The Standard of Schism is Unity With the Pope, Not Unity With the Majority

When discussing the Bergoglian Antipapacy, one of the arguments one hears frequently from the Bergoglian apologists and the #ShutUpYoureInsane contingent in an effort to quash the discussion itself is, “What difference does it make?”  This is generally followed by accusations of “insanity”.

Well, who is and who is not the Pope is of gargantuan importance because unity with the Pope is the defining standard of Schism.  Here is Canon 751:

Schism is the withdrawal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or from communion with the members of the Church subject to him.”

Note that the horizontal unity with others is defined in terms of the Pope as well – “members of the Church subject to HIM.”

The Petrine See is THE STANDARD of unity/schism with Jesus Christ and His One Holy Church.  Therefore, it is clearly LOGICALLY NECESSARY that the Petrine See be specially and uniquely supernaturally attached – let’s use the imagery of welding here – to the Church Triumphant, and thus to the Triune Godhead Himself.

The Holy Ghost “welds” the Petrine Office to Himself, and the filler metal used in the weld is nothing less than the Word of Our Lord in the Petrine Promise: “And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”  “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.”

“So shall my Word be, which shall go forth from My mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall do whatsoever I please, and shall prosper in the things for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55: 11.

So, the Holy Ghost, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, by the Word of the Son, attaches and binds the Petrine Office to Himself such that unity with Peter is the standard of unity with the Triune Godhead Himself in the Church Militant.  Whether a human being alive on earth is “in” or “out” is a function NOT of horizontal unity with other people in and of themselves, but of unity with Peter and his See, which is the VISIBLE head of the Church Militant.

Let’s build an image of this using our welding metaphor so that we can better understand what schism is.  God is infinitely “big”, so there is nothing in the universe that can be an adequate metaphorical representation of Him, but the device that pops into my mind is a monolith – a rectangular prism.  Let’s envision God for the purposes of this exercise as a solid metal monolith whose width is equal to that of our galaxy, and whose height is double that.  So… big. 600,000,000,000,000,000 (six hundred quadrillion) miles wide, and 1,200,000,000,000,000,000 (one point two quintillion) miles tall.

Now let’s build an image of us – human beings.  Let’s say that each human being, including the Pope, is represented by a single atom of iron.  1.3 billion atoms of iron together would form a particle so small as to be invisible to the human eye.  Consider that each cell in your body, visible only under a microscope, contains approximately 100 trillion atoms.  We’re talking only 1.3 billion atoms.

Now, let’s consider the single atom that is the Pope.  Let’s envision that one atom being “welded” by God Himself onto Himself – the Monolith whose dimensions are 2 Milky Way galaxies tall by 1 Milky Way galaxy wide. The other 1.3 billion atoms all gather around the one atom that has been welded to the Monolith, but the 1.3 billion atoms are NOT welded to the monolith and are free to drift away.  Only the Pope atom is welded to the Monolith.

You now have an allegorical image of the Church Militant (the 1.3 billion atoms), the Papacy (the Pope atom welded to the Monolith), and the Triune Godhead (the Monolith). In order for the 1.3 billion atoms to be in unity with the Monolith, and KNOW that they are in unity with the Monolith, which is so big relative to them that they can’t directly perceive it, they have to be in unity with the one Pope atom, which is visibly perceptible to them, which they know in turn is welded to the Monolith.

Now, what if the Pope atom is threatened, and mistakenly declares that he is going to partially quit, and that there will now be other atoms welded to the Monolith at the same time?  Does the Monolith break the weld? No.  Does the Monolith weld another atom to itself so that there are now TWO atoms welded?  No.  But among the 1.3 billion atoms, almost all mistakenly declare themselves in unity with one atom who is NOT welded to the Monolith, and thus starts drifting out into space, farther and farther from the Monolith.  All of the 1.3 billion atoms, save a few hundred, drift away from the Monolith following and declaring themselves in union with the unwelded atom.

