Fr. David Hewko on the “Non-Resignationist” Theory – January 19, 2020

In the following sermon, Fr. David Hewko again speaks against the “Non-Resignationist” (a commenter on this website corrected pointed out that “Resignationist” should be reserved for those who accept that Benedict XVI validly resigned the papacy) theory. Unfortunately, again, Father condemns it as “absurd” without sufficient evidence.

The first point Father makes is that Benedict XVI recognizes Jorge Bergoglio as pope.  This was already answered in this post:

“The term ‘pope’ as used by Benedict XVI in reference to Jorge Bergoglio needs to be understood in a qualified sense.  Benedict XVI renounced the active exercise of the ministry, that is, the government of the Church.  Meanwhile, he retained the office and the passive exercise of the ministry.  See here for a diagram.  Because he renounced the active exercise of powers that belong to his own office, he calls that person who exercises them ‘pope’.  Big deal.  It is still Benedict XVI who has the charism of infallibility and universal and supreme jurisdiction over the whole Church because these belong to the office.”

The second point Father makes is that Benedict XVI announced publicly that he resigned.  Father fails to qualify what exactly did Benedict XVI publicly renounce.  It was not the office (munus).  Therefore, he remains pope.

Thirdly, Father asks a question, “Would these ‘Resignationists’ be pushing their theory if we had a saintly pope on the throne?”  Father then answers his own question, “They wouldn’t be doing that.”  Well, I cannot speak for others, but I would be doing the same as I am doing now.  Facts are facts, and not even a saint can change that.  Nevertheless, I do not doubt that a saint would study the “resignation” formula of Benedict XVI, see the holes in it, and declare it invalid.

Father concludes that the answer to his own question shows the absurdity of the “Resignationist” theory.  Huh?  How does it show that?

I wish that Father would stop making gratuitous statements and providing empty side arguments.  He needs to carefully read the Declaratio, the only act with juridical force, and finally accept the fact of the matter:  Benedict XVI is the true pope!

The video will automatically start and stop at the relevant section after clicking the “Play” button. The section is 1.2 minutes long.


Fr. David Hewko and the Admin of The Catacombs Forum Distort the Teaching of Archbishop Lefebvre on “Who Is the Pope” Question

In this sermon, Fr. David Hewko tries to make the case, using the teaching of Archbishop Lefebvre, that it is only up to the Church to decide on the matter of who is pope. The implication is that one cannot form a private judgment on the matter during a time of crisis before the Church gives a definitive judgment.  Rather, we must in the meantime accept he who the world accepts as pope.  The Administrator of The Catacombs Forum supports Fr. Hewko by making the following statement on this thread:

“This is why no ‘lay armchair theologian’ nor ‘Father X,Y, or Z’ can make declarations on who is Pope and who is not. This is one of the fundamental errors with the sedevacantist theories, including the resignationist theory.”

Where does Archbishop Lefebvre, in any of the quotes provided by Fr. Hewko in this sermon, say that as a matter of principle, one cannot make a judgment of conscience? As a matter of fact, at 10 minutes and zero seconds the Archbishop is quoted as saying, “As long as I don’t have any evidence that the pope is not the pope, then the presumption is for him.” So the Archbishop points to evidence as being the determining factor.  He did not state that a judgment of conscience can never be made. Therefore, Fr. Hewko and the Admin have distorted the teaching of Archbishop Lefebvre by making it seem that he was giving a universal principle when in fact he was only making statements about the particular cases of the conciliar popes up until Pope John Paul II.  Based on the evidence, the Archbishop could not judge they were not popes.  So, Fr. Hewko and the Admin, the Archbishop evidently does not agree with you.

In the case of Benedict XVI, it is Benedict XVI himself who decided that he remains pope by not renouncing the munus.  Hence, it is both of you and the rest of the world that are going against the definitive judgment of the Church, no less than that of the reigning pope!


Fr. David Hewko Speaks Out against the “Resignationist” Theory

In the sermon linked below starting at 48 minutes, Fr. David Hewko speaks out against the “Resignationist” theory and calls it “absurd”.

