Monday, February 11, 2013


Pray for the pope and his successor! Pope Benedict XVI to resign!
Perhaps this was a function of my clairvoyance, but yesterday we took our visiting Dominican priest, Fr. Serge Prospt, who is in our parish for a pre-Lenten mission to dinner at Carrabas. During the course of the meal, I asked Fr. Serge what his thoughts were on Pope Benedict's successor! Yes, I asked him that less than 24 hours ago.

He said, he certainly had no insights, but that the next successor would continue the reform in continuity.

The future of the Church is in the handS of younger priests and bishops who are not formed by the breach in continuity that so many dying progressives think is the future of the Church, in fact the progressive agenda had caused religious orders to decline, convents and monasteries to close as well as seminaries and parishes.

The only parts of the Church that are growing, including dioceses and religious orders and seminaries are the reform in continuity movement.

We will see the next pope rigorously continuing the reform in continuity!

Finally, as many of you know, I have been described as "ultramontane" and yes I see in the Holy Father, and no matter who that person is, the unity of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. We don't look to blogs for our unity in fact, they may in fact be the source of disunity, except my own of course.

We don't look to our favorite bishop, unless he is in complete union with the Holy Father for our source of unity. We don't look to neo-schismatic groups or those on the brink of such. We don't look to our favorite theologian living or deceased. We look to the living successor of Saint Peter. We look to the Vicar of Christ. We look to Jesus Christ the invisible Head of the Church, with His vicar as the visible head.

We also submit to the supreme magisterium of the Holy Church in all areas of faith, morals, discipline and canon law. It is that simple. To do otherwise makes us more Eastern Orthodox and thus schismatic or more Protestant and thus heretical!

Yes, Pope Benedict, although youthful in his reform in continuity and thus ushering
in the younger, more faithful clergy and thus theologians and bishops is of my mother's generation and of the generation that did so much damage to the Church by forcing the wrong "spirit" of renewal after Vatican II. The good, the bad and the ugly of that generation is going, going and soon to be gone.

No matter what, in the areas of faith, morals, discipline and canon law, I'm with the Pope through thick and thin. To whom else shall we go?

Keep in mind that the next conclave will take place during the Holy Season of Lent that starts this Wednesday, Ash Wednesday and we will have a new pope by Easter to carry on the Year of Faith.

So my clairvoyance brings me to Fr. Divo Barsotti (1914-2006)the brilliant and esteemed mystic and spiritual master - who in 1971 was called to preach the Lenten exercises to the pope and to the Roman curia - expressed strong criticisms of Vatican Council II. My clairvoyance tells me that the Cardinals meeting in conclave to elect the new pope will reflect on Fr. Barsotti's grave concerns announced in 1971 and elect a successor to Saint Peter who will be most mindful of Fr. Barsotti's prophetic words that must be applied to our current situation to return strength and vigor to the Church now under the attacks of the devil from within her own ranks and from outside by atheistic secularists in government and business, seats of powers and principalities.


"I am perplexed with regard to the Council: the plethora of documents, their length, often their language, these frightened me. They are documents that bear witness to a purely human assurance more than two a simple firmness of faith. But above all I am outraged by the behavior of the theologians.”

"The Council is the supreme exercise of the magisterium, and is justified only by a supreme necessity. Could not the fearful gravity of the present situation of the Church stem precisely from the foolishness of having wanted to provoke and tempt the Lord? Was there the desire, perhaps, to constrain God to speak when there was not this supreme necessity? Is that the way it is? In order to justify a Council that presumed to renew all things, it had to be affirmed that everything was going poorly, something that is done constantly, if not by the episcopate then by the theologians.”

"Nothing seems to me more grave, contrary to the holiness of God, than the presumption of clerics who believe, with a pride that is purely diabolical, that they can manipulate the truth, who presume to renew the Church and to save the world without renewing themselves. In all the history of the Church nothing is comparable to the latest Council, at which the Catholic episcopate believed that it could renew all things by obeying nothing other than its own pride, without the effort of holiness, in such open opposition to the law of the gospel that it requires us to believe how the humanity of Christ was the instrument of the omnipotence of the love that saves, in his death.”

Pope Benedict will become the Bishop Emeritus of Rome. What shall he be called? That is the question! Pope Emeritus? Cardinal Ratzinger? Oh my?