Canon Law, and specifically in this case Canon 188, is part of the weld.  To carry on our imperfect analogy, and if you know anything about welding, you might think of Canon Law as being like the Flux, that PROTECTS the weld.  Canon 188 protects the Pope and the Church Militant by making coercion impossible (because the very act of trying to coerce a Pope to resign renders any attempted resignation invalid), makes it impossible for the Pope’s own substantial error (such as declaring that he only partially resigned and that he fundamentally transformed the Papacy into a collegial, synodal office) to break the weld, and even makes it impossible for a Pope to lose his office by accepting a bribe (simony) thus making it impossible to bribe a Pope out of office. These protections of the “weld” of the Pope to the Petrine Office are derivative of the Natural and Divine Law, and thus even the Pope, the Supreme Lawgiver amongst the Church Militant, is subject to them.

Now here is the question: Who is in schism?  Are the few hundred atoms still huddled around the inactive yet still-welded-to-the-Monolith Pope atom in schism?  Or are the 1.3 billion atoms in schism?

Obviously the 1.3 billion atoms are in schism, EVEN THOUGH TO THEIR PERCEPTION THEY HAVE CREATED THEIR OWN MONOLITH.  The standard of schism is NOT unity with the majority or mob.  The standard of schism is unity with the Monolith through unity with the Pope atom that is welded to the Monolith, by the Monolith.  So even though there are only a few hundred atoms left huddled around the Pope atom, who has quit the active ministry but remains welded to the Monolith whether he likes it or not, and despite the fact that 1.3 billion other atoms have drifted away and huddled around an atom who claims to be a Pope atom, and are accusing the few hundred atoms still huddled around the silent Pope atom, still welded to the Monolith, the 1.3 billion atoms are in schism from the few hundred.  NOT the other way around.

You are in schism with us!  We are 1.3 billion! We have the numbers! What do you have, you pathetic few hundred fools!”

”We have the Monolith.”

Shut up! You’re INSANE!”

I have gone through this metaphorical exercise because I get the strong sense that MANY people out there are thinking about schism in terms of human numbers, and not in terms of Truth, which is to say GOD.  I think that the default assumption is that the smaller numbered group is, by definition, in schism from the bigger numbered group.  This is false.  It is using the wrong standard.  The standard is TRUTH. Numbers are irrelevant, because TRUTH is an INFINITE BEING.  For a culture that has revolved around and defined itself by democracy as the post-Christian west has, the notion of there being anything above the will of the majority is abhorrent.

This is why the TRUTH of who the Pope is and is not is so incredibly important, and can’t be blown off with cries of “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

In the big video presentation I went through a list of interesting manifestations by Bergoglio that imply that he is not the Pope, including:

-Referring to himself as “the Bishop of Rome”
-Refusing to wear the Mozzetta and other Papal garb
-Refusing to live in the Apostolic Palace or use Castel Gandolfo
-Waving, not blessing
-Retaining his Argentine citizenship and passport, even though the Pope is the Sovereign Monarch of the Vatican City State
Refusing to answer the Dubia

To this we should add this quote from Antipope Bergoglio in ARSH 2016:

It is not to be excluded that I will enter history as the one who split the Catholic Church.”

This is another example of the Divine Providence working such that even the wicked and the malefactors STILL can’t help but proclaim the truth.

I think it is absolutely true that Antipope Bergoglio will go down in history as the man who schismed The Church.  But here is what we have to remember: IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR A VALID POPE TO SCHISM THE CHURCH, BECAUSE THE POPE IS HIMSELF THE STANDARD OF SCHISM.  The Pope is welded to the Church by the Holy Ghost by the words of the Petrine Promise.  A valid Pope cannot cause schism, because he can’t schism from himself. As Sister Lucia put it, “Where Peter is, there is The Church… he who is not with the Pope is not with God, and who desires to be with God must be with the Pope.”

So, for Bergoglio to say that he could go down in history as the man who schismed the Church is an unwitting admission on his part that he is NOT the visible standard of unity, and that he is ontologically capable of doing that which is impossible for the Pope to do – schism the Church.

