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Dec 17 15 8:19 AM
In the interview Joseph Ratzinger says absolutely categorically that he did not wish to be called Pope Emeritus. His choice had been to be called simply “Father Benedict” after his retirement but he did not “have the strength to insist”. He actually asked the journalist to specifically mention this in the published interview.
Dec 17 15 8:45 AM
Dec 17 15 11:33 AM
Why hasn't Pope Francis granted "Father Benedict" his wish?
Dec 19 15 12:48 AM
Dec 19 15 3:58 AM
I obviously think that Benedict’s retirement arrangements were made to show and do show successfully that he didn’t completely abandon the Faithful and the Office that he no longer had the strength to carry out. His remaining in his “gilded cage” was and is also an answer to Card. Dziwisz’s remark that Pope John Paul II “didn’t come down from the cross.”
Dec 19 15 4:27 PM
Pope Benedict undoubtedly felt there ought to be a greater formal distinction between the retired and the reigning pope. (In that case, he ideally should have become plain Fr. Ratzinger again, dressed in black.) Pope Francis, by all accounts, doesn’t share that view. He could very well have told the world that he agreed with Benedict that a retired pope ought to retain his papal name but precede it with the title of “Father.” That therefore he granted Benedict his wish to be addressed as Fr. Benedict. And that in that spirit, he Francis, decreed this ruling to apply to all future retired popes. He himself, therefore, would be called “Father Francis” upon his own retirement. Granting Benedict his wish could then not be interpreted as a demotion.
He could also have shown in words and action what he thought of the cruel and narcissistic “Pope Emeritus” instigators.
Instead, Francis insisted that the “Pope Emeritus” had become an “institution.” He calls Benedict “Santita” and even referred to him as “Pope Benedict” in an Angelus address.
Sì. Il Papa emerito non è una statua in un museo. È una istituzione. Non eravamo abituati. Sessanta o settant’anni fa, il vescovo emerito non esisteva. Venne dopo il Concilio. Oggi è un’istituzione. La stessa cosa deve accadere per il Papa emerito. Benedetto è il primo e forse ce ne saranno altri.
Yes, the Pope Emeritus isn’t a museum statue. It’s an institution we’re not used to. Sixty or seventy years ago, the figure of the Bishop Emeritus didn’t exist. That came after Vatican Council II and now it’s an institution. The same has to happen with the Pope Emeritus. Benedict is the first and perhaps there will be others.
Yes. The Pope Emeritus is not a statue in a museum. He is an institution. We're not accustomed to him. Sixty or seventy years ago, the bishop emeritus didn't exist. It came after the Council. Today, it's an institution. The same thing should happen to the Pope Emeritus. Benedict is the first, and maybe there'll be others.
As for myself, I obviously think that Benedict’s retirement arrangements were made to show and do show successfully that he didn’t completely abandon the Faithful and the Office that he no longer had the strength to carry out. His remaining in his “gilded cage” was and is also an answer to Card. Dziwisz’s remark that Pope John Paul II “didn’t come down from the cross.”
Dec 20 15 6:25 PM
Dec 21 15 4:49 AM
Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way, but I never understood Pope Benedict’s wish to be addressed as “Father Benedict” to be a repudiation of the title “Pope Emeritus.” He merely was ill at ease with his full title, i.e., “His Holiness Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus.” It’s indeed a bit disconcerting that both the retired and reigning pope call each other “Santita.” And to my knowledge, German visitors address Benedict still as Holy Father. Italians might call him “Santita.” However, since Benedict envisioned a short, cloistered existence for his final pilgrimage on earth, “hidden from the world,” how he was addressed informally wasn’t a big deal. Certainly not worth putting up a big fight about with the Secretariat of State and other advisors who perhaps thought the Padre Benedetto thing was setting a weird precedent
Dec 22 15 3:09 AM
Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way, but I never understood Pope Benedict’s wish to be addressed as “Father Benedict” to be a repudiation of the title “Pope Emeritus.” He merely was ill at ease with his full title, i.e., “His Holiness Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus.”…The problem with “Fr. Benedict” is that this address sounds strange with either the title “Bishop Emeritus of Rome” or simply “Pope Emeritus.”
