Barnhardt goes Resignationist…
Ann Barnhardt dumps Francis, seeks Refuge in Benedict XVI
She’s finally figured it out: Francis cannot be the Pope of the Catholic Church. The outspoken colorful controversialist Ann Barnhardt has announced on her web site that she can no longer hold that Francis is or ever was a true Pope, the Vicar of Christ. The reason for Miss Barnhardt’s change of mind is found in the very opening paragraphs of her blog post:
It is now clear to me, and I feel it morally incumbent upon me given my position to publicly state that I believe Jorge Bergoglio, “Francis” to be an Antipope, never having been canonically elected, and that Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI is still the Roman Pontiff.
The sheer quantity of evidence, and the diversity of the confluent evidence sets, is now so utterly overwhelming that I believe that a person, fully informed of the dataset, would have to engage in the willful suspension of disbelief to continue to acknowledge Bergoglio as Roman Pontiff.
(Ann Barnhardt, “Vocem Alienorum: The Voice of Antipope Francis Bergoglio Is the Voice of A Stranger”, Barnhardt.biz, June 19, 2016)
Thank you, Ann Barnhardt! Indeed, it does very much require a “willful suspension of disbelief to continue to acknowledge Bergoglio as Roman Pontiff”, and this willful suspension is still being entertained by such people as John Vennari, Chris Ferrara, Michael Matt, Bp. Richard Williamson, Bp. Bernard Fellay, John Salza, Robert Siscoe, Steve Skojec, and so many others who either do or ought to know better. We suspect that Miss Barnhardt will no longer be allowed to blog for The Remnant now, but this remains to be seen.
As for the “sheer quantity of evidence” that is “so overwhelming”, we have been cataloguing it on our special page here:
No doubt, what probably put Barnhardt over the edge was Francis’ latest blasphemous and outrageous attack on holy matrimony, which began to hit the news late on Thursday of last week:
- Francis: “Great Majority” of Marriages today are Invalid because People don’t realize it’s indissoluble — but “Fidelity” in Cohabitation = Real Marriage!
So, Barnhardt has finally had enough and concluded there is no way Francis could possibly be the head of the Catholic Church. Bravo!
But here comes the rub: Instead of embracing Sedevacantism, Barnhardt now insists that the true Pope is Benedict XVI — Joseph Ratzinger, the old Modernist who just recently claimed, via his private secretary Georg Ganswein, that he is the “contemplative” part of a two-member “papacy” in conjunction with the “active” member, Francis:
That’s the same Joseph Ratzinger who has publicly endorsed Francis as Pope, who has long denied the dogma of the Resurrection, who denies original sin, who disparages infant baptism, who has had his very own Assisi interfaith abomination, who claims that because of World War II we can no longer speak of the time since Christ’s Birth as a time of salvation, who told a Lutheran worker in the Vatican not to become Catholic, who gave “Holy Communion” to a known Protestant leader, and so on (see all the links and more here).
That Joseph Ratzinger.
Barnhardt offers her own theory as to how and why Benedict XVI’s resignation was invalid, quoting Novus Ordo (1983) Canon 188 to substantiate her thesis (the traditional equivalent in the 1917 Code is Canon 185), which talks about “substantial error” as being one of the factors that can render a resignation invalid. Her reasoning is curious — she claims that Benedict XVI could not validly resign from the papal office because he believes error (it’s heresy, actually) about the papal office (that it can consist of two people). In other words, he is Pope because he doesn’t believe in the papacy. Now that’s a new one even for Novus Ordo standards!
Instead of looking at Canon 188 of the Novus Ordo 1983 Code of Canon Law, perhaps Miss Barnhardt should have spent some more time researching Canon 188 of the traditional 1917 Code of Canon Law, which says:
Any office becomes vacant upon the fact and without any declarationby tacit resignation recognized by the law itself if a cleric: . . .
4.° Publicly defects from the Catholic faith
(Canon 188 n.4; underlining added.)