Therefore, who the Pope is, is of the highest, gravest importance and CANNOT be ignored, swept under the rug, or effeminately kicked down the road “for future generations to figure out.”  Further, appeals to the “numerical strength” of factions is laughable when one fully understands and acknowledges that God is infinite, and only He is the standard of Truth. Metaphysics is not a democracy.

The Monolith laughs at the self-referential atoms as they chant to themselves, “Le Monolithe, c’est nous!”

I hope this helps.

St. Athanasius, pray for us.
St. Eusebius, pray for us.

And since we have been talking about monoliths, here is the Monolith Theme Song, “Also Sprach Zarathustra” by Strauss.

It pains me to keep y’all hanging without the picture, but I must….

(Across the transom…)

Good afternoon dear Ann,

I always enjoy keeping up with you. Keep up the combat.

We attend TLM in a NO parish where the diocesan priest does both the TLM and the NO Mass. That’s the best we can get within 200 miles. Anyway, a few weeks ago, after attending Low Mass on Sunday morning, I noted that the boilerplate picture of Bergoglio was on the wall, in the corner of the narthex, behind a tree. I thought it was absolutely hilarious. I immediately congratulated our priest for doing this.

To my surprise, he replied that he couldn’t take credit for this, but that as far as he was concerned, he (Bergoglio) was still way too close to the Altar.
I have attached two pictures below.

(Which the correspondent did, and they are HILARIOUS, but I can’t post them and give away the show.  But trust me, POINT MADE.)

Act and God will act…!

The transcription of the “Bergoglian Antipapacy” video presentation is done, and just needs to be time stamped. Please say an “Ave” for the transcriptionist.

A Chinese translator (Mandarin) is on board!! Wow!

I have multiple offers for German and Spanish. Between humans and translation algorithms, we should be in great shape by Monday at the latest.

Things are happening, folks! Don’t despair! All things are possible through Christ!

Pray for Pope Benedict, and for the liberty and exaltation of our holy mother, The Church!

Here’s the video again:

Barnhardt Podcast #069: The Spiritual Journey of Ann Barnhardt, part 1

[Direct link to the MP3 file]

In this episode, which was recorded on August 25th, we continue the series of “Ask Ann” podcasts and discuss Ann’s spiritual journey from early childhood with very little religious atmosphere in the home through her conversion in 2007. There will be a part 2 to follow-on from this episode so be sure to send in your questions!

Feedback: please send your questions, comments, and suggestions to [email protected]

The Barnhardt Podcast is produced by SuperNerd Media; if you found this episode to be of value you can share some value to back to SuperNerd at the SuperNerd Media website. You can also follow SuperNerd Media on Twitter.

Do the BigMac Maneuver!

Click here for The Stale Big Mac Maneuver

Listen on Google Play Music

Beware and flee from ANY man who tries to convince you that Jesus Christ Our Lord and Savior has forsaken His promise to Peter and his successors, and to all of us….

If we believe not, He continueth faithful, He can not deny Himself. 
2 Timothy 2: 13

God is not a man, that He should lie, nor as the son of man, that He should be changed. Hath He said then, and will He not do? hath He spoken, and will he not fulfill? 

Numbers 23: 19

For men swear by one greater than themselves: and an oath for confirmation is the end of all their controversy. Wherein God, meaning more abundantly to shew to the heirs of the promise the immutability of His counsel, interposed an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have the strongest comfort, who have fled for refuge to hold fast the hope set before us. 

Hebrews 6: 16-18

The tweet above is a de facto denial of Christ’s divinity. The disturbing picture below is a “selfie” of the author taken and posted a matter of hours ago. If you aren’t totally creeped-out, you should be.

Why, it’s almost as if the prayers of the Mass have meaning and relevance to our lives that we should take to heart, or something…

(The prayers at the foot of the altar that begin the Mass, Psalm 42.)

P. I will go in unto the altar of God.

S. To God who giveth joy to my youth.

P. Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation which is not holy: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man.

S. For Thou, O God, art my strength: why hast Thou cast me off? and why go I sorrowful whilst the enemy afflicteth me?

P. Send forth Thy light and Thy truth: they have conducted me and brought me unto Thy holy mount, and into Thy tabernacles.

