Monday, July 1, 2019

The Secret of Benedict XVI: Is He Still the Pope?

Catholic heresy accountability validity cannon law papacy books


I read this book expecting to be skeptical of an author who would argue that Benedict XVI did not validly or fully resign the papacy. After all, it sure looked as if he intended to do that in his famous speech of abdication, and the world seems to have accepted it as such.

Socci, however, gave me much to think about with his careful analysis of Benedict's XVI's utterances on the subject (and there are a surprising number of them!), Archbishop Gaenswein's speeches, and, above all, the interpretations of canon lawyers -- none of them traditionalists, by the way -- who argue that the resignation lacks several conditions for validity. The argument is not based so much on the machinations of the St. Gallen Mafia as on the inherent actions and statements of Benedict XVI and others, all publicly available. In other words, this is no "conspiracy theory" but a soberly argued case. There are certainly steps in the argument that I wonder about or find less than convincing, and the book raises quite as many questions as it purports to resolve, yet the complete picture is nothing less than apocalyptic.

Even those who think they have a watertight case in favor of validity should, out of intellectual honesty, grapple with what Socci presents here. If they can defeat his arguments, all the better for the defense of truth. If they cannot or will not, however, this would seem to indicate a moral or mental weakness. I would be happy to see a refutation, but it has to go beyond the anodyne statement that "general acceptance of a pope is equivalent to the validity of a papacy." We are in uncharted waters, and we need to recognize that the safe and sound ecclesiology of the preconciliar period is being burst open in all sorts of ways.  (more...)

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