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Archbishop Gänswein discusses Pope Benedict’s life a year after his resignation

Catholic World News - February 10, 2014

In an interview with the Reuters news agency on the first anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation, Archbishop Georg Gänswein said that he has “never noticed” the Pope Emeritus manifesting any regrets about the decision.

“Pope Benedict is at peace with himself, and I think he is even at peace with the Lord,” said Archbishop Gänswein, who serves as secretary to Pope Benedict while remaining Prefect of the Papal Household under Pope Francis. “He is well but certainly he is a person who carries the weight of his years. So, he is a man who is physically old, but his spirit is very vivacious and very clear.”

Asked about media criticism of Pope Benedict, Archbishop Gänswein replied that Pope Benedict has no resentment.

“It’s clear that humanly speaking, many times, it is painful to see that what is written about someone does not correspond concretely to what was done,” he said. “But the measure of one’s work, of one’s way of doing things, is not what the mass media write but what is just before God and before conscience … And, if it is fair, history in the end will reflect this.”

“I am certain, indeed convinced, that history will offer a judgment that will be different than what one often read in the last years of his pontificate because the sources are clear and clarity springs from them,” Archbishop Gänswein continued.

Pope Benedict, he said, “is far from the world but he is present in the Church. His mission now, as he once said, is to help the Church and his successor, Pope Francis, through prayer. This is his first and most important task. But there are only 24 hours in a day. He studies, reads, handles correspondence and then there are people who visit him. We take walks praying the rosary, he often plays the piano, all this is done on a human scale for a man who is 86 years old.”

“From the very start there was good contact between [Pope Francis and Pope Benedict], and this good beginning developed and matured,” Archbishop Gänswein added. “They write to each other, they telephone each other, they talk to each other, they extend invitations to each other … On several levels, there is a good feeling between them.”

“I am convinced that the Holy Spirit sends the right pope at the right time, and this is true for John Paul, for Benedict, and for Francis.”

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