S. And I will go into the altar of God: to God who giveth joy to my youth.

P. To Thee, O God, my God, I will give praise upon the harp; why art thou sad, O my soul, and why dost thou disquiet me?

S. Hope in God, for I will still give praise to Him: the salvation of my countenance and my God.

P. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

S. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

P. I will go in unto the altar of God.

S. To God who giveth joy to my youth.

If Pope Benedict is the first-ever “Pope Emeritus”, doesn’t that mean that his ontological state is DIFFERENT from the Popes who actually resigned?

Logic, folks.

Picking up on a post from yesterday at the NonVeniPacem blog, here is the full text of +Ganswein’s infamous speech of 20 May ARSH 2016 delivered at the Gregorianum in Rome, which I have been told was pre-read and heartily approved by Pope Benedict himself.  The text here is the official translation of the original Italian by the bilingual American vaticanista Diane Montagna, done before she was hired away from Aleteia by LifeSiteNews in a major hiring coup for LifeSite.

What Mr. NonVeniPacem picked up on was an aspect of the speech that I had forgotten.  +Ganswein analogized Pope Benedict’s attempted “expansion of the Petrine ministry” into a “collegial, synodal office”, a “fundamental transformation” such that the Papacy would “never be the same again” to THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION.

Hey, remember that time when you quit your job just like any other resignation, and how that was so totally normal and non-extraordinary that your closest associates declared, with your approval, that it was, you know, like the IMMACULATE CONCEPTION? Like God creating His own Mother and holding her free of the stain of Original Sin by the merit of His own death on the Cross 50 years +/- later?  You know, completely, totally normal and in no way different than any other resignation?

But remember folks, if you think it even POSSIBLE that there is any sort of problem here, you are INSANE with “hubristic arrogance”. And also an “arrogant a**hole” for pointing it out.

Apropos of nothing at all, here is my essay on the narcissistic abuse tactic of PROJECTION.

But what really leapt out at me after re-reading the FULL +Ganswein address was this little logical pickle:

If Pope Benedict’s “resignation” was just like every previous Papal resignation, and “Pope Emeritus” is just a way of saying “resigned Pope”, why is Pope Benedict XVI referred to by +Ganswein, with Pope Benedict’s approval, as having created a “new institution” as “history’s first Pope Emeritus?”

How can Pope Benedict be simultaneously just exactly like all other resigned Popes, but at the same time “history’s FIRST Pope Emeritus”, “entirely different” from all previous Popes that resigned, and that “to date there has never been a step taken like that of Benedict XVI”?

That is a stone-cold violation of the Law of Non-contradiction.  Something can not BE and NOT BE at the same time.  Pope Benedict cannot both be and not be the first “Pope Emeritus”.  Something cannot be both “entirely different” and “entirely the same” as something else.  So, something MUST be wrong with the base premise, because the logical truth table here is yielding first-degree corollaries in violation the Second of the Three Laws of Thought.

Logic, folks.  It’s a constitutive quality of God Himself.  That’s why the opening 14 verses of John’s Gospel are proclaimed at the end of every Mass in the Traditional Rite. “In the beginning was the LOGOS….”

I urge you to read the entire Ratzinger-approved +Ganswein speech below, and see for yourself how “thought leaders” are actively misleading you when they claim that there is no evidence that Pope Benedict’s failed attempted partial “resignation” was anything other than completely normal and run-of-the-mill, just like all previous Papal resignations… and, apparently “normal” like the Immaculate Conception was “normal”.

And in case you haven’t seen it, here is my VIDEO PRESENTATION on the topic.


Eminences, Excellencies, dear Brothers, Ladies and Gentlemen!

During one of the last conversations that the pope’s biographer, Peter Seewald of Munich, was able to have with Benedict XVI, as he was bidding him goodbye, he asked him: “Are you the end of the old or the beginning of the new?” The pope’s answer was brief and sure: “The one and the other,” he replied. The recorder was already turned off; that is why this final exchange is not found in any of the book-interviews with Peter Seewald, not even the famous Light of the World. It only appeared in an interview he granted to Corriere della Sera in the wake of Benedict XVI’s resignation, in which the biographer recalled those key words which are, in a certain way, a maxim of the book by Roberto Regoli, which we are presenting here today at the Gregorian.

