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(LifeSiteNews) — On today’s episode of The John-Henry Westen Show, I ask Dr. Edmund Mazza, a professor of Church history, to unpack the controversy and confusion surrounding the 2013 resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and address the potential implications for Francis’s papacy if the resignation were invalid.

This is a dense episode — Dr. Mazza dives deep into the subject with remarkable aplomb — but it’s a fascinating one you won’t want to miss. Here’s a taste of what you’ll be getting:

Well, believe it or not, Canon Law, Canon 188, says that when someone in the Church resigns from their office, one of the things that would invalidate that resignation is something called substantial error. It’s when your intellect has an erroneous idea of the object that you were choosing, that your will is choosing. Well, if your intellect presents an erroneous object to your will and your will chooses it, your will is not free […] If Benedict thought he could resign the active ministry of the papacy, but somehow still remain papal [in the passive sense, not in the active sense], and was able to offer up his sufferings and prayers in an ontological connection to the munus [ministry or service] that belongs to St. Peter…

Listen to the rest of today’s episode below:

The John-Henry Westen Show is available by video on the show’s YouTube channel and right here on my LifeSite blog.

You can send me feedback, or ideas for show topics by emailing [email protected].

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John-Henry is the co-founder, CEO and editor-in-chief of He and his wife Dianne have eight children and they live in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario, Canada.

He has spoken at conferences and retreats, and appeared on radio and television throughout the world. John-Henry founded the Rome Life Forum, an annual strategy meeting for life, faith and family leaders worldwide. He is a board member of the John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family. He is a consultant to Canada’s largest pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition, and serves on the executive of the Ontario branch of the organization. He has run three times for political office in the province of Ontario representing the Family Coalition Party.

John-Henry earned an MA from the University of Toronto in School and Child Clinical Psychology and an Honours BA from York University in Psychology.