Monday 25 March 2013

Pope Benedict XVI abdicates - habemus Papam novam - we have a new pope - Pope Francis I,%20elected%20Pope%20Francis%20I-1762367.jpg 

 Well, it's all been something of a roller coaster.

The first pope in 600 years to resign - no-one really knows why - and, in short order, a Lenten Conclave, and a new pope.

He is the first non-European, a Latin American, Cardinal Bergoglio, but of Italian origin, an unknown quantity, who is a Jesuit but not a Jesuit who is popular with the liberal loonies who have taken over that once greatest of all Orders, a pope who used to take the bus when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, a pope, one of whose first acts was to go and pay his hotel bill (causing consternation at the hotel), but a pope who seems to have a strong feeling for the poor but somehow also good relations with the erstwhile dictators of his home country, Argentina.

It's a bewildering mixture.

There are pluses and minuses.

He does not appear to be very friendly toward the ancient liturgy of the Roman Church which is not a good sign for the continuance of the great work of reconciliation that Pope Benedict XVI has begun so propitiously.

Our new pope felt it was appropriate to appear on the balcony of St Peter's without the pontifical mozetta and stole which every pope wears upon presenting himself to the city and the world.



No. It is false humility to think you can dispense with what your predecessors have handed down to you. If you don't like the trappings of state that are part of the office then, it's simple, don't accept the office.

The office of Vicar of Christ is the most dignified upon the earth. We do no favours to it, to the Church and still less to Christ the High Priest and King of Kings by doing anything to detract from the dignity of that office.

There is no logic in the "dress down" mentality. If distinctive, traditional dress is to be eschewed then why not appear on the balcony in jeans and a t-shirt?

Oh, because that would be demeaning? Why? Because the pope traditionally wears a white soutane? Well then, traditional dress is important.

The "dress down" mentality is simply self-defeating.

There is also no humility is saying "I can do it better than my predecessors". The implication is that I am better than my predecessors. That is fundamentally un-Catholic since Catholicism is about the handing on of the traditions that we have received from our fore-fathers.

His greeting, simply saying buona sera to the city and the world, was lamentable. It was the Italian equivalent of an American pope standing on the balcony and saying to the assembled masses "Hi!".

That, again, demeans the sacred office of Roman Pontiff which is not an office for the occupant to treat as his own but rather a possession of the universal Church and of Christ Himself to be treated with solemn reverence by its holder.

On the other hand, our new pope, when Archbishop of Buenos Aires, wrote this impressive and moving letter to the Carmelite nuns of his archdiocese on 22 June 2010:
Dear Sisters,

I write this letter to each one of you in the four Monasteries of Buenos Aires. The Argentine people must face, in the next few weeks, a situation whose result may gravely harm the family. It is the bill on matrimony of persons of the same sex.

The identity of the family, and its survival, are in jeopardy here: father, mother, and children. The life of so many children who will be discriminated beforehand due to the lack of human maturity that God willed them to have with a father and a mother is in jeopardy. A clear rejection of the law of God, engraved in our hearts, is in jeopardy.

I recall words of Saint Thérèse when she speaks of the infirmity of her childhood. She says that the envy of the Devil tried to extort her family after her older sister joined the Carmel. Here, the envy of the Devil, through which sin entered the world, is also present, and deceitfully intends to destroy the image of God: man and woman, who receive the mandate to grow, multiply, and conquer the earth. Let us not be naive: it is not a simple political struggle; it is an intention [which is] destructive of the plan of God. It is not a mere legislative project (this is a mere instrument), but rather a "move" of the father of lies who wishes to confuse and deceive the children of God.

Jesus tells us that, in order to defend us from this lying accuser, he will send us the Spirit of Truth. Today, the Nation, before this situation, needs the special assistance of the Holy Ghost that may place the light of Truth amid the shadows of error; it needs this Advocate who may defend us from the enchantment of so many sophisms with which this bill is being justified, and which confuse and deceive even people of good will.

That is why I turn to you and ask from you prayer and sacrifice, the two invincible weapons which Saint Thérèse confessed to have. Cry out to the Lord that he may send his Spirit to the Senators who are to place their votes. That they may not do it moved by error or by circumstantial matters, but rather according to what the natural law and the law of God tell them. Pray for them, for their families; that the Lord may visit, strengthen, and console them. Pray that they may do great good for the Nation.

This bill will be discussed in the Senate after July 13. Let us look towards Saint Joseph, to Mary, the Child, and let us ask with fervour that they will defend the Argentine family in this moment. Let us recall what God himself told his people in a time of great anguish: "this war is not yours, but God's". That they may succour, defend, and accompany us in this war of God.

Thank you for what you will do in this struggle for the Nation. And, please, I beg you, pray for me also. May Jesus bless you, and may the Blessed Virgin protect you.


Card. Jorge Mario Bergoglio SJ, Archbishop of Buenos Aires
Conversely there is something a little strange in having two pontifical figures as is here seen:

There can be only one Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff and having two figures with the title Roman Pontiff, even if one is emeritus, is unprecedented.

The last pope to abdicate was Pope Gregory XII but that was as a means to end the Great Schism of the West in the 15th century.

He did not call himself "Roman Pontiff emeritus".

Pope Gregory XII appointed Carlo Malatesta and Cardinal Giovanni Dominici of Ragusa as his proxy voters. Dominici then convoked the council and ratified its succeeding acts in the name of Pope Gregory XII.