Indeed, I must admit that perhaps it is impossible to sum up the pontificate of Benedict XVI in a more concise manner. And the one who says it, over the years, has had the privilege of experiencing this Pope up close as a “homo historicus,” the Western man par excellence who has embodied the wealth of Catholic tradition as no other; and — at the same time — has been daring enough to open the door to a new phase, to that historical turning point which no one five years ago could have ever imagined. Since then, we live in an historic era which in the 2,000-year history of the Church is without precedent.

As in the time of Peter, also today the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church continues to have one legitimate Pope. But today we live with two living successors of Peter among us — who are not in a competitive relationship between themselves, and yet both have an extraordinary presence! We may add that the spirit of Joseph Ratzinger had already marked decisively the long pontificate of St. John Paul II, whom he faithfully served for almost a quarter of a century as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Many people even today continue to see this new situation as a kind of exceptional (not regular) state of the divinely instituted office of Peter (eine Art göttlichen Ausnahmezustandes).

But is it already time to assess the pontificate of Benedict XVI? Generally, in the history of the Church, popes can correctly be judged and classified only ex post. And as proof of this, Regoli himself mentions the case of Gregory VII, the great reforming pope of the Middle Ages, who at the end of his life died in exile in Salerno – a failure in the opinion of many of his contemporaries. And yet Gregory VII was the very one who, amid the controversies of his time, decisively shaped the face of the Church for the generations that followed. Much more daring, therefore, does Professor Regoli seem today in already attempting to take stock of the pontificate of Benedict XVI, while he is still alive.

The amount of critical material which he reviewed and analyzed to this end is massive and impressive. Indeed, Benedict XVI is and remains extraordinarily present also through his writings: both those produced as pope — the three volumes on Jesus of Nazareth and 16 (!) volumes of Teachings he gave us during his papacy — and as Professor Ratzinger or Cardinal Ratzinger, whose works could fill a small library.

And so, Regoli’s work is not lacking in footnotes, which are as numerous as the memories they awaken in me. For I was present when Benedict XVI, at the end of his mandate, removed the Fisherman’s ring, as is customary after the death of a pope, even though in this case he was still alive! I was present when, on the other hand, he decided not to give up the name he had chosen, as Pope Celestine V had done when, on December 13, 1294, a few months after the start of his ministry, be again became Pietro dal Morrone.

Since February 2013 the papal ministry is therefore no longer what it was before. It is and remains the foundation of the Catholic Church; and yet it is a foundation which Benedict XVI has profoundly and permanently transformed during his exceptional pontificate (Ausnahmepontifikat), regarding which the sober Cardinal Sodano, reacting simply and directly immediately after the surprising resignation, deeply moved and almost stunned, exclaimed that the news hit the cardinals who were gathered “like a bolt from out of the blue.”

It was the morning of that very day when, in the evening, a bolt of lightning with an incredible roar struck the tip of St. Peter’s dome positioned just over the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles. Rarely has the cosmos more dramatically accompanied a historic turning point. But on the morning of that February 11, the dean of the College of Cardinals, Angelo Sodano, concluded his reply to Benedict XVI’s statement with an initial and similarly cosmic assessment of the pontificate, when he concluded, saying: “Certainly, the stars in the sky will always continue to shine, and so too will the star of his pontificate always shine in our midst.”

Equally brilliant and illuminating is the thorough and well documented exposition by Don Regoli of the different phases of the pontificate. Especially its beginning in the April 2005 conclave, from which Joseph Ratzinger, after one of the shortest elections in the history of the Church, emerged elected after only four ballots following a dramatic struggle between the so-called “Salt of the Earth Party,” around Cardinals López Trujíllo, Ruini, Herranz, Rouco Varela or Medina and the so-called “St. Gallen Group” around Cardinals Danneels, Martini, Silvestrini or Murphy-O’Connor; a group that recently the same Cardinal Danneels of Brussels so amusedly called “a kind of Mafia-Club.” The election was certainly also the result of a clash, whose key Ratzinger himself, as dean of the College of Cardinals, had furnished in the historic homily of April 18, 2005 in St. Peter’s; precisely, where to a “dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires” he contrasted another measure: “the Son of God, the true man” as “the measure of true humanism.” Today we read this part of Regoli’s intelligent analysis almost like a breathtaking detective novel of not so long ago; whereas the “dictatorship of relativism” has for a long time sweepingly expressed itself through the many channels of the new means of communication which, in 2005, barely could be imagined.

