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Archbishop Gänswein: statement by Benedict XVI not aimed at Pope Francis

July 19, 2017

Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the longtime personal secretary to Benedict XVI, denounced suggestions that the retired Pontiff had intended to criticize Pope Francis with a statement issued for the death of Cardinal Joachim Meisner.

In his statement, which was read (by Archbishop Gänswein) at the funeral for Cardinal Meisner, the retired Pontiff praised Cardinal Meisner for his “conviction that the Lord does not leave his Church, even if at times the ship is almost filled to the point of shipwreck.” Some reporters interpreted the statement as a suggestion that the Catholic Church is in crisis under the leadership of Pope Francis.

Archbishop Gänswein charged that those who gave such a dramatic interpretation of the former Pope’s words had “deliberately exploited” him. He said that Benedict “wasn’t alluding to anything specific” with his reference to a storm-tossed ship. In fact, Benedict XVI had used similar language frequently during his own pontificate.

Archbishop Gänswein told Il Giornale that “stupid” people were “trying to use the Pope-emeritus in an anti-Francis tone.”


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  • Posted by: JDeFauw - Jul. 20, 2017 4:59 PM ET USA

    I think Pope Emeritus Benedict was referring to the entire Post Vatican II period. And yet, since Cardinal Meisner was one of the Cardinals who submitted the dubia, I can understand why some people would read into his statement a vote of support for the dubia, which in turn would be an indirect criticism of Amoris Laetitsia.

  • Posted by: jackbene3651 - Jul. 19, 2017 6:12 PM ET USA

    That's interesting, but Benedict also seemed to contradict statements Pope Francis has made about the Eucharist and there is more which could be construed as a criticism of this Pontiff. Bravo, Papa Benedict!