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Keepin’ On Keepin’ On: Will Ratzinger/Benedict Become the Vatican’s “Holy Ghost” (Spook)?

The real new Pope is: a) on the left; b) on the right; c) both of the above

COMMENT: There are numer­ous indi­ca­tions that “fas­cist-friend­ly” insti­tu­tion­al con­ti­nu­ity will be main­tained at the Vat­i­can.

The Pope will have the title of “Emer­i­tus Pope,” wear­ing white and inter­fac­ing with Georg Gan­swein, the Ger­man Opus Dei oper­a­tive who has served as the Pope’s right-hand man and who will serve the new Pope as well. 

As a result of this gam­bit, Ratzinger/Benedict may well be able to func­tion as an emi­nence grise, wield­ing clan­des­tine pow­er behind the scenes.

The Pope’s pro­pos­al to move up the con­clave of car­di­nals who will select the new Pope has also been seen as favor­ing a con­tin­u­a­tion of the reac­tionary bent of the Vat­i­can, rem­i­nis­cent in some ways of the Mohamed Mor­si’s deci­sion to speed up approval of the pro-Mus­lim Broth­er­hood con­sti­tu­tion in Egypt.

In addi­tion, Ratzinger/Benedict’s res­i­dence in the Vat­i­can will shield him from any pos­si­ble legal action, because of the Vat­i­can’s sta­tus of diplo­mat­ic immu­ni­ty. 

“Bene­dict To Be Called ‘Emer­i­tus Pope,’ Will Wear White” by Nicole Win­field [AP]; Talk­ing Points Memo; 2/26/2013.

EXCERPT: Pope Bene­dict XVI will be known as “emer­i­tus pope” in his retire­ment and will con­tinue to wear a white cas­sock, the Vat­i­can announced Tues­day, again fuel­ing con­cerns about poten­tial con­flicts aris­ing from hav­ing both a reign­ing and a retired pope.

The pope’s title and what he would wear have been a major source of spec­u­la­tion ever since Bene­dict stunned the world and announced he would resign on Thurs­day, the first pon­tiff to do so in 600 years.

The Vat­i­can spokesman, the Rev. Fed­erico Lom­bardi, said Bene­dict him­self had made the deci­sion in con­sul­ta­tion with oth­ers, set­tling on “Your Holi­ness Bene­dict XVI” and either emer­i­tus pope or emer­i­tus Roman pon­tiff.

Lom­bardi said he didn’t know why Bene­dict had decid­ed to drop his oth­er main title: bish­op of Rome.

In the two weeks since Benedict’s res­ig­na­tion announce­ment, Vat­i­can offi­cials had sug­gested that Bene­dict would like­ly resume wear­ing the tra­di­tional black garb of a cler­ic and would use the title “emer­i­tus bish­op of Rome” so as to not cre­ate con­fu­sion with the future pope.

Benedict’s deci­sion to call him­self emer­i­tus pope and to keep wear­ing white is sure to fan con­cern voiced pri­vately by some car­di­nals about the awk­ward real­ity of hav­ing two popes, both liv­ing with­in the Vat­i­can walls.

Adding to the con­cern is that Benedict’s trust­ed sec­re­tary, Mon­signor Georg Gaenswein, will be serv­ing both pon­tiffs — liv­ing with Bene­dict at the monastery inside the Vat­i­can and keep­ing his day job as pre­fect of the new pope’s house­hold. . . .

“Pope Will Have Secu­rity, Immu­nity by Remain­ing in the Vat­i­can” by Philip Pul­lel­la; Reuters.com; 2/15/2013.

EXCERPT: Pope Benedict’s deci­sion to live in the Vat­i­can after he resigns will pro­vide him with secu­rity and pri­vacy. It will also offer legal pro­tec­tion from any attempt to pros­e­cute him in con­nec­tion with sex­ual abuse cas­es around the world, Church sources and legal experts say.

“His con­tin­ued pres­ence in the Vat­i­can is nec­es­sary, oth­er­wise he might be defense­less. He wouldn’t have his immu­nity, his pre­rog­a­tives, his secu­rity, if he is any­where else,” said one Vat­i­can offi­cial, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty.

This could be com­pli­cated for the Church, par­tic­u­larly in the unlike­ly event that the next pope makes deci­sions that may dis­please con­ser­v­a­tives, who could then go to Benedict’s place of res­i­dence to pay trib­ute to him.

“That would be very prob­lem­atic,” anoth­er Vat­i­can offi­cial said.

The final key con­sid­er­a­tion is the pope’s poten­tial expo­sure to legal claims over the Catholic Church’s sex­ual abuse scan­dals.

In 2010, for exam­ple, Bene­dict was named as a defen­dant in a law suit alleg­ing that he failed to take action as a car­di­nal in 1995 when he was alleged­ly told about a priest who had abused boys at a U.S. school for the deaf decades ear­lier. The lawyers with­drew the case last year and the Vat­i­can said it was a major vic­tory that proved the pope could not be held liable for the actions of abu­sive priests. . . .

. . . That would con­tinue to pro­vide him immu­nity under the pro­vi­sions of the Lat­eran Pacts while he is in the Vat­i­can and even if he makes jaunts into Italy as a Vat­i­can cit­i­zen.

The 1929 Lat­eran Pacts between [Mus­solin­i’s] Italy and the Holy See, which estab­lished Vat­i­can City as a sov­er­eign state, said Vat­i­can City would be “invari­ably and in every event con­sid­ered as neu­tral and invi­o­lable ter­ri­to­ry”. . . .

“Pope may change con­clave rules before leav­ing: Vat­i­can” By Philip Pul­lel­la; Reuters.com; 2/20/2013.

EXCERPT: Pope Bene­dict may change rules gov­ern­ing the con­clave that will secret­ly elect his suc­ces­sor, a move that could move up the glob­al meet­ing of car­di­nals who are already in touch about who could best lead Catholics through a peri­od of cri­sis. . . .

The Vat­i­can appears to be aim­ing to have a new pope elect­ed and then for­mally installed before Palm Sun­day on March 24 . . . .

CONCERNS ABOUT EARLY CONCLAVE

But some in the Church believe that an ear­ly con­clave would give an unfair advan­tage to car­di­nals already in Rome and work­ing in the Curia, the Vatican’s cen­tral admin­is­tra­tion.

“A short peri­od before a con­clave helps the cur­ial car­di­nals in Rome oper­at­ing on their home turf,” said Father Tom Reese, senior fel­low at the Wood­stock The­o­log­i­cal Cen­ter at George­town Uni­ver­sity and author of sev­eral books on the Vat­i­can.

“The cur­ial car­di­nals are the ones that car­di­nals from out­side Rome turn to for opin­ions about the oth­er car­di­nals. The longer the pre-con­clave peri­od, the more time non-cur­ial car­di­nals have to talk to each oth­er and to get to know each oth­er. The longer the peri­od pri­or to the con­clave, the less depen­dent out­side car­di­nals are on the cur­ial car­di­nals.”

There is spec­u­la­tion in the Vat­i­can that, if the rules are amend­ed, the con­clave could start on March 10, last­ing a few days, and the new pope could be installed on March 17, both Sun­days. But much would depend on the length of the con­clave.

Dur­ing the con­clave, car­di­nals live in a res­i­dence inside the Vat­i­can and vote twice in the Sis­tine Chapel. They are not allowed to com­mu­ni­cate in any way with the out­side world, nor are they allowed to lis­ten to radio, watch tele­vi­sion, make phone calls or use the inter­net.

Bene­dict has hand-picked more than half the men who will elect his suc­ces­sor. The rest were cho­sen by the late Pope John Paul, a Pole with whom the Ger­man pope shared a deter­mi­na­tion to reassert a more ortho­dox Catholi­cism in the new mil­len­ni­um. . . .

 

Discussion

4 comments for “Keepin’ On Keepin’ On: Will Ratzinger/Benedict Become the Vatican’s “Holy Ghost” (Spook)?”

  1. Under­ground Reich con­nec­tions?

    As his last sub­stan­tive act as pope, Ratzinger appoint­ed a fel­low Ger­man, Ernst von Frey­berg, an aris­to­crat and con­ser­v­a­tive Catholic, to head the Vat­i­can bank. The appoint­ment appeared to be a pre-emp­tive move, aimed at pre­vent­ing his suc­ces­sor from pick­ing his own bank chief.