The name that the new pope took immediately after his election therefore already represented a plan. Joseph Ratzinger did not become Pope John Paul III, as perhaps many would have wished. Instead, he went back to Benedict XV — the unheeded and unlucky great pope of peace of the terrible years of the First World War — and to St. Benedict of Norcia, patriarch of monasticism and patron of Europe. I could appear as a star witness to testify that, over the previous years, Cardinal Ratzinger never pushed to rise to the highest office of the Catholic Church.

Instead, he was already dreaming of a condition that would have allowed him to write several last books in peace and tranquility. Everyone knows that things went differently. During the election, then, in the Sistine Chapel, I was a witness that he saw the election as a “true shock” and was “upset,” and that he felt “dizzy” as soon as he realized that “the axe” of the election would fall on him. I am not revealing any secrets here, because it was Benedict XVI himself who confessed all of this publicly on the occasion of the first audience granted to pilgrims who had come from Germany. And so it isn’t surprising that it was Benedict XVI who immediately after his election invited the faithful to pray for him, as this book again reminds us.

Regoli maps out the various years of ministry in a fascinating and moving way, recalling the skill and confidence with which Benedict XVI exercised his mandate. And what emerged from the time when, just a few months after his election, he invited for a private conversation both his old, fierce antagonist Hans Küng as well as Oriana Fallaci, the agnostic and combative grande dame of Jewish origin, from the Italian secular mass media; or when he appointed Werner Arber, the Swiss Evangelical and Nobel Prize winner, as the first non-Catholic President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. Regoli does not cover up the accusation of an insufficient knowledge of men that was often leveled against the brilliant theologian in the shoes of the Fisherman; a man capable of truly brilliantly evaluating texts and difficult books, and who nevertheless, in 2010, frankly confided to Peter Seewald how difficult he found decisions about people because “no one can read another man’s heart.” How true it is!

Regoli rightly calls 2010 a “black year” for the pope, precisely in relation to the tragic and fatal accident that befell Manuela Camagni, one of the four Memores Domini belonging to the small “papal family.” I can certainly confirm it. In comparison with this misfortune the media sensationalism of those years — from the case of traditionalist bishop, Williamson, to a series of increasingly malicious attacks against the pope — while having a certain effect, did not strike the pope’s heart as much as the death of Manuela, who was torn so suddenly from our midst. Benedict was not an “actor pope,” and even less an insensitive “automaton pope”; even on the throne of Peter he was and he remained a man; or, as Conrad Ferdinand Meyer would say, he was not a “clever book,” he was “a man with his contradictions.” That is how I myself have daily been able to come to know and appreciate him. And so he has remained until today.

Regoli observes, however, that after the last encyclical, Caritas in veritate of December 4, 2009, a dynamic, innovative papacy with a strong drive from a liturgical, ecumenical and canonical perspective, suddenly appeared to have “slowed down,” been blocked, and bogged down. Although it is true that the headwinds increased in the years that followed, I cannot confirm this judgment. Benedict’s travels to the UK (2010), to Germany and to Erfurt, the city of Luther (2011), or to the heated Middle East — to concerned Christians in Lebanon (2012) — have all been ecumenical milestones in recent years. His decisive handling to solve the issue of abuse was and remains a decisive indication on how to proceed. And when, before him, has there ever been a pope who — along with his onerous task — has also written books on Jesus of Nazareth, which perhaps will also be regarded as his most important legacy?

