Sunday, March 20, 2016

POPE FRANCIS AND POPE BENEDICT, DIFFERENT BUT COMPLIMENTARY


While other blogs create hysteria among those who are neotraditionalists -as it concerns the direction Pope Francis is leading the Church compared to Pope Benedict, others as well as myself have pointed out the obvious, over and over and over again. Pope Francis while different in style is not different in substance although brings a flexibility in enunciating a pastoral strategy for the Church going forward. Of course that strategy is based upon the age old dogma of Divine Mercy.

And of course Pope Francis hasn't suppressed the EF Mass and in fact will be the pope to finish what Pope Benedict tried to do, make regular the SSPX with the Church. A key factor in this is Pope Francis graciousness in allowing any Catholic to go to Confession to an SSPX priest.

Very much in line with my way of thinking, Archbishop Georg Gänswein makes clear that Pope Franics is an old-time Jesuit and quite traditional. In fact he's given another interview and this on the heels of the interview of Pope Benedict where His Holiness confirms in a positive way the direction Pope Francis is taking the Church:

Pope Emeritus Benedict’s Private Secretary Speaks on Priestly Celibacy and “Remarried” Divorcees
Dr. Maike Hickson

The German Radio station Deutsche Welle has just published a twenty-minute-long interview with Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the private secretary of Pope Benedict XVI and Prefect of the Papal Household (for Pope Francis).

In this interview, Archbishop Gänswein made two important statements which might be seen as an attempt to re-affirm and defend priestly celibacy and the indissolubility of marriage. Since these statements have been published on the same day when Pope Francis is apparently to sign his Apostolic Exhortation concerning marriage and the family, Gänswein’s word may well have a special weight. His interview also deals, in part, with the question of Pope Francis’ own reforms.(my comment: and it seems to be damage control from what the loose canon Cardinal Kaspar gloated about last week! This is quite positive!)

When asked about the question of celibacy, Gänswein says: “I do not know whether this theme [of celibacy]moves so many people now.” To live in celibacy, in his eyes, “is just as difficult as leading a good marriage and having a good family.” He points out that there are also people outside of Christianity who live in celibacy. Gänswein says that the reigning pontiff is strongly influenced by St. Ignatius, that he is a “Jesuit of the Old School.” In his eyes, celibacy is for Pope Francis himself “not an obstacle – it is a challenge, but also a source of strength.” And the German prelate then also says:

I do not believe that under Pope Francis, there will now be a change in this question … of celibacy.

A similarily clear statement comes from him after he was asked about the question of the “remarried” divorcees and whether they will be admitted to the Sacraments. Gänswein said:

I am convinced that he [Pope Francis] will continue on the path of his predecessors – that is to say, also according to the Church’s Magisterium – and that there will also be found, accordingly, such statements in his own magisterial writing.

Archbishop Gänswein also speaks highly of Pope Francis, praising his closeness to the people and his attentiveness to the poor. He says that from his own experience within the Curia, there is not any resistance against the pope, even though some people “have difficulties with the rapidity and the intensity” of the pope’s actions.

With regard to Germany, the German archbishop sees a grave crisis of Faith, saying that “the roots of the Faith,” appear weakened and that there might be a defectiveness (“Leerstellen”) in the proclamation of the Faith by the very teachers of the Faith themselves.

It is difficult to say – and only time will show – whether the recently published Avvenire interview with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, as well as this interview with Archbishop Gänswein, are in fact intentional (if gentle) attempts at clarifying and counterpointing some of the likely upcoming reforms of Pope Francis.

Then John Allen makes some important points in a Crux article yesterday:

Benedict says. “His pastoral practice is expressed in the fact that he continually speaks to us of God’s mercy. It is mercy that moves us toward God, while justice frightens us before Him.”

As Benedict sees it, he inherited the emphasis on mercy in recent papacies from St. John Paul II, laid out the intellectual case, and then handed it on to Francis, who’s taking the message to the streets.

At the level of Church politics that thumbs-up is fairly important, since some of Francis’ biggest critics come among the very theological conservatives who cherish Benedict.

The bottom line, therefore, is that the narrative has the story wrong. The relationship between Benedict and Francis isn’t Ali vs. Frazier, or Coke vs. Pepsi; it’s more akin to Lennon and McCartney, or Rolls and Royce. Granted, Benedict and Francis have very different personalities, but then so did Martin and Lewis or Holmes and Watson, which didn’t stop them from making some magic together.

This isn’t a rivalry, in other words, but actually one of the more intriguing partnerships in recent Christian history.

And then Fr Z reminds us of what the progressives in the Church thought they would have by now but certainly don't:

1) Pope Francis will live at the Lateran Basilica as an example that he will live a simple life away from the Vatican.
2) Pope Francis will allow the ordination of women deacons in service to the poor.
3) Pope Francis will sell the Vatican Museums to a private company and give the proceeds to the poor.
4) Pope Francis will get a petition from the English speaking bishops and will rescind use of the 2010 RM because the language is too complicated.
5) Pope Francis will repudiate Humanae Vitae since too many children tends to perpetuate poverty.

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