… the conservatives read into such words that Benedict is with them and the whole tradition of the Church on this matter, and that, not the title “Emeritus” vs. Fr. Benedict is the issue.
Archbishop Gaenswein is a Ratzingerian through and through, though unfortunately not as gentle and polished and brilliant. I at least never heard him preach anything that Ratzinger/Benedict wouldn’t have preached.
Dec 23 15 12:50 AM
Dec 23 15 1:26 PM
Sorry, Benodette and
Unicorn, but you really have to read the FAZ article again. Benedict actually
DOESN’T state that he didn’t “ want the title Pope Emeritus” but didn’t have
the strength to resist. All he says is that he wanted to be addressed as
Vater Benedikt or Padre Benedetto. What he speaks of is the “Anrede”
(address) not the full title. I don’t know whether the journalist didn’t have
the wits to press for a more specific answer or whether Benedict told him he
wouldn’t answer the “Pope Emeritus” question.
Your argumentation isn’t convincing I’m afraid Victoria Luise.
While your description here
of the word «Anrede» in German is correct, this is only one meaning the word
has, the other being a synonym for "title". This becomes even more obvious when
you consider that the way a person is addressed always corresponds with the
title they hold: President XY is addressed as „Mr. President“, Ambassador XY as
„Excellency“, a person holding a PhD as „Dr. XY“. So even if Joseph Ratzinger
did indeed mention only the way he wished to be addressed as („Anrede“) and not
the title in the FAZ article – and this is by no means certain, since it is the
author Jörg Bremer who uses the word „Anrede“, it is NOT a part of the text
presented as an actual direct quote – it naturally flows from this that if he
wanted to be known as Father Benedict or Padre Benedetto he DID NOT want the
title of Pope Emeritus. There was no way whatsoever he would or could be
addressed as Father Benedict if he held the title of Pope Emeritus. There was simply
no need for the journalist to „press for a more specific answer“or for
Ratzinger to further address the issue because it was abundantly clear what he
Therefore it really disturbs me to see him
evasive when asked about the papal white, or the Pope Emeritus title, or why he
remained in the Vatican. I think the closest he came to an explanation
was in his last General Audience. When he accepted the office, he knew it would
be forever, that there was no returning to private life, to travel, to
enjoyment of the retirement he had dreamt of as a cardinal. He had to remain at
the foot of the cross, in the enclosure of St. Peter. All this is
symbolized by his “retirement arrangements” which really tell me that he is
willing to continue sacrificing his own wishes for the Church and the Papacy
until the end of his life.
By this you seem to imply
that Joseph Ratzinger does still hold „Papal
Office“ of some kind after all, which is exactly the line of thought which
gives rise to speculation of a papal diarchy and emboldens those who – clearly against
all his intentions - try to set Ratzinger up as a rallying point
for their opposition against Pope Francis. In actual fact Ratzinger’s
retirement arrangements symbolise nothing of what you mention, but were –
according to his own words – « for purely practical reasons», as he stated in
his February 2014 letter to Andrea Tornielli. The part of that Vatican Insider
article concerning his clothes and title reads as follows :
In the letter he sent to
us, the Pope Emeritus answered some questions regarding his decision to keep
his papal name and continue dressing in white. “I continue to wear the white cassock and kept the name Benedict
for purely practical reasons. At the moment of my resignation there were no
other clothes available. In any case, I wear the white cassock in a visibly
different way to how the Pope wears it. This is another case of completely unfounded
speculations being made,” he wrote.
That letter to Tornielli of course dates from February
2014. By November 2014 Ratzinger was obviously sufficiently exasperated by the
constant speculation about his «title» and retirement arrangements that he decided
not only to disclose that behind those «practical reasons» for keeping the
white cassock and the name Benedict was actually pressure from third parties
which he didn’t have the strength to resist, but also explicitly asked Bremer
to make this public.
Whichever way you look at it, it is a fact that Padre
Benedetto DID NOT want to be Pope Emeritus.