It isn’t necessary here that I dwell on how he, who was so struck by the sudden death of Manuela Camagni, later also suffered the betrayal of Paolo Gabriele, who was also a member of the same “papal family.” And yet it is good for me to say at long last, with all clarity, that Benedict, in the end, did not step down because of a poor and misguided chamber assistant, or because of the “tidbits” coming from his apartment which, in the so-called “Vatileaks affair,” circulated like fool’s gold in Rome but were traded in the rest of the world like authentic gold bullion. No traitor or “raven” [the Italian press’s nickname for the Vatileaks source] or any journalist would have been able to push him to that decision. That scandal was too small for such a thing, and so much greater was the well-considered step of millennial historical significance that Benedict XVI made.

The exposition of these events by Regoli also merits consideration because he does not advance the claim that he sounds and fully explains this last, mysterious step; not further enriching the swarm of legends with more assumptions that have little or nothing to do with reality. And I, too, a firsthand witness of the spectacular and unexpected step of Benedict XVI, I must admit that what always comes to mind is the well-known and brilliant axiom with which, in the Middle Ages, John Duns Scotus justified the divine decree for the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God:

“Decuit, potuit, fecit.”

That is to say: it was fitting, because it was reasonable. God could do it, therefore he did it. I apply the axiom to the decision to resign in the following way: it was fitting, because Benedict XVI was aware that he lacked the necessary strength for the extremely onerous office. He could do it, because he had already thoroughly thought through, from a theological point of view, the possibility of popes emeritus for the future. So he did it.

The momentous resignation of the theologian pope represented a step forward primarily by the fact that, on February 11, 2013, speaking in Latin in front of the surprised cardinals, he introduced into the Catholic Church the new institution of “pope emeritus,” stating that his strength was no longer sufficient “to properly exercise the Petrine ministry.” The key word in that statement is munus petrinum, translated — as happens most of the time — with “Petrine ministry.” And yet, munus, in Latin, has a multiplicity of meanings: it can mean service, duty, guide or gift, even prodigy. Before and after his resignation, Benedict understood and understands his task as participation in such a “Petrine ministry.” He has left the papal throne and yet, with the step made on February 11, 2013, he has not at all abandoned this ministry. Instead, he has complemented the personal office with a collegial and synodal dimension, as a quasi shared ministry (als einen quasi gemeinsamen Dienst); as though, by this, he wanted to reiterate once again the invitation contained in the motto that the then Joseph Ratzinger took as archbishop of Munich and Freising and which he then naturally maintained as bishop of Rome: “cooperatores veritatis,” which means “fellow workers in the truth.” In fact, it is not in the singular but the plural; it is taken from the Third Letter of John, in which in verse 8 it is written: “We ought to support such men, that we may be fellow workers in the truth.”

Since the election of his successor Francis, on March 13, 2013, there are not therefore two popes, but de facto an expanded ministry — with an active member and a contemplative member. This is why Benedict XVI has not given up either his name, or the white cassock. This is why the correct name by which to address him even today is “Your Holiness”; and this is also why he has not retired to a secluded monastery, but within the Vatican — as if he had only taken a step to the side to make room for his successor and a new stage in the history of the papacy which he, by that step, enriched with the “power station” of his prayer and his compassion located in the Vatican Gardens.

It was “the least expected step in contemporary Catholicism,” Regoli writes, and yet a possibility which Cardinal Ratzinger had already pondered publicly on August 10, 1978 in Munich, in a homily on the occasion of the death of Paul VI. Thirty-five years later, he has not abandoned the Office of Peter — something which would have been entirely impossible for him after his irrevocable acceptance of the office in April 2005. By an act of extraordinary courage, he has instead renewed this office (even against the opinion of well-meaning and undoubtedly competent advisers), and with a final effort he has strengthened it (as I hope). Of course only history will prove this. But in the history of the Church it shall remain true that, in the year 2013, the famous theologian on the throne of Peter became history’s first “pope emeritus.” Since then, his role — allow me to repeat it once again — is entirely different from that, for example, of the holy Pope Celestine V, who after his resignation in 1294 would have liked to return to being a hermit, becoming instead a prisoner of his successor, Boniface VIII (to whom today in the Church we owe the establishment of jubilee years). To date, in fact, there has never been a step like that taken by Benedict XVI. So it is not surprising that it has been seen by some as revolutionary, or to the contrary as entirely consistent with the Gospel; while still others see the papacy in this way secularized as never before, and thus more collegial and functional or even simply more human and less sacred. And still others are of the opinion that Benedict XVI, with this step, has almost — speaking in theological and historical-critical terms — demythologized the papacy.

