Pope Benedict: No, No, NO Regrets!

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI “never became so human” as he does in a new book interview he has given the German journalist Peter Seewald, a work which achieves a “final deconstruction” of how both friends and foes have seen him in the past.

This is according to Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, Benedict’s personal secretary, in a Sept. 12 address at a launch of the book in Munich.

Entitled Benedict XVI — Last Testament, the 200 or so pages of conversations were published in various languages last Friday and will be published in English in November. Seewald has previously interviewed Benedict for Salt of the Earth, God and the World, and Light of the World.

Archbishop Gaenswein, who is also prefect of the Pontifical Household, drew particular attention to two key passages relating to Benedict’s resignation which he described as especially “illuminating” and “new knowledge.”

The book, as Archbishop Gaenswein pointed out, tackles three key areas: “the roots of the reasons and motives” and the “exact circumstances of Benedict’s puzzling resignation”; his relationship with Pope Francis; and the German Pope’s “personal point of view” on the different “crises and ‘scandals’ of his papacy.”

Regarding his resignation, Gaenswein states that the Pope Emeritus reiterates that “it was not an escape” and insists that “nobody” was demanding his resignation. “It was clear to me that I had to do it and that this was the right moment,” Benedict says in the book. “It was a complete surprise for everyone.”

Benedict says he “knew: I can’t do it anymore” and saw that the time had come to “disengage from the large crowds of people and adjourn into this greater intimacy.” It was “not an inner flight from the demand of the faith, which leads the people to the cross,” he explains in the book. “The step is not a flight but another way to remain faithful to my ministry.”

Asked if he ever regretted resigning, he replies: “No. No, no. I see that it was right every day” and that everything went even better than he had planned. For this reason, he said he couldn’t see himself as a failure. As to theories that some wanted him out and manoeuvred him to resign, the Pope emeritus replies curtly, “total nonsense!” Click here to read entire article

Comment:

Apart from wishing that someone would explain how a pontiff who “resigns” from his office is not flying from the duty of that office, but simply finding “another way to remain faithful” to that office, my reaction to the above report was to ask…

Surprised, anyone?  

Only those who mistakenly believe that Pope Benedict was a “hard-liner” and a “traditionalist” could possibly be surprised. Catholic Truth readers and bloggers have long known that Pope Benedict is a modernist, albeit a modernist with a tad more of the dignified demeanour befitting the papal office than we’ve witnessed to date in his successor. 

So that’s the question for us to ponder in this thread. Given Pope Benedict’s reported remarks about his willing “resignation”/abdication and his praise for Pope Francis, is there anyone in the house who is actually surprised to read the above extracts from this latest book? 

33 responses

  1. You would think that Ratzinger would want to find an honest, dignified and honorable way to leave a “last testament” – instead of this disgraceful, transparent and fraudulent attempt to whitewash and cover up being forced out of office, and in the process trying (and failing) to convince everyone that he is perfectly delighted with the Francis pontificate. What pathetic rubbish. And this liar is the same man who wanted to regularize the SSPX? Who does he think he’s fooling? And why is he trying to protect Bergoglio?

    Christopher Ferrara was right: “We’ve Been Had.” Ratzinger not only fled from the wolves, he is now trying to pretend that they are wonderful shepherds.

    • RCA Victor,

      I think we must take Pope Benedict at his word. We always knew him to be a modernist, albeit his attempts to put right the injustice to the SSPX by lifting the excommunications and restoring the Mass. Nevertheless, everything he has said and done since the election of Papa Francis is consistent with what he is saying in his latest book interview.

      • Editor,

        True, but I wonder if this stream of nonsense (I like John Vennari’s editorial comment when he posted the link to the NC Register article: “Good grief!”) has more to do with character weakness than with being a Modernist.

        I can’t help but think that this is his poorly disguised attempt to paper over some sort of unity in the Church, or at least avoid schism – but unfortunately for him it fails miserably, because in many respects, despite the common thread of Modernism, the current Pontificate is the very antithesis, the diametric opposite of his. And surely he is aware of this.

