Wednesday, February 20, 2013

SHOULD THE POPE RENOUNCE HIS ABDICATION OF THE CHAIR OF PETER? YES, SAY SOME TRADITIONALISTS


The Blog Chiesa out of Italy is reporting the following:
Last-Ditch Appeal: The Pope Should Withdraw His Resignation

The reactions of the traditionalists to the renunciation of Benedict XVI. Legitimate but inopportune, according to Roberto de Mattei. Impossible philosophically and theologically, according to Enrico Maria Radaelli

by Sandro Magister

ROME, February 20, 2013 – How have the most resolute defenders of Catholic tradition reacted to the resignation of Benedict XVI?

Church historian Roberto de Mattei has commented on the decision of Pope Joseph Ratzinger with a commentary on the website he directs, “Corrispondenza Romana”:

> Thoughts on the Resignation of Benedict XVI

De Mattei does not contest the legitimacy of Benedict XVI's renunciation of the pontificate.

He recognizes that “it is contemplated by canon law and has been seen historically over the centuries.”

And it is also founded theologically, because it puts an end not to the power of orders conferred by the sacrament, which is indelible, but only to the power of jurisdiction.

From the historical point of view, however, de Mattei maintains that the resignation of pope Joseph Ratzinger “appears to be in absolute discontinuity with the tradition and praxis of the Church”:

"One cannot make a comparison either with Celestine V, who quit after being dragged away by force from his hermit's cell, or with Gregory XII, who was forced to resign in order to resolve the very serious question of the Great Western Schism. These were exceptional cases. But what is the exception in the action of Benedict XVI? The official reason, engraved in his words of February 11, expresses, more than the exception, the rule.”

It is the “rule” that would simply coincide with “vigor of both body and mind.”

But then “the question arises”:

“Over two thousand years of history, how many popes have reigned in good health and have not witnessed the decline of their powers and have not suffered from illnesses and moral trials of every kind? Physical well-being has never been a criterion of governance of the Church. Will it be so beginning with Benedict XVI?”

If this is so - de Mattei writes - the action of Benedict XVI takes on an impact “not simply innovative, but revolutionary”:

“The image of the pontifical institution, in the eyes of public opinion all over the world, would in fact be stripped of its sacrality to be handed over to the criteria of judgment of modernity.”

And this would achieve the objective repeatedly set forth by Hans Küng and other progressive theologians: that of reducing the pope “to the president of a board of administration, to a purely arbitral role, accompanied by a permanent synod of bishops with deliberative powers.”

*

Much more radical are the conclusions reached by the philosopher and theologian Enrico Maria Radaelli.

He has substantiated his criticisms of the action of Benedict XVI in a 13-page commentary published on his website:

> Aurea Domus

The title of the commentary leaves no room for doubt:

"Why pope Ratzinger-Benedict XVI should withdraw his resignation. It is not yet the time for a new pope, because it would be that of an antipope.”

Radaelli moves from the words of the risen Jesus to the apostle Peter, in chapter 21 of the gospel of John. He gathers from this that “the cross is the status of every Christian” and therefore “rebelling against one's status, rejecting a grace received, would appear to be for a Christian a grave offense against the virtue of hope, against the grace and the supernatural value of accepting one's human condition, all the more grave if the condition involves roles 'in sacris,' as is the condition, of all the most eminent, of pope.”

As the Peter of the “Quo vadis" who while fleeing from Rome runs into Jesus who is going to die in his place, so “it happens when the pope (but also the least of the faithful) flees from the place where Christ has driven him to endure, to suffer, perhaps to die: it happens that Christ goes to endure, to suffer, perhaps even to die, yes, in his place.”

It is true - Radaelli acknowledges - that canon 333 of the code of canon law establishes that a pope has the power to resign, “but I say that not even the pope has such power, because it would be the exercise of an absolute power that contrasts with being one's very self.” And “it is impossible even for God” not to be what he is.

The resignation of a pope - he continues - even if permitted legally, “is not permitted metaphysically and mystically, because in metaphysics it is bound up with the kernel of being, which does not permit something at the same time both to be and not to be, and in mysticism is bound up with the kernel of the mystical Body which is the Church, through which the office of vicar taken on [by the successor of Peter] with the oath of election places the being of the elect on an ontological plane substantially different from the one left behind: on the metaphysically and spiritually highest plane of Vicar of Christ.”

