WAS IT SUBSTANTIAL ERROR OR DIVINE INSPIRATION?
by Br. Alexis Bugnolo
A frequent question that I receive is that which regards why Pope Benedict XVI renounced the ministry which was committed to me through the hands of the Cardinals and not the petrine ministry which he received when he accepted his election as Roman Pontiff.
The First to Answer is Ann Barnhardt
The first to answer this question substantially, was Ann Barnhardt. And she did that in June of 2016, way before anyone else. Her explanation is that Pope Benedict XVI made a substantial error. His declaration, therefore, does not effect the loss of the papal office because this error of naming the wrong thing in the act of renunciation causes the act to be irritus – Ann, however, nearly always says, “invalid” for simplicity sake — in virtue of Canon 188, which means that it has no legal effect.
Her analysis and argument was the first to break through the Big Lie of our age. And it has rescued countless minds from the lies and propaganda of the Bergoglian party. It was the first convincing argument I ever heard. I watched it in one of her videos in August of 2018 and in October of 2018 I actually made the time to look at the Latin of the Declaratio of Feb. 11, 2013 and the Latin of the Code of Canon Law, canon 332 §2, two things I had never done. I saw she was 100% correct in about 5 seconds.
That is all it should take for anyone to see that she is correct. Because the act of the intellect which is needed to see it is the first act of the mind: that ability — given to us by the Most Holy Trinity who creates our soul out of nothing in the moment of our conception — to recognize the essence of any thing for what it is before comparing it to anything else.
And there is only 3 ways to not be able to exercise that ability. The First is that your are mentally impaired or retarded. The Second is that, in this case, you cannot read. And the third case is that you allow your will to prevent you from thinking, either by bad will or because you allow yourself to be seduced by an unsubstantiated doubt, gratuitously asserted.
Those who have the first problem are not guilty. Those who have the second problem should study if they can. And those who have the third problem will be damned, because in matter so grave as who is the true Pope, the forcible intervention of will to prevent the mind from seeing what God gave it the ability to see, is a direct attack on the Divine Will for you, and thus a mortal sin.
As regards a substantial error, it can be caused by any number of causes. But that is another thing all together. Regardless of what was the cause, the substantial error is objective. No amout of ink, argument or bluster, no amount of insults or villainy can change the historical fact that Benedict renounced the ministerium, but Canon 332 §2 requires the renunciation of munus.
The Second Answer is Divine Inspiration
I was not the second to give answer, nor was I the first to suggest divine inspiration. Archbishop Gänswein himself said that Pope Benedict XVI was inspired by God to do what he did. I think in the book length interview with Peter Seewald, Pope Benedict XVI confirms this.
But what many do not realize, there are at lest 19 kinds of Divine Inspiration, and not all of them have the same effects. I know this because many years ago, when I was in a library with some ancient manuscripts, I read Saint Bernardine of Sienna’s tract on divine inspiration written in the 15th century, in Latin.
I will not summarize the 19 kinds, but I will simplify the classifications. There is Divine Inspiration which is perfectly efficacious and is the cause of the whole act. There is Divine Inspiration which is efficacious but requires collaboration in the act by the fallible recipient of the inspiration, and then there is Divine Inspiration which is only motive and puts all the burden of work in the one inspired, infallible as he is.
So, even if it be true that Pope Benedict XVI was divinely inspired to renounce, that does not mean that what he did was Divinely Inspired in every aspect of it.
I have no reason to think Pope Benedict XVI is a liar and thus accept what he says about being inspired by God. And in several articles, here at FromRome.Info I have speculated that he acted to defend the Church from Freemasonry. In this I presume not to judge the Pope, as the Rule of Saint Francis requires me. I also presume that he did not sin in the least. And in this I am merely obeying charity, which thinketh no evil of any man.
Third Answer is Both
The third possibility is that he was both inspired by God and made a substantial error. And that this happened because God gave him the inspiration to resign, but not the grace to do it perfectly. And that God did this because God wanted to protect the Church from Freemasonry, but did not want Pope Benedict XVI to be guilty of making a fake resignation or of being accused of deceiving anyone.
If such was the case, God also acted perfectly. Because He owes no man grace to be perfect and impeccable in what he does, not even the Roman Pontiff.
In this case, too, it may be that God blinded the minds of the Cardinals and Bishops to not see the substantial error in the act of renunciation because He was completely disgusted with them and wants to cut them off from His Church, or at least to so humiliate them before men as to produce from them a wholesome repentance and conversion which would not be achieved through any other means.
In this third supposition, Pope Benedict XVI may have sinned through pride, imprudence, haste, fear or avarice, depending whether the substantial error was conceived and executed out of vanity, neglect of seeking sound counsel, fear to avoid being assassinated or desire to have something after resigning that he had no right to have.
As can be seen, the First Answer addresses the objective facts and presumes personal fault or error and excludes divine inspiration. The second presumed divine inspiration and excludes personal fault or error. But the third and last presumes in part divine inspiration but in part some personal fault.
Yes, as Pope Innocent II teaches, we cannot judge the Roman Pontiff except when he errs in matters of the faith. And thus, we must say that it was a substantial error and affirm that it is an error to hold that the papacy can be divided. But as the Church has not definitively taught this truth — though it be clear in the Deposit of the Faith — holding this error does not cause you to be a heretic canonically. And acting on the basis of this error is not the same thing as professing the error, because, as I said, the error can arise out of passion and not dissent of mind.
But whatever was the reason answer, (1) we are all obliged to pray for Pope Benedict XVI and (2) urge that the right canonical order be restored in the Church: that he be recognized as the one and only true Pope, that it be affirmed that Bergoglio was never the pope, and that Bergoglio be publicly reproved for teaching heresy and promoting schism, if not also for usurping the papal office (on the supposition he does know the resignation is invalid).
Both things need to be done: here at FromRome.Info we are not heroes or better than anyone else in the Church, nor even experts. We just advocate that which the Faith teaches all of us should advocate in such a crisis.