On 4 July 1415, Malatesta, acting in the name of Pope Gregory XII, pronounced the resignation, which the College of Cardinals accepted. By prior arrangement, it was agreed to retain all the cardinals that had been created by Pope Gregory XII, but the former Pope Gregory XII was then created Bishop of Frascati, Dean of the Sacred College and and perpetual legate at Ancona.

Antipope John XIII (1410–15) was declared to be such and the Western Schism was ended. A new pope, Martin V, was, however, not elected until after the death of former Pope Gregory XII and the pontifical see was simply left vacant for 2 years.

Of other resignations there have been few and almost none where a validly-elected pope was replaced by another pope during the lifetime of the former pope and none who did not do so in some form of disgrace or haste or even error.

Popes St Pontian (230-235 and the first to abdicate), St Marcellinus (296-308) and John XVIII (1004-1009) all abdicated at times of crisis and their successors were not elected until after their deaths.

The position of Pope Liberius has always been obscure. He is thought to have succumbed to pressure to waver on Arianism but others have claimed that he went into exile for defending orthodoxy. It is said that he abdicated to make way for Antipope Felix II but if that were so then why is Felix called Antipope? Moreover, Liberius returned to Rome and Felix was chased out by the Roman people. Thus there does not appear to havee been any abdication.

Pope John X, who ruled during the so-called saeculum obscurum (the real "Dark Age" named such by Cardinal Baronius much later) when the Papacy became the political tool of a number of Roman aristocratic families,  is considered by some to have been deposed but, in any case, he was murdered before his successor, Pope Leo VI, was elected.

Pope John XII was deposed (of course, invalidly) by Holy Roman Emperor Otto the Great in 963 but never renounced his claim. Antipope Leo VII was then set up by Emperor Otto. Pope John XII returned in 964 and, when he died, Pope Benedict V was elected.

Otto then forced Pope Benedict to abdicate the same summer he was elected. Since this was a valid abdication, Pope Leo VII, accepted by the clergy , nobility and people of the City of Rome, then became the true pope until his death in 965. But Leo died in March and Benedict in July so the overlap was only 4 months.

Pope Benedict IX was deposed in 1044, acquiescing to the same and thus validating it, returned to office the next year (so that we must presume that Pope Sylvester III also abdicated) but again abdicated in 1045. However, he was induced, possibly simoniacally, to abdicate again, in favour of Pope Gregory VI, who, himself, abdicated in 1046 and was replaced by Pope Clement II but, when Clement died, Pope Benedict IX returned to be elected for a 3rd time, only to abdicate a 3rd time. His life was said to be notoriously riotous and led St Peter Damian to write a famous tome against clerical pederasty. His successor, Pope Damasus II, ruled for only 23 days and was succeeded by Pope St Leo IX in 1049.

Benedict retired to a monastery and died, repentant, in 1056, so that he was still living for some 7 years duing the pontificate of Pope St Leo IX, but obscurely and in disgrace.
The coronation of Pope St Celestine V, pope of only 5 months before he abdicated and was imprisned by his successor, Pope Boniface VIII

Famously, Pope St Celestine V abdicated in 1294, issuing a decree declaring it permissible for a pope to abdicate. It is this decree that confirms, finally, any doubt about the licitness (if not the wisdom) of a pope abdicating.

The cardinals had assembled at Perugia after the death of Pope Nicholas IV in April 1292. Having taken 2 years deliberating, a Benedictine hermit, called Pietro di Morrone, warned of divine vengeance if a pope was not soon elected whereupon, Cardinal Latino Malabranca, the Dean of the Sacred College, cried out, "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, I elect brother Pietro di Morrone" and the cardinals promptly ratified the call.

However, Pietro obstinately refused to accept office, but, when returned from flight, was finally persuaded by the Kings of Hungary and Naples. He was 79 upon election on 5 July 1294 as Pope Celestine V in the last of the Church's election held without conclave and openly.

He very shortly abdicated, on 13 December 1294, a week after issuing his decree, to return to his hermit's life.

Pope Boniface VIII was elected shortly after on Christmas Eve, 24 December 1294 whereupon he imprisoned his predecessor, whose abdication he had strongly pressed, and annulled all his acts save that of the abdication decree.

St Celestine V died 9 months later in prison.

Boniface, however, went on to become the pope who had the greatest of pretensions of almost any other pope, declaring himself to be Caesar and issuing the Bull Unam Sanctam (which, nonetheless, is still a valid papal Bull since the solemn teaching of all true popes is protected by the Holy Spirit). Dante feuded with him and later placed him, in his Divine Comedy, in the Eighth Circle of Hell among those guilty of simony, the selling of ecclesiastical offices.

One can readily see that the history of popes abdicating is not a happy one.

Our new pope has since met the President of Argentina, the painted hussy Christina Fernandez de Kerchner, who is a sworn enemy of Catholic moral teaching and a proponent of same sex marriage and same sex adoption of children.

For a pope to kiss such an openly brazen creature is little short of a disgrace and demeans the sacred office. It is another example of the Church making obeisance before the corrupt and worldly.

He should, like all pontiffs, have proffered his hand to be kissed or shaken. If she chose to ignore it, then that would have been her choice.

“I’ve never been kissed by a Pope before": Mrs Kirchner and Pope Francis
Pope Francis I leans forward to kiss the brazen, painted hussy Christina Fernandez de Kerchner, President of Argentina, and sworn enemy of Catholic moral teaching

It is early days and, no doubt, there are doubtless many good things to come and perhaps less bad things.

We shall wait, hope, pray and be patient. As ever, all is in the hands of God.

Meantime I conclude with this report from Remnant TV:

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