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Mar 11 14 5:34 AM
Mar 11 14 6:03 AM
Archbishop Georg Gänswein and Benedict's Fixation on Rehabilitating SSPX, Benedict and Immunity from International Prosecution: What's Going on in the Vatican?!
To be frank, I am not particularly interested in Vatican chit-chat. It seems far removed from my tiny little life in the miasmatic swamps of Arkansas. And I wonder how anyone can truly know what goes on in the inaccessible miasmatic swamps inside the Vatican. Anyone other than insiders, that is, and everyone who works inside the Vatican takes an oath, as I understand, not to see, hear, or tell.
But, even though I tend to avoid Vatican insider talk, people will, as I noted on Friday, talk about the announcement that the retiring pope is taking his personal secretary Archbishop Georg Gänswein into retirement with him, when he moves to a monastery now being spiffed up for his use once he abdicates the throne. And because people will talk about this arrangement, count me fascinated by some of the blockbuster revelations of this examination of Gänswein's role as a papal favorite written by Robert Mickens last December.*
Blockbuster revelations to me, though this information may be old hat to those who have followed this story more closely than I have up to now. I didn't know, for instance, that Gänswein began his seminary training at a Swiss seminary run by the schismatic St. Pius X group (and is this the information that whoever disappeared biographical details about Gänswein from the internet after he was made papal secretary wanted to hide?). I also hadn't been aware that Gänswein had taught at Opus Dei's Holy Cross university in Rome.
I'll be honest: learning that Gänswein has deep ties to SSPX makes me wonder quite seriously about the extent to which Benedict's fixation on rehabilitating that schismatic group--seemingly at any cost--has been driven by his personal relationship with Georg Gänswein. And that, in turn, makes me wonder about the extent to which various aspects of Benedict's restorationist agenda have been driven by such personal connections and commitments and not primarily by a desire to see the universal church thrive--though not a bit of this information about who wields power behind the throne is really accessible to anyone outside the inner circles of the Vatican, is it?
And as Jason Horowitz notes in the Washington Post recently, those inner circles constitute a "hermetic universe" absolutely impervious to even "a modicum of transparency," which will apparently do almost anything to exercise damage control lest information about the Vatican's inner workings leak out to the world at large. It's a hermetic universe rife with factions and power struggles, where the powerful presence of Opus Dei can be found, it appears, down almost any dark corridor--especially where money is being counted.
Here's the picture I get as I read Horowitz's article about the machinations now going on inside the Vatican: corruption. This is not just the run-of-the-mill, par-for-the-course kind of corruption one can count on in any non-transparent, closed, hierarchical organization. What we're witnessing now at the top levels of the Catholic church (insofar as the veil of secrecy is ever pulled aside) is the quite specific kind of decay that takes place as institutional corruption advances and reaches a critical peak. Fighting and in-fighting for the spoils of a corrupt, decaying, wealthy and powerful institution.
Corruption that those on the inside, who have their hands on the purse strings, don't intend to stop, since they have engineered the corruption and stand to benefit from it--because watchdogs never abound when a hermetically sealed and very corrupt institution falls apart, and helping oneself to the spoils is all the easier under such circumstances.
It's hard to read Philip Pulella's report at Reuters right now about how the decision to keep Benedict in Rome after his abdication has everything to do with keeping him away from the long arm of international law in the sexual abuse crisis, without thinking of those words "corruption" and "decay" all over again. It's hard to read Philip Pulella's article and give much credence to Jesuit Fr. Hans Zollner's claim that Benedict is the "great reformer" in the sordid sexual abuse story of the Catholic church at this point in history.
As Jason Berry reminds us in a recent article in National Catholic Reporter, as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the current pope, Joseph Ratzinger, initially blocked the investigation of John Paul II's close personal friend Father Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, though Ratzinger was surely aware of the thick, credible file of accusations against Maciel by former seminarians whom he sexually abused, and of the allegations about his drug abuse and the children he fathered by several women while he ran the Legion of Christ.
It's true that as Pope Benedict, Ratzinger did finally discipline Maciel--after John Paul had died. But if this faint and post-factum response which never contravened the will of a tyrannical and aging former pope intent on shielding Maciel constitutes being a "great reformer," then I'm no longer sure what the term "reformer" means. Or the term "great," for that matter.
And if Benedict is a great reformer of the sex abuse situation in the Catholic church, why does he apparently fear international prosecution now, as he abdicates the papal throne? What on earth is really going on in those dark miasmatic swamps in Rome, in that hermetically sealed universe where Opus Dei's presence seems to loom larger and larger every day, as the money is tallied and the purse strings fought over by one powerful group after another--or so it appears--while things fall apart all around the heads of those counting the money?