Dec 24 15 11:31 AM
Victoria Luise: I think the closest he came to an explanation was in his last General Audience. When he accepted the office, he knew it would be forever, that there was no returning to private life, to travel, to enjoyment of the retirement he had dreamt of as a cardinal. He had to remain at the foot of the cross, in the enclosure of St. Peter. All this is symbolized by his “retirement arrangements” which really tell me that he is willing to continue sacrificing his own wishes for the Church and the Papacy until the end of his life. It’s the way he has lived his whole ecclesial life. (IMO, it was also a response to Card. Dziwisz’s unfortunate comment on the news of Benedict’s resignation.)
If a Pope clearly realizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically, and spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office, then he has a right and, under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign. - Light of the World, p. 30 (Underscoring and emphasis supplied.)
I no longer bear the power of office for the governance of the Church, but in the service of prayer I remain, so to speak, in the enclosure of Saint Peter. Saint Benedict, whose name I bear as Pope, will be a great example for me in this. He showed us the way for a life which, whether active or passive, is completely given over to the work of God.
Your predecessor was certain regarded as what you might call a pop phenomenon, why by his sheer physical presence, by his voice and gestures, produced a huge media sensation and had a powerful effect on people. Now, you do not have quite the same reputation or the same voice. Was that a problem for you?I simply told myself that I am who I am. I don’t try to be someone else. What I can give I give, and what I can’t give I don’t try to give, either. I don’t try to make myself into something I am not. I am the person who happens to have been chosen - the cardinals are also to blame for that - and I do what I can. - Light of the World, pp. 111-112 (Underscoring and emphasis supplied.)
Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, secretary to the late Pope John Paul, said the former pope had stayed on despite failing health for the last decade of his life as he believed "you cannot come down from the cross."
He hoped to concentrate the last years of his life entirely to his beloved theology, once he was relieved of his Curial office at the age of seventy-five … Initially, he had thought of studying contentedly in his beloved Regensburg, but more and more he had come to appreciate Rome as the place to spend his retirement, since the Eternal City played so great a role in Christian theological culture. - Pope Benedict XVI: A Personal Portrait, pp. 107-108 (Italics supplied.)
… in their positions as theologians and scriptural scholars, they not only wrote and spoke about God, but in so doing, they were also writing and speaking to God.
Dec 26 15 9:48 AM
Dec 26 15 9:08 PM
Dec 27 15 7:38 AM
Dec 27 15 9:15 AM
To my observations, the liberal-progressives caused him more grief than the conservatives or the traditionalists even.
And don't you recall his physical condition at the end of 2012? I for once was already preparing myself for his death, in order that the coming blow wouldn't be quite as devastating. This wasn't a man looking forward to the long longed-for retirement as a simple priest-scholar near his beloved brother but who was then thwarted in this wish by his closest collaborators.
He definitely wanted a greater differentiation between his post-renunciation appearance and form of address/title. And I don't doubt that he wanted to be called Padre Benedetto rather than Sua Santita, because that is how the reigning pope is addressed.
IMO, there is already a world of difference between a reigning pope and a pope emeritus. To me, the white cassock without the insignia of office represents exactly his post-renunciation status: he holds no longer any of the power and active duties of the office but retains the spiritual and contemplative aspect.
IMO, the use of Padre Benedetto, Papa Emerito as title is strange but not impossible. However, as soon as I see a direct quote from Benedict that he didn't want the title of Pope Emeritus but didn't have the strength to insist, I admit that my opinion was mistaken.
