Vatican. Francis on the reasons for Benedict XVI's resignation. “A question has arisen”

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On Monday, the Italian daily La Repubblica published a fragment of the book “Il successore. I miei ricordi di Benedetto XVI” (The Successor. My memories of Benedict XVI). It is the result of three conversations between Argentine popeem and the author, which took place between July 2023 and January 2024.

Vatican. Francis on the reasons for Benedict XVI's resignation. “A question has arisen”

Francis refers to a conversation with his predecessor. – We were talking one day and this question came up. He felt that his strength was failing him, and this was a problem because in July 2013 he was supposed to go to Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day. His resignation was a gesture of sincerity. He was not attached to power at all, confessed Francis. – Benedict resigned because of his honesty – added.

The conversation included many difficult questions. Francis referred to the possibility of the pope resigning from office in the future. The Holy Father emphasized that in his opinion “it depends on personality.”

– Now this door is open. This is an option that has always existed, but Benedict made it more specific, he pointed out. – Some people ask me if I'm going to resign too. This is a real possibility, but for now I do not feel the need for it, the Pope emphasized.

Pope Francis on his meeting with Benedict XVI

Francis also mentioned the first meeting with Benedict XVI after his election to the highest position in the Catholic Church. It happened in Castelgandolfo.

Francis' predecessor was supposed to sit on a table with a large box and a briefcase on it. The German priest was to present the files of the investigation conducted by several cardinals regarding the so-called Vatileaks, i.e. the scandal related to the “leak” to the media of secret documents from Benedict XVI's inner circle, which occurred in 2012 Vatican.

– There was a real clique involved in the case. There were those who maneuvered, those who cheated… Among the victims was also the then Cardinal Pietro Parolin, they wanted to prevent his nomination as secretary of state, Francis said.

Francis on the relationship with Benedict XVI's secretary

He also referred to his relationship with Benedict XVI's personal secretary, Archbishop Georgiem Gänsweinem. In an interview with Javier Martínez-Brocal, Francis admitted that Gänswein “sometimes made his work as secretary difficult.”

The Pope admitted that he had decided to “immediately dissolve the papal secretariat.” He added that his two secretaries also cooperate with other dicasteries and help him part-time. Francis stressed that “having an all-powerful secretary is not a good thing.” – Being a secretary is very difficult. A good secretary helps without leaving a trace – explained the Holy Father.

Abdication of Benedict XVI

Benedict XVI he was the first pope since the 13th century to voluntarily resign from his position. His pontificate lasted until February 28, 2013, at 20. It was the first voluntary abdication of the Holy Father since 1294. Benedict XVI died on December 31, 2022, at the age of 95. He lived in isolation as a retired pope for 9 years. He cited advanced age, deteriorating health and fatigue as the reasons for his 2013 decision. At the time of his abdication he was 85 years old.

Source: “La Repubblica”, KAI, Vatican News

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