    Von Freyberg’s appoint­ment pro­voked new con­tro­ver­sy, how­ev­er, after it was revealed that the Ger­man ship­build­ing com­pa­ny he chairs had man­u­fac­tured bat­tle­ships and U‑boats for Hitler’s navy and is cur­rent­ly pro­duc­ing war­ships for the Ger­man gov­ern­ment.

    A Vat­i­can spokesman respond­ed to ques­tions about the pro­pri­ety of nam­ing an arms man­u­fac­tur­er to head the Church’s bank by insist­ing that the von Freyberg’s main line of work was build­ing lux­u­ry yachts and that “he also orga­nizes pil­grim­ages to Lour­des, he is a mem­ber of the Order of Mal­ta, he takes care of the sick, so cer­tain­ly he is a per­son with a notable human and Chris­t­ian sen­si­bil­i­ty.”

    Posted by stu | February 28, 2013, 9:22 am
  2. Part of the com­mon wis­dom regard­ing the chal­lenges sur­round­ing a new Pope is the need to “rebrand” the Catholic Church. And to the now-Emer­i­tus Pope’s cred­it, one of the final deci­sions he made — the deci­sion to order UK’s most senior cler­ic, Car­di­nal Kei­th O’Brien, to resign and not attend the Vat­i­can con­clave where the new Pope will be select­ed — was prob­a­bly a good ‘rebrand­ing’ move:

    The Sun
    My friend Sav­ile by Car­di­nal ‘Sin’
    Holy man and the sex beast

    Exclu­sive
    By BRIAN FLYNN, Inves­ti­ga­tions Edi­tor, and HARRY HAYDON
    Last Updat­ed: 26th Feb­ru­ary 2013

    BRITAIN’S Catholic leader — sen­sa­tion­al­ly fired by the Pope over a gay sex scan­dal — boast­ed of his close friend­ship with Jim­my Sav­ile, The Sun can reveal.

    Car­di­nal Kei­th O’Brien formed a close bond with the BBC child sex beast over many years and paid a per­son­al trib­ute to him after his death.

    Yes­ter­day it emerged that O’Brien, an out­spo­ken oppo­nent of gay rights, was ordered to resign by the Vat­i­can after male priests came for­ward to say he behaved “inap­pro­pri­ate­ly” towards them in the 1980s.

    One said he was left need­ing long-term psy­cho­log­i­cal coun­selling.

    The country’s most senior Catholic cler­ic had planned to hang on until his 75th birth­day next month.

    But the Pope told him to go imme­di­ate­ly, plung­ing the Catholic church in Britain into tur­moil.

    The Car­di­nal — arch­bish­op of St Andrews and Edin­burgh — denies the alle­ga­tions and is under­stood to be con­sult­ing lawyers.

    But he issued a state­ment yes­ter­day con­firm­ing Pope Benedict’s orders and apol­o­gis­ing for “fail­ures” dur­ing his min­istry.

    He paid trib­ute to his “friend” Sav­ile after his death in Octo­ber, months before the DJ was unmasked as one of the country’s worst ever child sex preda­tors.

    He told the Scot­tish Catholic Observ­er: “My friend­ship with Jim­my Sav­ile devel­oped over many years since I was assis­tant priest in St Patrick’s Parish, Kil­syth.

    “We were always try­ing to fundraise, not only for the parish, but for a vari­ety of local and nation­al char­i­ties.”

    Sav­ile was award­ed the papal knight­hood in 1990, a deci­sion the Vat­i­can lat­er admit­ted regret­ting.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 28, 2013, 11:11 am
  3. @Stu–

    We cov­ered this and oth­er Vat­i­can-relat­ed mat­ters in pre­vi­ous posts.

    It’d be good to keep cur­rent.

    Best,

    Dave Emory

    Posted by Dave Emory | February 28, 2013, 6:01 pm
  4. The news this week in the US has been dom­i­nat­ed by sto­ries relat­ed to the impeach­ment of Pres­i­dent Trump, includ­ing the for­mal deliv­ery of arti­cles of impeach­ment against Pres­i­dent Trump being deliv­ered by the US House to the US Sen­ate this week, kick­ing off a tri­al in the Sen­ate. So here’s a series of arti­cles about a very dif­fer­ent kind of impeach­ment process that’s slow­ly play­ing out right now. And unlike the impeach­ment process, this one isn’t legit­i­mate and is more of a coup: It’s the qui­et impeach­ment of Pope Fran­cis that appears to be under­way by a fac­tion of far right ide­o­logues inside Vat­i­can and allied with with glob­al far right. And Steve Ban­non is involved. Sur­prise!

    As we’re going to see, while there have been signs of ten­sions between the back­ers of the lib­er­al Pope Fran­cis and the back­ers of his far right pre­de­ces­sor Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Bene­dict), that con­flict appears to be heat­ing up of late and spilling over into an appar­ent recent pub­lic rebuke of Fran­cis by Ratzinger that’s rais­ing the ques­tion of whether or not there’s an out­right Pope pow­er strug­gle under­way. The appar­ent rebuke came in the form of Ratzinger author­ing parts of a new book about the top­ic of allow­ing priests to be mar­ried that strong­ly crit­i­cized Pope Fran­cis’s recent move to allow mar­ried priests in some cir­cum­stances. The book was pri­mar­i­ly writ­ten by Car­di­nal Robert Sarah, an extreme­ly con­ser­v­a­tive Car­di­nal Robert Sarah from Guinea who is vehe­ment­ly opposed to any moves to relax the church’s views on human sex­u­al­i­ty. But as we’ll see, it was Ratzinger who was both pho­tographed on the cov­er of the book and list­ed as its leak author as “Pope Bene­dict”. It’s that book that appears to be an open move by the ex-Pope to over­rule the cur­rent Pope. Even many Bene­dic­t’s back­ers acknowl­edge that he should have been list­ed as “Joseph Ratzinger”, not Pope Bene­dict, under the rules that seemed to be in place after Ratzinger stepped down and agreed not to speak or write pub­licly.

    But it gets more mys­te­ri­ous. Because Ratzinger’s health is so frail that many are ques­tion­ing whether or not he even wrote the parts of the book he appar­ent­ly authored. That’s lead­ing to spec­u­la­tion that his per­son­al sec­re­tary Georg Gaenswein (“Gor­geous Georg”), who con­tin­ues to serve as the gate­keep­er to Ratzinger, has actu­al­ly been putting words in the ex-Pope’s mouth/pen and is allow­ing him to be used to lead this far right revolt. And yet, as we’ll see in the sec­ond arti­cle below, Gaenswein is now pub­licly assert­ing that Ratinger had not agreed to be a co-author of the book or signed off on the joint­ly writ­ten intro­duc­tion and con­clu­sion and he is demand­ing that the book pub­lish­er remove Ratzinger from the book cov­er. Gaenswein is por­tray­ing the sit­u­a­tion as an inno­cent mis­un­der­stand­ing between Ratzinger and Car­di­nal Sarah over what Ratzinger agreed to in terms of author­ship. The pub­lish­er, Ignatius Press, is claim­ing that Ratzinger was indeed a co-author under the rules of co-author­ship and Car­di­nal Sarah claims to have let­ters where Ratzinger agreed on the front cov­er. Two hours after Sarah made those claims, he tweet­ed out that Pope Bene­dic­t’s name would be removed as a co-author and would instead be list­ed as a con­trib­u­tor but the essay Ratzinger write will remain in the book.

    So are Gaenswein’s demands just nec­es­sary pub­lic ass-cov­er­ing to buy time and sow con­fu­sion as this pow­er strug­gle gets under­way or was some­thing else going on that led to Ratzinger’s “Pope Bene­dict” title being used to lead the charge against the new Pope’s new poli­cies? That remains unclear. But as we’re going to see, Gaenswein is indeed seen as one of the key play­ing in the Vat­i­can fac­tion opposed to Pope Fran­cis’s moves to lib­er­al­ize the Catholic Church’s poli­cies. And that’s a fac­tion that includes fig­ures out­side the church. Fig­ures like Ital­ian far right politi­cian Mat­teo Salvi­ni, Steve Ban­non, and a Ger­man for­mer punk rock­er-turned-princess Princess Glo­ria of Thurn and Taxis.

