Non solum propter tres canonizationes ad hoc Consistorium vos convocavi, sed etiam ut vobis decisionem magni momenti pro Ecclesiae vita communicem. Conscientia mea iterum atque iterum coram Deo explorata ad cognitionem certam perveni vires meas ingravescente aetate non iam aptas esse ad munus Petrinum aeque administrandum.
Bene conscius sum hoc munus secundum suam essentiam spiritualem non solum agendo et loquendo exsequi debere, sed non minus patiendo et orando. Attamen in mundo nostri temporis rapidis mutationibus subiecto et quaestionibus magni ponderis pro vita fidei perturbato ad navem Sancti Petri gubernandam et ad annuntiandum Evangelium etiam vigor quidam corporis et animae necessarius est, qui ultimis mensibus in me modo tali minuitur, ut incapacitatem meam ad ministerium mihi commissum bene administrandum agnoscere debeam. Quapropter bene conscius ponderis huius actus plena libertate declaro me ministerio Episcopi Romae, Successoris Sancti Petri, mihi per manus Cardinalium die 19 aprilis MMV commisso renuntiare ita ut a die 28 februarii MMXIII, hora 20, sedes Romae, sedes Sancti Petri vacet et Conclave ad eligendum novum Summum Pontificem ab his quibus competit convocandum esse.
Fratres carissimi, ex toto corde gratias ago vobis pro omni amore et labore, quo mecum pondus ministerii mei portastis et veniam peto pro omnibus defectibus meis. Nunc autem Sanctam Dei Ecclesiam curae Summi eius Pastoris, Domini nostri Iesu Christi confidimus sanctamque eius Matrem Mariam imploramus, ut patribus Cardinalibus in eligendo novo Summo Pontifice materna sua bonitate assistat. Quod ad me attinet etiam in futuro vita orationi dedicata Sanctae Ecclesiae Dei toto ex corde servire velim.
Ex Aedibus Vaticanis, die 10 mensis februarii MMXIII
BENEDICTUS PP. XVI
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the barque of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.
From the Vatican, 10 February 2013
BENEDICTUS PP XVI
PART I – The renouncement of Benedict XVI is valid
You have heard that it was said that the vocabulary and syntax of this renouncement are ambiguous with “Bishop of Rome” and “Successor of Peter” being placed in some sort of unknown apposition even while the word “ministry” is not at all the required technical vocabulary that must be used in order for such a renouncement to be valid. Except, consider this question:
Does the word “ministry” refer to only one or to all three aspects of the Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter as (1) prophet, (2) priest, and (3) king, thus regarding (1) the truth of doctrine and morality, (2) the sacrifice of the One High Priest, Jesus Christ, (3) the fatherly governance of the family of faith on earth.
Text without context is pretext, right? The context is that at the stated time, the fact of “the See of Rome,” and the fact of “the See of Saint Peter,” which are inclusive of all three, will be vacated by the person who up to that time was the “Bishop of Rome” and “Successor of Peter.” This covers for the lack of technical vocabulary; the weirdness of the apposition is inescapably rectified by the parallel.
So, the renouncement is valid, and there began to be a sede vacante in 2013, but is there still a sede vacante today? What about Francis?
PART II – Is the election of Francis valid?
The discussion of Cardinals before a Conclave is very important. It is to consist of Cardinals sharing with each other what they themselves believe any future Pope is to believe, what any future Pope’s priorities should be in this time in which we live.
- They are not to promise anything like “If I were Pope I would…”
- Likewise, they are absolutely to avoid anything like “I’ll vote for you if only you promise to…”
The latter two are electioneering. There are number of questions:
If Jorge Bergoglio participated in electioneering, does that invalidate the Conclave? Even if he did this with only one Cardinal, word spreads, and you have to take that one incident as if it were done with all electors. It doesn’t matter if he initiated that conversation or it was initiated by even just one of the Cardinals. Does what Jorge Bergoglio did invalidate his election?
Do his repeated statements that he has fulfilled in his time in Rome what the Cardinals asked of him before the Conclave rise to the level of electioneering? And was anything asked of him, or were they just expressing opinions generally, and he’s anachronistically just reporting that which he now thinks has fallen to him?
Even if he says “Cardinals” in the plural, is that just one or two, or really very many? Does the invalidity of an election depend on just one or two compromised Cardinals? Do we really know the numbers? I wasn’t there. Will we ever know? Can we ever know?
It seems to me that a commission of Cardinals convened for the purpose of answering such questions may be a good idea. Is that likely? Who would make up that Commission these days? Can they put the electors of time under oath? How many have died or are utterly incapacitated since then? This is not easy.
Whose name do I recite in the Roman Canon or in any Eucharistic Prayer, or in any intercessions for the Pope?
Benedict’s renunciation was valid. Francis’ election hasn’t been proven to be invalid.
It is what it is.
Correct me if you can. I am most open to correction.