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NEWS: October 31, 2022
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Bird’s Eye View of the News
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Atila Sinke Guimarães
TRICKS & TRAPS OF THE BENE-VACANTISTS - We all know what sede-vacantism is: It is a hypertrophy of the juridical aspect of ecclesiastical life that bamboozles the objective reality.

Let us imagine an invasion of a country by an enemy army. In this scenario, the people with this mentality would be concerned about the wrongdoing of the tanks crossing red lights during the invasion and about the illegal position of the army’s commander who assumes the civil authority of the country without due election. They do not understand that in times of peace, the juridical order is the supreme law of the land, but in times of war the juridical reality is momentarily suspended until victory is declared by one of the two armies.

Invasion of Prague

When tanks invade a country, there are people who worry only about traffic violations... Above, a Soviet tank in Prague - 1968

In the invasion of the Church by Progressivism, the sede-vacantists are concerned about qualifying the legal aspect of the progressivist Popes. Their reasoning simply put is this: “The post-conciliar Popes are heretics; a heretic cannot be a Pope; therefore, they are not Popes.”

With this conclusion they declare themselves the “True Church,” separated from the institutional Church. And thus they completely dissociate themselves from the battle to recover the terrain conquered by the enemy. From afar they follow the corruption of the Conciliar Church – not to extirpate it or regain the citadel – but only to say: “We are the only ones who are right! They are not valid Popes or Bishops.”

Since sede-vacantism induces Catholics to only watch the crisis critically from the sidelines and not to fight against Progressivism, I believe that the former is a good ally of the latter.

Our position of Resistance is different: We consider the fight for the dominium of the Church an ongoing combat in which we have a role to play. We dispute every inch of the conquered terrain to recover it for the Catholic cause. It is an ongoing warfare that will decide who will win, not an academic juridical dispute to see who is legally invested in his position.

Bene-vacantism

What is Bene-Vacantism? It is a miniature of sede-vacantism applied to a particular situation. Facing the progressivist excesses of Pope Francis, the followers of Bene-vacantism say: “Francis is a heretic; now a heretic cannot be Pope; therefore, he is not a Pope, the Pope continues to be Benedict XVI.”

To confirm this conclusion they elaborate, claiming that the abdication of Benedict XVI was forced by the “Sankt Gallen mafia”– a group of Cardinals who met in Switzerland to influence the papal conclave and elect Francis. Then, they go further by saying: “The election of a Pope cannot be influenced by anyone, otherwise the elected Pope is invalid. So, Francis’ election was invalid.”

When we argue that the election of Benedict XVI was also influenced, not by the Sankt Gallen Group, but by the German and Austrian Bishops colligated and led by the Cardinal of Vienna Christoph von Schönborn, they do not respond.

Although several times Benedict XVI has indisputably affirmed that he renounced the Papacy of his own will and that he recognizes Francis as the Pope, these Bene-vacantists continue to claim the same.

They are inconsistent and stubborn, as inconsistent and stubborn as Card. Siri’s partisans, who continue to defend he was the legitimately elected Pope – instead of John XXIII and Paul VI – even after the Cardinal of Genoa denied this pretension several times.

I wonder what will become of Bene-vacantism after Benedict XVI dies, an event that each day draws nearer.

Benedict XVI at Assisi

By going to Assisi several times, above, Benedict XVI gave his adhesion to the universal salvation heresy

Among the many inconsistencies of the Bene-vacantists is this: Like all the other conciliar Popes, Benedict XVI was/is as much a heretic as Francis, since all have defended the heresy of universal salvation. The month of October is not yet over. Some days ago, on October 27, the Conciliar Church commemorated the 36th anniversary of Assisi, at which John Paul II established a symbolic landmark of the universal salvation heresy (here, here, here and here). This heresy denies the dogma that the Catholic Church is the only way to eternal salvation.

Now then, during the almost eight years of his Pontificate, Benedict XVI gave every possible support to this heresy by going to Assisi many times (here, here and here), among other proofs.

When someone reminds the Bene-vacantists that their position is flawed because Benedict XVI is also a heretic, their building collapses and they become hysterical.

This is what happened when one of the TIA readers took from our website a list of errors and heresies that Joseph Ratzinger defended before, during and after he was Pope and sent it to Franciscan Br. Alexis Bugnolo – an American Bene-vacantist residing in Rome. He reacted in a very dramatic way that I will analyze below.

Judging by the few things I have heard about him, Br. Bugnolo is nourishing the notion among American Bene-vacantists that he is a great theologian speaking “from Rome.” I do not know what his theological background is. If he has any, he is misusing it, as we will see.

Below is the message our reader sent to Bugnolo followed by his “theological” response.