    Ok, here’s the first arti­cle about the scan­dal over the book cov­er of a book pri­mar­i­ly writ­ten by Car­di­nal Sarah but list­ed “Pope Bene­dict” as the lead author on the cov­er along with his pic­ture. As the arti­cle notes, part of what made this so con­tro­ver­sial was that Ratzinger’s health is so weak it’s spec­u­lat­ed he did­n’t even write the parts he sup­pos­ed­ly write and instead “Gor­geous Georg” Gaenswein is allow­ing the ex-Pope to get used in a dri­ve to under­mine Pope Fran­cis’s author­i­ty:

    AFP

    Ex-pope’s shad­ow Vat­i­can role in the spot­light

    16 Jan 2020

    Ex-pope Bene­dict XVI seems to have bro­ken his silence recent­ly over key Catholic issues and his com­ments have raised seri­ous ques­tions with­in the Church about the extent to which there are, in fact, two “men in white” at the Vat­i­can

    In 2013, Bene­dict became the first pon­tiff to resign in almost 600 years. He chose to be known there­after as “pope emer­i­tus” and said he would live “hid­den from the world” in a for­mer con­vent inside the Vat­i­can grounds.

    While he ini­tial­ly stuck to his promise to car­ry out a life of qui­et con­tem­pla­tion and aca­d­e­m­ic research, he has since weighed in on the explo­sive issues of cler­i­cal sex abuse and whether the priest­hood could be opened to mar­ried men.
    s
    This week, Bene­dic­t’s con­tri­bu­tion to a book on celiba­cy was seen as a strate­gic attempt to under­mine his suc­ces­sor Pope Fran­cis and boost the cause of a com­bat­ive ultra-con­ser­v­a­tive wing of the Church.

    Experts say the prob­lem is that no rules were drawn up to define what role Bene­dict should play after he stepped down as head of the church.

    “There were hints of a prob­lem right from the start”, when Bene­dict gave up the papal hat but not the postal address, Richard Gail­lardetz, Catholic the­ol­o­gy pro­fes­sor at Boston Col­lege, told the Nation­al Catholic Reporter.

    “The pub­li­ca­tion of views on con­tro­vert­ed issues, when offered by a man who insists that he too still deserves the title ‘pope’ (albeit pope emer­i­tus), who con­tin­ues to wear papal garb and who still resides in the Vat­i­can, is deeply prob­lem­at­ic,” Gail­lardetz said.

    Even Bene­dic­t’s sup­port­ers said he should have used his giv­en name, Joseph Ratzinger, when sign­ing his con­tri­bu­tion to the book.

    His­to­ri­an Francesco Mar­giot­ta Broglio, head of Italy’s reli­gious free­dom com­mis­sion, told La Stam­pa that “Ratzinger should nei­ther write nor speak.

    “If he con­tin­ues to go against the reign­ing pope, he could become an anti-pope”.

    - Putting words in his mouth? -

    Bene­dic­t’s age and phys­i­cal frailty — the 92-year old report­ed­ly has dif­fi­cul­ty speak­ing or writ­ing — has prompt­ed some Vat­i­can watch­ers to ques­tion whether he was the author of his pub­lished reflec­tions, or whether some­one put words in his mouth.

    “It seems like­ly some prelates opposed to Fran­cis have sought to hide their plots in the man­tle of the emer­i­tus,” said Mas­si­mo Fag­gi­oli, the­ol­o­gy pro­fes­sor at Vil­lano­va Uni­ver­si­ty.

    The ex-pope said when he resigned that he no longer had the strength of mind or body to car­ry on. His per­son­al sec­re­tary Georg Gaenswein said in 2016 that he was “slow­ly fad­ing”.

    Vat­i­can expert for the Catholic week­ly The Tablet, Christo­pher Lamb, was not the only one to point out that Arch­bish­op Gaenswein — nick­named “Gor­geous George” by his admir­ers for his dash­ing good looks — occu­pies a cru­cial, gate­keep­er role for the ex-pope.

    “Bene­dic­t’s inter­ven­tions over the past year have raised ques­tions regard­ing whether, giv­en his own infir­mi­ty... he is being manip­u­lat­ed by per­sons eager to under­mine the cur­rent papa­cy, even if Bene­dict him­self is not,” Gail­lardetz said.

    Fag­gi­oli point­ed out that not only was there still no Church law on how to deal with an inca­pac­i­tat­ed pope, it “evi­dent­ly also needs a law con­cern­ing the sit­u­a­tion cre­at­ed by an inca­pac­i­tat­ed ’emer­i­tus’ and his entourage”.

    Experts said the pri­or­i­ty should now be to deter­mine the role and func­tions of a retired pope, with some sug­gest­ing that Fran­cis could change canon law, or set up a com­mis­sion to sug­gest some new ground rules.

    ...

    ———–

    “Ex-pope’s shad­ow Vat­i­can role in the spot­light”; AFP; 01/16/2020

    “While he ini­tial­ly stuck to his promise to car­ry out a life of qui­et con­tem­pla­tion and aca­d­e­m­ic research, he has since weighed in on the explo­sive issues of cler­i­cal sex abuse and whether the priest­hood could be opened to mar­ried men.”

    He was a com­pli­ant ex-Pope for a while, but not any­more. It’s some­thing that isn’t entire­ly sur­pris­ing either giv­en that Ratzinger refused to give up wear­ing papal garb and still lives in the Vat­i­can. The way he stepped down while note entire­ly step­ping down from the papal role made clear this sce­nario was going to remain a pos­si­bil­i­ty from the begin­ning and now it’s hap­pen­ing:

    ...
    “There were hints of a prob­lem right from the start”, when Bene­dict gave up the papal hat but not the postal address, Richard Gail­lardetz, Catholic the­ol­o­gy pro­fes­sor at Boston Col­lege, told the Nation­al Catholic Reporter.

    “The pub­li­ca­tion of views on con­tro­vert­ed issues, when offered by a man who insists that he too still deserves the title ‘pope’ (albeit pope emer­i­tus), who con­tin­ues to wear papal garb and who still resides in the Vat­i­can, is deeply prob­lem­at­ic,” Gail­lardetz said.

    Even Bene­dic­t’s sup­port­ers said he should have used his giv­en name, Joseph Ratzinger, when sign­ing his con­tri­bu­tion to the book.

    His­to­ri­an Francesco Mar­giot­ta Broglio, head of Italy’s reli­gious free­dom com­mis­sion, told La Stam­pa that “Ratzinger should nei­ther write nor speak.

    “If he con­tin­ues to go against the reign­ing pope, he could become an anti-pope”.
    ...

    But the fact that this is hap­pen­ing at a time when Ratzinger has dif­fi­cul­ty speak­ing or writ­ing is lead­ing to spec­u­la­tion that Ratzinger may not entire­ly be direct­ly involved in this pow­er strug­gle but is instead hav­ing words put in his mouth. And the per­son in the best posi­tion to do that is “Gor­geous Georg”:

    .
    ...
    - Putting words in his mouth? -

    Bene­dic­t’s age and phys­i­cal frailty — the 92-year old report­ed­ly has dif­fi­cul­ty speak­ing or writ­ing — has prompt­ed some Vat­i­can watch­ers to ques­tion whether he was the author of his pub­lished reflec­tions, or whether some­one put words in his mouth.

    “It seems like­ly some prelates opposed to Fran­cis have sought to hide their plots in the man­tle of the emer­i­tus,” said Mas­si­mo Fag­gi­oli, the­ol­o­gy pro­fes­sor at Vil­lano­va Uni­ver­si­ty.

    The ex-pope said when he resigned that he no longer had the strength of mind or body to car­ry on. His per­son­al sec­re­tary Georg Gaenswein said in 2016 that he was “slow­ly fad­ing”.

    Vat­i­can expert for the Catholic week­ly The Tablet, Christo­pher Lamb, was not the only one to point out that Arch­bish­op Gaenswein — nick­named “Gor­geous George” by his admir­ers for his dash­ing good looks — occu­pies a cru­cial, gate­keep­er role for the ex-pope.

    “Bene­dic­t’s inter­ven­tions over the past year have raised ques­tions regard­ing whether, giv­en his own infir­mi­ty... he is being manip­u­lat­ed by per­sons eager to under­mine the cur­rent papa­cy, even if Bene­dict him­self is not,” Gail­lardetz said.
    ...