But, no matter. For Barnhardt, Benedict XVI is a valid Pope because he is a heretic, that is, he espouses a heretical concept of the papacy (she does not say it is heretical, but it is). If that isn’t putting everything upside down, similar to what Francis just did as he declared marriage to be fornication and fornication to be marriage, it is hard to imagine what would be.
So, if anything, Barnhardt ought to conclude that Benedict XVI cannot be Pope because he holds to a heretical concept of the papacy. Instead, she has persuaded herself that this heresy is not what makes his election or continued putative papacy invalid, but his resignation! This is absurdity on stilts!
Barnhardt says that “Pope Benedict XVI Ratzinger’s ontology is CLEARLY warped”, but hers is no less so: She believes a man who professes heresy against the papacy is Pope precisely because of that heresy, which rendered his resignation invalid. By the way, which Novus Ordo canonical commentaries explaining the term “substantial error” in the Novus Ordo Canon 188 did our quirky blogger consult? We don’t know, but she definitely doesn’t quote any of them, and glancing at the explanation given in the standard The Code of Canon Law: A Text and Commentary by Coriden et al., it seems to refer to error of fact, i.e. being in error about some event or state of affairs, not error of law:
Substantial error is a mistaken judgment that is not of minor importance and is truly a cause of the consequent resignation. This would be the case in which the officeholder judged that he or she had caused serious injury to someone when this was not objectively correct.
(James A. Coriden, et al., eds., The Code of Canon Law: A Text and Commentary [New York, NY: Paulist Press, 1985], p. 109; italics added.)
So, not only does it refer to error of fact, this error must also be the cause of the resignation. To apply it to the scenario Barnhardt proposes, it would mean that Benedict XVI resigned because of his belief that the papacy admits of having more than one member — and that would need to be proven to have been the cause, not just asserted. And besides, it is not an error of fact anyway but an error of law — being mistaken about what the papacy is.
In any event, Barnhardt has no case even by Novus Ordo standards as long as her interpretation of Canon 188 and her ideas about Ratzinger are unique to her.
Oh well, at least we can’t say we didn’t see it coming. Less than 60 minutes after Benedict XVI announced his resignation to the public on February 11, 2013, we sent out a tweet predicting that we would eventually have people claiming the resignation to be invalid:
This should get conservative Novus Ordo conspiracies started: Who forced him to step down? Resignation by force, you see, is invalid. #pope
— Novus Ordo Watch (@NovusOrdoWatch) February 11, 2013
While Barnhardt is not basing her refusal to consider Benedict’s resignation as valid on fear but on substantial error, the result is the same: she believes it was invalid and so he’s still Pope and Francis isn’t.
Clearly, the idea of embracing Benedict XVI as the true Pope even today, is a lot easier to swallow for many, and appears to provide a much less “offensive” alternative to Sedevacantism, that dreaded S-word that no one wants to be stigmatized with. Hence they now dish up the craziest justifications for why Benedict XVI is Pope — this being driven not by the objective facts but by the perceived need to avoid both the position that Francis is Pope and the conclusion that Sedevacantism is true. So, prepare for a lot more absurdity down the road. Anything at all will eventually be acceptable to these people, as long as it permits them to maintain that Francis isn’t Pope and Sedevacantists are wrong.
Here once again we can see why Fr. Anthony Cekada once rightly talked about an irrational fear of Sedevacantism, a veritable “Sedevacantophobia” — for that is truly what it is. “Hey, guys, so I believe Francis isn’t Pope, fine — but don’t you call me a Sedevacantist; I’m not that!”