        I also am feeling quite resentful of being played for a fool and a simpleton, if I am expected to accept this fake enthusiasm. I am trying my hardest to be a fool for Christ, Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Emeritus Benedict, or whatever you are, but I don’t believe I’m required to be a fool for YOU!

        This sorry episode gives a whole new dimension to “The Great Facade.”

        • RCA Victor,

          I think it’s probably a mixture of modernism and weakness of character but the fact is, nobody could possibly pretend to think the way he tells us he thinks, unless he really believes it, surely. After all, I doubt if anyone has put a gun to his head or otherwise pressurised him to give the latest Seeward interview.

          Nope, I think we have all credited him too much with being orthodox, including myself, even though we recognised him as a “liberal”/ modernist at root.

          I’m taking him at his word. I think the people who have been “had” are those to believed him to have left his liberal days behind, and to be traditional leaning. There may have been some of that, but overall, I believe, he approves of Papa Francis and he’s just answering the questions posed by the author, honestly.

          • Editor,

            If he really means what he says, which is certainly possible, then in my opinion he has accomplished two things: (1) He has made a fool of himself, and (2) He has completely undermined what little legacy he left us – i.e. Summorum.

            However, I never thought he left his liberal days behind, so my disgust is not based on being fooled by his track record. It is based on my sense that everything he’s said since he left office, about why left office and what he thinks about Francis, reeks of baloney (the blatant inconsistencies of his remarks have been well-analyzed by others, both within and outside the traditionalist movement), and is an ongoing cover-up, to try to reassure the faithful that there’s “nothing to see here.” To me this is about as believable as Hillary Clinton claiming she didn’t know her emails were classified.

            (Another reason I don’t buy any of his rhapsodizing about Francis is that he apparently made extensive notes about the draft of AL during the Phony Synod, in an attempt to correct all the errors therein. So he know full well what sort of damage Francis is doing to the Church.)

            At any rate, Bp. Fellay was right not to trust him in the end. And I apologize if my disgust has been too overt – I hope I’ve not scandalized my fellow bloggers, but I’ve really had enough of the pack of lies.

            • RCA Victor,

              Has Bishop Fellay rejected the prelature then? I’ve not seen that yet.

              Yes, I recall the reports about Benedict making notes about AL, and I’d be surprised if he wasn’t concerned about that and even about the other shockers to fall from the lips of Papa Francis but, somehow, these contradictions just underline, in my humbug opinion, his underlying modernism, as described and lamented in Pascendi – one minute orthodox-speak, the next, the very opposite.

              Having said all that, one has to take the following into consideration: I could, when all is said and done, be wrong 😀

              • Editor,

                Yeah, you might be wrong some day, but I could be wrong about that…some day… 🙂

                Here’s another thought: I just noticed Benedict used the word “Joy” in one of his interviews in this book, as in “a new joy” in the Church. Hmmm, could he be making a wry reference to “The Joy of Love”? Very wry…..

                I hypothesize the following explanations for this sentimental drivel that he keeps coming out with since he resigned:

                1. As I’ve already said, Benedict is trying to reassure the faithful that there’s nothing to worry about.
                2. Again, he’s trying to avoid schism.
                3. He’s losing his mental acuity.
                4. He’s had a stroke we don’t know about, and is effectively out of touch with reality.
                5. He’s being threatened to make everything sound normal – like a kidnapper would threaten his victim when he gets an unexpected phone call and tells the victim not to let on that he’s got a gun to his head (and I haven’t even been watching Columbo re-runs!!).

                BTW, I notice there’s not much activity on this thread. Are all the bloggers keeping their powder dry, or just out pubbing and clubbing?

                PS: No, Bp. Fellay hasn’t rejected the Prelature. I meant that I thought he stopped trusting Benedict after B. pulled the old switch-and-bait on him (“Yes, you must accept VII after all.”)

                • RCA Victor,

                  You left off your list “maybe this is what he really believes!” LOL!

                  Benedict probably disagrees with Francis on things like marriage and homosexuality but we can’t be sure because of his “condoms for prostitutes” comment in the last book length interview. He’s not one hundred percent sound, so we can’t really be sure what he thinks about Francis.