    And those spec­u­la­tions are part of what make the fol­low­ing arti­cle so inter­est­ing. Because it’s Gaenswein who is now demand­ing that Bene­dic­t’s name and pho­to be removed from the cov­er of the book while insist­ing that Ratzinger nev­er gave his per­mis­sions and describes the sit­u­a­tion as a mis­un­der­stand­ing. But the pub­lish­er is refus­ing, say­ing it’s clear Ratzinger was a co-author who had been work­ing with Car­di­nal Sarah for months on the book. And Car­di­nal Sarah claims to have evi­dence that Ratzinger did indeed agree to that front cov­er but then tweet­ed out that Pope Bene­dic­t’s name will be removed as a co-author and instead list­ed as a con­trib­u­tor. So it’s going to be inter­est­ing to see if Gaenswein con­tin­ues with his demands or if shift­ing Pope Bene­dict from a co-author to con­trib­u­tor sat­is­fies his demands, which will give us a bet­ter idea of the nature of these the­atrics:

    The Tablet

    Remove Bene­dict as co-author, demands Gän­swein

    by Christo­pher Lamb
    14 Jan­u­ary 2020

    Bene­dict XVI has been dragged into an attempt to under­mine Pope Fran­cis after the retired Pope was incor­rect­ly pre­sent­ed as the co-author of a book defend­ing cler­i­cal celiba­cy.

    Arch­bish­op Georg Gän­swein, Bene­dict XVI’s pri­vate sec­re­tary, has demand­ed that the Pope Emer­i­tus’ name is removed from the cov­er. The Pope Emer­i­tus had not, he said, agreed to co-author the book or sign off on the joint­ly writ­ten intro­duc­tion and con­clu­sion.

    How­ev­er the pub­lish­ers Ignatius Press say they con­tin­ue to regard the book as coau­thored and indi­cat­ed they will not remove Bene­dic­t’s name from the cov­er.

    The Pope Emer­i­tus was pho­tographed on the front cov­er and list­ed as the lead author in a book writ­ten by Car­di­nal Robert Sarah, the Vatican’s litur­gy offi­cial, which appeals for Fran­cis not to allow the ordi­na­tion of mar­ried men to serve as priests in the Ama­zon.

    Dur­ing the Octo­ber syn­od, a major­i­ty of bish­ops request­ed that mar­ried dea­cons be ordained priests to serve remote com­mu­ni­ties cur­rent­ly left with­out access to the Eucharist for months at a time. The Jesuit Pope, who has repeat­ed­ly stressed he does not wish to change the rules on celiba­cy but may allow for excep­tions, is prepar­ing to issue his response to the syn­od in the near future.

    The use of Bene­dict in the book, to be pub­lished in three lan­guages and released in French this week, was read as a strate­gic attempt to exert pres­sure on Fran­cis to main­tain the sta­tus quo. Car­di­nal Sarah, 74, has increas­ing­ly become a fig­ure around which oppo­si­tion to the Pope is coa­lesc­ing. Titled “From the Depths of Our Hearts”, the book is a joint appeal to keep manda­to­ry cler­i­cal celiba­cy for the Latin-rite Church and includ­ed an essay from the 92-year-old Pope Emer­i­tus, draft­ed before the syn­od took place. In what is pre­sent­ed as a joint­ly authored intro­duc­tion, the pair quote St Augus­tine say­ing they can no longer keep silent.

    After details of the book emerged, Gän­swein asked Car­di­nal Sarah to ask the pub­lish­ers to remove the Pope Emer­i­tus’ name from the cov­er.

    Rome has been abuzz with spec­u­la­tion about how Bene­dict was able to author the book giv­en his age and phys­i­cal frailty which has made it dif­fi­cult for him to speak or write.

    Mov­ing swift­ly to counter scep­ti­cism about Bene­dic­t’s involve­ment, Car­di­nal Sarah ini­tial­ly released a detailed state­ment say­ing the Pope Emer­i­tus agreed on the front cov­er and its release date along with let­ters from Bene­dict claim­ing to prove col­lab­o­ra­tion.

    Just two hours lat­er, dur­ing a day of fast-paced dra­ma in the Vat­i­can, the car­di­nal issued a fol­low-up tweet to announce that Bene­dic­t’s name would be removed as a co-author, and he would be list­ed as a con­trib­u­tor instead. He stressed, how­ev­er, that the retired Pope’s essay on cler­i­cal celiba­cy still stands.

    Car­di­nal Sarah’s 175-page book is a no-holds-barred defence of celiba­cy, an 800-year-old church dis­ci­pline. Yet it also makes asser­tions an inter­na­tion­al­ly-respect­ed the­olo­gian such as Joseph Ratzinger would nor­mal­ly shy away from.

    The car­di­nal argues there is an “an onto­log­i­cal-sacra­men­tal link between priest­hood and celiba­cy”, a claim which con­tra­dicts the notion of celiba­cy as a dis­ci­pline and appears at odds with the teach­ing of the Sec­ond Vat­i­can Coun­cil which states renounc­ing mar­riage is “not demand­ed by the very nature of priest­hood”. The litur­gy pre­fect also writes that mar­ried cler­gy are “sec­ond class” priests.

    For his part, Bene­dict XVI argues in the book that priest­hood and mar­riage are not com­pat­i­ble, adding that renounc­ing mar­riage “to place one­self ful­ly at the dis­pos­al of the Lord has become a cri­te­ri­on for priest­ly min­istry”.

    As Pope, and Pre­fect of the Con­gre­ga­tion for the Doc­trine of the Faith, Bene­dict defend­ed the norms of celiba­cy for the west­ern Church. He did, how­ev­er, see them as a dis­ci­pline which could be dis­pensed giv­en that dur­ing his pon­tif­i­cate he set up per­son­al ordi­nar­i­ates, spe­cial struc­tures where mar­ried Angli­can priests could move over to Rome while retain­ing aspects of their Angli­can her­itage.

    The lat­est book episode expos­es, for the first time, divi­sions between the inner cir­cle around the Pope Emer­i­tus. Access to him is tight­ly con­trolled by Arch­bish­op Gän­swein who occu­pies an impor­tant gate­keep­er role. A recent doc­u­men­tary revealed the dif­fi­cul­ty that Bene­dict has in com­mu­ni­cat­ing and the cru­cial posi­tion played by his sec­re­tary.

    ...

    Lat­er, Arch­bish­op Gän­swein issued a clar­i­fi­ca­tion. He said that Bene­dict XVI had not autho­rised the joint sig­na­ture as co-author of Car­di­nal Sarah’s essay on priest­ly celiba­cy.

    He said: “I can con­firm that this morn­ing, at the indi­ca­tion of the Pope emer­i­tus, I asked Car­di­nal Robert Sarah to con­tact the pub­lish­ers of the book request­ing them to remove the name of Bene­dict XVI as co-author of the book itself, and also to remove his name from the intro­duc­tion and con­clu­sions.

    “The Pope emer­i­tus in fact knew the Car­di­nal was prepar­ing a book,” Arch­bish­op Gän­swein added, “and had sent a short text of his on the priest­hood”, autho­ris­ing the Car­di­nal to use it as he wished. But the Pope emer­i­tus “had not approved any project for a co-signed book, nor had he seen and autho­rised the cov­er. It was a mis­un­der­stand­ing, with­out ques­tion­ing the good faith of Car­di­nal Sarah.

    Mark Brum­ley, pres­i­dent of Ignatius Press, said in a state­ment this after­noon: “Ignatius Press pub­lished the text as we received it from the French pub­lish­er Fayard. Fayard is the pub­lish­er with whom we have col­lab­o­rat­ed on three oth­er Car­di­nal Sarah titles. The text we received indi­cates the two authors are Bene­dict XVI and Car­di­nal Sarah. That text also indi­cates that Bene­dict XVI co-authored an intro­duc­tion and a con­clu­sion with Car­di­nal Sarah, as well as his own chap­ter on the priest­hood, where­in he describes how his exchanges with Car­di­nal Sarah gave him the strength to com­plete what would have gone unfin­ished.

