Pope Benedict: I resigned, but I kept ‘spiritual dimension’ of papacy

Discussion in 'Positive Critique' started by SgCatholic, May 7, 2020.

  1. SgCatholic

    SgCatholic Guest

    Pope Benedict: I resigned, but I kept ‘spiritual dimension’ of papacy
    In a new biography, Pope Benedict speaks about the 'spiritual dimension' of the papacy 'which is alone still my mandate'
    Wed May 6, 2020 - 5:13 pm EST

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/pope-benedict-i-resigned-but-i-kept-spiritual-dimension-of-papacy

    [​IMG]
    May 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – In a new biography released on May 4, Pope Benedict makes some statements that highlight his own understanding of his resignation from the papacy. He speaks in this book about the “spiritual dimension...which is alone still my mandate.” He shows an understanding of his resignation from the papacy, according to which he gave up any “concrete legal powers” and any role of governance, but at the same time maintained a “spiritual mandate.”

    Pope Benedict XVI answered, in the autumn of 2018, several written questions by his biographer Peter Seewald, which then were included in Seewald's more than 1,000-page-long biography titled Benedict XVI: A Life. This book has been released in German today and will be published in English on November 17.

    Part of these questions related to the fact that he had resigned on February 11, 2013 after nearly seven years being the Pope. Peter Seewald points out to Benedict that there are church historians who criticize the fact that he calls himself “Pope emeritus,” since such a title “does not exist, also since there are not two popes.” After first saying that he himself does not see why a church historian should know more about such matters than anybody else – after all they “are studying the history of the Church” – , Benedict quotes the fact that “up to the end of the Second Vatican Council, there also did not exist any resignation on the part of bishops.”

    After the introduction of the position of a retired bishop, the retired Pope goes on to say, there arose the problem that “one can only become a bishop with relation to a specific diocese,” that is to say, each “consecration is always relative” and “connected with an episcopal seat.” For auxiliary bishops, for example, the Church chose “fictional seats” such as those of formerly Catholic countries in North Africa. Since with the increasing numbers of retiring bishops, these fictional seats were quickly filling up, one German bishop – Simon Landersdorfer of Passau – just decided he would become simply an 'emeritus of Passau.'”

    It is here that Pope Benedict then draws a comparison with the papacy. For, such a retired bishop, he adds, “does not anymore actively have an episcopal seat, but, still finds himself in a special relationship of a former bishop to his seat.” This retired bishop, however, thereby “does not become a second bishop of his diocese,” explains Benedict. Such a bishop had “fully given up his office, yet the spiritual connection with his former seat was now being acknowledged, also as a legal quality.” This “new relationship with a seat” is “given as a reality, but lies outside of the concrete legal substance of the episcopal office.” At the same time, adds the retired Pope, the “spiritual connection” is being regarded as a “reality.”

    “Thus,” he continues, “there are not two bishops, but one with a spiritual mandate, whose essence it is to serve his former diocese from within, from the Lord, by being present and available in prayer.”

    “It is not conceivable why such a legal concept should not also be applied to the bishop of Rome,” Pope Benedict explicitly states, thus making it clear that according to his own ideas, he fully resigned his papal office while maintaining a “spiritual dimension” of his office.

    Later on in this interview at the end of the new Seewald-biography, Benedict comes back to speak about the fact that he does not wish to comment on the question of the dubia as presented by Cardinal Raymond Burke and his fellow cardinals regarding Amoris Laetitia, since this “would lead too much into the concrete area of the church governance and thereby would leave the spiritual dimension which alone is still my mandate.”

    Pope Benedict then regrets that any of his statements as a retired Pope – such as his famous 2017 remark about the capsizing boat representing the Church – is being used by his critics as means to find “a confirmation for their slander.”

    “The claim that I constantly intervene in public debates,” he also states, “is an evil distortion of reality.” Those who are using words of his, such as the ones about the capsizing of a ship – which stemmed from Saint Gregory the Great – , in order to detect “a dangerous intervention into the governance of the Church” are, in Benedict's eyes, “participating in a campaign against me which has nothing to do with the truth.” In another context, the Pope mentions especially the “German theology,” which, in a “stupid and evil way,” interpreted his words, so that “it is better not to speak about it.”

    “I prefer not to analyze the real reasons as to why one wishes to silence my voice,” Benedict XVI concludes.

    Further discussing this matter of a “retired Pope” with Peter Seewald, Benedict makes a comparison with the “change of the generations,” where the father of a family gives up “his legal status,” while maintaining his “human-spiritual importance,” which remains “until death.” That is to say, the “functional” aspect of fatherhood can change, not his “ontological” part.