                  • Michaela,

                    If Benedict really approves of what Francis is doing, wouldn’t that imply that he really wanted to do the same things during his own pontificate, but couldn’t? And yet, most everything he did during his pontificate, with the notable exception of the ongoing ecumania, tended in the very opposite direction of Francis: trying to restore solemnity to the liturgy, appointing orthodox bishops, encouraging the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate…

                    Yes, he is and always has been a Modernist, but he’s never before descended to the level of sentimental drivel that has been his stock-in-trade since he left office.

                    • RCA Victor,

                      Very good points. However, I read somewhere that his surprising “devotion” to restoring the Traditional Mass and lifting the SSPX excommunications, sprang from a certain guilt in the role he had played in the poor treatment of the Society. Remember, both SP and the excommunications were as a result of the conditions laid down by Bp Fellay, for entering or continuing with the talks. So, it’s not that he was necessarily enthusiastic about either.

                      You final paragraph is one of those nails on head gems. I agree with you on that.

        • RCA Victor,

          I think you may have hit the nail on the head when you say maybe Benedict thinks he’ll help avoid schism by making it look like he is of one mind and heart with Francis. To me, that is the only explanation possible, unless Benedict really was double-speaking when he was Pope.

    • Why is he doing that, is what I can’t work out. Why is he trying to pretend that the “wolves” are “wonderful shepherds”. I can’t see that answered, unless my own guess if right, that he would lose his comfortable home in the Vatican with the nuns looking after his domestic issues, and have to find another place to live. Otherwise, why lie?

    • Olaf

      Exactly. There is no reason to have Pope Benedict pretend to support Pope Francis. Benedict said he intended to live quietly, in the background, and even (I’m told) pledged unconditional obedience to his successor (which is ridiculous. Nobody should pledge unconditional obedience to anyone.)

      Hence, I’m afraid, I think we need to accept the fact that what Pope Benedict says in this latest book, Pope Benedict means. He wasn’t the “hardliner” painted by the media and “liberal” Catholics – he just wasn’t and isn’t.

      We have made this clear in our newsletter over the years, pointing out that making pro-life, anti-abortion etc statements, supporting traditional marriage and the family is not, in itself, “Catholic” – that is “merely” to uphold the moral law and we are very grateful that he did that, at least, but it IS a minimum requirement for the job description; exhorting everyone to keep the Commandments! Great stuff, but basic!

      When it came to disciplining dissenters and preaching the Catholic Faith on his visits to mosques and synagogues, he fell woefully short. No. In matters Catholic, Pope Benedict, like Pope John Paul II, was a modernist, if not (thankfully) quite as outspoken as Pope Francis – although, remember, he did introduce his book on Jesus of Nazareth with a warning that these were his own personal thoughts, not necessarily theologically sound. I mean, a Pope writing about Christ in a way that requires him to warn readers that this book may not be sound? “You are what you read” is the title of another thread on this blog right now – reflect!

  2. Editor

    “When it came to disciplining dissenters and preaching the Catholic Faith on his visits to mosques and synagogues, he fell woefully short. No. In matters Catholic, Pope Benedict, like Pope John Paul II, was a modernist,”

    So true.

  3. I always believed Pope Benedict to be traditional( by my standards) in his teaching and in the direction he was guiding the Church.
    But then I am aware that by the standards of most bloggers here, I would be regarded as a Modernist .
    Which is interesting, considering in the RCIA group, which I once was part of, I was called a traditional fanatic.
    However I am very disappointed in Pope Benedict’s endorsement of the present Pope.
    I am wondering is there any chance at all that this previous Pope simply cannot confront squarely the damage that has been done since he left, as it would break him to see it for what it is, and admit it, mainly to himself, but others too.
    He has to know how Cardinals like Burke and Caffara are writhing and squirming with disbelief at every move the Pope makes. I know they don’t speak out enough but pope Benedict will have read the books and articles written by them and others. He will know. So I just can’t fathom it at all.

    • Spero,

      “I am wondering is there any chance at all that this previous Pope simply cannot confront squarely the damage that has been done since he left, as it would break him to see it for what it is, and admit it, mainly to himself, but others too.”