    “Giv­en that, accord­ing to Bene­dict XVI’s cor­re­spon­dence and Car­di­nal Sarah’s state­ment, the two men col­lab­o­rat­ed on this book for sev­er­al months, that none of the essays have appeared else­where, and that a joint work as defined by the Chica­go Man­u­al of Style is ‘a work pre­pared by two or more authors with the inten­tion that their con­tri­bu­tion be merged into insep­a­ra­ble or inter­de­pen­dent parts of a uni­tary whole,’ Ignatius Press con­sid­ers this a coau­thored pub­li­ca­tion.

    “Car­di­nal Sarah indi­cates the con­tent of the book remains unchanged. That con­tent, as not­ed, includes a coau­thored intro­duc­tion, a chap­ter by Bene­dict XVI, and a con­clu­sion coau­thored by Bene­dict XVI and Car­di­nal Sarah.”

    ————

    “Remove Bene­dict as co-author, demands Gän­swein” by Christo­pher Lamb; The Tablet; 01/14/2020

    “The Pope emer­i­tus in fact knew the Car­di­nal was prepar­ing a book,” Arch­bish­op Gän­swein added, “and had sent a short text of his on the priest­hood”, autho­ris­ing the Car­di­nal to use it as he wished. But the Pope emer­i­tus “had not approved any project for a co-signed book, nor had he seen and autho­rised the cov­er. It was a mis­un­der­stand­ing, with­out ques­tion­ing the good faith of Car­di­nal Sarah.” ”

    So accord­ing to Gaenswein’s clar­i­fi­ca­tion, Ratzinger was indeed aware of this book and sent a short text that agreed Car­di­nal Sarah could use, but he did­n’t agree to be a c0-sign­er and had­n’t autho­rized the cov­er. But Car­di­nal Sarah issued a state­ment say­ing he did indeed agree to a front cov­er and claimed to have the let­ters to prove it. But in the end, Sarah agreed to have Bene­dic­t’s name removed as co-author and instead list­ed him as a con­trib­u­tor. But the ex-Pope’s essays still stand. Which is a big deal, just not as big a deal as that cov­er:

    ...
    Mov­ing swift­ly to counter scep­ti­cism about Bene­dic­t’s involve­ment, Car­di­nal Sarah ini­tial­ly released a detailed state­ment say­ing the Pope Emer­i­tus agreed on the front cov­er and its release date along with let­ters from Bene­dict claim­ing to prove col­lab­o­ra­tion.

    Just two hours lat­er, dur­ing a day of fast-paced dra­ma in the Vat­i­can, the car­di­nal issued a fol­low-up tweet to announce that Bene­dic­t’s name would be removed as a co-author, and he would be list­ed as a con­trib­u­tor instead. He stressed, how­ev­er, that the retired Pope’s essay on cler­i­cal celiba­cy still stands.

    ...

    Lat­er, Arch­bish­op Gän­swein issued a clar­i­fi­ca­tion. He said that Bene­dict XVI had not autho­rised the joint sig­na­ture as co-author of Car­di­nal Sarah’s essay on priest­ly celiba­cy.

    He said: “I can con­firm that this morn­ing, at the indi­ca­tion of the Pope emer­i­tus, I asked Car­di­nal Robert Sarah to con­tact the pub­lish­ers of the book request­ing them to remove the name of Bene­dict XVI as co-author of the book itself, and also to remove his name from the intro­duc­tion and con­clu­sions.
    ...

    And the book pub­lish­ers claims the text they received back up Car­di­nal Sarah’s ver­sion of events and indi­cat­ed that Ratzinger real­ly did co-author the intro­duc­tions and con­clu­sions of the book along with his own chap­ter. And that tech­ni­cal­ly makes him a co-author under pub­lish­ing rules:

    ...
    Mark Brum­ley, pres­i­dent of Ignatius Press, said in a state­ment this after­noon: “Ignatius Press pub­lished the text as we received it from the French pub­lish­er Fayard. Fayard is the pub­lish­er with whom we have col­lab­o­rat­ed on three oth­er Car­di­nal Sarah titles. The text we received indi­cates the two authors are Bene­dict XVI and Car­di­nal Sarah. That text also indi­cates that Bene­dict XVI co-authored an intro­duc­tion and a con­clu­sion with Car­di­nal Sarah, as well as his own chap­ter on the priest­hood, where­in he describes how his exchanges with Car­di­nal Sarah gave him the strength to com­plete what would have gone unfin­ished.

    “Giv­en that, accord­ing to Bene­dict XVI’s cor­re­spon­dence and Car­di­nal Sarah’s state­ment, the two men col­lab­o­rat­ed on this book for sev­er­al months, that none of the essays have appeared else­where, and that a joint work as defined by the Chica­go Man­u­al of Style is ‘a work pre­pared by two or more authors with the inten­tion that their con­tri­bu­tion be merged into insep­a­ra­ble or inter­de­pen­dent parts of a uni­tary whole,’ Ignatius Press con­sid­ers this a coau­thored pub­li­ca­tion.

    “Car­di­nal Sarah indi­cates the con­tent of the book remains unchanged. That con­tent, as not­ed, includes a coau­thored intro­duc­tion, a chap­ter by Bene­dict XVI, and a con­clu­sion coau­thored by Bene­dict XVI and Car­di­nal Sarah.”
    ...

    So that’s the cur­rent open chal­lenge to the author­i­ty of Pope Fran­cis that is now under­way by a fac­tion of the church that appears to active­ly include “Geor­geous Georg” Gaenswein. It’s unclear to what extent Ratzinger is active in this plot or is just being used.

    Next, here’s an arti­cle from back in July of 2019 about how Italy’s far right, and the far right across the West, is increas­ing­ly opposed to Pope Fran­cis, large­ly over Fran­cis’s calls for treat­ing migrants and refugees with com­pas­sion. But there is one par­tic­u­lar car­di­nal that is increas­ing­ly pop­u­lar with the West­’s far right: Car­di­nal Sarah. The arti­cle describes how Mat­teo Salvi­ni, leader of the North­ern League, used posters of Car­di­nal Sarah dur­ing an anti-immi­gra­tion ral­ly in Milan. But he’s not the only car­di­nal pop­u­lar with the far right. US Car­di­nal Ray­mond Burke is seen as the de fac­to leader of the con­ser­v­a­tive oppo­si­tion to Pope Fran­cis and, him­self, is an open fan of Salvi­ni and his anti-migrant/refugee poli­cies. And that’s all part of the con­text of this intra-Vat­i­can fight: It’s just one part of the glob­al rise of the far right and anti-immi­gra­tion sen­ti­ments are going to be major fac­tor in that rise both inside and out­side the Vat­i­can:

    The New York Times

    As Pope Fran­cis Cham­pi­ons Migrants, Some Car­di­nals Court the Far Right

    By Jason Horowitz
    June 22, 2019

    VATICAN CITY — When the far-right Ital­ian politi­cian Mat­teo Salvi­ni rose to tes­ti­fy that he hoped to be a bet­ter Chris­t­ian despite being a divorced and first-class “sin­ner,” one of the ultra­con­ser­v­a­tive car­di­nals most crit­i­cal of the pope smiled and clapped on the dais behind him.

    “In my own lit­tle way, with my pro­fes­sion­al activ­i­ty, I try to do my best to help the 60 mil­lion Ital­ians with what doesn’t depend on us alone,” Mr. Salvi­ni, Italy’s anti-migrant, nation­al­ist inte­ri­or min­is­ter, said in Octo­ber at a pon­tif­i­cal uni­ver­si­ty next to the Vat­i­can.

    But even as Car­di­nal Ray­mond Burke, the de fac­to leader of the con­ser­v­a­tive oppo­si­tion to Pope Fran­cis in the Roman Catholic Church, warm­ly applaud­ed for Mr. Salvi­ni, the pope him­self has been less impressed with Mr. Salvini’s “pro­fes­sion­al activ­i­ties.”

    Those actions have includ­ed block­ing ships full of des­per­ate migrants from enter­ing Italy and work­ing to desta­bi­lize the Euro­pean Union by flout­ing its rules and poten­tial­ly under­cut­ting its cur­ren­cy. On the day after Mr. Salvini’s thump­ing vic­to­ry in elec­tions for the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, Fran­cis warned, as he had for months, that fear­mon­gers had made peo­ple “intol­er­ant, closed and per­haps even, with­out real­iz­ing it, racist.”