1. Father states that the term “munus” (office) needs to be clearly defined.

The term is defined in both the 1917 and 1983 Codes of Canon Law.  See pages 2 and 3 of my paper “Benedict Is the True Pope!”.  The term “ministry” on the other hand is not defined in either Code.  You may also find here an extensive study on the two terms by Br. Alexis Bugnolo.

2. Father states that Benedict XVI recognizes Jorge Bergoglio as pope.

The term “pope” as used by Benedict XVI in reference to Jorge Bergoglio needs to be understood in a qualified sense.  Benedict XVI renounced the active exercise of the ministry, that is, the government of the Church.  Meanwhile, he retained the office and the passive exercise of the ministry.  See here for a diagram.  Because he renounced the active exercise of powers that belong to his own office, he calls that person who exercises them “pope”.  Big deal.  It is still Benedict XVI who has the charism of infallibility and universal and supreme jurisdiction over the whole Church because these belong to the office.

3. Father states that he is sure Archbishop Lefebvre would not hold to the “Resignationist” theory.  Why?  Because there were those in the 1970s who held that the true pope was being held in a dungeon and that the visible one was an imposter; Archbishop rejected this.  Is Father really comparing a public act on the part of Benedict XVI, which is available for everybody to read and in which he clearly retained the office, to some conspiracy theory and then using that poor comparison as a ground for why Archbishop Lefebvre would surely reject the “Resignationist” theory?  That’s not very convincing!

The reality is that Benedict XVI is the true pope. Father needs to accept that, and so does the rest of the Catholic Resistance.


Fr. David Hewko Misses Crucial Distinction regarding “Resignation” of Pope Benedict XVI

In the two sermons below, Fr. David Hewko states that Pope Benedict XVI resigned.  What Fr. Hewko fails to do is to distinguish between the renunciation of the office (munus) and the renunciation of the ministry (ministerium).  Pope Benedict XVI renounced the ministry and not the office.  This failure to distinguish keeps Fr. Hewko (and the faithful that listen to him) in the grave error that Benedict XVI is no longer the pope.

Let’s take a look again at the relevant parts of the Declaratio1, the official juridical act, of Pope Benedict XVI:

“Having explored my conscience again and again before the Lord, I have arrived at certain recognition that with my advancing age my strengths are no longer apt for equitably administering the Petrine Office [munus Petrinum].”2

Note above that Pope Benedict XVI uses the term “Office”.

“I am well aware that this office [munus], according to its spiritual essence, ought to be exercised not only by acting and speaking, but no less than by suffering and praying.”3

Note above that Pope Benedict XVI again uses the term “office”.  He states that the office, according to its spiritual essence, ought to be exercised not only by acting and speaking (active exercise), but also by suffering and praying (passive exercise).

“Moreover, in the world of our time, subjected to rapid changes and perturbed by questions of great weight for the life of faith, there is more necessary to steer the Barque of Saint Peter and to announce the Gospel a certain vigor, which in recent months has lessened in me in such a manner, that I should acknowledge my incapacity to administer well the ministry [ministerium] committed to me.”4

Now note above that Pope Benedict XVI speaks about the active exercise of the office in stating, “…..to steer the Barque of Saint Peter and to announce the Gospel.”  This active exercise has lessened in him in such a manner that he should acknowledge his incapacity to administer well the ministry.  It is clear here that Pope Benedict XVI associates the active exercise of the office with “ministry”.

Now read what Pope Benedict XVI actually renounces:

“On which account, well aware of the weightiness of this act, I declare in full liberty, that I renounce the ministry [ministerio] of the Bishop of Rome…..”5

Did you get that!  Pope Benedict XVI renounces the ministry, the active exercise of the office; he does not renounce the office itself.  If he wanted to renounce the office itself, he would have simply stated, “I renounce the office (munus) of the Bishop of Rome…..”, but HE DID NOT DO THAT!  The office is analogous to the soul of the papacy, whereas the ministry is analogous to the exercise of the soul’s powers.  Renouncing the office includes renouncing the ministry, but renouncing the ministry does not include renouncing the office.  Therefore, Benedict XVI remains pope.

Fr. Hewko (and so many others) has to read the Declaratio carefully and follow the line of reasoning.  With an honest read, he will come to the same conclusion that Benedict XVI is the true pope!6