    Here, the former Pope refers to Bavarian farming families, where the father of a family at some point in his life hands over the major farmhouse to his son while staying in a smaller cottage on the same land. The son then becomes responsible for providing the father with his material needs such as food. “Thus,” Benedict argues, “his material independence is given, just as the transition of the concrete rights to the son. That means: the spiritual side of the fatherhood remains, while the situation changes with regard to the concrete rights and duties.”

    In May of 2016, Archbishop Georg Gänswein had given a speech, in which he spoke about Pope Benedict and an “expanded Petrine Ministry,” a formulation which caused a debate because it might indicate that Benedict did not resign all of the different parts of the papacy. He was later to correct that statement and since has insisted that there is only one Pope. Gänswein told LifeSite in 2019: “I have already cleared up the ‘misunderstanding’ several times.” “It makes no sense at all, no, even more, it is counterproductive to insist on this ‘misunderstanding’ and to quote me again and again. This is absurd and leads to self-harm [Selbstzerfleischung]. I have clearly said that there is only one Pope, one legitimately elected and incumbent Pope, and that is Francis.”

    Already in 2013, when explaining his resignation to the public, Pope Benedict XVI then had stated that “there can no longer be a return to the private sphere. My decision to resign the active exercise of the ministry does not revoke this. I do not return to private life, to a life of travel, meetings, receptions, conferences, and so on. I am not abandoning the cross, but remaining in a new way at the side of the crucified Lord. I no longer bear the power of office for the governance of the Church, but in the service of prayer I remain, so to speak, in the enclosure of Saint Peter. Saint Benedict, whose name I bear as Pope, will be a great example for me in this. He showed us the way for a life which, whether active or passive, is completely given over to the work of God.”

    (cont'd)
     
    padraig, BrianK and Luan Ribeiro like this.
  2. SgCatholic

    SgCatholic Guest

    LifeSite reached out to Monsignor Nicola Bux, a Vatican theologian and former collaborator of Pope Benedict XVI as a consulter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, because he had made in the past some remarks about the “juridical validity of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation.”

    After LifeSite had summed up for him the new statement by Pope Benedict as it can be found in this new papal biography, Monsignor Bux answered, saying:

    “In my opinion, one of the most problematic aspects would be the idea, implicit in Pope Ratzinger's act, that the papacy is not a single and indivisible office, but, on the contrary, a divisible office that can be 'unpacked', in the sense that a Pope may choose to give up some functions, keeping for himself others, which would not then be passed on to his successor. A clearly erroneous idea.”

    In further exchanges with Monsignor Bux, this Italian theologian added the following thoughts:

    “The comparison of the papal office with the episcopal office in what regards the abdication of the papal office is not correct. The episcopal office is conferred by episcopal ordination or consecration, imprinting an indelible character on the soul of the bishop. Thus, while he may be relieved of a particular pastoral responsibility, he remains always a bishop. The papal office is conferred by the acceptance of the election to the See of Peter, that is, by an act of the will of the person elected, accepting the call to be the Vicar of Christ on earth. From the moment that the person elected consents he has the full jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff.”

    If the person elected is not a Bishop,” Monsignor Bux continued, “he must be immediately consecrated a Bishop because the papacy entails the exercise of the episcopal office, but he is Pope from the moment he consents to the election. If the same person, at a certain point, declares that he can no longer fulfill the call to be the Vicar of Christ on earth, he loses the papal office and returns to the condition in which he was before giving the consent to be the Vicar of Christ on earth.”


    Here, the Italian theologian explained the fundamental principle that “the papacy is not conferred by sacramental grace. It does not imprint an indelible character upon the soul. To the one who consents to be Pope and perseveres in the consent, the grace is given, as Our Lord promised, to be 'the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful' (Lumen Gentium, no. 23). Such a grace, by its very definition, is given to only one person at any given time.”

    In conclusion, Monsignor Bux writes: “Our Lord gave Peter a single mandate - legal and spiritual at the same time - and asked the Apostles to support him through communion, cum et sub Petro (with and under Peter). Saint Paul explains it as: ‘sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum’ (care of all churches). Therefore, there is no Petrine primacy to share, but two indissoluble principles in permanent communion with one another: the Petrine primacy and the episcopal team-work (collegiality).”

    As becomes clear here, the scholarly discussion concerning Pope Benedict's concept of his resignation is not yet closed.

    +
     
    BrianK, Booklady and Luan Ribeiro like this.
  3. Luan Ribeiro

    Luan Ribeiro Archangels

    Matthew 5:15
    New International Version

    15 "Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house".

