PopeWatch: Pope Emeritus
John Allen, from his new perch as a Boston Globe columnist, notes recent actions taken in support of Pope Francis by the Pope Emeritus:
First, his closest aide and confidante, German Archbishop Georg Gänswein, gave an interview to the Reuters news agency on Feb. 9 in which he insisted there’s “a good feeling” between Francis and Benedict, and that the two men see one another often.
Second, Benedict XVI made a surprise appearance at a Feb. 22 consistory ceremony in which Francis elevated 19 new cardinals into the church’s most exclusive club, sitting in the front row and beaming during the event.
When Francis made his way over to wrap Benedict in a hug, the pope emeritus removed his white zucchetto, a skullcap that’s one of the symbols of the papal office — a small gesture that told insiders he was acknowledging Francis as the new boss.
Third, Benedict responded in writing to questions by veteran Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli concerning speculation that he’d been pressured to step down and therefore his resignation was invalid under church law. Following that reasoning to its logical conclusion, it would suggest that Francis isn’t really the pope.
Benedict dismissed the hypothesis as “simply absurd.”
“I took this step in full awareness of its gravity and novelty but with profound serenity of spirit,” Benedict wrote in comments published Feb. 26. “Loving the church also means having the courage to make difficult, painful choices, always keeping the good of the church in mind and not ourselves.”
Fourth, Gänswein, who still acts as Benedict’s private secretary and who lives with the former pope in a monastery on Vatican grounds, gave another interview to the Washington Post in which he said the two pontiffs didn’t know one another well at the beginning but are becoming steadily closer.
Go here to read the rest. Now, just imagine if the Pope Emeritus were right now airing differences he had with Pope Francis and imagine the chaos within the Church that would result. That possibility, along with many other reasons, is why PopeWatch believes the retirement of a Pope is a very bad idea and hopes that Pope Benedict’s retirement will not be something his successors emulate.