And again:

"Not considering these facts is in my view a murderous blow to dogma. Resigning means losing the universal name of Peter and going back to the private being of Simon, but this cannot be, because the name of Peter, of Cephas, of Rock, is given on a divine plane to a man who, in receiving it, no longer makes only himself, but 'makes Church.' Without counting the fact that since the self-removed pope cannot in reality resign, the incoming pope, despite himself, will be nothing but an antipope. And reigning will be he, the antipope, not the true pope.”

Radaelli concludes:

"The final consideration is therefore this: pope Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI should not resign, but should draw back from such a supreme decision, recognizing its character as metaphysically and mystically impracticable, and thus also legally unfounded. Not the resignation, but its withdrawal becomes an act of supernatural courage, and God only knows how much the Church needs a pope who is supernaturally, and not humanly, courageous. A pope lauded not by the 'liberals' of all the earth, but by the angels of all of heaven. A martyr pope moreover, a young lion of the Lord, brings more souls to heaven than a hundred resigned popes."

9 comments:

Nate said...

Clearly Radaelli has not heard of the Vision of the Vicars, which was written back in the 9th century, lost, and then found again in the 18th century. It said something along the lines of "Si autem Pontifex renuntiet Peter CCLXV, sub finem mundi non CCLXVI" (which according to Google, should say “If Holy Father 265 resigns the Chair of Saint Peter, the world will not end during the reign of 266”). By humbly fulfilling this vision, His Holiness is showing even more how much he cares for the Church!

Side note: the Archdiocese of Atlanta is also having a Mass of Thanksgiving for Pope Benedict XVI, so I will get to go during my conference! Woo hoo!

Bill Meyer said...

The reasoning given must, of necessity, overlook that the Holy Father gave sufficient prayer and consideration to the matter of his resignation. This is not only exceedingly unlikely, given what we know of the man, but possibly insulting.

SeerHere said...

Be not afraid. The next Supreme Pontiff will be Mauro Cardinal Piacenza aka Pope Leo XIV. Within 2 years of his pontificate, the Missal of Blessed John XXIII will be re-established as the normal use of the Mass, while the Novus Ordo of Bugnini/Paul VI will be reduced to a rarely used Catholic-led ecumenical service. Vatican II will be interpreted through traditional eyes, with hippie-induced "spirit of vatican II" goofiness and sacrelidge exterminated. Vocations to the priesthood, within 5 years, will increase dramatically. And for all of this, the SSPX will acctually be completely irrelevant. They are free to reconcile and return to full communion, or they can remain in schism. Their status will have zero effect one way or the other.

Long live Mauro Piacenza - Pope Leo XIV.

Andy Milam said...

I think that de Mattei's logic stands up for most of this, but eventually it falls down. That being said, he does make a related point to something that I've said before and while he treats it as a sidebar in his thought, I tend to look at it as more of a systemic problem with the modern mindset regarding the Papacy.

I'll try to expound. It is said, "If this is so - de Mattei writes - the action of Benedict XVI takes on an impact “not simply innovative, but revolutionary”:

“The image of the pontifical institution, in the eyes of public opinion all over the world, would in fact be stripped of its sacrality to be handed over to the criteria of judgment of modernity.”

And this would achieve the objective repeatedly set forth by Hans Küng and other progressive theologians: that of reducing the pope “to the president of a board of administration, to a purely arbitral role, accompanied by a permanent synod of bishops with deliberative powers.”"

This is exactly the reason why I think that the Holy Father should retake the Triple Tiara. As it is now, the Holy Father has no authority whatsoever. He is seen simply as a religious leader that has the trappings of one in authority, has no real power.

If the Holy Father were to reassert himself as not only pastor, but also as monarch, then his legislative roles and his judicial roles will have to be taken more seriously. He would be able to enforce law, not only temporal, but also liturgical and canon. The triple tiara isn't just a "trapping of man's wealth," but it is also a strong reminder that the Holy Father has a threefold mission in the world.