Jan 15 16 3:25 PM
December 8, Pope Francis pushed opened the Holy Door of the Basilica of St Peter’s. He thus became the first person to walk through one of the “Doors of Mercy” in cathedrals and churches all over the world that symbolise forgiveness for Catholics in this Jubilee Year of Mercy.And the second person to walk through? Benedict XVI, dressed in the white cassock reserved for popes alone.Five years ago, no one could have imagined this surreal spectacle: a reigning Pope embracing a “Pope Emeritus” inside St Peter’s. Now Catholics are getting used to the notion of a Pope Emeritus. Whether they are comfortable with it, or understand what it means, is less easy to say.Benedict is, like most 88 year-olds, very infirm; visibly more so than he was on February 11, 2013, when he shocked his cardinals by telling them, out of the blue and in Latin, that he was vacating the chair of Peter.We know he is infirm because, contrary to expectations, he has not become invisible to the Church he once led. He continues to make rare appearances in semi-public settings – most recently, at a concert of German Christmas music in the studios of Vatican Radio. (And at various meetings, several a week, with groups in the Vatican gardens and in his home. Meetings which are usually photographed and published on the internet. Meetings arranged and controlled by Ganswein)Benedict has said very little since his retirement and not once criticised Pope Francis. (But his secretary gives more interviews than anyone else in the Vatican) But his rare utterances have been fascinating, all of them the purest Ratzinger, and it’s small wonder that his words have been pored over by Catholics intrigued by his enigmatic presence.Mysteries and rumour surround the frail, almost doll-like figure ( Thompson certainly has an insight here!) of the Pope Emeritus. They raise questions that I’ll try to answer.What follows contains lots of speculation, for which I don’t apologise. No one can understand the workings of the Catholic Church without speculating. Senior prelates, Vatican officials and their press officers are as secretive, evasive and sometimes untruthful as their secular equivalents in Westminster, Brussels and Washington DC.Why did Benedict XVI resign? This is regarded by many commentators as the greatest mystery in recent Church history. Not by me, however. The simple answer to the question is that the Pope felt that, at his age and with his health beginning to give way, he wasn’t up to the job. This isn’t a complete answer, because there are things we can’t know. If you’re looking for a “final straw”, then you can take your pick between the VatiLeaks affair, the machinations of Benedict’s enemies and the pope’s creeping awareness that he was losing his powers of concentration. (Huh?) Maybe he had a fit of despair brought on by the realisation that he’d inherited the papacy too late to implement long-term reforms while firefighting paedophile and financial scandals. If Ratzinger had become pope at 75, these challenges would have been less terrifying. He didn’t because St John Paul II insisted on holding office while incapacitated – the first pontiff to do so for a very long time. (Perhaps another man would have been chosen then) Perhaps this persuaded Benedict to take the plunge. I doubt that we shall ever know, so let’s move on.2) Would Benedict have resigned if he knew Francis would succeed him? Purely hypothetical but interesting. Benedict must have known there was a chance that Cardinal Bergoglio would succeed him. My guess is that when the Argentinian emerged on the balcony the Pope Emeritus was dismayed but concluded that God works in mysterious ways. (Why would Benedict have been dismayed?) A more interesting, albeit even more hypothetical, question is whether Benedict would have resigned if he’d known Francis would call a synod that threw open the question of whether divorced and remarried Catholics should receive Communion.Why did Benedict assume the style and dignity of “Pope Emeritus”? This is a puzzle. Benedict, by his own choice, is no longer the Pope. He is – and regards himself as – an ex-pope. Why, then, did he choose a title that included the P-word? He’s an academic, and the obvious analogy is with a professor emeritus who has retired. Professors emeritus, however, are addressed as professor so-and-so. Benedict is not called Pope Benedict, though he has kept the XVI and is still His Holiness. This is confusing, and the Pope Emeritus now seems to recognise this: without relinquishing the title, he’s let it be known that he wishes to be referred to as“Father Benedict”. (It is too late to "relinquish" the title - he has made his wishes known - although they have not been widely disseminated, and people now ignore him) Why didn’t he opt for this solution at the time? In a conversation with the German journalist Jorg Bremer in 2014, he said that this was what he wanted all along but that “I was too weak at that point to enforce it.” That’s odd. Who was telling the old man, still pope, that he must assume the grander title? Mgr Georg Gänswein, his personal secretary? Gänswein says he knew about Benedict’s planned resignation “for some time” and failed to talk him out of it. ( In my opinion he has to be a primary suspect with both opportunity and motivation for putting pressure on Ratzinger. Why doesn't Thompson explore this further?Another possibility is that Benedict has been leant on by an ally of