I have noticed that the Holy Father has lost considerable weight and is walking with difficulty. He may well have prostate cancer (just my conjecture, but my father died of it). It got into my father's bones and eventually made him a quadriplegic before it killed him at the age of 77. The Holy Father is 85 soon to be 86.


Gerbert d' Aurillac said...

To say I am shocked and saddened by the news is an understatement, while I have had concerns about his health as of late, I assumed he would carry on. With all the issues facing the church today, and not wanting to hand over his ministry to subordinates, his decision seems to be the best thing for the future of the church. God Bless Pope Benedict XVI!

Gene said...

I wonder if he has some debilitating disease that we do not know of?

Art Fleming said...

Fasten your seat belts. If St. Malachi is right, we are about to see the election of the last pope. Get ready for Peter the Roman. Get ready for serious trials like the Church has never seen.

Marc said...

The last pope had a serious debilitating disease and he didn't resign. The last pope to resign was in the early 1400s and that to prevent a civil war, apparently. There is something amiss here.

Papal resignation has very serious theological consequences in my view. That will have to be worked out anew because the papacy is very different now than the time of the last resignation.

qwikness said...

I know its not up to man but to the Holy Spirit but how about a Non-Western European Pope? But whatever He says will be best.

Anonymous said...

Lung Cancer perhaps, as the Holy Father was a lifelong smoker? 1417 was quite some time ago & we are all reeling, trying to find our spiritual balance and,if unable to make sense out of it, at least finding our center to pray for all that is to come. Whatever the case may be, the Prophecies of St. Malachy most certainly come to mind... - Pgal

Bret said...

Very sad news. I get the feeling Pope Benedict has a terminal illness he has not made public, and expects to live only a few more months. It is time to pray for the next pope, one who will make the "reform of the reform" of the Holy Mass a top priority.

From Business Insider website:

Angelo Cardinal Bagnasco: "A detrmination to re-read the Vatican II council in a traditional way.... a protege of Cardinal Siri".

Albert Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith: "Potentially speeding up the return of Traditional Liturgy in the Church"

Antonio Cardinal Llovera: "Known as Little Ratzinger, would have strong coninuity to Benedict's papacy and slow and methodical return to Traditional Catholicism".

Geroge Cardinal Pell: "Another who would be in strong continuity with Benedict's papacy and return to Traditional Liturgy... vocal supporter or reconcilliation with SSPX".

Marc Cardinal Ouelette: Business Insiderlists him as "most qualified".

Not listed was Cardinal Arinze. Is he still a condender or has his time passed? A negative about him is he seems a little hostile to the Extraordinary Form.

Jack Barry said...

I don't want to worry about who the next pope will be, but I can't help but do so. I'll feel much better if two things happen:

1) He takes the name Pius XIII

2) His installation Mass is held inside the basilica, not in the square and IN THE EXTRAORDINARY FORM.

I'm just sayin'...

Unknown said...

I think that before we get all bent out of shape we should take a look at a couple of factors...but, before I make my listings, we should pray for His Holiness that his mind is clear and his mind is free. At this point, I pray to the Holy Spirit: Veni Sancte Spiritus, tui amoris ignem accende in pontificem.

1. The Holy Father said of his predecessor that if his health were to deteriorate any further he should resign. He said that in '02.

2. The Holy Father's health has been bad for a long time. He has had bone breaks, strokes, etc...

3. It is clear that he didn't ever want to be pope. While this means very little, because he accepted the role, it does speak to his mindset.

4. He has worked his entire pontificate to centralize the curia and to bolster the number of Italian cardinals, it would seem that he is trying to bring the pontificate back to an Italian, but this again, means very little.

5. The Church will endure. This isn't unprecedented, it just hasn't happened since 1415, as Marc said. I think that it might be worth exploring Marc's post though, because I agree that there are some HUGE theological consequences in the offing.

My speculation is will be a moderate Italian. I don't see a flaming liberal and I don't see a traddy. I see the status quo being continued and I see it being a man probably who will reign somewhere in the area of 10 years. I don't think the college wants a long pontificate, and I don't think that an aged man will suffice either. This will be via media....

As for St. Malachy....don't buy it, not even for a second.

Hammer of Fascists said...

