Church, and consider that we still have a big problem of idolizing him. It’s time this stopped.

Taken it on its face, however, and putting this together with what the former pope has said and written in the past, we can safely say that the more fun “conspiratorial” theory – that someone is writing his lines for him – gets rather remote on the list of possibilities. Occam, and all that. It is entirely possible that the man we used to call Pope Benedict does think this.

So what?

No, really… so what?

We have to ask seriously whether there’s a chance we simply fell for the media’s interpretation of him, that he was “Ratzinger the Vatican II liberal, peritus of Frings” all along. I don’t know. Throughout that time, we were being told what a “conservative” he was, along with the secular media who hated him, by people with the kind of theology degrees held by the author of this Crux piece. Not what theology degrees were, let’s say.

I didn’t read his scholarly theology. I read a few of his popular works after 2005. Before that, I read some of his CDF documents on new reproductive technologies. I read book-length interviews with him. He sounded pretty good to me, I guess, when I was first working things out. But I’ve also talked to people with serious, classical theological training – the kind that’s hard to get these days – and they have always been warning that “Ratzinger the Rottweiler” of the media and the Ratzinger of academia are not the same.

Or maybe the distinction between “conservative” and “liberal” is being shown to have been essentially meaningless all along. He had better manners, was more cultured, more soft-spoken, more likeable than most of the other neo-modernists. He certainly would never spend his pontificate being the bulldozing wrecking ball his successor has been. We liked him more.

What is clear is that the things we think we know about Benedict’s thoughts are entirely and exclusively being filtered through other people. If Georg Ganswein wants to tell us what he thinks the former-pope is thinking about things, fine, but let’s not imagine it means we know anything more than what Georg Ganswein thinks

But I do know two things with moral certainty: his resignation, though perfectly valid, was the opening of the gates to the orcs who are now in control of the citadel. Whatever comes of this long-term – and I maintain that it is part of a great “clarification” if not a “great purification” willed by God – I reserve judgement yet on whether it was cowardice, stupidity or laziness or lack of concern or flat-out collusion. But whatever does come to light, I also know that the next person who starts drooling on about what a “courageous” act it was, is going to get the back of my hand upside the head.

The theory that Benedict is still pope is simply not borne out by the evidence, either in Canon Law, by the theology or by any other metric the Church runs on. In answer to the many people who have asked me, yes. Ive heard it. (And heard it and heard it and heard it…) I have done some research that didn’t involve looking things up on the internet or just deciding for myself after a single glance at the ’83 Code of Canon Law. I’ve consulted with theology and Canon law people who are not neo-modernists, not ill-trained and not remotely fond of either Benedict or Francis, and the answers I’ve had have been pretty firm and unanimous.

And no, there’s no “conspiracy of silence.” The reason no one serious is addressing it is because it isn’t a serious question. I think at some point, as things get worse, and more and more ordinary people come to think this, someone responsible is going to have to address it publicly, just so we don’t have to keep hearing about it. (And hearing about it… and hearing about it…)

So, for the question about why Benedict resigned, more evidence will, I’m sure, come to light in the coming years, but right now I’m not really all that interested. I think we have more immediate things to think about. Indulging in fantasy, wish-fulfillment, lazy and half-baked “research,” or facile (“easy”) conclusions, is not helpful. I think it’s rapidly becoming irrelevant why he resigned. He resigned. It was valid. He’s not the pope.

The resignation was a terrible, terrible idea. It was damaging. It was selfish and incredibly hubristic, but it was valid. He might be deluded by his nominalism into thinking he cam make up new things with the power of his brain, and the Church of our time so confused that we haven’t figured it out yet, but let’s give him at least one benefit of the doubt: the man is smart enough to know what the words “I resign the papacy” mean. Jorge Mario Bergoglio is the pope. It sucks. It seems on the face of it to be something close to catastrophic. But it’s true.

But this leads me to the other thing I know: that the time for idolizing Ratzinger is well past. It’s not nice to think about, but our love was apparently misplaced. And I’m going to be giving a sharp smack on the nose with a rolled-up copy of Amoris Laeitia to all those who are still mooning about the internet, droopily sighing over how much they “miss” him.

Double-smacks if they’re priests. We need you gentlemen to be adults. Men. And not sighing little fan-girls, crying into your shirley temples, mkay?

 

~

36 thoughts on “Hermeneutic of whatity?”

  1. Dr. Mabuse says:

    I think we were deceived by the media’s hatred of Ratzinger into imputing to him all the virtues that a true conservative pope would have had. Why did they hate him, really? Because he was on the wrong side of the sex question. He’s got a normal man’s revulsion for homo perversion, and a sane man’s distaste for looseness. In these days, that’s enough to make you Public Enemy No. 1 for the media, but it’s not enough to make you a conservative, let alone a traditionalist.