Francis to play down his papal title. (That is certainly a desperate piece of speculation. Ratzinger's title has has no effect at all on Pope Francis. It is most relevant to conservatives, who cling to it. )Why does Benedict wear white? Benedict’s decision to dress as pope – minus the little mozzetta cape around his shoulders, and switching from red to brown shoes – sends a signal to the faithful. But what signal? ( In my opinion it was neither his decision nor his "signal") We don’t need reminding that he used to be the Supreme Pontiff. My theory is that, by remaining in papal white, Benedict communicates that although he is an ex-pope he is also a living successor of Peter. (Ratzinger said there were "no other clothes available". If he had any other intention he would have said so,. This is not his idea, any more than the title is his idea) It would be fascinating to know whether Benedict feels that he retains some spiritual status or responsibility by virtue of having held his office.Do some Catholics believe there are two popes? The Italian journalist Antonio Socci has proposed that Benedict XVI’s resignation was not canonically valid because he was forced out. He and other conspiracy theorists therefore believe there is only one pope, but he is not called Francis. This is nonsense. As for the “two popes” business, no one thinks there are two reigning pontiffs. But, to repeat, there is confusion. A few weeks ago I heard a Scottish priest, an old left-winger from the missions, refer to “our reigning pope and our pensioner pope”. I’ve also heard a foreign priest quietly insert a reference to Benedict into the prayer for the Pope in the Eucharistic Prayer. I’m sorry to labour the point, but this wouldn’t be happening if Benedict did not still dress in papal white. On the other hand, the impact of this confusion is modest, for the following reason.Does Benedict still seek to wield influence in the Church? He does not, except in minor ways (see below). He has not “let it be known” that he thinks this or that about the doctrinal controversy raging over Communion for the divorced. (But his secretary has said a lot and many people think he is articulating Benedict's opinions) Perhaps he has resisted prompting to do so. The Pope Emeritus (Thompson chooses to ignore Ratzinger's wish to be called Father Benedict) has promised the actual Pope not to interfere in the life of the Church and he is a man of his word. But let us ask a slightly different question.Is Benedict XVI anxious to preserve his legacy? There are two clues that the answer to this is yes. In July 2015, Benedict gave an address at Castel Gandolfo on the subject of music and its relationship to the divine. The speech is a small masterpiece that, by identifying “a dimension of reality that can no longer find answers in discourses alone”, represents an important development in the thinking of Joseph Ratzinger. The ex-pope is too fragile to write books, we’re told, but as recently as last summer he was still working on the “hermeneutic of continuity” that formed the theme of his pontificate. The other clue is a letter to traditionalists in October 2014 in which he said he was “very glad that the Usus antiquus now lives in full peace within the Church, also among the young, supported and celebrated by great Cardinals”. This was his way of reminding us that Summorum Pontificum remains the law of the Church under Francis. The “great cardinals” included Raymond Burke, whom Benedict knew was soon to be sacked by Francis; I detect a flash of anger here. ( Benedict never mentioned Burke. This is speculation too. This little intervention by Benedict was ill-advised because conservatives like Thompson put this kind of spin on his every word. On the other hand, Benedict said clearly he wanted to called Father Benedict and the conservatives plug their ears and look the other way)Does Benedict approve of the direction in which Pope Francis is taking the Church? If you think the answer to this is “yes”, I’d be interested to hear your reasoning. ( It is irrelevant. Benedict is no longer the Pope. Would Paul VI have approved of the road taken by JP II and Benedict XVI?) Francis re-opened the question of Communion for the divorced and remarried by putting centre stage (without fully endorsing) the thinking of Cardinal Walter Kasper, who is Joseph Ratzinger’s oldest theological adversary. He also appears to favour the principle of the devolution of authority to bishops’ conferences – supported by Kasper and opposed by Ratzinger. The ecclesiology of Pope Francis is strikingly divergent from that of his predecessor. I’d be astonished if Benedict does not feel that Francis is taking a very dangerous risk (But Thompson might one day be astonished, because Joseph Ratzinger the theologian and thinker is not necessarily the same as Cardinal Ratzinger, head of the CDF and Benedict XVI, Roman Pontiff) by encouraging liberal Catholics who want to change the rules governing reception of the Eucharist.Did Benedict seek to influence the outcome of the 2015 synod on the family? See question six. He did not. He did, however, have lunch with his former protégé Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna, in the last week of the synod. That’s all we know. Schönborn favoured a mildly “progressive” solution to the problem of Communion and divorcees; I doubt that he got his old professor’s backing for it. ( But, of course, Thompson cannot know what the teacher and pupil discussed, or what Professor Ratzinger really thinks. The Professor evidently did not get his pupil to take a conservative line)Does the retired Benedict have any influence on the Catholic Church, even if he does not seek to wield it? He does, but this influence is difficult to summarise.