Terminal illness came to my mind as well, although (not to be morbid) if it were clear that death would come quickly, resignation might not have been necessary, while something more drawn out that progressively compromised his ability to rule would be a different matter.

I agree that it's plain that the Holy Father never wanted the papacy, although in my book that's actually a fundamental qualification for the job and speaks well for him.

I think, in the end, the turmoil the Church has been in for the past few decades has simply been too much for a gentle and kind-hearted academic to handle. And the great bulk of that turmoil must be laid at the feet of the dissenters, most of them on the left who have been empowered by the hierarchy in past decades, and a few of them on the right. The rest of the blame can go to the secular and Islamic worlds, which quite publicly hate his guts and have never flinched from saying so.

I can certainly sympathize with him.

Pater Ignotus said...

Theologically, when a pope resigns he is no longer pope and therefore does not enjoy the charisms given to THE pope. I don't think there are any particular "theological" problems attached to a pope's resignation.

The problems with prior resignations (and multiple popes) were political, not theological.

I had the thought many have expressed - that B16 knows he is terminally ill and, as a result of the incapacitation he is progressively experiencing, has decided for the sake of the Church to leave the office sooner rather than later.

God be with him.

Unknown said...

To be honest, I'm more shocked than surprised.

When I watched the Mass for the Solemnity of Mary last month, he appeared very tired, and his voice sounded equally as tired.

His Holiness's last words as Pope may well be "Have I played the part well?".

And, in response, a great many of us would respond, Yes, Father, you have.".

John Nolan said...

I think we should put geopolitical issues aside when considering who should be the next Bishop of Rome. After 35 years it would make sense to have an Italian. I would back Angelo Bagnasco, who is the ideal age, but the other Angelo (Scola) is also sound. Ravasi is too much of a maverick, with a taste for modern art and bad vestments.

Already some liberals are salivating over the prospect that the next pope will be unsympathetic to the EF and will undo Summorum Pontificum. Unlike Father Allan, I am not clairvoyant, but I will wager a pound to a penny that they will be disappointed.

K-Kay said...

Pope Benedict's plans after abdicating the Papacy:

He will live in a monastery in Vatican City, and will be known as "Cardinal Ratzinger" once again.

I am very sad he is abdicating, but happy he did not die. May he live many more years. Wouldn't it be kind of funny if the next pope dies after only 3 or 4 years, and Cardinal Ratzinger outlives him?

Since people are living longer, but not with good health and vigor, this may be the first of "the new normal" of elderly popes abdicating rather than dying in office.

Marc said...

I respectfully disagree with those who see no theological consequences here (note the word "consequences" not problems). Although I concede they can likely be explained , I maintain they must be explained.

For example, once one is ordained a bishop, one is always a bishop. Presumably, this is not true of the Pope. However, one could conceivably argue being "ordained" Pope is a further succession in Holy Orders that are indelible. Therefore, the charism proper to the rank does not dissolve upon abdication.

Moreover, the argument goes that Petrine succession is given to Peter's successors and not to the Roman Church. Cardinal Ratzinger was elevated to the rank and Chair of the Successors of St. Peter. Presumably, this elevation can be undone. Certain logical progressions from there lead to the conclusion that the primacy of papacy can therefore be undone and transferred since the primacy is personal, not necessarily tied to the Roman See.

I could go on, but I'm on an iPhone. I don't mean to suggest these are claims without answers (although they are quite serious). My point is simply that there are theological matters to be addressed here. This is more complicated than a bishop resigning, which in itself says quite a bit about the way the papacy has changed and the sorts of questions this resignation raises. Surely the Pope recognizes this, being an esteemed theologian. That raises further questions about why he would subject the Church to this situation.

Dan Z said...

Marc, my guess is Pope Benedict has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, where he has been given less than a year left to live. He wants to abdicate now for two reasons. First, he may have a strong say so in who his succesor is (in fact it would not be out of the question for him to appoint the next pope, as St Peter did, rather than have a concleave elect him) so his work on the reform of the reform and the normalization of the TLM will not be undone.

Second, knowing he has less than a year left to live, he wants to die in private, not on a stage with a spotlight on him as John Paul II did.

What I want to know, is if he will give some sort of farewell address. It could be very heart wrenching. Imagine him thanking everyone, only to be interrupted by chants of "Please don't go!" and "Stay with us longer!". Benedict may get so emotional, tears begin streaming down his face. Such an occurance could be the defining moment of the century.

