Recall is diminishing for me regarding my browsing through the stacks of the Canon Law collections of the various campuses of the North American College in Rome. I’m not a Canon Lawyer. But I was interested at the time in figuring out Ratzinger’s controversial opinions and apparent flip-flopping after ferocious corrections by others on the topic of, say, a layman becoming Pope, and whether or not he would have, after a verified election, the capacity to posit valid legislative acts that of themselves involve any differences in munus and ministry, that is, without that new Supreme Pontiff becoming a bishop. Yes, then, No, or, kind of? I found such articles / commentary in various volumes of a still-being-published series of commentaries (blue hard cover edition). I may not remember that correctly, so don’t beat me up too badly. In light of the weird circumstances that surrounded the resignation / abdication (whatever) of Benedict XVI, in light of the strange statements of his secretary about a kind of bifurcated papacy, in light of there being such insistence on there being but one pope (Francis) but another kind of spiritual pope (Benedict), etc., I’m just wondering if there is some sort of vague precedent in the academic ruminations of Ratzinger for what happened in 2013 and is still haunting us today.
Just my own scenario: what if you divide the mandates of governing, sanctifying and teaching, so that the “active” pope takes the governing and sanctifying (regardless of whether he actually does that), while the other retains the teaching capacity, that is, the burden of being infallible. Francis didn’t get the memo on that, at all. In his speech on the 50th anniversary of the Synods of Bishops he said he fully intends to pronounce an ex-cathedra infallible statement, which I think he will attempt to do at the end of the Synod on Synods. He lead up to that by his own specious re-write of Vatican Council II’s Lumen gentium, having it that everyone is infallible (definitely more than was stated by that Constitution).
Regardless of my failing memory of briefly glancing over articles that were out of my wheelhouse so many decades ago, and regardless of whatever Ratzinger intended then or in 2013, I’m not saying this has anything to do with the confusing situation in which we find ourselves. But maybe there is some connection, some line of thought, that can be followed through the academic opinions of Ratzinger, then Benedict, then someone “emeritus.” I don’t know. If I had the chance to browse through the stacks of Canon Law rooms of dedicated libraries I would do it again. But none of those exist in the back ridges of Appalachia.
Perhaps someone has the wherewithal to find those articles one way or another…