    He’s no longer “our beloved Pope Benedict XVI” as David Warren cloyingly keeps referring to him. We trusted him, and he sold the pass. May his name be erased.

  2. Mark says:

    Dear Miss White,

    Since this is the first time I post a reply in your blog, I think I should start by saying that I find that your writings contain the kind of clarity of mind that is sorely needed in the most populous sectors of our Chuch today.

    You bring up an interesting issue in this post, that of whther Ratzinger is a conservative (if by conservative we mean a friend of traditional Catholicism) or not. In this I find myself in agreement with your journalist friend for It seems to me that Ratzinger is a deeply divided man, a man with a liberal brain, a conservative heart and strong love for order and reason , and I believe it is precisely this inner conflict of his that can sometimes make it hard for us to see him as the liberal theologian that he has always been.

    Ratzinger fought a long, protracted fight to keep the Theology departments in German universities from sliding into irrelevancy, opting to frame the study of theology in the public perception as a living science rather than some old museum piece. During the process he came to view the Faith as the Hegelian synthesis to Catholicisim’s thesis and Modernity’s antithesis, and himself as sitting on the head of a pin so to speak where everyone wil meet him sooner or later.

    Now I’m no theologian myself and as such I’m only stating my opinion here, but I think you will find that Ratzinger fits the description of a modernist that Pope Pius X gives us in Pascendi Dominici Gregis as if it had been written with him in mind. Pope Pius X says:

    “5. To proceed in an orderly manner in this somewhat abstruse subject, it must first of all be noted that the Modernist sustains and includes within himself a manifold personality; he is a philosopher, a believer, a theologian, an historian, a critic, an apologist, a reformer. These roles must be clearly distinguished one from another by all who would accurately understand their system and thoroughly grasp the principles and the outcome of their doctrines.

    18. This will appear more clearly to anybody who studies the conduct of Modernists, which is in perfect harmony with their teachings. In their writings and addresses they seem not unfrequently to advocate doctrines which are contrary one to the other, so that one would be disposed to regard their attitude as double and doubtful. But this is done deliberately and advisedly, and the reason of it is to be found in their opinion as to the mutual separation of science and faith. Thus in their books one finds some things which might well be approved by a Catholic, but on turning over the page one is confronted by other things which might well have been dictated by a rationalist. When they write history they make no mention of the divinity of Christ, but when they are in the pulpit they profess it clearly; again, when they are dealing with history they take no account of the Fathers and the Councils, but when they catechize the people, they cite them respectfully. In the same way they draw their distinctions between exegesis which is theological and pastoral and exegesis which is scientific and historical. So, too, when they treat of philosophy, history, and criticism, acting on the principle that science in no way depends upon faith, they feel no especial horror in treading in the footsteps of Luther11 and are wont to display a manifold contempt for Catholic doctrines, for the Holy Fathers, for the Ecumenical Councils, for the ecclesiastical magisterium; and should they be taken to task for this, they complain that they are being deprived of their liberty. Lastly, maintaining the theory that faith must be subject to science, they continuously and openly rebuke the Church on the ground that she resolutely refuses to submit and accommodate her dogmas to the opinions of philosophy; while they, on their side, having for this purpose blotted out the old theology, endeavor to introduce a new theology which shall support the aberrations of philosophers.

    Let us see how the Modernist conducts his apologetics. The aim he sets before himself is to make one who is still without faith attain that experience of the Catholic religion which, according to the system, is the sole basis of faith. There are two ways open to him, the objective and the subjective. The first of them starts from agnosticism. It tends to show that religion, and especially the Catholic religion, is endowed with such vitality as to compel every psychologist and historian of good faith to recognize that its history hides some element of the unknown. To this end it is necessary to prove that the Catholic religion, as it exists today, is that which was founded by Jesus Christ; that is to say, that it is nothing else than the progressive development of the germ which He brought into the world….”