(His "influence" is among those who look to him because they dislike or disagree with Francis. It is an influence he neither seeks nor wants)Among the senior prelates who were once his strongest allies, the Pope Emeritus (there is that title again) provokes mixed feelings. Some of them feel he left them in the lurch by resigning, having previously failed to promote them with the vigour with which Francis has promoted his allies. The current Holy Father is an old man in a hurry; his predecessor was not. Some of them wish Benedict would break his silence in order to preserve the integrity of the Eucharist, as they see it. Others feel this would involve breaking a solemn promise and would in any case be counterproductive.But let us step aside from immediate controversies. Pope Benedict XVI may have moved slowly but he did inspire a generation of Catholics to renew their devotional lives and, where possible, parish liturgies. He is also a hero to many priests and seminarians – and a living hero at that. There are countless bishops who would like to snuff out “Benedictine” spirituality. That is more difficult to do while His Holiness prays daily in his Vatican monastery. The other side of the coin is that the living presence of Benedict XVI sharpens the antagonism of certain traditionalists towards the current Holy Father. If Benedict is aware of this, he surely disapproves. Of one thing we can be certain: he believes that the Keys of Peter were handed to Jorge Bergoglio by the Holy Spirit, in whom the faith of the Pope Emeritus has never wavered.
May 23 16 7:24 AM
In a speech reflecting on Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate, Archbishop Georg Gänswein has confirmed the existence of a group who fought against Benedict’s election in 2005, but stressed that "Vatileaks" or other issues had "little or nothing" to do with his resignation in 2013.Speaking at the presentation of a new book on Benedict’s pontificate at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome May 20, Archbishop Gänswein also said that Pope Francis and Benedict are not two popes “in competition” with one another, but represent one “expanded” Petrine Office with “an active member” and a “contemplative.” (Benedict never said anything like this!)Archbishop Gänswein, who doubles as the personal secretary of the Pope Emeritus and prefect of the Pontifical Household, said Benedict did not abandon the papacy like Pope Celestine V in the 13th century but rather sought to continue his Petrine Office in a more appropriate way given his frailty. (This is not permitted by church law and Benedict never made any such claim)“Therefore, from 11 February 2013, the papal ministry is not the same as before,” he said. “It is and remains the foundation of the Catholic Church; and yet it is a foundation that Benedict XVI has profoundly and lastingly transformed by his exceptional pontificate.”Reflecting on Benedict's time as Pope, Archbishop Gänswein said that although he was “a classic ‘homo historicus’, a Western man par excellence who embodied the richness of the Catholic tradition like no other,” at the same time he was “so bold as to open the door to a new phase, for that historic turning point that five years ago no one could have imagined.”Gänswein drew attention to “brilliant and illuminating” and “well documented and thorough” passages of the book, written by Roberto Regoli and entitled Oltre la crisi della Chiesa. Il pontificato di Benedetto XVI — “Beyond the Crisis of the Church, The Pontificate of Benedict XVI.”The German prelate highlighted Regoli’s account of “a dramatic struggle” that took place in the 2005 Conclave between the “so-called ‘Salt of the Earth Party’” (named after the book interview with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) comprising “Cardinals Lopez Trujillo, Ruini, Herranz, Ruoco Varela or Medina" and their adversaries: "the so-called St. Gallen group” that included “Cardinals Danneels, Martini, Silvestrini or Murphy O’Connor” — a group Cardinal Danneels referred jokingly to as “a kind of mafia-club,” Archbishop Gänswein recalled. (His words back up an interview German journalist Paul Badde gave the Register last November) (Where does Pentin think Badde gets his information?) Wake up!)“The election was certainly the outcome of a battle,” Gänswein said, adding that the “key” to the Conclave was Cardinal Ratzinger’s “dictatorship of relativism” homily that he gave on the first day of the election when he was Dean of the College of Cardinals.( How does the author of this book, and Ganswein, know details of the Conclave? Has Benedict spilled the beans during his countless cosy meals with his celebrity secretary?)Benedict’s personal secretary then referred to how Regoli highlights the “fascinating and moving” years of Benedict’s pontificate, and his “skill and confidence” in exercising the Petrine ministry. He recalled the “black year” of 2010, when Manuela Camagni, one of the four Memores Domini consecrated women who assisted Benedict, was tragically killed in a road accident in Rome.The year was further blackened by “malicious attacks against the Pope” and the fallout from Benedict’s lifting of the excommunication on Bishop Richard Williamson who denied the extent of the Holocaust.But nothing affected Benedict’s “heart as much as the death of Manuela”, whom he considered part of the “papal family” of helpers. “ (If this is true it would have been better left unsaid. 