    While the pope has emerged as a lead­ing cham­pi­on for refugees and migrants around the world, anti-immi­gra­tion politi­cians with a pop­ulist appeal have found increas­ing sup­port among once-pow­er­ful con­ser­v­a­tive Catholic fig­ures who have been side­lined with­in the church by Fran­cis.

    Car­di­nal Burke and his fel­low ultra­con­ser­v­a­tive prelates are work­ing to extend eccle­si­as­ti­cal cov­er to nation­al­ist politi­cians by hail­ing them as cham­pi­ons for West­ern Chris­tian­i­ty and tra­di­tion­al val­ues in the face of what they sug­gest is a Mus­lim migrant inva­sion. In the process, the car­di­nals’ sup­port has helped inoc­u­late the pop­ulists from crit­i­cism by the pope’s allies and has facil­i­tat­ed their polit­i­cal appeal to con­ser­v­a­tive Catholic vot­ers.

    Catholic bish­ops in sync with Fran­cis’ inclu­sive vision of the church have crit­i­cized nation­al­ist lead­ers in Poland, Hun­gary and the Unit­ed States for their hard-line views on migra­tion, but those politi­cians have also enjoyed the sup­port of a small but vocal group of con­ser­v­a­tive cler­ics. Per­haps nowhere is that dynam­ic as stark as in the pope’s own back­yard.

    Mr. Salvi­ni, whose par­ty in Italy began as seces­sion­ist and wor­ship­ful of the pagan pow­ers of the Po Riv­er, has spent years cul­ti­vat­ing a rela­tion­ship with Car­di­nal Burke.

    “Salvi­ni doesn’t seek an accord with the church; he looks for an accord with those ele­ments with­in the church that are favor­able to him,” said Andrea Ric­car­di, the founder of the Sant’Egidio Com­mu­ni­ty, a Catholic group close to Fran­cis.

    Fran­cis will speak only gen­er­al­ly about his con­cerns on the rise of nation­al­ist and pop­ulist pol­i­tics, and he tends to coy­ly avoid direct ques­tions about Mr. Salvi­ni in par­tic­u­lar.

    “I con­fess I am igno­rant of this and I do not under­stand Ital­ian pol­i­tics,” he said on the flight back from Roma­nia this month when asked about Mr. Salvini’s use of Catholic sym­bols while cam­paign­ing.

    But cler­ics close to Fran­cis have expressed dis­dain for what they con­sid­er Mr. Salvini’s exploita­tion of rosary beads and cru­ci­fix­es, and for his prayers for elec­toral vic­to­ry to the immac­u­late Moth­er Mary. They howl when he quotes John Paul II and Fran­cis’ pre­de­ces­sor, the con­ser­v­a­tive Bene­dict XVI, to show that his views on Europe are in line with the church.

    And they dis­liked the way he defend­ed his hard-line posi­tion on migra­tion at a ral­ly in Milan by fea­tur­ing an image of Car­di­nal Robert Sarah of Guinea, who has been iso­lat­ed by Fran­cis and has writ­ten crit­i­cal­ly of migra­tion. (Mr. Salvi­ni described him as “An African car­di­nal and thus an expert of the things we are talk­ing about.”)

    Mr. Salvi­ni prompt­ed more con­ster­na­tion in the Vat­i­can when he cel­e­brat­ed his Euro­pean elec­tion vic­to­ry before a book­case hold­ing an icon of Jesus, a “Make Amer­i­ca Great Again” hat and his­to­ry books includ­ing “Himmler’s Cru­sade,” about an infa­mous Nazi explo­ration in Tibet.

    But ostra­cized con­ser­v­a­tive car­di­nals came to Mr. Salvini’s defense.

    “There are coun­tries that want to de-Chris­tian­ize Italy and Europe, while Salvi­ni has gone back to the patron saints of the Euro­pean Union, to its Chris­t­ian roots,” Car­di­nal Ger­hard Lud­wig Müller told The Cor­riere del­la Sera this month. Fran­cis fired Car­di­nal Müller in 2017 as the top doc­tri­nal watch­dog in the Roman Catholic Church, remov­ing a pow­er­ful ide­o­log­i­cal oppo­nent.

    Car­di­nal Willem Eijk, the arch­bish­op of Utrecht in the Nether­lands and a con­ser­v­a­tive close to Car­di­nal Burke, received an award from Mr. Salvi­ni at the uni­ver­si­ty event in Octo­ber. In an inter­view, he said he hoped the church was “inspir­ing” to Mr. Salvi­ni and that Mr. Salvi­ni would, in turn, bring its teach­ings into the pub­lic sphere. He had no prob­lem with Mr. Salvini’s nation­al­ism.

    ...

    Soon after Fran­cis’ elec­tion in 2013, the pope denounced the “glob­al­iza­tion of indif­fer­ence” dur­ing his water­mark vis­it to the Mediter­ranean migrant hub of Lampe­dusa. Mr. Salvi­ni wrote at the time that the pope should be con­cerned with the “glob­al­iza­tion of clan­des­tine” immi­gra­tion.

    In Sep­tem­ber 2016, Mr. Salvi­ni walked around the North­ern League’s annu­al fes­ti­val and spot­ted what he exclaimed was “this incred­i­ble T‑shirt!” It fea­tured a bewil­dered Pope Fran­cis, his hands slapped on his cheeks like the dis­tressed child in the “Home Alone” poster, above the words “My Pope Is Bene­dict.”

    “I like every­body, but the pope is Bene­dict,” Mr. Salvi­ni said. Point­ing at the sup­port­ers around him, he added, “Pope Bene­dict had very clear ideas on Islam and peo­ple liv­ing togeth­er. I don’t like those who invite the imams in church.”

    By then, Mr. Salvi­ni was already years into cul­ti­vat­ing Car­di­nal Burke. In Feb­ru­ary 2017, the Ital­ian news media report­ed that Mr. Salvi­ni had met for more that an hour with the car­di­nal in the prelate’s apart­ment just out­side the Vat­i­can walls.

    Car­di­nal Burke said the next month at a church in Vir­ginia that he had had a meet­ing with “a very promi­nent Ital­ian politi­cian and a very good man,” whom he had known “ pas­toral­ly for a num­ber of years.”

    ...

    While he pri­vate­ly wooed the Vat­i­can con­ser­v­a­tives, Mr. Salvi­ni delight­ed his base by crit­i­ciz­ing Fran­cis, whom the hard right ridiculed as a glob­al­ist lib­er­al wolf in shepherd’s cloth­ing. But Mr. Salvi­ni also denied that he was doing any such thing, and even sug­gest­ed that he and Fran­cis had a shared vision.

    After the event in Octo­ber, when asked if he had more in com­mon with Car­di­nal Burke, giv­en Pope Fran­cis’ strong rejec­tion of nation­al­ism, Mr. Salvi­ni said, “On immi­gra­tion, Pope Fran­cis says there is the need to respect lim­its and rules — exact­ly my prin­ci­ple.”

    In the mean­time, Car­di­nal Burke kept vouch­ing for Mr. Salvi­ni. Asked at a Rome event in May about an asser­tion by the pope’s almoner that anti-Mus­lim politi­cians should be refused a papal bless­ing, Car­di­nal Burke said, “To resist large-scale Mus­lim immi­gra­tion, in my judg­ment, is to be respon­si­ble.”

    He added, “You don’t have to be a rock­et sci­en­tist to see what’s hap­pened” in Europe and the Unit­ed States, and char­ac­ter­ized Mus­lim immi­grants as belong­ing to a faith that sought to con­quer the world.

    The next day, Mr. Salvi­ni head­lined a ral­ly of Euro­pean pop­ulists in Milan. He held up a rosary, said he trust­ed Italy, and his vic­to­ry, to the “immac­u­late heart of Maria,” and rebutted Fran­cis’ asser­tion that the Mediter­ranean Sea was being trans­formed “into a ceme­tery.”

    “I say it also to Pope Fran­cis,” he said to boos at the men­tion of the pope’s name, “the gov­ern­ment is elim­i­nat­ing the dead in the Mediter­ranean with pride and a Chris­t­ian spir­it.

    “We are sav­ing lives. Say it with pride tomor­row going to Mass to the few who unfor­tu­nate­ly preach pol­i­tics from the pul­pit.”