    Now consider the words of Ratzinger hismself:

    “Among the more obvious phenomena of the last years must be counted the increasing number of integralist groups in which the desire for piety, for the sense of mystery, is finding satisfaction. We must be on our guard against minimizing these movements. Without a doubt, they represent a sectarian zealotry that is the antithesis of Catholicity. We cannot resist them too firmly.” (Joseph Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology, pp. 389-390)

    Or

    “I myself saw, in the years after 1988, how the return of communities which had been separated from Rome changed their interior attitudes; I saw how returning to the bigger and broader Church enabled them to move beyond one-sided positions and broke down rigidity so that positive energies could emerge for the whole.” (March 10, 2009’s Letter to the World’s Bishops regarding the SSPX)

  3. somewhat confused says:

    Regarding Ratzinger’s pretended papal participation: He, who was Pope, does not think he is pretending. Francis, the current Pope (Lord, save your people!) says nothing against Ratzinger’s pretentions. Neither does the College of Cardinals, any of the bishops, or the overwhelming majority of Catholics. Yet you claim that the Holy Pontiff Benedict proclaimed error when he made up all these “I’m kinda, sorta still some kind of Pope” rules. He is a Pope, he said so. Who are you,who is anyone to claim otherwise? Don’t quote history to me, because that is what is is – history, abrogated by the Holy Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ on earth. Don’t use logic either, because the ending of the last pontificate, and all of the current one have trashed that particular arguement. It’s Pure Papal Positivism from now on. 2+2=5! We have always been at war with Eastasia. We LOVE Big Brother.

    By the way, Long Live Frederick Barbarossa! (At least he cared enough to send his very best to Rome, then died a Crusader)

  4. Iohannes Antemuralis says:

    Antigon,

    It is of course an easy but false rhetorical loophole for you to dismiss my arguments as if they are no arguments at all. I am not sure what you expect of yours truly. A complete theological treatise on the Roman Papacy, crammed up into this commentary thread on a blog?

    Regarding Joseph Ratzinger’s pretended “participation” in the papal office: He has an erroneous view on the Petrine Ministry where he thinks he can somehow participate in the office, even though its present incumbent is Francis. There can only be one valid Pope of Rome, and therefore these assertions of a “contemplative” and an “active” department within the same Papacy, each occupied by a distinct person, are completely false. They are basically a product of the same non-thomistic pseudophilosophy that has made Father Spadaro utter with a straight face that 2 + 2 can supposedly be 5. “Yesterday, I said that the Papacy can only be occupied by one person. Today, I say that it can be occupied by two. But in essence, nothing has changed in my position; there has simply been development in continuity!” No, there is no continuity between the two statements; they are mutually exclusive.

    Since when does a theologically erroneous position somehow make you stay the Roman Pontiff after abdication? My point still stands: Even if his abdication was invalid in origine, then it has nevertheless acquired validity due to the total lack of subsequent open resistance from Ratzinger himself and the Episcopate, and on the moment when the whole Church received Pope Francis as the Successor of Peter, he was without the shadow of a doubt the visible and rightful head of the Church Catholic.

    Indeed, the universal Church, including Joseph Ratzinger, prays – “una cum famulo tuo Francisco Papa nostro” – during the Mass, declaring before the Sacrosanct Mysteries of the Altar that he is Peter, and upon this rock His Divine Majesty has built His Church. By giving prolonged public obeissance to Francis in word and deed, you implicitly declare as a priest that you insert his papal name into the Canon, and Ratzinger has repeatedly made such public acts of obeissance. When there is no episcopal controversy at all, by which I mean a significant amount of bishops openly and categorically rejecting the legitimacy of a pope, there can be no doubt about the legitimacy of that pope (since it is a dogmatic fact). It is meant to be easily discerned, because the universal Church cannot adhere to a false pope, which is a false rule of faith, a true Pope of Rome being the truthful proximate rule of faith (if Pope Francis will proclaim a dogma, with the manifest intention in his language to do this in a binding and definitive way, he will be guaranteed infallibility – if Joseph Ratzinger does so, he will lack this guarantee, because he is not the head of the Church).

    Permit me to add a reflection. If you would have lived in the Middle Ages, perhaps you would not have been so easily inclined to reject the pope that the complete Episcopate has received. Imagine if you were the Sacrum Romanum Imperator, and you would zealously hold Ratzinger to be the Pope; to be consequential with your position, you would have to gather your imperial army, lay siege at Rome to forcibly remove Francis from the Apostolic See, and place Ratzinger on the throne again. Would you take schismatical illusions to the point where you become Barbarossa the Second?

    My heartfelt hope for you and people who think like you, is that you abandon these dangerous rêveries, and that you contribute to the formation of a unified political force of Catholics on an international scale to combat and overthrow liberalism in the Vatican State, and subsequently in all other states across the world. This would be a much more fruitful endeavour than that of departing from Catholic unity by placing a threefold crown upon the silver haired head of a man who is no longer in possession of the right to wear it. The so-called “PedoGate”* seems to be on the verge of blowing up into the face of the globalist machine that is keeping peoples and tribes enslaved, the European Union (Eurosoviet of Commissar Juncker) is about to fall apart, threatened as it is by multiple impending elections and a resistant Visegrad Group, and we could ask the question of whether and to what degree Steven Bannon, top strategist of President Trump, is willing to help Catholic Christians in their combat to restore order. The globalist ruling networks are becoming increasingly isolated, and it is high time for a reconquista!