      I think that is a very real possibility. It’s terrible that we have to speculate because we can’t be sure he’s telling the truth and when you can say that about a pope, it’s shocking.

    • Spero,

      Bring me the head of the blogger here who considers you to be a Modernist! No way!

      None of us can fathom it, Spero. None of us. It is truly a complete mystery, as to what is going on in the Church today, but as a friend of mine said on the phone this evening, it just cannot go on much longer and God really will, surely, intervene in some spectacular way, very soon. “Run for cover”, as my friend said.

      Well, let’s not panic, was my reply, but I’m thinking of building a garden shed, just in case 😀

  4. Spero, I can’t fathom it either. It seems to be a case of double-speak or, as the Red Indians were wont to say: “White man speaks with forked tongue”.

    If you attended RCIA you are probably a convert. I’m a cradle Catholic who was lucky enough to receive a good religious formation and I’m still confused. It has taken me years and years to see the rife Modernism in the Church. If you study terms like “modernism” (as in Pope Pius X Pascendi) and also “traditionalism” (as in all Church teaching prior to Vatican II) it will become glaringly obvious that all Popes since Pius XII have been modernists.

  5. I think it could be something as simple as that Pope Benedict is quite comfortable living where he is, with the nuns catering for him, comfortable apartment, so best not to rock the boat. If he spoke out against Francis, he’d find himself told to sling his hook and look for another home, LOL!

  6. For me, the abdicated Pope is typical of the mindset St. Pius X described as that of the Modernist, i.e., one moment traditional, the next liberal. The comments of Cardinal Ratzinger (I reject utterly the misnomer of “Pope Emeritus”) are consistent with his Papacy. He did a very good thing for the Church when he rehabilitated the anient Mass, for example, yet scandalised the Church when he participated in that syncretist assembly at Assisi. There are numerous other examples I could cite.

    The fact is that Benedict abdicated by his own volition, he was neither pressured nor threatened into doing so, as he has himself made clear time and again. That he is satisfied with the result of his novel action just highlights again how deeply the faith has been affected at the highest levels of the clergy. Pope Francis is an unmitigated disaster for the Church, a Pope who is so revolutionary that even the moderate Modernist is appalled by his liberalism. If Benedict had been truly Traditional, assuming good will and honesty on his part, then it’s impossible that he could speak glowingly of Francis’ reign.

    Good theologians are so thin on the ground these days, especially after 50 years of liberal indoctrination, that many high Churchmen have Ratzinger down as one of the greats. However, I remember Archbishop Lefebvre saying that he had to correct Cardinal Ratzinger on a number of theological issues, corrections which he gratefully acknowledged.

    We cannot forget how radical a theologian the young Fr. Ratzinger was at Vatican II, and how his name was inscribed in the Holy Office Index as one suspected of heresy. He still to this day proclaims the separation of Church and State, a grave error condemned many times by the Popes as destructive of the Catholic religion. Additionally, the old adage “show me your friends and I’ll tell you what you are” holds true in his case. Look back through his theological journey and you’ll find his closest allies are all liberals men of the new theology that has practically destroyed the Catholic Church since Vatican II. If only men of the Church today could get away from the false idea that Cardinal Ratzinger is a theologian par excellence and realise that he is really a theologian suspecté, then perhaps the Church would stand a chance of recovering from that spiritual schizophrenia called Modernism, or Conciliarism, that has afflicted it very publicly since Vatican II.

    One final point. Let us not forget that it was Benedict XVI who appointed Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a prelate who is himself highly suspect on a number of doctrinal questions. And if Francis is to be believed, Pope Benedict was ready to excommunicate the SSPX bishops again if they didn’t go along with his demands for compromise on the faith. That came as a shock even to me, but Bishop Fellay says he was told this directly by Pope Francis.

    • Athanasius,

      That is all so true yet so sad. It’s just awful to think that any pope is a rank liberal but even more confusing when he gives the appearance of being traditional.

