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Pope’s Personal Secretary: Popes Benedict XVI & Francis Form an ‘expanded’ Papal Office

By Eowyn @DrEowyn

Calling this confusing is an understatement.

In a recent speech, the personal secretary of Pope Benedict XXVI, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, said that Benedict and his successor, Pope Francis, are not two popes “in competition” with one another, but represent one “expanded” Petrine Office with “an active member” and a “contemplative member.”

Pope Benedict XVI’s real name is Joseph Ratzinger; Pope Francis’ is Jorge Bergoglio.

In Latin, Petrine Office is munus petrinum. The word “Petrine” is defined by Oxford Dictionaries as:

  • Relating to St. Peter, the first pope who was appointed by Christ, or his writings or teachings
  • Relating to the authority of the Pope over the Church, in his role as the successor of St. Peter

In other words, “Petrine” means papal, which means that according to Archbishop Gänswein, although Benedict had resigned in 2013, he and Francis still form an “expanded” papal ministry, whatever that means.

Archbishop Georg Ganswein
Edward Pentin reports for the RCRegister that on May 20, 2016, speaking at the presentation of a new book on Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Archbishop Georg Gänswein said that 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.

The new book, Oltre la crisi della Chiesa. Il pontificato di Benedetto XVI (Beyond the Crisis of the Church, The Pontificate of Benedict XVI), is by Roberto Regoli.

Archbishop Gänswein, the personal secretary of the Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and prefect of the Pontifical Household, said: “Therefore, from 11 February 2013, the papal ministry is not the same as before. 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.”

Archbishop Gänswein also confirmed the existence of a group who fought against Benedict’s election in 2005, but stressed that that had “little or nothing” to do with Benedict’s resignation in 2013.

Gänswein said the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to be Pope “was certainly the outcome of a battle,” referring to Regoli’s account of “a dramatic struggle” that took place in the 2005 Papal Conclave between a pro-Ratzinger group called the Salt of the Earth Party comprised of Cardinals Lopez Trujillo, Ruini, Herranz, Ruoco Varela or Medin, and a liberal pro-Bergoglio group called the 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”.

Cardinal Danneels 2015-09-26
Godfried Danneels is a pro-homosexual Belgian cardinal and former archbishop of Brussels who calls same-sex marriage a “positive development“– which means he approves of homosexuality and homosexual sex that both the Bible and the Catholic Church’s Catechism abjure. Danneels   calls on the Catholic Church to recognize a “sort of marriage” for homosexuals. Despite his heretical advocacy for homosexuality and his cover-up in 2010 of a sex-abuse case involving a fellow bishop — Danneels’ uncle, Roger Vangheluwe, Bishop of Bruges — Pope Francis gave Danneels a place of honor at the all-important Synod on the Family last October.

In an interview with the RCRegister last November and EWTN Germany, German journalist Paul Badde confirmed the existence of the St. Gallen faction, and named German Cardinals Kasper and Lehmann as members.

But Archbishop Gänswein insists that Benedict resigned because it was “fitting” and “reasonable” — Benedict “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.”

Others, however, say Benedict had been pressured to resign. 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.”

Despite his resignation, Pope Benedict XVI continues to view his task as “participation in . . . a ‘Petrine ministry’.” Gänswein said: “He left the Papal Throne and yet, with the step he took on 11 February 2013, he has not abandoned this ministry” — something “quite impossible after his irrevocable acceptance of the office in April 2005.“ Instead, Benedict “has built a personal office with a collegial and synodal dimension, almost a communal ministry” as  “cooperatores veritatis”, which means ‘co-workers of the truth’.”

This is why Benedict XVI has not given up his Benedict name — unlike Pope Celestine V who reverted to his name Pietro da Marrone — or the papal white cassock. Nor has Benedict “retired to a monastery in isolation but stays within the Vatican — 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,” enriching the papacy with “his prayer and his compassion placed in the Vatican Gardens.”

Archbishop Gänswein’s extraordinary but cryptic remarks have led to speculations of a rift with Pope Francis, as well as the From Rome blog asking if the two rival factions had made a pact during the Conclave of 2005 that elected Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI, in which Bergoglio and his “St. Gallen group” consented to Ratzinger’s election on the condition that after a fixed number of years, Pope Benedict XVI would resign, and Bergoglio would then be elected Pope at the next conclave.

See also “The Illegitimate Pope: Election of Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis was contaminated by lobbying in violation of papal laws”.

~Eowyn


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