    * I confirm to you that the satanist-pederast networks, operating from the summits of political power, are real. Years ago, I had conversed with a victim of that filth who had been abducted by her own school teacher in England as a child with other children. Children are being tormented, violated and murdered by pederasts in satanic rituals, and the police are complicit in covering it up. The filth must be crushed mercilessly by an assertive, resurgent Christendom, wielding its cruciform sword against the enemies of God. There is no time to lose.

  5. Hilary White says:

    Or alternatively you could just make my point for me. That’d be OK too…

  6. Antigon says:

    Beloved Miss White: Surely me points are clear enough; among them, the use of fatuous epithets dalle Bergoglionisti partisans, as a means of avoiding evidence.

  7. Hilary White says:

    Antigon,

    A little less pomposity and we might be able to understand the point you’re making.

  8. Antigon says:

    M. Antemuralis: You argue that despite Pope Benedict XVI holding he has ‘not abandoned the Office of Peter’ & is still exercising his ‘Petrine Ministry” even while partially resigning it means he has abandoned that office & is no longer, as he says, exercising it – a position Miss White apparently shares, tho t’would be interesting to see how she applies His Holiness’s views to the principle of non-contradiction she otherwise justly & regularly lauds.
    *
    And like pretty much everyone who thinks the abdication valid you mostly seem to think simply asserting such is an argument, you actually did make one actual argument, to wit, ‘it is impossible that the witness of the whole Teaching Church can be mistaken on the identity of her visible head on earth. That is a principle of Catholic theology.’
    *
    To repeat, it’s an argument, if one I’d propose refuted by mine own above. Should you choose honestly to address that refutation I would be gratified; tho I hope you’ll forgive me for fearing you’ll be tempted to follow the standard ‘valid abdicators’ (if I may) insecure practice of fleeing evidence the abdication was invalid with but empty if bellicose assertions.

  9. Antigon says:

    As regards Miss White’s quoted friend in her response to Adelmar, fair enough as far as it goes; but it doesn’t go far enough, precisely due to both to the particular & limited authority of the Pope. As regards the limitations, a Pope is not free to declare, par example, four persons constituting the one God – nor, it seems fair to propose, that there can be 20 or a thousand, or 6 billion living Pontiffs, nor even two.
    *
    As to Papal supremacy, tho, consider this far from impossible scenario: a Pope blackmailed into resigning (a threat of some mass atrocity say), which he publicly does, while holding in pectore with his plenipotentiary authority as pope, that in fact he still is the Pope. In that case, which holds?: the popular understanding – that of ‘the Church’ according to Miss White’s friend’s above argument – or that of the Pope with his authority independent of & according Vatican I superior to whatever the popular understanding might be. This is the scenario Sisco & co. have yet to address.
    *
    Until that question is settled, a Catholic is free & not impossibly obliged to hold what is in fact surely the case; that not whom everybody thinks is the Pope, but instead the in pectore Pontiff is in reality the real one, his authority being greater – being in fact the position of the Church – independent of even a universal belief to the contrary.
    *
    The parallel to the present case should be obvious. Benedict XVI, according his personal secretary Archbishop Ganswein during a lecture at no less than the Gregorian about the Ratzinger ‘abdication’ – & clinging to the pathetic reed that Ganswein just made all this up & that Ratzinger hasn’t denied it because he’s being hidden in Veronica Lueken’s basement doth truly merit all the respect it deserves – presents Benedict’s view that he only partially resigned the Papacy, & in fact, to quote Ganswein ‘has not abandoned the Office of Peter.’
    *
    You may accordingly argue or like Benedict mistakenly believe there can be 10,000 or 10 million – or two – living men holding the Office of Peter: but since that won’t hold, it remains that – like our in pectore Pope – Benedict XVI has, as his personal secretary for many years notes, ‘not abandoned the Office of Peter’; & accordingly remains via his Petrine plenipotentiary power – despite his error in thinking he had the freedom to allow for lots of living Popes, & despite what the world thinks due to His Holiness’s error, & in flat repudiation of the otherwise legitimate argument Miss White’s friend (& Sisco & others) propose – the sole reigning Pontiff of the Catholic Faith.
    *
    And that Bergoglio is but a wretched antipope, not to say arguably the most wretched of that unhappy breed.
    *
    If there is an argument refuting the above, please present it. The one Miss White’s friend proposes was an effort, doubtless an honest one; but not a successful one.
    *
    Meantime louiseyvette, have located but not yet listened to Fr. Hesse’s perspectives, but will.

  10. Ademar says:

    J.M.J.