    I believe that this biblical passage directs why Pope Emeritus exercises a spiritual ministry for Catholics
     
  4. HeavenlyHosts

    HeavenlyHosts Powers

    I think it is definitely closed. Benedict resigned. No matter how he himself views it, it’s not possible to retain a connection after the resignation. He lost the Papal Office and returned to the condition in which he was.
    So asserts Msgr Bux in the above article.
    Luan, all former Popes exercise a Spiritual ministry. It lives on in the work they left behind. But as explained in the article above, there is no indelible imprint on the soul of a Pope.
    He resigned. It’s done. Over.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2020
  5. SgCatholic

    SgCatholic Guest

    Since Pope Benedict XVI believes that he resigned in such a way that he still holds the 'spiritual dimension' of the papacy and 'which alone is still his mandate', it is obvious that his resignation is invalid.

    The matter is definitely not closed.

    +
     
    John R, Suzanne and BrianK like this.
  6. HeavenlyHosts

    HeavenlyHosts Powers

    He himself asserts that he resigned.
     
  7. Mario

    Mario Powers

    Here I would have to disagree with you, SgCatholic, and my disagreement is based on the analogy which Benedict himself supplies:

    Here, the former Pope refers to Bavarian farming families, where the father of a family at some point in his life hands over the major farmhouse to his son while staying in a smaller cottage on the same land. The son then becomes responsible for providing the father with his material needs such as food. “Thus,” Benedict argues, “his material independence is given, just as the transition of the concrete rights to the son. That means: the spiritual side of the fatherhood remains, while the situation changes with regard to the concrete rights and duties.”

    Let me use the parallel example of Geralyn and myself in regard to our children. We have 6 children, 2 are priests, 3 are married, and our youngest this week will finish up his final year at college. When our children lived under our roof, we as parents held authority over them as long as they were minors. For instance, when my son, Patrick, was a student in a minor seminary, our family was preparing to take a trip to Europe; we were assuming Patrick would go with us. The rector of the school thought it would be best for him to stay, arguing that it would be important for Patrick to start to prepare for the vow of obedience. I basically warned the rector that when it was time for Patrick to pursue religious life by entering the novitiate, then would my direct parental authority be relinquished, but not before. The rector then correctly let Patrick go on the trip. That has now changed since Patrick is now answerable to his religious order and God.

    The authority of Geralyn and myself as parents, however, is no longer what it was for any of our kids. But actually their respect for us has deepened. Every once in a while we will now hear the comment, "Mom and Dad, how did you ever do it with six kids!" Or they will come to us for advise; even our priestly sons will call and ask, "What do you think about this?" But never again can we require any of them to abide by our wishes.

    So too with Benedict. He resigned. When he writes anything, like a son my ears will stand at attention because my respect continues to deepen for him, listening for pearls of wisdom in this world of confusion. But even if Pope Francis were to die tomorrow, Pope Emeritus Benedict will never again pick up the office of Vicar of Christ and wield that authority, and if for some strange reason he attempted to do so, I would not recognize that, love him as I do.

    Nor would I expect any of my children to submit to my demands once more, no matter how much they love and respect me. That form of parental authority is no longer within my grasp.

    I trust I spoke clearly.:)


    Pax Christi!
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2020
  8. picadillo

    picadillo Powers

    Thank you Mario and well said!
     
    Mary's child, Sam and HeavenlyHosts like this.
  9. non sum dignus

    non sum dignus Archangels

    The way I read his (Pope Emeritus Benidict) words is saying...he has a mandate...he is obligated...to support the Petrine office with his prayer. This doesn't mean the current pope doesn't also have this obligation. This "mandate" in no way splits the Papacy, which is the current Pope's.

    So I don't think it was the intention of PEB to retain the papacy, even in part, and that is wishful thinking.

    Just my reading of his comments....and I am not qualified to have any say in this. Just my own worthless thoughts.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2020
    Mary's child, Sam and HeavenlyHosts like this.
  10. SgCatholic

    SgCatholic Guest

    Mario, thanks for your response.

    However, there is more to the argument.

    As we all may be aware, Pope Benedict XVI resigned the ministry(ministerium) of the Petrine office, but NOT the (office) munus itself.
    There is a definite distinction according to Canon Law. Giving up the munus must be specifically mentioned in the resignation document in order to fulfil the law.
    In the days immediately after the announcement of his resignation was made, several members of the hierarchy called out this particular problem with the so-called resignation. However, no one with authority investigated it.

