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Benedict XVI in retirement: a total, prudent silence

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Apr 19, 2013

Just six weeks ago, some “experts” on Vatican affairs were predicting that confusion was bound to arise in the Catholic world when we had two living Popes. Well, let me ask you: Do you feel confused?

Today we mark the 8th anniversary of the election of Benedict XVI as Supreme Pontiff. Many journalists took note of the anniversary, but there was no public statement from the Pope-emeritus. Earlier this week, on Tuesday, Benedict reached his 86th birthday. Again, we took notice, but we heard nothing from Castel Gandolfo, where Benedict XVI was celebrating the birthday quietly with his brother.

In fact, since his resignation took effect on February 28, Benedict XVI has not issued any public statement. Apart from that Saturday in March when he greeted Pope Francis to Castel Gandolfo, he has not made a public appearance. He has been (as I predicted he would be) invisible to the outside world. Benedict has clearly understood, from the day he announced his plan to resign, that he would spend the rest of his life in silence.

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  • Posted by: eileen1636 - Apr. 19, 2013 4:21 PM ET USA

    Currently, that visible humility of Pope Francis seems to be receiving a lot of noteworthy attention. But the hidden and deep-well humility of Pope Emeritus Benedict is unfortunately missed by many folks, because his was of a contemplative nature. Look at his Day by Day BENEDICTUS, and observe that the continual outpouring of the Holy Spirit is pervasive and rich, so much so that one is drawn into that quiet humility of Benedict's self giving.

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