    Dear Miss White,

    Thank you for your reply overall, and thank you for intending to bring the subject
    up in an interview with a qualified person for the sake of dispelling confusion about the
    matter!

    God bless you!

  11. louiseyvette says:

    @Antigon.

    Fr. Hesse on the indefectibility of the Church, on Youtube, is worth looking up, in this matter.

  12. Hilary White says:

    Ademar,

    Some friends in another venue were discussing some things related to this today, and I can offer some general notes on their conversation, regarding the papal document Universi Dominici Gregis that outlines how conclaves are supposed to go. Since quite a lot of the questions have revolved around the so-called St. Gallen group’s activities at the Conclave, this came up. I offer it not as a direct response to your issues per se, but as an example of how all the issues are nothing like as simple, as cut and dried as many of us would think.

    ~
    Q – Since this document specifies that those Cardinals who lobby or are lobbied are excommunicated “latae sententiae,” they are thus not part of the Church and not eligible for electing or being elected as pope. Further, since this activity would likely be carried out discretely and secretly, it therefore seems possible that somebody could be elected Pope, whom everybody thinks is the Pope, that the Church treats as the Pope, but is in fact, not the Pope. That at least this possibility exists.

    ~

    A – [The response came from a friend of mine – a Traditionalist – with advanced degrees in the theology of the papacy]:

    There are different kinds of excommunication, not all of which separate you completely from the Church. It is generally agreed by theologians that the most serious grade of excommunication does not exist in the current Code, so those excommunicated would not be absolutely severed from the Church.

    There are other canonical issues here as well; I’d have to check the Code to comment further.

    On a theological level, the question of who is the visible head of the Church on earth — that is, who is the legitimate Pope — is considered a “dogmatic fact.” About such facts, the whole Church cannot be mistaken.

    (This is separate from the question of legitimate confusion about which of multiple claimants to the papacy is the legitimate pontiff, which is not the case today, since Ratzinger is not making this claim, has in fact roundly and repeatedly refuted it.)

    If, then, the whole Church, with at least moral unananimity, recognizes a man as the Supreme Pontiff, the whole Church cannot be wrong. If there should be something problematic with the election, even something invalidating, theologians have argued that the principle of Ecclesia supplet applies.

    The reasons for this explanation are two-fold: first, as a conclusion drawn from theological principles; and second, as an explanation for the historical fact that some men have been recognized by the Church as legitimate pontiffs, despite known problems with their election.

    Traditionally, then, theologians would say that the idea that the whole Church could be positively mistaken about who is the Pope, is not a possibility.

    [end of quote]

    ~
    [Hilary again] … This is really becoming such a problem – many people thinking this without it being sensibly and substantially addressed, the questions answered reasonably by qualified persons – that I may ask someone to take it up in an interview or something when I get back next week. Ordinary faithful, with legitimate and understandable questions have a right to answers. I’ll be getting back to this.

  13. Charles says:

    Francis, in a suit minus collar, is pictured with his mentor Karl Rahner who was a leading Modernist intellectual, and a major architect of the obfuscatory language of V2 council. Benedict XVI, admired Tielhard de Chardin. He was an intellectual. anti-Thomist, whose obtuse verbage never results in anything approaching clarity. Perhaps he had some seconds thoughts after the wreckage of V2 reached its full putrid blossom. Is he still Pope ? An open question. The alternative is difficult to wrap my head around.

  14. Ademar says:

    J.M.J.

    Dear Miss White,

    For once, I have to respectfully disagree with you.

    You claim to be morally certain that Francis is validly elected.

    I claim the contrary with moral certainty (and have since almost the beginning). The reasoning is:
    a.) Because a pope is elected, not ordained, and can in addition resign without a papal trace (e.g. St. Celestine V),
    the Papacy is merely a charism, not an indelible mark like holy orders.
    b.) Our Lord meant for there to be only one man as Pope at a time — i.e., the charism of the papacy can only rest on
    one man at a time.
    c.) Pope Benedict XVI resigned in words, but not in actions (still having white garb & papal coat of arms, being addressed
    by “Your Holiness” and by his papal name, etc.), thus he has not resigned (There is more than a papal trace here!),
    and thus the papal charism remains upon him.
    d.) With the papal charism still upon Benedict XVI, the man Francis Bergoglio is not Pope, and would not be even if he were
    the greatest of saints.

    Because moral certainty is not absolute certainty, and these being apocalyptically confusing times, I am open to — and honestly seeking, if possible — correction.

    Our Lady of Fatima, ora pro nobis!!

  15. Sursum corda says:

    The suit and tie says it all.