    Bearing in mind the problem with the munus vs ministerium, now we learn that Benedict XVI believes he still holds the spiritual dimension of the papacy, which alone is still his mandate.
    As Monsignor Bux said, “In my opinion, one of the most problematic aspects would be the idea, implicit in Pope Ratzinger's act, that the papacy is not a single and indivisible office, but, on the contrary, a divisible office that can be 'unpacked', in the sense that a Pope may choose to give up some functions, keeping for himself others, which would not then be passed on to his successor. A clearly erroneous idea.

    Monsignor Bux further clarified, "To the one who consents to be Pope and perseveres in the consent, the grace is given, as Our Lord promised, to be 'the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful' (Lumen Gentium, no. 23). Such a grace, by its very definition, is given to only one person at any given time.”

    Our Lord gave Peter a single mandate - legal and spiritual at the same time - and asked the Apostles to support him through communion, cum et sub Petro (with and under Peter).
    Therefore, there is no Petrine primacy to share, but two indissoluble principles in permanent communion with one another: the Petrine primacy and the episcopal team-work (collegiality).”

    So, Benedict XVI 'resigned' with the flawed idea that the legal and spiritual dimensions of the papacy can be divided between 2 people.
    This of course corresponds with what Abp Ganswein explained previously about 'an expanded Petrine ministry'. Ganswein later retracted the statement after a furore erupted.

    As Maike Hickson says at the end of her article:
    +
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2020
    John R likes this.
  11. SgCatholic

    SgCatholic Guest

    This too, emphasises that Benedict XVI believes the 'exercise of the ministry' can change, but not 'the state of being Pope'.

    +
     
    Byron likes this.
  12. HeavenlyHosts

    HeavenlyHosts Powers

    Just because Benedict has an erroneous idea, the bifurcated papacy, does not mean that he is correct. He mentioned that idea long before all of this happened. I think he mentioned holding this idea before he became Pope. It’s very troubling. It’s not Catholic. It’s best left alone. For the record, he resigned.
    How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? Oy vey! It gives me the vapors just thinking about it. Where are my smelling salts?:):coffee::LOL:
     
    Sam likes this.
  13. HeavenlyHosts

    HeavenlyHosts Powers

    It’s truly above our pay grade to sort out these issues, notwithstanding what people are interpreting in print and online. I see “undue curiosity” all over the place. Just imho.
     
    gracia and Sam like this.
  14. HeavenlyHosts

    HeavenlyHosts Powers

    I'm going to leave this to the Vinedresser.
     
    Mario and Sam like this.
  15. Irishguy2

    Irishguy2 Guest

    In my eyes, Benedict had lost his credibility when he resigned. But that wasnt the 1st time he lost his credibility. It was the abuses cases that landed on his desk for two decades which he did nothing.

    His resignation brought in a pope who is quite disruptive.

    Sspx abuses which arose last week which his office was involved with a certain Bishop named Fellay. They let Bishop Fellay off the hook and SSPX story breaking through now in Kansas. It also reminded me of the legionaires of christ, who were very vert conservative so traditionlist which ended up in a huge scandal re Marcel. My analogy was 'don't judge by the book' re Conservative and traditionalist.

    Not only that, back in 2005 conclave, Benedict was bit ahead of bergloglio in term of votes but bergloglio instructed his cardinal supporters to vote for Benedict instead of him. That's how Rotweiller Raztinger became a pope.

    Conclave vote link https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_papal_conclave
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2020
  16. SgCatholic

    SgCatholic Guest

    Erroneous idea. Exactly.
    According to Canon 188, substantial error is sufficient grounds for a canonical determination of invalidity in any resignation.

    +
     
    John R and BrianK like this.
  17. HeavenlyHosts

    HeavenlyHosts Powers

    :whistle:Leaving this whole issue up to the Vinedresser:whistle::whistle::whistle::whistle:
     
  18. SgCatholic

    SgCatholic Guest

    The Truth is what matters.
    We are the Body of Christ.
    I don't agree that this shows undue curiosity on our part, when our visible Head on earth, the Vicar of Christ, made an invalid resignation.

    What's more, his 'replacement', among many other troubling and scandalous problems, does not want to be called the Vicar of Christ; he simply drops the title from the Vatican yearbook.

    +
     
  19. SgCatholic

    SgCatholic Guest

    That is certainly your prerogative, HH.

    Leave alone those who wish to discuss the matter, then.

    +
     
  20. HeavenlyHosts

    HeavenlyHosts Powers

    Leaving this whole issue up to the Vinedresser, including your rudeness.
     

Share This Page