The other day, we got another glimpse into the mind of Pope Benedict. The comments attributed to him were read out by Abp. Ganswein at Cardinal Meisner’s Requiem, and the underlying message reinforces perfectly the “logic” behind Benedict’s failed partial abdication of the papacy.
Remember, Pope Benedict’s SUBSTANTIAL ERROR is the idea of a papal diarchy, with one “active” member controlling the worldly affairs of the ecclesiastical office (munus), and one “contemplative” member with an essentially spiritual role dedicated to prayer and suffering. Remember those words, “essentially spiritual role, prayer and suffering” – that was the actual phrasing he used in the Declaratio. We’ll come back to this later.
Also remember that it is absurd to think a mere man should or could alter the intrinsic nature of the divinely instituted Petrine Ministry out of, irony of ironies, some kind of Supplied Jurisdiction. We’ve covered this over and over again. Benedict did not, in reality, bifurcate the papacy. He only thinks he did, and thus in accordance with Canon 188 Benedict remains the only true living pope, his attempted abdication rendered invalid by means of substantial error.
Whatever his reasons for doing so, Benedict sought to maintain some level of control within the Petrine Ministry, not only by (falsely) expanding it, but also by giving himself the greater portion of the ministry, by “delegating” the temporal governance role to his successor while retaining the supernatural, contemplative, spiritual warfare role for himself.
Is there anything else that more accurately explains the observable evidence? What about the confidence, the serenity…the man seems truly at peace. Like he thinks he’s winning.
So now let’s have a look at what +Ganswein read out, supposedly from Benedict’s hand, supposedly regarding the mentality of Cardinal Meisner, in his final days:
“We know that this passionate shepherd and pastor found it difficult to leave his post, especially at a time in which the Church stands in need of convincing shepherds who can resist the dictatorship of the spirit of the age…However…he learned to let go and to live out of a deep conviction that the Lord does not abandon His Church, even when the boat has taken on so much water as to be on the verge of capsizing.”
Talk about patting yourself on the back.
Everyone is taking this as an attack specifically on Francis. You have to stop looking at Francis as the disease instead of merely a symptom of a long-term illness. To stay with the analogy, the boat was already in danger of shipwreck long before Francis, but the damage was below the waterline. Now that the waves are crashing over the bow, it’s just more visible to everyone.
Aside: There actually was a part of the address that specifically mentioned the Eucharist, Confession, Adoration, etc, and that’s the part where he seemed to be drawing distinctions regarding Francis Doctrine. That will be the topic of another post.
Pope Benedict knows exactly how bad – how systemic – the problem really is. He probably even realizes he himself is part of the problem, but at this point it’s too late for him to do anything about it, at least in the mortal realm. Imagine what a horrific moment of clarity that must have been. Maybe that would explain why he attempted to give up the governing office of the papacy, so that he could concentrate all of his strength toward a supernatural solution. He likely knows there is no earthly solution at this point, that if there is any solution at all short of the apocalypse, it will have to be supernatural in nature. And when we need a supernatural remedy, what are our most effective tools?
Prayer, fasting, offering suffering in reparation… an “ESSENTIALLY SPIRITUAL ROLE”.
Benedict chose to deploy this strategy, thinking it was the best way forward, even while knowing the identity of his likely (invalid) successor. Oh yes, Benedict was fully in attendance at the 2005 conclave which elected him, and he most assuredly knew full well who came in second. And since the forces behind Bergoglio only strengthened and multiplied during the Benedictine pontificate, it would have been no surprise to him when Francis was (invalidly) elected. Pressing this line further, it’s conceivable that knowledge of the inevitability of the Francis or someone like him may have not only hastened but also shaped Benedict’s attempted abdication, not the other way around. Think about it. This is why his decision looks like a strategy.
Because it IS a strategy, in the mind of Benedict, in SUBSTANTIAL ERROR, still reigning, in the thirteenth year of his pontificate.
12 thoughts on “Reading Benedict through Meisner through Ganswein”
Yes. It was a strategy. And one which was Providentially inspired… if not executed.
Just thinking out loud here… is it possible that Benedict attempted to bifurcate the Petrine Ministry for another reason? Instead of attempting to retain some control over the situation, what if he knew going in that attempting to bifurcate the papacy was a non-starter? And yet, he did it anyway. Is it possible that he knew who was to follow him? Of course, given what happened in 2005. Perhaps he feared this man and chose to be wise as a serpent by making everyone think he was resigning when, in fact, he was preventing his “successor” from actually becoming Peter. I’m not saying it’s true. Just thinking out loud.
