RUSSO TO SCHNEIDER: WE MUST BELIEVE BENEDICT, WHEN HE SAYS HE IS STILL THE POPE
Authorized English translation by FromRome.Info
by Marco Tosatti
Dear Friends and enemies of Stilum Curiae: a friend of our community, Sergio Russo, author of the book about which about which we spoke some time ago, Sei tu quello o dobbiamo aspettarne un altro? (Are you the one or should we expect another?), has sent us a reflection which seems to us particularly interesting and stimulating on the strange situation in which we we are living, and about which we have spoken in recent days. Have a good read!
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Two Impelling Questions
which necessitate an urgent answer
by Sergio Russo
The first is: “Is Pope Francis a pope in every way, or not?”
The second, which is consequent upon the first, is: “Is Pope Benedict XVI still the pope, or not?”
I offer my personal contribution to the present debate, taking occasion also from the recent intervention by the Mons. Athanasius Schneider (dated Feb. 28, 2020) published originally in English at the site LIfeSite News, and also in French translation on the blog, Le Blog de Jeanne Smits.
Therefore, I will list here simply a series of facts, and not of argumentations, leaving it to the Reader to form his own opinion on the matter, knowing well, however, that contra factum non valet argumentum (against a fact no argument is valid).
· Both academics and experts of things theological, as well as simple faithful, have noted how, from the date of March 13, 2013, even unto today, there has been created an unheard of situation, never before happening in the two thousand year history of the Church: the co-existence and co-habitation in the Vatican of two popes.
· All of these, however, know well that the expression, “pope emeritus”, plays on the congruence/assonance of “Bishop Emeritus” and “Cardinal Emeritus”, and that, besides, it is not ordained by any canon of ecclesiastical law, neither past nor present …
Moreover, it is to be noted – and here it basically returns to the same univocity which occurs in effect in the principle — just as there is, thus, no “priest emeritus”, so also, both the academic and the faithful have always known (but perhaps today the way to understand things has changed?) that there absolutely is no other kind of pope, neither Emeritus nor Presiding, and more so, and this by “una contraddizione, che nol consente … (a contradiction which does not consent to it)”, as Dante would say, since — and all believing Catholics have always held this as valid — the pope is the symbol and guarantor of unity in the Catholic Church, and She is one Body (though Mystical, but a true body), which cannot have but one sole Head!
Therefore, not a two-headed Body, which would be a monstrosity, and neither a headless body, which would instead be a deficiency: as a matter of fact, one alone is the Christ, one alone is the Church, one alone the Faith, one alone the Vicar of Christ and one alone the Head of the Church …. and this is what the two-thousand year Magisterium of the Church has always affirmed, without the least hesitation!
· Pope Francis, on the one hand would be the pope in every way, since he was licitly elected by all the Cardinals, united in a lawful Conclave (and which consequently is indubitable)
· On the other hand, we are given to know that the election of Pope Francis (and this is also indubitable) might not be equally valid, since according to a declaration — never denied — of the now late Belgian Cardinal Godfried Dannels, present in his book-biography, which reports the admissions of the prelate made to the journalists, J. Mettepenningen and K. Schelkens, the said Cardinal revealed to them that a group of Cardinals and Bishops (to which he also belonged) worked for years to prepare for the election of J. M. Bergoglio, seeing that all of these porporati were opponents of Joseph Ratzinger: it was, in fact, a group which was kept secret, which the same Cardinal Danneels defined as “a mafia club, which bore the name of St. Gall”.
And this type of agreement, according to the Apostolic Constitution of Saint John Paul II, Universi Dominic Gregis, which regulates the “vacancy of the Apostolic See and the election of the Roman Pontiff”, falls under a latae sententiae excommunication, as is clearly affirmed in nn. 77, 81, and 82:
« Confirming also the prescriptions of our Predecessors, I prohibit anyone, even if he is marked with the dignity of the Cardinalate, to make agreements, while the Pope is alive and without having consulted him, about the election of His Successor, or promise votes, or take decisions in this regard in private meetings » (n.79);
« The Cardinal Electors are to abstain, moreover, from every form of vote-canvassing, agreements, promises or other pledges of any kind, which can constrain them to give or deny their vote to one or another. If such in reality would happen, even if under the obligation of a vow, I decree that such a pledge be null and invalid and that no one is bound to observe it; and from this moment I impose the excommunication latae sententiae upon the transgressors of this prohibition.» (n.81);
« Equally, I forbid to the Cardinals to make, before an election, formal agreements, whether to receive pledges of common agreement, obliging themselves to put them into effect in the case that one of them be elevated to the Pontificate. Even these promises, as much as they might be made, even under the obligation of an oath, I declare null and invalid » (n.82).