It has been said of Ratzinger before that he was a great liberal of the Council era, likened to Kung, Schillebeeckx, Rahner, and others. His liberal leanings continued through most of the 1960s and he wasn't influenced in orthodoxy until he started to associate with von Balthasar and de Lubac in the early 1970s. It wasn't until the 1980s that his hand was forced with regard to orthodoxy when he was brought to Rome to head the CDF.

However, I wonder that through all of this, did his view of resignation which is, in fact, frighteningly close to that of Kung's hasn't affected his understanding of the Papacy.

As Radaelli says, "Resigning means losing the universal name of Peter and going back to the private being of Simon, but this cannot be, because the name of Peter, of Cephas, of Rock, is given on a divine plane to a man who, in receiving it, no longer makes only himself, but 'makes Church.'"

Please don't misunderstand. I fully recognize and understand the juridical legitimacy of what Benedict is doing, but I think that we can openly and honestly call into question the prudence of such an action.

I won't go so far as Radaelli, but I think that there certainly parts of his argument which bear more thought and flushing out. The answer does lie in Ratzinger's mindset. Not so much in his action. That is what we, as informed Catholics should be exploring. It is also that which the Holy Father has not expounded upon and that is disconcerting.

Anonymous 5 said...

Andy,

With respect, I disagree with some of your suggestions. You speak in the same breath of the need for the tiara and the emptiness of trappings.

Paul VI's backdown in the conflict with the dissidents after Humanae Vitae (for backdown it was--no excommunications, no censures, and no more encyclicals) is, more than any other single event, the thing that compromised the authority of the papacy. There's been way too much water under the bridge since then. Renewed use of the tiara would be like restoring Louis XVIII to the throne--an attempt to make things look as if they hadn't been changed forever by the Revolution. If anything, it would open the pope up to attack by the secular world and the heterodox elements within the Church. No, that boat has sailed, and Benedict's predecessors and bishops are the ones who piloted it away from the wharf.

The only thing now that will reclaim the authority of the papacy is clear and explicit public commands to bishops, priests, and laity that are backed up by sanctions (excommunication, removal from office, laicization, and in some cases civil legal action) and followed through on without delay. This will draw the ire of secularists and heretics, and it will likely drive a great many people from the Church, but the vast majority of those aren't really part of the Church anyway.

The orthodox leaders of the past 10 or 20 years remind me of President James Buchanan, the lame-duck president of 1860-61. As the Union dissolved around him, he stated his opinion that while secession was clearly unconstitutional, the Constitution didn't give him the power to do anything to stop it. Contrast that to Lincoln, who made more effective use of presidential powers than anyone in history to crush secession and establish presidential primacy.

Templar said...

Anon5 said: "Contrast that to Lincoln, who made more effective use of presidential powers than anyone in history to crush secession and establish presidential primacy."

And forever destroyed the vision of the Framers of the American Government. While ending the evil of slavery was a good thing I believe it would have ended on it's own, with or without the Civil War, regardless of Southern or Northern victory, and that the destruction of States Rights has led the Republic ever so slowly ever since down the slippery slope of Tyranny. Lincoln's "victory" destroyed Slavery and the Republic, while Economics alone would have ended slavery without the need to resort to illegal invasion of sovereign states by the Federal Government.

Pater Ignotus said...

The Confederate States had no right to leave the union and was not a "sovereign" nation. Those who led the rebellion committed treason. (Two of my great-grandfathers served in the forces of the CSA.)

If we are playing the game of historical speculation, the South, after secession, would have fallen into an unsustainable economic decline, and would have, of its own accord, asked to be readmitted to the Union for the good of its people.

Gene said...

Another predictable response from Ignotus/Kavanaugh...LOL! Let's see, a Congress, a President, a Cabinet, a distinct currency backed by gold, a constitution, sovreign borders, an Army, an infrastructure, diplomats to other nations, commerce with other nations, newspapers, and industry...sounds like a sovreign nation to me!

Pater Ignotus said...

The CSA was a flash in the pan, a fantasy in the minds only of those who sought to destroy the Union so bravely established by the Greats -Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, Adams, et al.

I can print money, engage in commerce, call myself "president," publish a newspaper - and none of that makes me a sovereign nation. None of that makes me a sovereign nation anymore than it made the CSA a sovereign nation.

And sovereign nations are not established on the belief that African-Americans constitute a "feral minority."