Benedict on “Providential” Pope Francis

Benedict on “Providential” Pope Francis

Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict have expressed appreciation for the friendship that has grown between them on the occasion of the publication of Elio Guerriero’s biography of Pope Benedict XVI. Both popes clearly value their friendship for the support and encouragement that it brings to them both.  

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, right, hugs Pope Francis in St. Peter's Basilica during the ceremony marking the start of the Holy Year, at the Vatican, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. Pope Francis pushed open the great bronze doors of St. Peter's Basilica on Tuesday to launch his Holy Year of Mercy, declaring that mercy trumps moralizing in his Catholic Church. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Benedict XVI, right, hugs Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica during the ceremony marking the start of the Holy Year, 2015.  (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)


Pope Benedict XVI on Pope Francis

Pope Benedict XVI spoke about his friendship with Pope Francis in a rare interview with  his biographer Elio Guerriero, published in La Reppublica (paraphrased by CNA):

“Speaking about Pope Francis, Benedict said that obedience to his successor “was never in discussion,” but that since Francis’ election, a feeling of “deep communion and friendship” has arisen between the two.

“At the moment of his election I experienced, as many, a spontaneous feeling of gratitude toward Providence,” he said, explaining that after having two Pope’s from Central Europe, “the Lord was turning, so to speak, his gaze to the Universal Church and invited us to a more extensive communion, more Catholic.”  [emphasis added by Editor CT]

Benedict said he was deeply moved by Pope Francis’ “extraordinary human availability to me” from the beginning. He noted how immediately after Francis was elected, the new Pope attempted to call him at his residence in the Vatican’s Mater Ecclesiae monastery. Having failed to reach him, Francis called again right after greeting faithful from the balcony of St. Peter’s, this time succeeding. Pope Francis “spoke to me with great  warmth,” Benedict recalled, noting that since that day “he has given me the gift of a wonderfully paternal-fraternal relationship.”

Not only does Francis frequently send “little gifts” and personal letters to Benedict, but he also makes sure to visit his predecessor before embarking on every major trip he takes:

“The human benevolence with which he treats me, is for me a special grace of this last phase of my life for which I can only be grateful. What he says about availability to other men, are not only words. He puts it into practice with me. May the Lord in turn make him feel his benevolence every day. This I ask the Lord for him.”

Pope Francis on Pope Benedict XVI

John L. Allen has provided excerpts from Pope Francis’s preface to Elio Guerriero’s biography of Pope Benedict XVI:

“His discrete presence and his prayer for the Church are a continual support and comfort for my service. Who better than him can understand the joys, and also the difficulties, of service to the universal Church and the world of today, and be spiritually close to the one called by the Lord to carry that weight? For that reason, his prayer is especially precious, and his friendship especially appreciated.”

About there being two popes in the Church

“Since they love each other, it’s a beautiful novelty. In a certain sense it expresses in a particularly clear way the continuity of the Petrine ministry, without interruption, like links in a single chain forged by love. The holy people of God, on the path, have understood this very well. Every time the emeritus pope has appeared in public, at my invitation, and I was able to embrace him in front of everyone, the joy and the applause of those present has been sincere and intense.”

On the continuity between Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI

“Everyone in the Church has a great debt of gratitude towards Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI for the depth and balance of his theological thought, always in the service of the Church, up to the highest responsibility; the contribution of his faith and culture to a magisterium capable of meeting the expectations of our time was fundamental. The courage and determination with which he faced difficult situations have shown the way to react with humility and truth, in the spirit of renewal and purification.”

The loving mercy of God is “the most urgent message of a Church reaching out, even to the peripheries, of a world marked by conflicts, injustices and disrespect for the human person. The entire life of thought and works of Joseph Ratzinger has aimed at that end, and in the same direction, with the help of God, I’ll try to continue.”

Comment [EWTN]

The role of the successor of St Peter has been described as one of the loneliest jobs in the world. The pope alone bears ultimate responsibility before God for the universal Church:

“The pope’s power of primacy over all, both pastors and faithful, remains whole and intact. In virtue of his office, that is as Vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole Church, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church. And he is always free to exercise this power.” (Lumen Gentium, 22).