Your theory suggests that Benedict would have used the invalid abdication as a weapon if his “successor” turned out to be as bad as he feared. If that’s true, when is he going to pull the rip cord? Has the heresy just not bad enough yet? Nor does it explain his apparent serenity.
Pope Benedict’s eulogy on Card. Meisner sounds like the old Benedict – manly, wise, and tender without being sappy.
Compare that to what he told Pope Francis last year on his 65th priesthood anniversary, which should have come with a barf alert:
“Thank you Holy Father. Thank you for your kindness, that from the moment of your election in every moment of my life here reaches me. I feel it profoundly… Really more than in the Vatican Gardens with its beauty, your goodness is the place where I live and where I feel protected.”
One wonders: Francis’s “goodness” Is the place where Benedict lives? And where he feels “protected.” Protected from what?
The fact that we are reduced to having to second guess the motivations of the men leading our church tells it’s own tale.
The abdication of Pope Benedict in itself should have sounded the clarion for all Catholics. The fact that it didn’t sound the clarion points to a Church which was already capsizing. Popes die in office. It is proposterous
that any member of the clergy would try to put forward the explanation that Gaenswein gave about there being a shared Petrine ministry. St.Peter didn’t share the Petrine ministry with St.Paul or with Our Lady – so for Gaenswein or anyone else to try to sell this notion is an insult to our intelligence.
The current situation is actually intolerable. For Jesus legacy to humanity to be treated this way, beggars belief. Francis and Benedict are equally culpable.
Benedict WROTE that he would “resign in such a way that the See will be vacant.”
“The See is vacant” is synonymous with “there is no Pope.”
All of Benedict’s talk about his “role” after the See became vacant is about his personal mode of living as a man who used to be Pope–not a man who continues to be 50% Pope. He never said anything that indicates that he thought he was re-designing the papacy.
Yes. He wears white. He’s called “Pope” and “Your holiness.” Big mistakes. But those things are not in the letter of resignation–and they didn’t occur until AFTER the See became vacant. And time runs in one direction only.
Absolutely nothing of Benedict’s thoughts–sound or erroneous–about what he was going to wear, or where he was going to live, or what he thought his “ministry” in the Church was going to be, was written in the letter of resignation. And all that matters is what words were put in that letter.
Benedict resigned in such a way that “the See will be vacant.” That is, in such a way that there was no Pope.
The worst that can be said is that Benedict perhaps had some unsound ideas rattling around in his head when he resigned. He might have thought the earth is flat, and that the earth is warming. Those would be “substantial errors”–but not about the fact that he was resigning, vacating the papacy, leaving the See vacant. A RELEVANT “substantial error” would be one that resulted in his not knowing he was Pope, or that he wanted to resign, or that the letter was a letter of resignation.
It is understandable that people are desperate for evidence that Bergoglio is not Pope. Such evidence may exist. I would look first at the machinations of the mafia that put him in office. But the “defective resignation” theory is nonsense. The “substantial errors” endlessly recited are not errors ABOUT THE RESIGNATION, and thus cannot affect its validity.
“In such a way that” is quite an interesting phrase, isn’t it? Have you read the Latin? You do know he wrote and spoke the Declaratio in Latin, right? If you read the whole thing, there is solid evidence of Substantial Error. Stop asking yourself “why didn’t he just come right out and state his intentions instead of hinting.” Whatever the circumstances of his failed resignation, he had to make it convincing. He had to make sure the conclave was convened and executed. Thus, he necessarily needed to mask his intentions. Nevertheless, he did leave evidence even in the Declaratio itself, which is the topic of a future post.
So what could he have told Cdl. Meisner that would convince him “to let go and to live out of a deep conviction that the Lord does not abandon His Church”? Did he share his strategy with Meisner, if it is a strategy? And what is his strategy? To outlive Bergoglio so a future council can declare Bergo an anti-pope, and therefore anything Bergo did/said/wrote/taught is non-binding? What if Bergo’s successor is even worse?
With regard to those truths connected to revelation by historical necessity and which are to be held definitively, but are not able to be declared as divinely revealed, the following examples can be given: the legitimacy of the election of the Supreme Pontiff ….
Care to refute any of the evidence? Tossing toys out of the pram isn’t a rebuttal. According to the “hold definitively” directive, what would be our obligation if there were multiple two?, three?four? bishops in white walking around? You do realize this happened before.