Now is the time for all the parish musical directors around the world to dust off the hymn "God Bless Our Pope, The Great The Good"

ytc said...

My mind is utterly blown to bits.

Joseph Johnson said...

John Nolan,
While I might prefer Cardinals Burke or Ranjith, I think that Scola or Bagnasco are far more likely choices. I don't know much about Bagnasco but some of the other blogs that I view (which are sympathetic to the EF and reform in continuity) seem to like Bagnasco (behind Burke and Ranjith) as well. As far as I know, Scola would be a very sound choice--I just don't know how sympathetic he is to the restoration of liturgical tradition (EF, etc.). He might make a great pope but liturgically more "modern" to "middle of the road" like JPII.

This may sound silly and shallow, but if you can find a picture of him wearing a Roman chasuble, episcopal gloves and a tall bejeweled mitre I would be much more comfortable with Scola (as only a bishop with traditionalist sympathies or bent of mind would have the guts to wear such garb--clothing can telegraph attitudes and B16 seemed to know this well).

ytc said...

Joseph, is this good enough?

Anonymous said...

I think Pope Benedict is very methodical and it is no coincidence that he announced his resignation on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. The seriously ill have appealed to her for quite some time. Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.


Marc said...

So, everyone here thinks it's a good precedent for popes to resign when they are ill (including terminal and other illness)?

I ask because, almost by definition these days, popes are so old they would be forced to resign if they were "normal" bishops... Seems like having a non-elderly pope might be a solution (recognizing, of course, that the non-elderly also fall terminally ill).

I disagree with the commenters who relate everything to the TLM or the "Reform of the Reform." I doubt seriously the pope gave either much consideration in making this decision... To "Traditionalists" these topics require almost constant thought: the pope, on the other hand, has other things on his mind than satisfying the incredibly small minority of Catholics who even know there is such thing as a Tridentine Mass and that the Church hasn't always celebrated the Novus Ordo or supported false ecumenism.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pope's are not ordained, they are elected and installed. The pope's ordination as a bishop is indelible.

The papal charisms are attached to the office, not the holder of the office. So, when a bishop leaves the office of pope, he no longer holds the charisms.

The Petrine ministry is given TO the pope (the one in the office) FOR the Church. These are linked and cannot be separated.

The situation is analogous to a diocesan bishop's resignation. Our former bishops Raymond Lessard and Kevin Boland remain bishops, but the function of that office - being a diocesan ordinary - no longer obtains in them. A resigned pope remains a bishop, but since he no longer functions as the Bishop of Rome he no longer "has" the authority/charisms of that office.

B16 has not subjected the Church to anything that has not been experienced before. There is no question as to "why" he has done this - he is unable to fulfill the Petrine ministry.

Православный физик said...

The annoucment is not a surprise, when he did it, comes as a surprise.

I pray that the next Pope will NOT be from Western Europe or America...

Gene said...

Let's keep a Western European Pope, preferably Italian. This is no time for geo-political PC thinking or experimentation.

Joseph Johnson said...

I copied down the link you provided and tried it--my computer responded "that's an error." If you could set it up where I can simply click on you link or give me another simpler way to get there I would be very appreciative. Thanks!

The last go around when B16 was elected I had the same liturgical concerns (TLM, reform of reform). When B16 was elected, my friend Jody Peterman and I rejoiced because we knew Benedict would do something positive in these areas. I know that the pope has a lot more to be concerned about but, to put it in shorthand, as Fr. Z says, "Save the Liturgy--Save the World!" There will we no "new springtime" in the church until the church gets its liturgical house in order.

Allen Ludden said...

There's no point in speculating on who the successor will be. I hope and pray, however that it is NOT Cardinal Bertone.

Do an internet search and pull up ANY photo you like of Bertone. Look closely at his eyes. That says it all.

John Nolan said...

Most of the images of Bagnasco show him in Roman vestments (including the pontifical dalmatic) and he has a dignified bearing which reminds me not a little of Pius XII. I would expect to see the improvement in the papal liturgies continue if he were elected, and Guido Marini being retained as MC. Having just passed his 70th birthday he is neither too young or too old.

Ravasi might be the liberal choice, and Benedict seems to have confidence in him, but he is a bit of a maverick with a predilection for modern art and bad vestments.

