Benedict XVI Defends His Decision to Resign

Source: FSSPX News

On September 20, 2018, the German newspaper Bild published a letter from 2017 in which the pope emeritus wrote a strong reaction to Cardinal Brandmüller’s remarks.

The cardinal criticized Joseph Ratzinger’s resignation from his charge as Successor of Peter and the fact that he had created a new position, that of “pope emeritus”.  

According to Bild, a cardinal – whose name is not revealed – claimed that the resignation in 2013 had stirred up a hornets’ nest, causing the major crisis the Church is going through.

The pope emeritus answered, defending his decision to resign: “I can very well understand the deep-seated pain that the end of my papacy has inflicted on you and many others,” admitted Benedict XVI. “However, for some people and – it seems to me – also for you, the pain has turned into an anger that no longer merely concerns my resignation, but increasingly also my person and my papacy as a whole,” he went on to lament.

As for the novelty of the position of “pope emeritus” in the history of the Church, Benedict XVI answered that it would have made no sense to become a cardinal again:

I then would have constantly been exposed to the public in the way a Cardinal is – indeed, even more so, because in that Cardinal one would have seen the former Pope. This could have led, intentionally or unintentionally, to difficult consequences, particularly in the context of the present situation. With the Pope Emeritus I tried to create a situation in which I was absolutely inaccessible to the mass media and in which it was fully clear that there is only one Pope.

And he concluded: “If you know of a better way and thus believe that you may condemn the one I have chosen, please tell me about it”.

On September 21, La Stampa Vaticanist Andrea Tornielli revealed that Benedict XVI’s correspondent was Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, one of the four authors of the Dubia on Amoris Laetitia, and that the cardinal apologized to the pope emeritus, who sent him a second letter in which he spoke of “sadness about the situation of the Church today”, which some have interpreted as a criticism of the current pontificate.

Andrea Tornielli – unofficial spokesman for the Domus Sanctae Marthae where Benedict XVI resides but also a journalist well-versed in the art of creating controversy – sees the publication of this exchange a year later as a way of “instrumentalizing” Benedict XVI against Francis. He claims:

At the center is the ecclesiastical-media network, with fringes in the Vatican, protagonist of the daily attacks against Pope Francis. Exactly. It would thus be a glimpse of the atmosphere of general distrust currently hanging over the Vatican…