2010 was a year when there was a torrent of revelations about clergy sex abuse all over Europe, the year of the scandalous "idle gossip" speech and a year when the controversy over the Holocaust denier Williamson was still raging. Benedict was head of a church in crisis. If those things did not strike at his heart perhaps he should resigned sooner!) Benedict wasn’t an ‘actor pope’, and even less an insensitive ‘automaton Pope’,” Gänswein said. ”Even on the throne of Peter, he was and remained a man… ‘a man with his contradictions’.” (Contradictions seems to be very accurate)Then, after having been so affected by the death of Camagni, Benedict suffered the “betrayal of Paolo Gabriele”, his “poor and misguided” former valet who was found guilty of leaking confidential papal documents in what became known as the ‘Vatileaks’ scandal. (But we never really knew what motivated Gabriele to do what he did. He was prevented from speaking out at his show trial. There is far more to that sordid tale) That episode was “false money” traded on the world stage as “authentic gold bullion” he said, but stressed that “no traitor, ‘mole’, or any journalist” would have caused Benedict to resign. “The scandal was too small” (the scandal was not small) for the “greater, well considered step Benedict made of millennial historical significance.” Such assumptions that they did have something to do with it, he said, “have little or nothing to do with reality”, adding that Benedict resigned because it was “fitting” and “reasonable”, and quoted John Duns Scotus’ words to justify the decree for the Immaculate Conception: “Decuit, potuit, fecit” — “He could do it, it was fitting that He do it.”Various reports have suggested that pressure was exerted on Benedict to step down. One of the latest came last year from a former confidant and confessor to the late Cardinal Carlo Martini who said Martini had told Benedict: "Try and reform the Curia, and if not, you leave.”Gänswein said instead "it was fitting" for Benedict to resign because he "was aware that the necessary strength for such a very heavy office was lessening. He could do it [resign], because he had long thought through, from a theological point of view, the possibility of a pope emeritus in the future. So he did it.” (this does not accord with what Benedict said to FAZ. He clearly said he wanted to be Father Benedict - NOT Pope Emeritus. That was not his idea. It is becoming increasingly clear whose idea it was!)Drawing on the Latin words “munus petrinum” — “Petrine ministry” — Gänswein pointed out the “munus” has many meanings such as “service, duty, guide or gift”. He said that “before and after his resignation” Benedict has viewed his task as “participation in such a ‘Petrine ministry’. ( The papacy is not a sacrament. It does not continue when the holder leaves office)“He left the Papal Throne and yet, with the step he took on 11 February 2013, he has not abandoned this ministry,” (in fact he did, no matter what Ganswein claims) Gänswein explained. “Instead, he has built a personal office with a collegial and synodal dimension, almost a communal ministry) ,(He did no such thing. This is Ganswein's construct and it is outrageous) as if he had wanted to reiterate once again the invitation contained in the motto that the then-Joseph Ratzinger had as Archbishop of Munich and Freising and naturally maintained as Bishop of Rome: "cooperatores veritatis", which means ‘co-workers of the truth’.”Archbishop Gänswein point out that the motto is not in the singular but in the plural, and taken from the Third Letter of John, in which it is written in verse 8: "We must welcome these people to become co-workers for the truth".He therefore stressed that since Francis’ election, there are not “two popes, but de facto an expanded ministry — with an active member and a contemplative member.” He added that this is why Benedict XVI “has not given up his name”, unlike Pope Celestine V who reverted to his name Pietro da Marrone, “nor the white cassock.” ( This is not what Benedict himself said. What is the truth? Who is the liar?)“Therefore he has also not retired to a monastery in isolation but stays within the Vatican — (Whose idea was that? Was it the same person who insisted on the title and the white clothing?) as if he had taken only one step to the side to make room for his successor and a new stage in the history of the papacy.” With that step, he said, he has enriched the papacy with “his prayer and his compassion placed in the Vatican Gardens.”Archbishop Gänswein repeated that Benedict’s resignation was “quite different” to that of Pope Celestine V. (What a pity that Benedict left his pallium on the casket of that Pope)“So it is not surprising,” he said, “that some have seen it as revolutionary, or otherwise as entirely consistent with the gospel, while still others see in this way a secularized papacy as never before, and thus more collegial and functional, or even simply more humane and less sacred. And still others are of the opinion that Benedict XVI, with this step, has almost — speaking in theological and historical-critical terms — demythologized the papacy.”