Pater Ignotus said...

I think it is a good thing for a pope to resign when he is "no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry."

Unknown said...

I think that I'm with Marc, John, and Joseph on this one. This really shouldn't be a political choice. There really isn't any place for it, but I will say this; a pope is not simply elected and installed. There is much more to it. Sure, there is an election, but that is a modern term which falls short. I would argue that he is elevated and crowned. While there has been a predilection for inaugurations, that is not a precise term either, because he is not a President, Vatican City has the equivalent of that. The Pope is Sovereign.

This brings me back to a point I've made, this would be a perfect time for the next pontiff to assert himself not only as a spiritual leader but a temporal one. This speaks to Joseph's point about the TLM. In order to properly legislate, he must show that he is more than a spiritual father, he must also be a temporal one as well. If he asserts himself as a sovereign, then he can more effectively legislate the Reform of the Reform, if that is in his wheel house.

Since there is some name dropping going on, I would say this, no Americans have chance (that includes both North and South and Central). I would argue that it will be a Western European. I see the names listed and these: Bertello, Tettamanzi, Crescenzio, on the liberal side, I see Betori being a huge favorite, but then again, who am I? I could be way off.

Pater Ignotus said...

A pope is elected. From Universi Domenici Gregis (John Paul II, 22 February 1996): "87. When the ELECTION has canonically taken place the junior Cardinal Deacon summons into the hall of ELECTION the Secretary of the College of Cardinals and the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations. The Cardinal Dean, or the Cardinal who is first in order and seniority, in the name of the whole College of electors, then asks the consent of the one elected in the following words:

Do you accept your canonical ELECTION as Supreme Pontiff?

(emphasis mine)

A pope's pontificate is inaugurated. Same source "92. After the solemn ceremony of the INAUGURATION of the Pontificate and within an appropriate time, the Pope will take possession of the Patriarchal Archbasilica of the Lateran, according to the prescribed ritual."

The Promulgation coup de grace: "As determined above, I hereby declare abrogated all Constitutions and Orders issued in this regard by the Roman Pontiffs, and at the same time I declare completely null and void anything done by any person, whatever his authority, knowingly or unknowingly, in any way contrary to this Constitution."

Unknown said...

Last I checked, I didn't deny that an election took place, did I? No.

Last I checked, I didn't deny that an inauguration took place, did I? No.

I said they were imprecise terms. Last I checked Universi Domenici Gregis wasn't infallible. It is merely a disciplinary document which, by it's own promulgation, can be changed.

It isn't like John Paul II was the most precise Pope, philosophically, doctrinally, or liturgically. In my view, the only really good thing that he did in his pontificate was to reaffirm that women cannot be ordained. Outside of that...not too much to write home about. Sorry, if that offends you. I am entitled to my opinion.

Fr. Kavanaugh, I have said it before, I am not interested in conversing with you. Please do me the courtesy of ignoring my posts. Thank you for your consideration.

Pater Ignotus said...

Andy - No, I will not "do you the courtesy" of ignoring your posts. If you post in a public forum, expecting that no one will disagree with your or correct your errors, you are living in a fantasy world.

And "last I checked" I did not assert that Universi Dominici Gregis was infallible, did I? No.

However - and it is a BIG however - it is the authoritative word on papal elections and inaugurations.

I will note that Summorum Pontificum is also NOT an infallible teaching. So, if you can set aside UDG because IT isn't infallible.... What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander!

Unknown said...

Ya know, Father Kavanaugh....

I had a really long response typed in. What I am going to do instead is this.

I am going to apologize to you. It is Lent and I am changing habits for the season. I refuse to compromise my charity and yours any further.

Please accept my apology and if you respond to me, I will respond to you in a non-snarky and condescending way.

Rather than asking for your prayers for me, I will ask that you join me specifically (in spirit) as I pray for the election of a worthy successor to Pope Benedict XVI.

Thank you.

Marc said...

If only there were an infallible listing of the infallible teachings...

Unknown said...


If there were an infallible listing of the infallible teachings, then it would have to be an infallible statement from the Holy Father who would be speaking infallibly. But would he be speaking infallibly de fide credenda or would he be speaking infallibly de fide tenenda? Because when it comes to infallibility, the pontiff and/or sacred magisterium, infalliblity can be the rule of the day, no?