    ———-

    “As Pope Fran­cis Cham­pi­ons Migrants, Some Car­di­nals Court the Far Right” by Jason Horowitz; The New York Times; 06/22/2019

    “While the pope has emerged as a lead­ing cham­pi­on for refugees and migrants around the world, anti-immi­gra­tion politi­cians with a pop­ulist appeal have found increas­ing sup­port among once-pow­er­ful con­ser­v­a­tive Catholic fig­ures who have been side­lined with­in the church by Fran­cis.”

    The rise of the far right is a pret­ty grim sce­nario for the world in gen­er­al, but it’s espe­cial­ly grim for an insti­tu­tion like the Catholic Church, where the rise of the far right rep­re­sents a direct rejec­tion of the core teach­ings of fig­ure the whole church is sup­posed to be based on. Com­pas­sion for refugees and strangers in gen­er­al is vis­cer­al­ly anti­thet­i­cal to the far right id and yet it’s also as the core of Jesus’s mes­sage in the Bible so when we see an alliance of anti-immi­grant politi­cians for a pow­er­ful fac­tion in the Vat­i­can it becomes a par­tic­u­lar­ly moral­ly grotesque sit­u­a­tion. That part of the con­text of this Vat­i­can pow­er strug­gle between the two Popes. It’s part of a move to lit­er­al­ly make the Vat­i­can church the­o­log­i­cal­ly anti-com­pas­sion-for-strangers:

    ...
    But even as Car­di­nal Ray­mond Burke, the de fac­to leader of the con­ser­v­a­tive oppo­si­tion to Pope Fran­cis in the Roman Catholic Church, warm­ly applaud­ed for Mr. Salvi­ni, the pope him­self has been less impressed with Mr. Salvini’s “pro­fes­sion­al activ­i­ties.”

    Those actions have includ­ed block­ing ships full of des­per­ate migrants from enter­ing Italy and work­ing to desta­bi­lize the Euro­pean Union by flout­ing its rules and poten­tial­ly under­cut­ting its cur­ren­cy. On the day after Mr. Salvini’s thump­ing vic­to­ry in elec­tions for the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, Fran­cis warned, as he had for months, that fear­mon­gers had made peo­ple “intol­er­ant, closed and per­haps even, with­out real­iz­ing it, racist.”

    ...

    Car­di­nal Burke and his fel­low ultra­con­ser­v­a­tive prelates are work­ing to extend eccle­si­as­ti­cal cov­er to nation­al­ist politi­cians by hail­ing them as cham­pi­ons for West­ern Chris­tian­i­ty and tra­di­tion­al val­ues in the face of what they sug­gest is a Mus­lim migrant inva­sion. In the process, the car­di­nals’ sup­port has helped inoc­u­late the pop­ulists from crit­i­cism by the pope’s allies and has facil­i­tat­ed their polit­i­cal appeal to con­ser­v­a­tive Catholic vot­ers.

    Catholic bish­ops in sync with Fran­cis’ inclu­sive vision of the church have crit­i­cized nation­al­ist lead­ers in Poland, Hun­gary and the Unit­ed States for their hard-line views on migra­tion, but those politi­cians have also enjoyed the sup­port of a small but vocal group of con­ser­v­a­tive cler­ics. Per­haps nowhere is that dynam­ic as stark as in the pope’s own back­yard.

    Mr. Salvi­ni, whose par­ty in Italy began as seces­sion­ist and wor­ship­ful of the pagan pow­ers of the Po Riv­er, has spent years cul­ti­vat­ing a rela­tion­ship with Car­di­nal Burke.

    ...

    But cler­ics close to Fran­cis have expressed dis­dain for what they con­sid­er Mr. Salvini’s exploita­tion of rosary beads and cru­ci­fix­es, and for his prayers for elec­toral vic­to­ry to the immac­u­late Moth­er Mary. They howl when he quotes John Paul II and Fran­cis’ pre­de­ces­sor, the con­ser­v­a­tive Bene­dict XVI, to show that his views on Europe are in line with the church.

    And they dis­liked the way he defend­ed his hard-line posi­tion on migra­tion at a ral­ly in Milan by fea­tur­ing an image of Car­di­nal Robert Sarah of Guinea, who has been iso­lat­ed by Fran­cis and has writ­ten crit­i­cal­ly of migra­tion. (Mr. Salvi­ni described him as “An African car­di­nal and thus an expert of the things we are talk­ing about.”)

    ...

    “There are coun­tries that want to de-Chris­tian­ize Italy and Europe, while Salvi­ni has gone back to the patron saints of the Euro­pean Union, to its Chris­t­ian roots,” Car­di­nal Ger­hard Lud­wig Müller told The Cor­riere del­la Sera this month. Fran­cis fired Car­di­nal Müller in 2017 as the top doc­tri­nal watch­dog in the Roman Catholic Church, remov­ing a pow­er­ful ide­o­log­i­cal oppo­nent.
    ...

    And as the fol­low­ing arti­cle describes, it’s not just Ital­ian far right politi­cians with dis­turbing­ly close ties to the far right fac­tion with­in the Catholic Church. There’s a whole glob­al far right net­work. A net­work that includes fig­ures like Steven Ban­non and Princess Glo­ria of Thurn and Taxis, who hosts meet­ings attend­ed by a num­ber of senior con­ser­v­a­tives Car­di­nals, includ­ing Georg Gaenswein:

    Irish Exam­in­er

    A Pope too many: Does Pope Fran­cis have a mutiny on his hands?

    By TP O’Mahony
    Sat­ur­day, July 06, 2019 — 12:00 AM

    After his res­ig­na­tion in 2013, Pope Bene­dict chose to live in the Vat­i­can in silence. But his pres­ence, his influ­ence, and a grow­ing cam­paign is caus­ing prob­lems for Pope Fran­cis and threat­ens to under­mine his papa­cy, writes TP O’Mahony.

    The opu­lent Roman salon of a wealthy Ger­man princess is the loca­tion for reg­u­lar gath­er­ings of a group of ultra-con­ser­v­a­tive Catholics — includ­ing Steve Ban­non, for­mer White House strate­gist once favoured by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump — where they plot their cam­paign to under­mine the Papa­cy of Fran­cis.

    She is Princess Glo­ria of Thurn and Taxis, famous­ly dubbed Princess TNT by Van­i­ty Fair in 1985 because of her explo­sive per­son­al­i­ty, a devout if very tra­di­tion­al­ist Catholic.

    She hosts meet­ings attend­ed by a num­ber of senior Car­di­nals as well as Arch­bish­op Georg Gan­swein, the long-time per­son­al sec­re­tary to Emer­i­tus Pope Bene­dict XVI.

    This group — and this is what is most con­tro­ver­sial — is appeal­ing to and seek­ing to use the lega­cy of the retired 92-year-old Pope, who is res­i­dent in the Vat­i­can, to lend legit­i­ma­cy to their anti-Fran­cis cam­paign.

    What is not clear at this stage is the extent to which, if at all, Bene­dict is aware and approv­ing of their efforts. Fur­ther light may be thrown on this lat­er in the year when Austin Iver­eigh, author of The Great Reformer: Fran­cis and the Mak­ing of a Rad­i­cal Pope, pub­lish­es his new book. This is enti­tled Wound­ed Shep­herd: Pope Fran­cis and His Strug­gle to Reform the Catholic Church, and is due out in Novem­ber.

    The author has already giv­en voice to his mis­giv­ings about what’s hap­pen­ing in Rome in an arti­cle in the cur­rent edi­tion of The Tablet, the inter­na­tion­al Catholic week­ly.

    The arti­cle has drawn the sup­port of the edi­tor, Bren­dan Walsh, in a very tren­chant edi­to­r­i­al under the head­ing “Rome Can­not be Home to Two Popes”. The cov­er of the mag­a­zine shows Fran­cis and Bene­dict togeth­er under the head­ing “One Pope Too Many?”

    The open­ing para­graph of the edi­to­r­i­al cap­tures the essence of the dif­fi­cul­ty of hav­ing two Popes in the Vat­i­can — an unprece­dent­ed sit­u­a­tion in the mod­ern Church. “Pope Bene­dict XVI’s deci­sion to resign as Pope on 13 Feb­ru­ary 2013 and to live silent­ly in the Vat­i­can there­after is begin­ning to cause prob­lems. Oppo­nents of Pope Fran­cis’ reforms have begun to treat Bene­dict as the true Pope, sug­gest­ing the papa­cy of Fran­cis is some­how invalid.