In his overview of the pontificate, Regoli clearly lays this all out as never before. Perhaps the most moving part of the reading for me was the place where, in a long quote, he recalls the last general audience of Pope Benedict XVI on February 27, 2013 when, under an unforgettable clear and brisk sky, the pope, who shortly thereafter would resign, summarized his pontificate as follows:

“It has been a portion of the Church’s journey which has had its moments of joy and light, but also moments which were not easy; I have felt like Saint Peter with the Apostles in the boat on the Sea of Galilee: The Lord has given us so many days of sun and of light winds, days when the catch was abundant; there were also moments when the waters were rough and the winds against us, as throughout the Church’s history, and the Lord seemed to be sleeping. But I have always known that the Lord is in that boat, and I have always known that the barque of the Church is not mine, it is not ours, but his. Nor does the Lord let it sink; it is he who guides it, surely also through the men whom he has chosen, because he so wished. This has been, and is, a certainty which nothing can obscure.”

I must admit that, rereading these words can still bring tears to my eyes, all the more so because I saw in person and up close how unconditional, for himself and for his ministry, was Pope Benedict’s adherence to St Benedict’s words, for whom “nothing is to be placed before the love of Christ,” nihil amori Christi praeponere, as stated in rule handed down to us by Pope Gregory the Great. I was a witness to this, but I still remain fascinated by the accuracy of that final analysis in St. Peter’s Square which sounded so poetic but was nothing less than prophetic. In fact, they are words to which today, too, Pope Francis would immediately and certainly subscribe. Not to the popes but to Christ, to the Lord Himself and to no one else belongs the barque of Peter, whipped by the waves of the stormy sea, when time and again we fear that the Lord is asleep and that our needs are not important to him, while just one word is enough for him to stop every storm; when instead, more than the high waves and the howling wind, it is our disbelief, our little faith and our impatience that make us continually fall into panic.

Thus, this book once again throws a consoling gaze on the peaceful imperturbability and serenity of Benedict XVI, at the helm of the barque of Peter in the dramatic years 2005-2013. At the same time, however, through this illuminating account, Regoli himself now also takes part in the munus Petri of which I spoke. Like Peter Seewald and others before him, Roberto Regoli — as a priest, professor and scholar — also thus enters into that enlarged Petrine ministry around the successors of the Apostle Peter; and for this today we offer him heartfelt thanks.

Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Prefect of the Papal Household
20 May 2016



Hey, guess who I saw at Mass today…!

Tiny Princess!

I use “saw” figuratively, but she was there!

It’s going to take a little getting used to no longer saying in my prayers, “For SuperNerd, SuperMommy, Tiny Princess….”

We don’t pray for people who have absolutely everything, who are looking upon God, face to face, without any veil or separation.

Don’t be afraid to ask Tiny Princess to pray for you!  She knows who you are, and knows that you prayed for her during her time here below.  Her little apostolate is now up and running at full strength!

And now a few especially moving and wise words from SuperNerd, who is the father of a saint, today:

“Sometimes I’ve thought of children who die before they are able to offend God as the lucky ones: they go straight to heaven.  But on second thought they must regard us as the lucky ones.  While they were never able to offend God they were also incapable of doing what we can do every moment of every day: willingly and selflessly give our thoughts and actions to the service of God.  I imagine that Tiny Princess is praying for me, her mom, and her siblings with the hope that we’ll not only make it to heaven with her but that she’ll be able to tell the other innocents around her in heaven: “See those radiant souls waaaaaay up there, closer to God? That’s my family!!!”  And so I renew my vows to renounce satan, his works, and his pomps and to serve God as thoroughly and completely as I can.“