Text of a reader

Alexis Bugnolo on TIA

There are many accusations in this libel. I will give them numbers to better respond to them.
  1. The “long list” of links in the message our reader sent to Br. Alexis Bugnolo (thenceforth AB) is accused of being “unsubstantiated.” I do not know the list the reader sent to him, but as editor of the TIA website the a priori accusation that our position on Benedict XVI is “unsubstantiated” makes me chuckle.

    I have written a Collection of 11 volumes on Vatican II, which became famous for an excess of documentation for each statement made. For more than 20 years I have used proportional criteria to document the TIA website. When AB rushes in to dismiss “a long list” of TIA statements as “unsubstantiated” without even reading those articles, he abandons the sphere where serious persons discuss and places himself on the intellectual level of an urchin.


  2. Prof Michael Schamus

    Prof. Michael Schmaus of the Theological University of Munchen: ‘Ratzinger is a dangerous modernist’

  3. AB claims that we at TIA accused Benedict XVI of heresy because we “want simply to sully the man’s reputation.” If I were to take AB’s statement seriously, then when the Congregation of the Holy Office declared Joseph Ratzinger “suspicious of heresy,” it would also only have been concerned with sullying his reputation. Also Prof. Michael Schmaus, who examined Ratzinger’s thesis on St. Bonaventure, rejected it and accused him of being “a dangerous modernist,” would also be simply trying to sully his reputation.

  4. The precious pearl in his answer comes next. He writes: “TIA needs to find heresy because its founder held himself to be the Immaculate Conception reincarnate as man and taught anti-clericalism.”

    Here there are various mistakes:

    1. The founder of TIA is not a man, it is Dr. Marian T. Horvat, a distinguished lady who established it in 1997 as a non-profit organization.

    2. Although she is worthy of praise under different titles, she never pretended to be conceived without original sin and still less to be “the Immaculate Conception reincarnated.” Here AB reveals that, upon receiving a list of accusations against Ratzinger, he became unhinged and delirious; he lost the sense of words that a rational person employs.

    3. In an attempt to understand what he wanted to say, I propose that he wanted to accuse the TIA founder of being infallible. If this was his intention, then, he confused the dogma of the Immaculate Conception and the dogma of Papal Infallibility. Again, not a becoming mistake for a great theologian.

    4. I have known Dr. Horvat for many years and I can assure him that she has never pretended to be infallible. So, AB’s affirmation would be injurious if she were to take him seriously, which I doubt she will.

    5. So, if this last hypothesis (C) was in fact the one AB wanted to use, we would have Dr. Horvat infallibly teaching anti-clericalism and all of us at TIA blindly obeying her diktats. Unfortunately for AB, the opposite is true. TIA has been publishing a series of articles attacking progressivists for reducing and disparaging the role of the Clergy, as can be seen here, here, here, here, here and here.

      Indeed, Dr. Carol Byrne writes from London and sends her articles to me; I read and edit them and pass them to Dr. Horvat, who also reads the articles and lays them out for our website. I return to them for a final check and I post them online. So, the three of us are in agreement with the content of those articles: i.e., that the Clergy should have the important role in the Church it had before the Council. No anti-clericalism in the picture, rather the opposite.

    6. A point that calls attention is that the Immaculate Conception is a unique privilege God granted to Our Lady. Now, a privilege cannot be “incarnate” or “reincarnated” as AB pretends in his accusation. A person who has a soul can become incarnate, like the Second Person of the Trinity did. We know that human souls or even animal souls can become incarnate in bodies. A privilege cannot become incarnate. Such a great theologian as AB should have known this. It is sad to realize that he ignores it or forgot it.


    7. Metempsychosis

      Metempsychosis, or migration of souls

    8. However, AB accuses the TIA founder not of being an incarnation of a privilege, but of being the Immaculate Conception “reincarnated.” Now, Catholic doctrine does not accept reincarnation. The theory of reincarnation is proper to Metempsychosis, which is a philosophy adopted by some Eastern religions. According to it, the soul – after becoming “incarnated” in a person – goes elsewhere after he dies; according to the merit of the person in the first life, it “reincarnates” in another man, animal or plant. Again, it is lamentable to see that a luminous mind such as AB’s either is ignorant of what reincarnation is or believes in it…

    9. At the end of this analysis, I am pleased to suppose that when AB read the “long list” about Benedict XVI, he did not have a psychological breakdown or unconsciously reveal the intellectual shortcomings that I have pointed out above.

      Instead, I would like to imagine that he is just a lover of good Italian wines – as am I – and at the moment he opened the communication of our reader, it happened that he had a few more glasses than the recommendable average and his sharp mind was wandering in the vaporous uncertainties of inebriation.

  5. Regarding the last paragraph of his accusations, I have to confess my ignorance. I do not know what document he is referring to in his supposed “refutation.” Even when I read it with my best will, I could not understand what he was trying to say. It was not difficult to distinguish, however, the same tipsy uncertainty in his steps...
These are my comments on Bene-vacantism and his lofty representative speaking “from Rome.”