Resignationism, R.I.P.

Benedict XVI Speaks: “My Resignation Was Valid”


Bad news for Resignationists — those who believe that Benedict XVI’s resignation was invalid because brought about by force. While it would allow them a convenient, non-sedevacantist way out of the problems with Francis by saying the true Pope is still Benedict, it is Joseph Ratzinger himself now who has explicitly denied the rumors and confirmed that he gave up his claim to the papacy by his own free will.

Responding to a letter written him by the well-known Italian Vatican journalist Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa, the “Pope Emeritus” clearly states:

There is absolutely no doubt regarding the validity of my resignation from the Petrine ministry. The only condition for the validity of my resignation is the complete freedom of my decision. Speculations regarding its validity are simply absurd.

(Joseph Ratzinger to Andrea Tornielli; source here)

Tornielli’s article appeared on February 25, 2014, on the Vatican Insider section of La Stampa, and can be read in its entirety here:

In his letter to Tornielli, Benedict XVI clearly answered the speculations and criticisms of Antonio Socci, who had recently given greater prominence to the idea that the Ratzinger resignation may not have been valid. It is also noteworthy that Benedict unequivocally confirms the Hans Kung testimony, which had been challenged by some, that indeed, he, Benedict, said: “I am grateful to be joined to Pope Francis by a great agreement of views and a cordial friendship” (see Benedict Writes to Hans Kung).

So will this be the end of Resignationism? For some it will be; for many, however, it will not. Let’s remember that Benedict had already declared in his very announcement of resignation that he was abdicating out of his own free will. So this isn’t entirely new. For those whose positions are not ruled by the facts and Catholic principles, and who are therefore unwilling to embrace Sedevacantism even though they can no longer deny that Francis is an Antipope, they will surely come up with more theories to “explain” Benedict’s letter to Andrea Tornielli.

How? Well, we’ve been in this “business” long enough to know what to anticipate: They may say the letter was forged and didn’t actually come from Ratzinger. Or they may assert that it is precisely his attempt to dispel these “absurd” speculations that make them all the more credible. Or, finally, they may just claim that Benedict is lying, out of, you know, fear.

At that point, of course, the Resignationist thesis becomes “unfalsifiable”, and therefore essentially meaningless. In other words, it will have reached the status of being “irrefutable in principle” because its adherents refuse to allow anything to contradict it, even the very clear words of Ratzinger himself. Nothing, therefore, could convince them of the falsity of their position.

To some this consideration won’t matter, however. They will be Resignationists anyway. In the near future, we will have a post with some more links and commentary on Resignationism and the curious fact that even the more unlikely candidates have now dropped hints of possibly endorsing the idea that Francis isn’t the Pope after all but Benedict still is.

This is what happens when you ignore Catholic teaching and turn a blind eye to the facts and refuse to believe that neither Benedict XVI nor Francis could possibly be true Popes of the Catholic Church, as the religion they profess is clearly not the Roman Catholicism of Pope Pius XII and his predecessors.