  16. Iohannes Antemuralis says:

    Pope Francis is most certainly the Roman Pontiff. Whatever pressure had been exerted on Benedict surrounding his abdication, he remained silent (willingly or under force) from the day he announced it unto the beginning of the conclave. It is necessary for the Church to know whether her head is still her head or not, and in the days of the Roman persecutions the Clergy of Rome could rightfully elect a new pope when the previous one disappeared into imprisonment, and the Church was unaware whether he was still alive or not. The case with Benedict XVI was similar, even though it was known that he was still alive. In that month which preceded the rise of the Argentinean, it was clear that the circumstances of Benedict’s abdication were highly suspect, but there was not much concrete knowledge available to the public, so the universal Church received Francis as her head. Indeed, if any cardinals were aware of any elements that rendered the abdication invalid, they should have publically declared it from the beginning; but no such thing has taken place.

    On the moment when the whole Episcopate received Francis as the Roman Pontiff, the latter was doubtlessly the Pope, for it is impossible that the witness of the whole Teaching Church can be mistaken on the identity of her visible head on earth. That is a principle of Catholic theology, despite the fact that some people try to circumvent it to justify their rejection of Francis’ authority.

    Catholics must stop wasting their time with illusions that are objectively schismatical, such as the one which proposes that Joseph Ratzinger is still the Pope of Rome, and address the earth shattering reality of a subversive on the See of Peter who abuses his legitimacy to uproot the divine faith of our Master in Heaven. It is imperative to strive towards convincing the princes of the Church to initiate the process that leads to the vacating of the Holy See if Pope Francis will refuse distancing himself from heresy. We need to restore Christian monarchy and feudalism in Europe, Miss. White, and such a counter-revolution must necessarily be preceded by a restoration of order within the Vatican. The signs of the times clearly indicate that God is destroying the power of Judeo-Masonry over the West, and the insane discourse and policies of Pope Francis – disastrous as they are – bring about a polarisation in such a way as to bring nearer the prospects of an anti-liberalist pope succeeding him. I believe that the Immaculate Heart of Mary will triumph soon; the near future belongs to Catholic orthodoxy.

    The young generations that have emerged from the abyss that the ’68 revolutionaries have forged with the impure fires of hell, have been quietly and gradually forming themselves into a crusader youth, utterly disgusted with the nihilist and epicurean legacy of those that have preceded them.

    We will destroy liberalist democracy, treading it underfoot. The boots of Catholic Christian militancy will trample upon the ruins of the Revolution. This process will be invincible, because God is with us. Deus lo vult!

  17. Evangeline says:

    I thought his resignation had something to do with fragility or weakness, when four years later it sounds like all he needed was a good vacation. It’s impossible to sort out for sure, but his actions affected us all so much, it matters, we have a right to speculate.
    I remember thinking of him as “God’s Rottweiler”, and he must have done something that gave the impression he was a traditionalist, previously known as, Catholic. That was the impression for many a year actually. I don’t think he can easily be figured out, after all, he did give us Summorum Pontificum. Without that, the rite would have been vaporized by now. But something was or went wrong with him or the pontificate. He’s not the pope. I’m sure of that as well. We hoped and needed a man with the drive and tenacity of Donald Trump, to clean things up, and we got Lindsay Graham. Now we have Barack Obama.
    For him to be as sharp as he apparently is, yet say there has been no departure from what came before Francis, is maddening. If he can sit there and say that, why are we waiting at all for Cardinals to defend Catholicism, these men are hopeless. All indications are, these men are too far gone, too comfy, too spoiled, to take a chance on messing up their good gig. That statement could not be less true. How stupid do these men believe we are!
    That being said, the Cardinals need to stop wearing the Cardinal red. It is now annoying to see them wearing the color of the blood of martyrs. They aren’t worthy of it. I don’t care what Benedict wears, he can wear anything he wants, he can wear plaid for all I care. He’s irrelevant. We have an active destroyer to worry about.

  18. Margaret says:

    To Warren:

    You’re cute.

    Margaret

  19. Mike says:

    Not playing fair. B16 often said the papacy wasn’t an autocracy.

  20. Antigon says:

    While you & others assert (& assert & assert) that Ratzinger’s abdication is valid, the estimable Ann Barnhardt instead of mere assertion provides QED evidence that it wasn’t valid. Not unlike Bergoglioans response to the dubia, none of you refute or even address her evidence, but rather like Spadaro after an especially satisfying fart, refuse to by pretending that assertion & sneers are sufficient.
    *
    This fleeing from that evidence like a Bergoglioan from a reverent Mass isn’t the conclusive part of its strength; but surely buttresses what Barnhardt & Canon 188 do make conclusive, that pathetic a one as he may be, Benedict XVI remains the sole reigning Pontiff of the Catholic Faith, & that Bergoglio is but an antipope.