And if I'm wrong about all of these speculations--since I truly am no kind of insider at all--what do the top leaders of the Catholic church who intend to elect the next pope intend to do to retrieve the shattered confidence of so many of us now, confidence that has been shattered due to strong indicators that make us ask the preceding questions about what's going on in the ruling elite of our institution?
Mar 11 14 6:43 AM
Mar 11 14 7:39 AM
Mar 11 14 8:00 AM
Nadezda – I agree Ganswein is too present. This piece uses him as a headline but soon goes off into wider waters. I haven’t seen it before and I am far more concerned about the wider waters than with what it has to say about Ganswein. Those details – about him having begun his training in an SSPX seminary – have been reported here before. We have also noted that the SSPX Superior, Bernard Fellay, revealed that Ganswein was feeding him reassurance about what the Pope really thought throughout the messy negotiations which lasted for years, and which caused a huge problem for Benedict at the outset. It isn't surprising that the writer wonders if there is a connection between the history of the secretary and the rather large amount of time devoted to negotiating with SSPX.
The writer of this piece is a disaffected Catholic in Little Rock, Arkansas. He is described as a theologian. I certainly don’t agree with his opinions on Benedict - I am completely dismayed by them - but you can be sure that many, many people who do not follow Catholic news as we obviously do will share these same distorted perceptions. The piece was written in the period between the resignation and the election of Pope Francis and the news from that time must have made many wonder about the shenanigans going on in the Vatican.<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
I have looked at some later comments by this writer and Francis does not get off lightly either. This person certainly comes from the periphery.
As for Unicorn posting it here – well it is a piece which ought to provoke discussion - not about Ganswein I may add. The writer covers far more than that. The Ganswein reference is just an entry into what he perceives as the issues with a church that has rejected him because he is gay. For him the issues that he saw as being Benedict’s prime concern were not his issues, and sadly he seems to be unconvinced about effective action being taken on child abuse. Although Benedict did more than anyone to counter this, at his resignation there were still people who were either unaware of his actions or who refused to accept them. Then the IOR and corruption was and is a continuing source if discontent. Little Rock is a very long way from Rome. Before the internet most of these issues would never have entered the consciousness of lay people in Italy, never mind in Arkansas, but now everybody has access to information, everybody has a voice and accountability is the name of the game.
The problem with this thread so far Nadezda is that it has no clear theme or direction. Nana and PV have bombarded it with random old copy which has appeared before and vague comments which I find rather incoherent – perhaps I should try harder to decipher what is meant, but I see no logical progression. I still do not know what the purpose of this thread is. The title is too vague and it basically allows people to randomly dump what they like here as if they are kids playing in a sandpit.
What does “personality” and “institution” actually mean? Francis was saying that Benedict should not be tucked away and forgotten but should take a part in the life of the Church. This whole section is about all aspects of Ratzinger from birth to current status, arranged pretty logically for the most part – so what did you want to add with this thread? Perhaps you could clarify the title and make a clear introduction about what you had in mind. I think that would be really useful and may restore some logical discipline to the posts placed here.
Mar 11 14 8:11 AM
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is taking a shape as an institution within the Roman Catholic Chrurch and let us see how Pope Emeritus Benedict puts his own example. He is a personality of an example all the time. There were naturally many thoughts on the theme within this Forum, including presumtions an unanswered questions, and it should be interesting to see after a year has passed what is it all about at the moment
Mar 11 14 11:27 AM
(C) BenodetteHere are perhaps the most significant quotes relating to the beginning of the “institution” of Pope Emeritus. These are the "primary texts" for discussion on the foundation of Pope EmeritusPope Benedict XVI - The Declaration - 11 February 2013Dear Brothers,
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the barque of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.