For any man occupying the throne of St Peter this realisation must at times be a great burden. It is good that Pope Francis has Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI close at hand supporting him in prayer and friendship.  Source


Clearly, those who claim that Pope Benedict must be concerned about the statements and actions of Pope Francis are plain wrong.  He actually sees the Francis pontificate as “providential”, apparently in the sense that this is a good pontificate.   At Catholic Truth, we were never under any illusions about Pope Benedict.  We spoke out to highlight his errors, just as we comment on the many errors of Pope Francis. But where do the reports of Pope Benedict’s ongoing  support for and pledge of unconditional obedience to Pope Francis leave those who consider Benedict to have been a faithful pontiff who must be suffering through the Francis pontificate? 

Comments (31)

  • Summa

    There is something hidden from sight in this whole matter. The resignation of Benedict still remains entirely suspect, despite the seeming admiration that both men hold for each other.
    But their pontificates are completely at odds with each others. Despite the failings of Pope Benedict, his reign as Pontiff, looks Pauline in nature compared to Francis’. This makes their cosying up seems even more dubious given that Benedict MUST see that Francis is a material heretic.

    August 30, 2016 at 9:56 pm
    • editor


      I wonder…

      Pope Benedict was very far from being a faithful pope. The fact that he may seem so now, has more to do with the awfulness of the Francis pontificate than with the reality of the situation prior to 2013.

      Pope Benedict’s book length interview, in which he caused confusion over sexual morality, and remarked (on Fatima) that the idea was just too simple, that world peace could be achieved by a prayer of consecration of Russia to Our Lady, are among the many examples which demonstrate that, in Benedict, we did not find a traditional pope. Not remotely. He clearly shares Pope Francis’ views on all sorts of things, notably the salvation of the Jews and the worthiness of other non-Christian religions. He held many of the same beliefs as his successor – he just did so without wearing daft hats and red noses, for which thank the Lord in His great mercy!

      It seems to me that it is not so much there there is “something hidden from sight in this whole matter” but more that most Catholics do not realise that Pope Benedict, although somewhat an improvement on his successor (think demeanour, hats, red noses!) was – as were all of the post-Vatican II pontiffs – a Modernist. Francis is just more obviously a Modernist!

      August 30, 2016 at 11:32 pm
  • Summa

    Editor, you argue well. I don’t deny that Benedict was a modernist, but he certainly did some encouraging things in terms of reviving, and in so highlighting, the true Mass. All the other stuff aside, this in itself has open the eyes of some of the new generation of Catholics to what is out there in terms of Tradition. I’m fairly certain, amongst modernists, this traditional revival would have been as popular [as being uncomfortable] in a spacesuit.

    August 31, 2016 at 12:09 am
    • editor


      Yes, of course, that is correct – he has made it possible now for priests to offer the traditional Mass without howls of “schism” roaring in their ears. That is to his credit.

      Doesn’t change the rest. But that’s what I’m off to find now – some rest! Way past my “beauty sleep” time.

      Say nothing!

      August 31, 2016 at 12:29 am
  • RCA Victor

    The extremely suspicious nature of Benedict’s abdication aside, I couldn’t help but notice the utterly superficial nature of these remarks, from which any mention of the Faith is entirely absent, and which has the distinct odor of sentimentalist pablum manufactured for the benefit of us peons.

    I have to laugh at the notion that Ratzinger and Bergoglio allegedly admire and respect each other. Ratzinger may as well say “I deeply appreciate, Jorge, that you had a hand in forcing me out of the Papacy.” And Bergoglio in response may as well say “Thank you, Joseph, for stepping aside so quietly and graciously after I helped to force you out!”

    But if Ratzinger does truly admire and respect Bergoglio, that speaks volumes about the inner condition of his, Ratzinger’s, faith – or lack thereof – because Bergoglio is nothing more than a Latin American Jesuit. That is, having been absorbed into the Liberation Theology scam, he is a Marxist and an apostate, a Catholic in Vestments Only.

