The day before his 92nd birthday, Benedict XVI received the traditional visit by the sovereign pontiff to the Mater Ecclesiae monastery. A week earlier, the former pontiff signed a noteworthy article on the issue of the abuse of minors in the Church.
Pope Francis “went to the Mater Ecclesiae monastery to express his good wishes of the Easter season to Benedict XVI,” stated the ad interim director of the Holy See’s Press Office, on April 15, 2019. Alessandro Gisotti added that this meeting gave the Holy Father the opportunity to “offer his birthday wishes, with special affection, to the Pope Emeritus who will be 92 years old tomorrow.”
This courtesy visit, which the Argentine pope has been doing since the beginning of his pontificate, occurs in a particular context, that of reactions, often lively, to the pope emeritus’ publication of a document on the abuses in the Church, their causes, and their management, which SSPX.News has reported in detail.
Highly criticized by the progressive press in Germany and the United States, Joseph Ratzinger's analysis focuses on the moral causes of the crisis, without reference to the “clericalism” denounced regularly by Pope Francis.
Hence to bring the two men into conflict, there was only one step that many thought had to be taken, even though Benedict XVI had taken care to specify that he published his work with the agreement of the pope and the secretary of the state of the Holy See. Especially since, if he notes the rupture in the law, the Magisterium, the formation of priests, the liturgy, or moral theology for more than 50 years, the former pope is careful not to implicate the Second Vatican Council and its reforms in the explanation of the revolution happening in the Church.