Pope Benedict XVI - General Audience 13 February 2013As you know, I have decided – thank you for your kindness – to renounce the ministry which the Lord entrusted to me on 19 April 2005. I have done this in full freedom for the good of the Church, after much prayer and having examined my conscience before God, knowing full well the seriousness of this act, but also realizing that I am no longer able to carry out the Petrine ministry with the strength which it demands. I am strengthened and reassured by the certainty that the Church is Christ’s, who will never leave her without his guidance and care. I thank all of you for the love and for the prayers with which you have accompanied me. Thank you; in these days which have not been easy for me, I have felt almost physically the power of prayer – your prayers – which the love of the Church has given me. Continue to pray for me, for the Church and for the future Pope. The Lord will guide us.Pope Benedict XVI to Parish Priests and Clergy of Rome - 14 February 2013Today you have professed the Creed before the tomb of Saint Peter: in the Year of Faith, this seems to me to be a most appropriate act, a necessary one, perhaps, that the clergy of Rome should gather around the tomb of the Apostle to whom the Lord said: "To you I entrust my Church. Upon you I will build my Church" (cf. Mt 16:18-19). Before the Lord, together with Peter, you have professed: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Mt 16:16). Thus the Church grows: together with Peter, professing Christ, following Christ. And we do this always. I am very grateful for your prayers, which I have sensed, as I said on Wednesday – almost palpably. And although I am about to withdraw, I remain close to all of you in prayer, and I am sure that you too will be close to me, even if I am hidden from the world....I myself, secluded in prayer, will always be with you and together let us go forward with the Lord in the certainty that the Lord will conquer. Thank you!Pope Benedict XVI - Angelus 24 February 2013Dear brothers and sisters, I hear this word of God as addressed to me in particular at this moment of my life. Thank you! The Lord is calling me “to scale the mountain”, to devote myself even more to prayer and meditation. But this does not mean abandoning the Church; indeed, if God asks me this it is precisely so that I may continue to serve her with the same dedication and the same love with which I have tried to do so until now, but in a way more suited to my age and strength.Pope Benedict XVI - Final General Audience 27 February 2013When on 19 April nearly eight years ago I accepted the Petrine ministry, I had the firm certainty that has always accompanied me: this certainty of the life of the Church which comes from the word of God. At that moment, as I have often said, the words which echoed in my heart were: Lord, why are you asking this of me, and what is it that you are asking of me? It is a heavy burden which you are laying on my shoulders, but if you ask it of me, at your word I will cast the net, sure that you will lead me even with all my weaknesses. And eight years later I can say that the Lord has truly led me, he has been close to me, I have been able to perceive his presence daily. It has been a portion of the Church’s journey which has had its moments of joy and light, but also moments which were not easy; I have felt like Saint Peter with the Apostles in the boat on the Sea of Galilee: the Lord has given us so many days of sun and of light winds, days when the catch was abundant; there were also moments when the waters were rough and the winds against us, as throughout the Church’s history, and the Lord seemed to be sleeping. But I have always known that the Lord is in that boat, and I have always known that the barque of the Church is not mine but his. Nor does the Lord let it sink; it is he who guides it, surely also through those whom he has chosen, because he so wished. This has been, and is, a certainty which nothing can shake. For this reason my heart todays overflows with gratitude to God, for he has never let his Church, or me personally, lack his consolation, his light, his love......In these last months I have felt my energies declining, and I have asked God insistently in prayer to grant me his light and to help me make the right decision, not for my own good, but for the good of the Church. I have taken this step with full awareness of its gravity and even its novelty, but with profound interior serenity. Loving the Church means also having the courage to make difficult, painful decisions, always looking to the good of the Church and not of oneself. Here, allow me to go back once again to 19 April 2005. The real gravity of the decision was also due to the fact that from that moment on I was engaged always and forever by the Lord. Always – anyone who accepts the Petrine ministry no longer has any privacy. He belongs always and completely to everyone, to the whole Church. In a manner of speaking, the private dimension of his life is completely eliminated. I was able to experience, and I experience it even now, that one receives one’s life precisely when one gives it away. Earlier I said that many people who love the Lord also love the Successor of Saint Peter and feel great affection for him; that the Pope truly has brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, throughout the world, and that he feels secure in the embrace of your communion; because he no longer belongs to himself, he belongs to all and all belong to him.The "always" is also a "for ever" – there can no longer be a return to the private sphere. My decision to resign the active exercise of the ministry does not revoke this. I do not return to private life, to a life of travel, meetings, receptions, conferences, and so on. I am not abandoning the cross, but remaining in a new way at the side of the crucified Lord. 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.I also thank each and every one of you for the respect and understanding with which you have accepted this important decision. I will continue to accompany the Church’s journey with prayer and reflection, with that devotion to the Lord and his Bride which I have hitherto sought to practise daily and which I would like to practise always. I ask you to remember me in prayer before God, and above all to pray for the Cardinals, who are called to so weighty a task, and for the new Successor of the Apostle Peter: may the Lord accompany him with the light and strength of his Spirit.Pope Benedict XVI - Farewell address to the Cardinals - 28 February 2013Before I say goodbye to each one of you personally, I would like to tell you that I shall continue to be close to you with my prayers, especially in these coming days, that you may be completely docile to the action of the Holy Spirit in the election of the new pope. May the Lord show you the one whom he wants. And among you, in the College of Cardinals, there is also the future pope to whom today I promise my unconditional reverence and obedience. For this reason, with affection and gratitude, I cordially impart to you the Apostolic Blessing.Pope Benedict XVI - Farewell at Castel GandolfoThank you. Thank you all.Dear Friends,
I am happy to be with you, surrounded by the beauty of Creation and your kindness, which does me so much good. Thank you for your friendship and your affection. You know that this day is different for me from the preceding ones. I am no longer the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church, or I will be until 8:00 this evening and then no longer. I am simply a pilgrim beginning the last leg of his pilgrimage on this earth. But I would still, thank you, I would still—with my heart, with my love, with my prayers, with my reflection, and with all my inner strength—like to work for the common good and the good of the Church and of humanity. I feel greatly supported by your kindness. Let us go forward with the Lord for the good of the Church and the world. Thank you. I now wholeheartedly impart my blessing.