· It is good to repeat that the “Renunciation” of Benedict XVI (according to his own admission) was truly made in full awareness and without any constraint … and yet that such a “renunciation” cannot be held to be truly such, since (and this is the seventh one which has occurred in the course of the two thousand years of Church history) all those who did renounce the papacy afterwards returned to their prior status as before thier election: and hence he who was a Bishop or Cardinal, returned to being a Bishop or Cardinal … he who was before a hermit, returned to be a hermit … (if one remembers the events of Pope Celestine V and Pietro da Morrone!), and hence none remained pope (not even an “emeritus”, or any other kind), by continuing to wear the white cassock, by maintaining the papal coat of arms, by signing wtih the name of the Pontiff, etc..
· Hence, just as, if one must believe that Benedict XVI posited his “renunciation” in total autonomy and independence … so and equally, one must believe in what He himself declared: “… When, on April 19 nearly 8 years ago I accepted to assume the petrine ministry … from that moment on I was engaged always and for always by the Lord … The “always” is also a “for always”, there is no longer a return to the private: My decision to renounce the active exerciste of the ministry, does not revoke this ” (Benedict XVI, Wednesday General Audience of Feb. 27, 2013, Piazza S. Petro).
And hence, through his own same admission, Benedict XVI is always and still pope, whether others say so or not.
Therefore, in this case more than ever, there is required by all a firm intellectual coherence: if we ought to believe and hold as true the words of the Holy Father about His own renunciation, we ought, on the other hand and equally, believe and hold as true the just mentioned words pronounced by Benedict XVI, which affirm that he remains still and always pope!
· In conclusion, how can one explain, then, such an apparent and present unresolved situation in the Church … what, in substance, ought we hold to have clear ideas and not to let ourselves be overwhelmed, even us, by such a contemporary “confusion”?
The solution is supplied us both by the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, but as something requiring of us the highest attention and correct discernment ….
It is Our Lady Herself, in fact, who asks us to pay attention to Her words, left in our own days at Fatima, in which She speaks, both of the Holy Father, and of a Bishop dressed in white.
The Divine Providence has also arranged, also in our own days, that Pope John Paul II elevated to the honors of the altar the Blessed Ann Catherine Emmerich, making in this way known to all believers her singular visions, especailly those in which she saw “the Church of the two popes”, the Church of always, faithful to the Magisterium, at whose head is the Holy Father,and another “new” church: big, strange and extravagant … (and, moreover, that the warnings, in part from the Mother of God are truly very many: the Miraculous Medal, La Salette, Fatima, Garabandal, the Marian Movement of Priests and many, many others …).
And, at last, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (in nn. 675-677), in which it informs, that, in our own days, all the faithful will be called to confront a “final test”, capable of shaking the faith of many believers, since in it there will be revealed the “mystery of iniquity”, able to provide an apparent solution to contemporary men, under the form of a religious impostiture, and it will be then that we will have to decide on which side to stand: whether with the Anti-Christ (the Anti-Church and the Anti-Gospel, as even John Paul II was wont to say), though this at the cost of apostasy from the Truth, in joining in such a manner the “new church”, great and lauded by the world, as ecological and ecumenical, which concerns itself primarily with the poor … or if we would remain with the Church of always, even if it is today seen in a bad light by the world, which reputs Her as integralist and fundamentalist, to remain with the holy Magisterium, held even today as antiquated, and faithful to the Gospel of Christ, the one and true God, our Savior and Redeemer: “Whom we hold most dear!”
This is an authorized translation of the original at