The phenomenon of adhering to Benedict XVI as the “true Pope” even after his resignation is not new. The first public high-profile individual to fall for it was the Rev. Paul Kramer, formerly affiliated with the Fatima Center and Rev. Nicholas Gruner. The eccentric blogger Eric Gajewski is another adherent of this curious position, which we have termed “Resignationism”:
- “Fr.” Paul Kramer Rejects Francis’ Claim to the Papacy
- “Fr.” Kramer: “Benedict XVI Still Pope!” — Enter the Resignationists
- Antonio Socci: Benedict XVI might still be Pope
- Benedict XVI says he agrees with Francis
- Benedict XVI: “My Resignation was Valid”
- Resignationism: Now “Abp.” Georg Ganswein Weighs In
- Resignationism 2.0: Enter “Cardinal” Scola
- “Papal” Biographer: Schism with Benedict XVI as Antipope is Possible
All that is left for us to say is to repeat something we said in two different posts on the topic of Resignationism, back in 2014, addressing the question of who benefits (cui bono) from this entire confusion in the Novus Ordo Church about one Pope, two Popes, two half-Popes, one two-headed Pope, etc.:
Be that as it may, it is clear this whole thing is a complete mess. But we are convinced it serves only one purpose: to draw those trying to be good and faithful Catholics in the Novus Ordo Sect into more confusion and give them a new “way out” of Francis if they cannot stomach his full-throttled apostasy: dump Franics, but believe Benedict XVI is still Pope. Anything, anything at all, to keep you from drawing the only sound conclusion today: The Chair of St. Peter is vacant. Sede Vacante!
(Novus Ordo Watch, “Resignationism: Now Ganswein weighs in”, March 2, 2014)
We also see great irony here. In Novus Ordo Land, people are discussing whether we have one Pope or two Popes, when in reality, we have none.
And who benefits from this confusion? Cui bono? Clearly, this whole Resignationist business is greatly aiding the destructive mission of the Vatican II Church, because it gives people yet another reason to cling to the Modernist sect rather than discover real Catholicism the way it was exclusively known before Vatican II. It is another useful distraction to keep you focused on things other than the manifest subversion of the Catholic Church by false teachings and disciplines condemned prior to the Council.
Distractions like this have worked well for the Modernists in the past, and they are part of the overall game plan. As long as they have you accepting one of their Modernists as Pope, they really don’t care if you believe Francis is Pope or Benedict. If that’s what it takes to keep you in their church, they don’t mind you believing that this Modernist over here is really Pope, rather than that other Modernist over there. It is simply one more way to keep people from realizing that all the papal claimaints since the death of Pius XII have been usurpers — and it provides a convenient way out for people who realize that Francis cannot possibly be Pope, yet still do not wish to accept the Sedevacantist position.
These Resignationist episodes illustrate rather well how important it is for us to adhere to Catholic principle over emotion. The Resignationist theses, with or without “Cardinal” Scola, only confuse or impress those who go by emotion rather than Catholic theology, for those who go by real theology know that Ratzinger was never a valid Pope in the first place, and the whole Modernist cult in the Vatican is a gigantic farce perpetrated by the Catholic Church’s enemies. Alas, too many people, swayed by emotion and a display of externals rather than Catholic teaching, have persuaded themselves that Ratzinger was this great pitbull of Catholic Tradition and orthodoxy, when in fact he was nothing of the sort.
Whatever it takes, apparently, for people to find a way around Sedevacantism. This is what happens when a desired predetermined conclusion dictates what you believe, rather than the objective evidence. At some point, people will have to man up and face reality, always remembering that God’s grace assists us no matter what the circumstances we find ourselves in: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn 8:32).
If you are genuinely concerned about an invalid papal election, we suggest you focus your energies on investigating the conclave of 1958, which for the first time [in history] replaced a Catholic Pope with a Modernist — rather than that of 2013, which simply swapped one Modernist for another.
(Novus Ordo Watch, “Resignationism 2.0: Enter ‘Cardinal’ Scola”, June 2, 2014)
Sad to say, Anne Barnhardt is the latest victim of the antipope-swap of the Vatican II Sect; and to justify it, she has set a new milestone in anti-sedevacantist silliness: Benedict XVI is Pope because he doesn’t believe in the Papacy.
You can’t make this stuff up.