  21. Karl says:

    What matters to me about RAT ZINGER is that he supports the brother and sister accommodation that makes a mockery of marital promises and obligations.

    If God agrees with him, than I would rather spend eternity separate from such a monstrous being.

  22. Barbara says:

    Sorry, I got lost in the picture of this priest with no collar. That did it for me. All the rest is hooey from a priest who has lost the Catholic Faith.

  23. louiseyvette says:

    “Hermeneutic of whatity?”

    Heh!

    “But I’m going to see if we can’t make this a teaching moment about how to read critically. The first thing to do is to remember to be intelligent readers., to look at this and ask questions. I had a discussion with a friend the other day, another journalist of similar mind. She has concluded that “Ratzinger the conservative” was false all along. I replied that there are still a few logical possibilities, not excluding that someone is lying about what he’s saying (not Peter Seewald, whose journalistic integrity no one questions). This second thing is clearly at work here. Go ahead and scan through that article. How much of the text has quote marks? Not a lot.”

    This is a good use of a bad situation.

    “But I do know two things with moral certainty: his resignation, though perfectly valid, was the opening of the gates to the orcs who are now in control of the citadel. …I also know that the next person who starts drooling on about what a “courageous” act it was, is going to get the back of my hand upside the head.”

    I’m there.

    “The theory that Benedict is still pope is simply not borne out by the evidence, either in Canon Law, by the theology or by any other metric the Church runs on. In answer to the many people who have asked me, yes. Ive heard it. (And heard it and heard it and heard it…) I have done some research that didn’t involve looking things up on the internet or just deciding for myself after a single glance at the ’83 Code of Canon Law. I’ve consulted with theology and Canon law people who are not neo-modernists, not ill-trained and not remotely fond of either Benedict or Francis, and the answers I’ve had have been pretty firm and unanimous.”

    Interesting. Can you recomment some reading specific to this?

    Thanks, Hilary, for all your hard work, and God bless.

  24. Cortez1521 says:

    Dear Hilary–

    I would also just add a thankyou for your site. I read it every day. You’re known as “The Good Hilary” around here. (As opposed to the Wicked Witch of Clintonia, it goes without saying.)

    My wife and I with our first little one (I think she was three at the time) had the good providence to be in Norcia a few years back, and am very glad to have attended the early morning Sacrifice of the Mass there at the beloved shrine. We as well met Fr Cassian, whom I’ve subsequently seen again here in New York at the Sacra Liturgia conference two years ago. We wish you well and keep up the good fight. “Never Surrender!”

    Viva Cristo Rey!

    Viva!

  25. Cortez1521 says:

    I’d invite your attention to the work of philosopher James Larson, Thomist, which speaks directly to your two most pressing concerns: Is Benedict a conservative? And is there a ‘Hermeneutic of continuity?’

    Larson examines the thought and writings of Benedict and Cardinal Ratzinger since the 70’s. This analysis reveals Benedict is not a conservative, at least not in any sense of the term Thomist. Anti-Thomist in philosophy. Similarly, Francis is an anti-Francis (as in the saint of Assisi), as any reading of A. L. reveals, starting with its treatment of the Canticle of the Creatures–half of which doesn’t make the cut according to the bishop of Rome and his ghost-team. Not that they tell you that (of course). For Benedict, this has vast consequences for his approach to such things as Transubstantiation for example, which is paralleled in Francis’s denial in A. L. of sanctifying grace–the chief and clearest heretical point (among many) of “Amoris Laetitia.” The reasoning of both men is of a piece: man is a creature of evolution; there is no such thing as human nature; there is no such thing as mortal sin. To quote Larson: Francis is the “natural born son” of Benedict, implementing in practice what the other expounds in theory. Please see WarAgainstBeing.com, Mr. Larson’s site, for treatment in great and persuasive detail of these points.

  26. Brain Snob says:

    Given Ratzinger’s concept of “living tradition,” the quotes attributed to him are entirely credible – for him continuity merely depends on obedience to the current authority.

  27. Rob Hastings says:

    Dear Hilary,

    I enjoy your articles both for their content and inimatable style and this is the first time that I’ve expressed my gratitude mano a mano.
    Pope Benedict resigned while I was in the middle of RCIA but I did not think about it because I was reading a lot of Chesterton (as well as trying to catch up on a few millenia of history that I had somehow missed between the Greeks and the 18th century). I was and am working a full time job with a lot of overtime, as well as raising a family and it was providential that I was able to attend RCIA at all. There was nothing super dramatic in my conversion, just a gradual unfolding “line upon line, precept on precept” under the guidance of a good pastor and lay teachers so that – after 50 years of wandering in the desert- I was baptised that Easter and (I know that it’s a cliche) I felt that I had Come Home. There is no space here to enumerate all the blessings and graces received since then, for which I am grateful.