    At any rate, I’m sure the legion of papolotrists will just eat this rubbish up and swoon a thousand swoons.

    August 31, 2016 at 12:20 am
  • RCA Victor

    Christopher Ferrara has apparently anticipated this discussion!

    August 31, 2016 at 3:00 am
    • editor

      RCA Victor,

      Yes, I saw Ferrara’s ridiculing of the excuse about world youth day a while back – although I think it was on the Remnant site.

      It’s completely impossible to get into the mind of Pope Benedict as to why he not only resigned, but keeps up the appearance of the papal office while continuing to refuse to speak out even in the face of shockers like Amoris Laetitia. Too much for a simple gal to work out…

      August 31, 2016 at 9:34 am
  • John Kearney

    The trouble with Francis is that he always wants to please. Like the modern priest he want to be all things to all men and keep and inclusive Church where he is popular for his ‘understanding’ HIs problem is that he is too old, he seems to have little understanding of what is happening around him and he talks at interviews with no deep thought, in fact he is just as much a case for retirement as Benedict was.

    August 31, 2016 at 1:50 pm
  • Therese

    Not always John,and not everyone. He doesn’t want to please me, and I don’t buy the theory that he doesn’t have much understanding of what is happening. On the contrary, he has proved on several occasions that he has a very clear understanding of what the World wants, and many of his sayings and actions prove that he agrees with it, and he’s going to do all in his power to accommodate it.

    August 31, 2016 at 4:39 pm
    • editor


      Well said. I think Pope Francis knows exactly what he is saying and that most of it is nonsense. I remember him saying something to the effect that most of what he says is not valid, or words to that effect. Most of it is nonsense, but ssssh, in case he hears… that’s betwixt thee and me…

      August 31, 2016 at 7:47 pm
  • Christina

    Little gifts, personal letters, visits, the ‘human benevolence with which he treats me’ – what is going on here? It’s really sounding as if Benedict is in a condition of second childhood, like a child being pathetically grateful to the kindly paternal Jorge for all these little condescensions. And I am speechless that he put forward the appalling WYD arrangements as a reason (?) for ‘resigning’. Or is Benedict very far from senile? I’m inclined to agree with Summa that something is hidden from sight here and the superficial nature of these remarks of Benedict, as noted by RCA Victor, only add to the impression. Perhaps Francis’ benevolence springs from fear of what Benedict might reveal.

    August 31, 2016 at 9:14 pm
    • editor


      I am trying to work out why Pope Benedict would feel the need to keep anything hidden. All he has to do is stay out of the way – I thought that was the general idea when he “resigned” or abdicated.

      September 1, 2016 at 9:18 pm
      • Christina

        Ed, I believe that there is much that is murky about Pope Benedict’s resignation and Pope Francis’ election that has not, and probably never will be revealed, and that the latter has more reason to fear any revelation.

        September 1, 2016 at 11:20 pm
  • Therese

    Possibly, Christina. Or perhaps Benedict’s words spring from fear of what Francis and his cronies might reveal?

    August 31, 2016 at 9:35 pm
    • Christina

      Aye, there’s that too!

      August 31, 2016 at 10:53 pm
  • Elizabeth

    Well I really just do not know what to make of it all. I wonder if some of this bizarre behaviour is due in part from being thrust into the role of “celebridees” in modern speak, and since JP2, being a kind of superficial populist youth idol. Something has shifted and we do not see the dignity and gravitas such as former Popes had. Francis chases after popular causes such as climate change and feels the need to blether away at any opportunity, especially on planes. The recent clip of him in discussion with two South American business men was alarming in its incoherence! And yet so many Catholics think he is amazing! Why?? I am quite sure we do not know the half of what has really gone on in the Vatican. Maybe we never will.

    August 31, 2016 at 9:44 pm
    • Margaret Mary


      I don’t know what to make of it all either – it’s just too incredible for words. I definitely do not like the “two popes” or the “expanded papacy” theory though. That is not what Jesus set up.