      • Yes, Laura, everything Athanasius says is so very true. In fact, he has the knack of putting his finger right on the problem every time…

        Eh, Ath? 😀

        • Editor

          I’m afraid I’m not very good at putting my finger on anything right at the moment, as you know, having almost severed my pinkie on Thursday!!!

          I couldn’t resist that!

          Yes folks, I suppose I should tell you that I had a fight with a garden brush that had a metal shaft that snapped open like a hinge and rebounded to impale my pinkie from both sides. I spent several hours in Accident & Emergency having the poor wee finger put back together by a plastic surgeon, who then proceeded to strap the pinkie and index finger together to prevent movement in the injured digit. I also got a tetanus injection for my efforts and a one-week course of antibiotics.

          The good news is the finger seems to be healing well. the bad news is it’s on my left hand and I’m left handed. Shaving and washing has been a sight to behold. Ever tried washing with a poly bag strapped to your hand? Interesting, to say the least!

          • Athanasius,

            That was a truly horrendous accident and I know you suffered a great deal of pain. Thankfully, you sound like you’re on the mend.

            And in answer to your question – nope, I can’t say I’ve ever tried washing with a poly bag strapped to my hand, but sounds fun 😀

            • Editor

              Yes, it was extremely painful and I have to admit to a rare colourful metaphor falling from my lips at the time, preceded by “Ah ya….”

              The more sobering thought is that if a bad cut to one finger causes such pain, then what did Our Lord suffer with all those wounds all over His body. It brings everything into perspective.

              By the way, I gave up on the poly bag effort and just shaved with my right hand. Nearly ended up back at the plastic surgeon with a cut throat, though!

              • Athanasius,

                Sorry to hear about your gardening mishap – I hope you’re well on the mend! And it’s a good thing you’re not a pianist!

                Years ago I decided to try shaving with my left hand (I’m right-handed), to see if it would improve my dexterity at the piano. Funny, those scales and arpeggios still sounded the same…but the styptic pencil sales at my grocery store took quite a jump…

                Speaking of plastic surgeons, I wonder if Cardinal Ratzinger now has a double? You know, one Ratzinger to rhapsodize about Pope Francis and the Church, the other to subsist on bread and water, somewhere in isolation…. 🙂

  7. RCA Victor

    The title is based on the myth that Benedict retired when in fact he abdicated. Emeritus is a title accorded only to those who have retired from subordinate service, not those who have abrogated the high office of Papacy or monarchy.

    I have been quite taken aback by the number of Traditional Catholics who have fallen for this ruse and adopted the title Pope Emeritus when speaking of the abdicated Pope. What the liberals have achieved here with this novelty is more dangerous than people think, opening the way, as it does, to Papal retirement as a normal and acceptable practice. It’s actually a scandalous business that undermines the unique and lifelong nature of the Petrine office.

    On that note, I agree with you that Benedict could well be called Pope Abandon-Us since there appears to be no good reason for his abdication, other than that the pressure of the office didn’t fit with his contemplative inclinations. Well, there have been many good Popes in the past who have had the Papal office thrust upon them against their will and spiritual inclinations, but they just accepted it as God’s will and carried their cross. However, It’s not for me to judge Benedict’s interior disposition at the time of his abdication, or since. That’s for God alone to judge. All I can say, humanly speaking, is that no compelling reason has been offered for such a momentous decision, much less for the pretend title that followed it.

  8. There is obviously much more going on here than meets eye. Remember his reference to “wolves” when he was elected? It seems he knew even then, exactly what was going on. Old Ben is certainly enigmatic and this view is enhanced by his recently alleged utterances and actions, which are in remarkable contrast with this extract taken from one of his essays entitled, “A Final Reflection: Soloviev’s vision of eschatological unity,

    Soloviev’s vision of eschatological unity,” reminds us that: “..the Antichrist has his followers, and always even among those occupying the highest spiritual offices…..Therefore, we should already, and always, be motivated by concern lest, with big Christian words and wrapped in a cloak of Christianity, we become servants of the Antichrist, who wants to set up his kingdom in this world and to render the future kingdom of Christ redundant.”

    Hmmm……ring any bell’s anyone?

    Now that’s a warning, if ever there was one!

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