May 24 16 5:00 AM
Edward Pentin's latest column on National Catholic Register (Archbishop Gänswein: Benedict XVI Sees Resignation as Expanding Petrine Ministry) reports on a speech delivered by Archbishop Gänswein at the Pontifical Gregorian University, May 20. The speech, as reported by Pentin, has two topics of capital significance.From the viewpoint of "current events" perhaps the topic that will attract more attention is his reference to the election of Benedict XVI in 2005 as the outcome of the battle between two factions of Cardinals: the infamous "St. Gallen" group of liberal Cardinals who wanted to prevent Ratzinger from ascending to the papacy and the "Salt of the Earth" group of conservative Cardinals who supported him. (Both groups were doing exactly the same thing - rooting for their preferred candidate. Each is as bad as the other) Surely our regular readers will remember the furor last year when the machinations of the St. Gallen "mafia" was first revealed in a biography of Cardinal Danneels -- see our posts about it (St. Gallen Mafia) as well as the Pentin's detailed interview about the 2005 conclave with Paul Badde. (Badde the defamer who, it is said, is close to the celebrity secretary. After all, he got the Pope to visit the hideous "relic" at Manopello)From a theological and dogmatic point of view however, more attention is warranted by Gänswein's comments on the transformation of the very office of the Papacy after February 11, 2013, his claim that the resignation of Benedict XVI was of a different character compared to previous papal resignations, and his assertion that there are "not two popes", but one yet expanded Petrine Ministry with Francis and Benedict both as members -- one active, the other contemplative.The idea that the papacy itself has now been transformed in its very depths, and that to effect this transformation Benedict XVI's will and actions in February 2013 were enough, raises extremely sensitive, nay, disturbing questions about the very theology of the Church. ( For once I agree with RC) Questions and.... implications we dare not discuss here for the moment. As for how two men cannot be both Popes and yet be both members of one Petrine ministry....It is all too easy to dismiss Gänswein's comments as merely his personal opinion, if not for the fact that in addition to being a doctor of Canon Law and a former official of the CDF he is, above all, the secretary and daily companion of Benedict XVI himself. Surely we can take his interpretation of Benedict's resignation as a faithful reflection of the latter's own thinking. (Here I disagree. It is my opinion - and only my opinion - that this "office" of Pope Emeritus is a construct created by Ganswein, either alone or with collaborators of like mind. That he advocated the title, the clothing and the grand papal household because he could never accept Ratzinger's retirement. Now he feels secure enough to voice his vision publicly, confident that nobody will pick a fight with him, even though his statements challenge the nature of the papacy and attribute actions and intentions to Benedict which do not accord with his own words. The journalistic silence is probably out of respect for Ratzinger but, in my view, it is misguided. The ambiguity caused by these assertions in intolerable - both for Ratzinger's reputation and for the Church. People have a right to know exactly where they stand in relation to Church leadership and Ratzinger owes it to the faithful he once led to make it crystal clear what his intentions were and what his status is now. He should make a clear statement - verbally and visually and not through his secretarial mouthpiece or through a written statement. This situation has gone on for long enough. It should be settled once and for all and only Ratzinger himself can settle it.)The thesis that since March 13, 2013 the papacy has become some kind of "diarchy" was first expressed in the writings of Antonio Socci early in 2014, then taken up by Vittorio Messori a few months later on the basis of an article written by the canonist Stefano Violi. Providentially, Rorate had published translations of both Socci's and Messori's articles in just one post:
May 24 16 6:40 AM
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