      September 1, 2016 at 6:47 pm
      • Summa

        Margaret Mary, well the way morality is being dealt with in Rome, anything is up for grabs. I would not be surprised, if in my lifetime, I saw a Diarchy in the Vatican.

        September 1, 2016 at 11:28 pm
    • RCA Victor


      I think the reason we are so puzzled by the fact that so many Catholics just love Francis to pieces is this: we generally assume that most Catholics are serious about their faith, as we are. However, a more accurate picture is that most Catholics are content to just go through the minimum motions of the Faith, do what the clergy says is OK to do (which is just about anything these days), and get out of Mass as quickly as possible to hit the golf course, or whatever other form of recreation comes a-calling on a Sunday afternoon….if they even make it to Sunday Mass. Athanasius mentions a general indifference/apostasy among the faithful on another thread – a condition which comes in quite handy for the subversive clergy who are in control of the human element of the Church these days.

      Theirs is a worldly faith, so a worldly Pope, one portrayed by the world as the best thing since sliced bread, fits right in with their world view.

      September 1, 2016 at 11:00 pm
  • smartcatholicteacher

    The worry is, that this behaviour will lead to more progressive abominations like ‘fixed term’ pontificates. You heard it first here!

    September 1, 2016 at 9:33 pm
    • Summa

      Editor thank you for fixing that typo up. How do you do a grateful but embarrassed smiley 🙂

      September 1, 2016 at 11:00 pm
    • Athanasius


      Actually, did Pope Francis not say something to this effect at the beginning of his pontificate, something about retiring in about 3 years or so? I seem to recall that he made some remark along those lines.

      September 4, 2016 at 10:44 pm
      • RCA Victor September 4, 2016 at 11:35 pm
      • Summa

        Pope Francis,when he retires as he intends to do so, will no doubt remain a charismatic celebrity type figure, write some books, go on a book tour, appear on the One Show, Letterman and the RTE Late Late Show.
        I actually think he would do those things and in no way am I fooling around here.

        September 4, 2016 at 11:51 pm
      • Gerontius


        Check this out.

        Can it be possible that Pope Francis has actually sanctioned sacrilege? Hopefully this article is at the very least, doubtful.

        Extract from LifeSiteNews September 9, 2016

        Pope: ‘No other interpretation’ of Amoris Laetitia than allowing communion for divorced and remarried

        September 9, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — In a letter reportedly leaked by a priest in Argentina, Pope Francis writes that there is “no other interpretation” of Amoris Laetitia other than one admitting divorced and remarried Catholics to Holy Communion in some cases.

        The leaked document is the first time there is explicit confirmation that Pope Francis interprets Amoris Laetitia as allowing communion for divorced and remarried Catholics without the condition that the couple in the irregular situation live as brother and sister without sexual relations, as was always required by the Church.

        September 10, 2016 at 10:10 pm
      • Summa

        Well it’s diabolical, truly. A material heretic.

        September 11, 2016 at 1:53 am
  • Gerontius

    And then there’s this. Thanks be to God for the safety provided by the SSPX. Perhaps it’s time we implored God The Father to tell St. Michael, (who is The Guardian Angel of the Blessed Sacrament) to remove ALL MODERNIST HERETICS AND APOSTATES from Our Lords Mystical Body


    Simply put, and in point form, it’s a Purge.

    Make it a requirement that the Faithful, from bishops to priests to laity, may not refuse the systematic desecration of the Holy Eucharist
    – make it very, very difficult for even the bravest and most orthodox bishops to dissent from the programme
    – make it impossible for priests to act individually to defend the Eucharist
    – make it impossible for seminarians to maintain the doctrines of the Faith while in the seminary
    – make it impossible for seminarians to be ordained who are unwilling to desecrate the Eucharist
    – make it impossible for lay faithful who refuse to participate in the desecration of the Eucharist to remain in their parishes.


    September 10, 2016 at 10:49 pm
  • RCA Victor September 15, 2016 at 12:36 am

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