Pope Francis - First Greeting on the Loggia - 13 March 2013You know that it was the duty of the Conclave to give Rome a Bishop. It seems that my brother Cardinals have gone to the ends of the earth to get one... but here we are... I thank you for your welcome. The diocesan community of Rome now has its Bishop. Thank you! And first of all, I would like to offer a prayer for our Bishop Emeritus, Benedict XVI. Let us pray together for him, that the Lord may bless him and that Our Lady may keep him. And now, we take up this journey: Bishop and People. This journey of the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the Churches. A journey of fraternity, of love, of trust among us.Pope Francis - Press Conference on the aircraft returning from WYD in Rio - 28 July 2013Pablo Ordas:
We would like to know about your working relationship, not just your relationship of friendship but that of collaboration, with Benedict XVI. There has never been a situation like this before, and whether you are frequently in contact and if he is helping you in this work. Many thanks.
I think that the last time that there were two Popes, or three Popes, they weren’t speaking to one another; they were fighting to see which was the true Pope. We ended up with three Popes during the Western Schism.There is one thing that describes my relationship with Benedict: I have such great affection for him. I have always loved him. For me he is a man of God, a humble man, a man of prayer. I was so happy when he was elected Pope. Also, when he resigned, for me it was an example of greatness. A great man. Only a great man does this! A man of God and a man of prayer. Now he is living in the Vatican, and there are those who tell me: “How can this be? Two Popes in the Vatican! Doesn’t he get in your way? Isn’t he plotting against you?” All these sorts of things, no? I have found a good answer for this: “It’s like having your grandfather in the house”, a wise grandfather. When families have a grandfather at home, he is venerated, he is loved, he is listened to. Pope Benedict is a man of great prudence. He doesn’t interfere! I have often told him so: “Holiness, receive guests, lead your own life, come along with us”. He did come for the unveiling and blessing of the statue of Saint Michael. So, that phrase says it all. For me it’s like having a grandfather at home: my own father. If I have a difficulty, or something I don’t understand, I can call him on the phone: “Tell me, can I do this?” When I went to talk with him about that big problem, Vatileaks, he told me everything with great simplicity … to be helpful. There is something I don’t know whether you are aware of – I believe you are, but I’m not certain – when he spoke to us in his farewell address, on 28 February, he said: “In your midst is the next Pope: I promise him obedience”. He is a great man; this is a great man!Pope Francis in an interview with Corriere della Serra - 5 March 2014
In regard to your relations with your predecessor, Benedict XVI, have you ever asked him for advice?
Holy Father: 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. We don’t know that. He is discreet, humble, he doesn’t want to bother. We spoke about it and together we came to the conclusion that it would be better if he saw people, that he come out and participate in the life of the Church. Once he came here on the occasion of the blessing of the statue of Saint Michael the Archangel, then for a lunch in Saint Martha’s and, after Christmas, I returned the invitation to participate in the Consistory and he accepted. His wisdom is a gift of God. Some would have liked him to retire to a Benedictine Abbey far from the Vatican. And then I thought of grandparents, who with their wisdom and advice give strength to the family and do not deserve to end in a retirement home.
Mar 11 14 11:50 AM
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Mar 11 14 3:32 PM
Nana wrote:Well, Nad thanks for the clarification of the proverb. It is very funny indeed!
Now I have a question for you. Then this thread was created to discuss the Papacy of the Roman Catholic Church because Pope Benedict resigned?
Pope Francis can described himself as he wants. He is entitle to do so. But how does it relates to Pope Benedict?
Mar 11 14 3:48 PM
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Mar 11 14 7:39 PM
I do not see any theologian here in this forum. But we must not forget about members who know very well the Doctrine. Among them are Rc and Pax.
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