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Pope-emeritus Benedict sees continuity with teaching of Pope Francis

Benedict XVI’s letter and “The Theology of Pope Francis” series (Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY – Retired Pope Benedict wanted to give a contribution, very significant as always, to the interior spiritual unity of the two pontificates. Thus Msgr Dario Edoardo Viganò characterises the letter sent to him by the Pope Emeritus.

Regarding the magisterium of Pope Francis, Benedict writes that “there is interior unity” between his pontificate and that of Pope Francis, his successor. Pope Benedict’s letter was presented by its recipient, Msgr Dario Edoardo Viganò, during a press conference presenting “The Theology of Pope Francis,” a series of 11 books written by 11 different authors, and published by Libreria Editrice Vaticana. The news conference was held in Sala Marconi in the headquarters of Vatican Media on 12 Mar 2018.

“I applaud this initiative,” writes Pope Benedict. “It contradicts the foolish prejudice of those who see Pope Francis as someone who lacks a particular theological and philosophical formation, while I would have been solely a theorist of theology with little understanding of the concrete lives of today’s Christian.”

The Pope Emeritus writes that he is grateful to have received the set of 11 books edited by Roberto Repole, President of the Italian Theological Association. Pope Benedict XVI adds that these volumes “reasonably demonstrate that Pope Francis is a man with profound philosophical and theological formation and are helpful to see the interior continuity between the two pontificates, even with all the differences in style and temperament.”

During the event, Br Giulio Cesareo, OFM, the recently-appointed head of Libreria Editrice Vaticana, explained that contracts have already been signed for the English, Spanish, French, Portoghese, Polish and Romanian editions of the series, and that further negotiations are in process with publishers throughout the world. –  Sr Bernadette Mary Reis fsp, Vatican News

Pope emeritus celebrates 90th birthday with a mug of beer

VATICAN CITY – Benedict XVI, who resigned as pontiff in 2013, celebrated his 90th birthday with a mug of beer and the company of visitors from his native Bavaria in Germany on 17 Apr 2017.

At his birthday party on Monday, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI told his guests that “My heart is full of gratitude for the 90 years which the good God has given me.”

Photos by the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano of the celebration showed Benedict sipping a beer. His brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, also joined the party and enjoyed a beer.

Looking happy, the frail Benedict also admired a gift basket whose goodies included pretzels.

He was born on 16 April 1927, in southern Germany. But since the birthday coincided this year with Easter Sunday, Benedict was feted on Monday.  On a sunny, mild day, guests sat outside the monastery on Vatican City grounds where Benedict has lived since he became the first pontiff to resign in 600 years, stunning the Catholic Church. – AP

Benedict XVI talks resignation, Pope Francis in new book-length interview

benedictVATICAN CITY – Though he has rarely spoken since resigning from the papacy, Benedict XVI granted several lengthy interviews to German journalist Peter Seewald shortly after stepping down – conversations that touched on themes such as the reform of the Curia, his resignation and his thoughts on Pope Francis.

The interviews, conducted a few months after Benedict’s 28 Feb 2013  resignation, were released as a book in several languages on 9 Sept 2016. The English language version, Last Testament, is due to be published in November.

About 240 pages in length, the book in German is titled Letzte Gespräche. It “touches upon all the most important stages of life of Joseph Ratzinger.”

These stages include Benedict’s childhood under the Nazi regime, the discovery of his vocation to the priesthood, the hardships of the war and his time in the Vatican until his election to the papacy. It also covers “the anxiety” of his first few days as successor of St Peter, as well as his “painful” decision to resign and his thoughts on Pope Francis.

In his responses to Seewald, Benedict speaks about himself, his faith, his weaknesses, his private life, the scandals and controversial issues of his reign, and his papacy in general, explaining the reason for his choice to resign – “initially only communicated to a few trusted people to avoid leaks,” Corriere della Sera reports.

The retired Pope also speaks about the reform of the Roman Curia, the “Vatileaks” scandal that many pinned as the reason for his stepping-down, and outlines the differences between him and Francis in light of “his own peculiarities” and those of his Argentine successor.

He also mentions the “gay lobby” at the Vatican – a group of four to five persons, which he says he was able to break up.

In a June 28 ceremony at the Vatican marking his 65th anniversary as a priest, Benedict told Pope Francis that from the moment of his election and every day since “your goodness…moves me interiorly, brings me inwardly more than the Vatican Gardens.”

“Your goodness is a place in which I feel protected,” he said of his successor.

Seewald, the author of the new book, is also the author of the 2010 book-length interview with Benedict titled “Light of the Word: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times.” He had previously published two other books on then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, “The Salt of the Earth,” and “God and the World.”

“Final Conversations,” then, will mark the journalist’s fourth book on Benedict from before his election to the throne of Peter, during his papacy and now after his resignation.

CNA contacted Seewald for comment on the book, however, the author said that for the moment, he prefers not to speak.

In an interview with CNA when “Light of the World” came out in 2010, Seewald said Benedict “is one of the greatest minds of the Catholic Church; someone with a great heart and…a fighter by nature, someone who remains standing amidst the storms, someone who is not afraid.”

“He is someone who does not get stuck in the past or in the present. He is someone who is very much a part of our times,” Seewald said, adding that he has always considered Benedict “a very modern man, someone who is always accessible, who promotes and seeks dialogue.”

“I would say he is an upright man and by far one of the greatest figures of our time…he is man who is always willing to listen, because he is not only a great thinker, he is also a great spiritual teacher.”

In a world that is “often blind,” it’s important to have someone “with this unbreakable attitude of openness,” he said, voicing his belief that Benedict “will be much better appreciated in the future” than he was at that time. – CNA/EWTN News


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