    Four years later I can only imagine that those who are now Coming Home are in somewhat the same position as Odysseus when informed that Penelope’s suitors are all ransacking and stinking up the joint. Were I to go through RCIA today I think that it might require a more Supernatural kick in my backside before I entered the fray.

    Keep up the good fight Hilary

    Sincerely,

    Rob Hastings

  28. Richard Malcolm says:

    Interesting. A strikingly similar assessment of the, er, Benediktuskirche is offered over at The Rad Trad, another blog I follow pretty regularly, just the other day. “It is sad, he observes, “to see that Joseph Ratzinger is still so full of his youthful naïveté that he defends every principle he followed, even while weakly condemning their usual consequences.” (Link: http://theradtrad.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-legacy-of-benediktuskirche.html )

    As I said over there, in slightly different form: As an adult revert initially shaped by an engagement with pre-Papacy Ratzinger, it took some time for me to appreciate him for what he really is: a liberal whose worst instincts eventually ended up tempered by a genuine love of beauty and a horror of disorder, formed by an age in which an already weakened, defensive Church struggled to emerge from the ruins of the destruction of its old Catholic heartlands by decades of nationalist warfare, divvied up by materialists (Lockean and Marxian) from East and West. And he’s never really let go of the strange, untethered optimism that saturated so much of the early postwar era.

    I remain grateful for Summorum. It has been a dead letter in most places, but at least in the U.S. it opened up tradition to a surprisingly sizable cohort of young priests, just in time before the modernist tidal wave washed back to shore in 2013; it was an extra legitimizing shot in the arm even for the Ecclesia Dei societies and orders. Benedict/Ratzinger had little use for the Old Rite, but a lot of these young men needed it. We will have to see what fruits come of it.

  29. sta says:

    I simply miss the delusion of hope that he gave. He was what he was, but I didn’t know it and it all looked glorious and right.
    Now I know it was simply frosting.

  30. Long-Skirts says:

    You are so spot on!

  31. Martha says:

    Yes. Wonderfully written.

    Valid or no, I’m still calling him ‘Caligula.’ Or Commodus, Nero, Emperor Palpatine…

  32. somewhat confused says:

    So Pope Benedict resigned. Okay. but before then, he said: I give myself the title of Pope Emeritus, I will be addressed as Your Holiness, I will wear the papal white, and I will live in the Vatican. I will keep my papal secretary, and when he publicly says I consider myself a pope, I will not deny it, nor even address it. I promised to keep my mouth shut, then published a book. And I give interviews. All this takes place with the full knowledge and support of Francis. Therefore, we have two, two, two popes in one!

  33. Warren Memlib says:

    I love that picture to which I give the following caption: “Two periti in a pod” at Vatican II.

  34. J. says:

    Well said. Benedict’s last interview is worth reading in its entirety, and it is an easy read. He goes on at some length about his progressive roots, and how he and his friends were doing progressivism “right,” unlike the radicals like Küng.

  35. Kathleen says:

    Ratzinger’s writing *always* gave me the heebie jeebies.

    Having been lost to the faith for the first 25 years of my youth and returned through no less than an outright miracle of grace by our Blessed Mother I do NOT read anything in the heebee geebee category which includes virtually all writings of the last 100 years — lest I endanger my soul.

    That said, I thought I saw in Ratzinger (pre-resignation) an ongoing conversion and felt a debt for the unchaining of the TLM.

    But I had no delusions. He was a wretch. But as a converted wretch I thought I saw a conversion process going on.

    Since the deep pain of his abandonment wore off I feel strong pity and a vague revulsion.

    May God have mercy upon him, he needs a *serious* miracle to avoid what’s due to him.

    And agreed, we need to face the reality of Benedict/Francis without flinching or we play into the hands of the enemy.

  36. TB says:

    The author of the Crux piece that you mention wrote several articles for the (neo)conservative Croatian “Christian” website bitno.net in which he argues that the position “I am personally against abortion, but also against making it illegal” can validly be held by Catholic politicians .

    In another article on the same site he writes after the Charlie Hebdo incident against fundamentalism. Taking (among others) an example of the historical spread of Christianity, he says: “The effectiveness of such evangelization is also questionable because Good News has not been received with joy and freely so that evangelization among the Christianized nations did not come to life authentically and fully, as we can see in today’s disintegration of Christianity in Western countries or strange syncretism of paganized Christianity in other parts of the world.”

    Well, you get the idea…

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