Catholic Culture Overview
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Pope Benedict: governance was my weakness

September 08, 2016

The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera has published excerpts of Peter Seewald’s book-length interview with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Last Testament: In His Own Words will be published in Italy on September 9 and in the United States in November.

“A weak point of mine was maybe little resolve in governing and making decisions,” said Pope Benedict. “In reality I am more a professor, one who reflects and meditates on spiritual questions,"

“Practical governance is not my strong point and this is certainly a weakness,” he added. “But I do not see myself as a failure.”

The Pope Emeritus said he was surprised by the election of Pope Francis but was “content” and “happy” as he saw him address the crowds from the balcony over St. Peter’s Square. He also praised Pope Francis as a “man of practical reform.”

“He was an archbishop for a long time, he knows the trade,” Pope Benedict said. “He was a superior of Jesuits and has the ability to put his hands to action in an organized way. I knew that this was not my strong point.”


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  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - Sep. 08, 2016 6:21 PM ET USA

    Being unable to govern is no sin. Peter himself had issues with leadership. Setting the right example is also important. Benedict's vision, orthodoxy and love for music and tradition served him well.

  • Posted by: loumiamo - Sep. 08, 2016 2:29 PM ET USA

    Would that every pope & bishop these past 100 years been as "weak" in governance as Benedict. The homosexual scandal was not even confronted until he was given authority over it in 2002. The bishop's suppression of the Latin liturgy wasn't righted until his moto proprio after he became Pope. If you forced Babe Ruth to name a pitch that gave him the most difficulty, no doubt he could think up an answer, but relative to the rest of the field, everyone knows that he could pretty much do it all.

  • Posted by: feedback - Sep. 08, 2016 10:09 AM ET USA

    I'm afraid that many Catholic Bishops would say the same thing: lack of resolve in governance is their weakness. "Do not be terrified on account of them, or I will terrify you before them" [Jeremiah 1,17]