The Bene-vacantists Are At It Again

Just after Pope emeritus Benedict made comments to the press, reaffirming his deliberate resignation from the papacy, those who claim Benedict is still Pope are using those words, in radical re-interpretation, to say the opposite.

At OnePeterFive, there is both the quotes from Benedict and the claims of those who think he is still Pope. Benedict was asked about the day he resigned the papacy, and he said this:

“It was a difficult decision. But I took it in full consciousness, and I think I did well. Some of my slightly ‘fanatic’ friends are still angry, they did not want to accept my choice. I think of the conspiracy theories that followed it: who said it was the fault of the Vatileaks scandal, some of a conspiracy by the gay lobby, some of the case of the conservative Lefebvrian theologian Richard Williamson . They don’t want to believe in a conscious choice. But my conscience is fine.”

So he is rejecting, explicitly, the conspiracy theories that he was forced to resign due to the Vatileaks scandal or because of pressure from the gay lobby or due to the conflict with Williamson (I’m not sure what that refers to, specifically). Rather, Pope Benedict made a conscious choice to resign the papacy. He calls those who do not accept his resignation, “fanatic”. That is very clear. It was a difficult decision, but one made “in full consciousness”. Benedict resigned the papacy.

But because he also said “The Pope is one”, the Bene-vacantists claim that “one” could be Benedict.

Not so. The claim is that Benedict resigned only part of the role, leaving himself with some of the papal powers, and Francis with the rest of the powers. That theory splits the papacy into two. Benedict explicitly denies it by saying “the Pope is one”. He clearly reject that very fanatic conspiracy.

He also has reaffirmed his decision to resign. So how could the interpretation be that Benedict is still Pope? It just goes to show you the capacity for self-deception in the fallen sinner. They don’t like the teachings of Pope Francis, so they claim Benedict is the Pope. Why don’t they point to a wooden statue, and claim that the statue is Pope? It would be no different. Benedict does not exercise, nor attempt to exercise, any part of the role of the papacy, not any more. This fact and his repeated reassertions of his resignation leave no room for doubt. Francis is the Pope, not Benedict.

The more important point is a theological one. In a dispute, how do we know who is the true Pope. Since the Pope is the greatest authority in the Church, who will decide if two or more persons claim to be Pope? The answer is found in the structure of the Church designed by Christ, and His promise of Her indefectibility.

Since the Church is indefectible, She cannot go astray by the body of Bishops following a false Pope. The true Pope then is the Pope accepted as Pope by the body of Bishops. For the grace of the Holy Spirit keeps the Pope and the body of Bishops from failing in faith. This was taught by the First Vatican Council, interpreting Luke 22:32.

{22:32} But I have prayed for you, so that your faith may not fail, and so that you, once converted, may confirm your brothers.”

The faith of Peter and his successors is never-failing. No true Pope can ever fail in faith and thereby lose his validity. And his brethren, the body of Bishops, also has a never-failing faith, as long as they remain confirmed (led by and strengthened by) the Pope.

It is a dogmatic fact that Pope Francis is the one valid Roman Pontiff. And since he has the charism of truth and of never failing faith, his teachings can never err gravely and his faith can never fail gravely. No Pope can teach or commit heresy; no Pope can commit apostasy, heresy, or idolatry.


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2 Responses to The Bene-vacantists Are At It Again

  1. Thomas Mazanec says:

    Could half the Bishops follow one claimant and the other half the other claimant?

    • Ron Conte says:

      No. The body of Bishops is indefectible. The most number of Bishops who could possibly go astray is one third:
      “And behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. And his tail drew down a third part of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth.”

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