    ...

    This was a con­tro­ver­sy wait­ing to hap­pen.

    The big mis­take was made in the imme­di­ate after­math of Benedict’s bomb­shell res­ig­na­tion. Back in 1294, when Celes­tine V became the last Pope to resign vol­un­tar­i­ly, his suc­ces­sor imme­di­ate­ly ban­ished him to a remote cas­tle.

    There were plen­ty of insti­tu­tions in his native Ger­many that would have been hap­py to accom­mo­date him, includ­ing the Uni­ver­si­ty of Regens­burg in Bavaria, where he was pro­fes­sor of the­ol­o­gy before becom­ing Arch­bish­op on Munich in March 1977.

    Inci­den­tal­ly, it was in the cathe­dral in Regens­burg that Glo­ria von Schon­burg-Glauchau mar­ried Prince Johannes of Thurn and Taxis in 1980; she was 19 he was 53 and lived in the Palace of Emmer­am in Bavaria, a 500-room man­sion where he died in 1990. His wealth at the time of the mar­riage was esti­mat­ed at $3bn.

    Allow­ing Bene­dict to stay on in Rome as Emer­i­tus Pope was always preg­nant with risk. A com­ment made by the dis­tin­guished church his­to­ri­an, JND Kel­ly of Oxford, in his Oxford Dic­tio­nary of Popes, about Celes­tine V in the 13th cen­tu­ry, has a trou­ble­some rel­e­vance today: “Pli­able in clever hands, Pietro (Pietro del Mor­rone was Celestine’s name) could eas­i­ly have been made the ral­ly­ing-point of a schism”.

    ...

    The sce­nario that some feared came into the pub­lic forum back in April. The French Catholic dai­ly paper, La Croix, report­ed that a Ger­man mag­a­zine had pub­lished a long essay by the for­mer Pope who seemed to take the oppo­site posi­tion to Pope Fran­cis on the issue of sex­u­al abuse.

    “Bene­dict XVI has linked the 1960 sex­u­al rev­o­lu­tion and cliques of homo­sex­u­als in sem­i­nar­ies to the ongo­ing cri­sis with­in the Catholic Church over sex­u­al abuse of chil­dren. The retired Pope, who in 2013 became the first Pope in more than 700 years to vol­un­tar­i­ly step down, argued that the sex­u­al rev­o­lu­tion had led some to believe pae­dophil­ia and pornog­ra­phy were accept­able.

    “He stat­ed his views in a 6,000-word essay that was to be pub­lished on April 11 in his native Bavaria by the month­ly Catholic paper, Klerus­blatt. But a num­ber of con­ser­v­a­tive Catholic web­sites had already post­ed an Eng­lish trans­la­tion of the text a day ear­li­er.”

    How­ev­er, La Croix not­ed that crit­ics had sug­gest­ed that Bene­dict was try­ing to shift blame for Church sex­u­al abus­es to soci­ety at large. The fol­low­ing day, in an inter­view with the paper, Marie-Jo Thiel, Pro­fes­sor of The­ol­o­gy at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Stras­bourg, expressed sur­prise at Benedict’s essay, in par­tic­u­lar his attempt to blame the sex­u­al rev­o­lu­tion of the 1960s for sys­temic cler­i­cal sex abuse.

    “Church his­to­ry shows that abuse by cler­ics is not a recent phe­nom­e­non. It is true that soci­ety in the 1960s was char­ac­terised by a cri­sis of author­i­ty and sex­u­al per­mis­sive­ness. How­ev­er, this con­text does not suf­fice to ful­ly explain the sex abuse cri­sis... He does not seem to per­ceive the over­all prob­lem — the link with abuse of pow­er and con­science which does not appear at all in the doc­u­ment.”

    The real­ly sur­pris­ing thing is that the essay was seen in advance by both Pope Fran­cis and the sec­re­tary of state, Car­di­nal Pietro Parolin. They did noth­ing about it. That was the sec­ond mis­take. The Emer­i­tus Pope should have been remind­ed of his promise to stay silent dur­ing his retire­ment.

    When the essay appeared, Vat­i­can com­men­ta­tors wrote sto­ries about “duelling Popes”, and a Wash­ing­ton Post head­line said: “Pope Bene­dict, in retired seclu­sion, looms in the oppo­si­tion to Pope Fran­cis”. This is the cen­tral and very wor­ry­ing con­cern. Austen Iver­eigh believes the Pope Emer­i­tus, since his res­ig­na­tion, “has been exploit­ed by those seek­ing to under­mine his suc­ces­sor”.

    Iver­eigh says Arch­bish­op Gan­swein and Car­di­nal Ger­hard Muller are cen­tral play­ers in the oppo­si­tion to Fran­cis. The Pope removed Muller from his pow­er­ful post as pre­fect of the Con­gre­ga­tion for the Doc­trine of the Faith in 2017. Muller has been open­ly crit­i­cal ever since.

    “It was Gan­swein who in 2013 had urged Bene­dict, in spite of his protests, to dress in white, live in the Vat­i­can and be referred to as ‘His Holi­ness’,” Iver­eigh says.

    Steve Ban­non, whose per­son­al enmi­ty towards Fran­cis is well known, has become the dar­ling of right-wing Catholic groups in the USA and parts of Europe who wish to see a restora­tion of pre-Vat­i­can II Catholi­cism.

    Ban­non is part of a con­sor­tium plan­ning to buy or lease a dis­used monastery some 80km from Rome which he hopes to turn into a cen­tre to defend the “Judaeo-Chris­t­ian West” — an implied crit­i­cism of the Fran­cis Papa­cy.

    The Pope’s stat­ed poli­cies on immi­gra­tion and cli­mate change have met with fierce oppo­si­tion, not just from Italy’s far-right par­ties but also from Ban­non, who is also hos­tile to the EU.

    It is not clear to what extent Ban­non has been behind efforts to manip­u­late the Emer­i­tus Pope in the under­min­ing of the serv­ing Pope.

    The pres­ence of two Popes in close prox­im­i­ty in the Vat­i­can — Fran­cis lives in the Casa San­ta Mar­ta, an upmar­ket guest­house, and Bene­dict stays in the Mater Eccle­si­ae con­vent just up the hill — always had the poten­tial to cre­ate ten­sions, mis­un­der­stand­ings, mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tions, or be open to exploita­tion by one fac­tion or anoth­er.

    “Ever since Pope Bene­dict XVI became the first pon­tiff in six cen­turies to abdi­cate the papa­cy, tran­si­tion­ing to a life of near seclu­sion in a Vat­i­can City monastery, there have been ques­tions about how the notion of two liv­ing Popes would impact the Roman Catholic Church,” said Chico Har­lan, the Rome bureau chief of the Wash­ing­ton Post.

    “Some Vat­i­can watch­ers and insid­ers say the mere fact of Benedict’s 2013 abdi­ca­tion has made the mod­ern papa­cy more vul­ner­a­ble, embold­en­ing voic­es of dis­sent. They say it’s hard to imag­ine a let­ter like the one released by Arch­bish­op Car­lo Maria Vigano (dur­ing Pope Francis’s vis­it to Ire­land), pro­vok­ing Pope Fran­cis with a call to resign, with­out Bene­dict hav­ing cre­at­ed the pos­si­bil­i­ty that mod­ern Popes might give up their seat before death.

    Accord­ing to vet­er­an Vat­i­can jour­nal­ist Andrea Torniel­li of La Stam­pa, the Ital­ian dai­ly paper, it will take years still to ful­ly account for the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of Benedict’s res­ig­na­tion. Even the visu­al effect — two men in papal white inside the Vat­i­can walls — has been strik­ing and dis­ori­ent­ing.

    “It’s a kind of dupli­ca­tion of the image,” Torniel­li says. “It’s a total nov­el­ty in the his­to­ry of the Church.”

    But it’s also a trou­bling and trou­ble­some nov­el­ty, espe­cial­ly since Bene­dict set aside his pledge to main­tain a gen­er­al silence.

    Which is why, accord­ing to Chico Har­lan, a num­ber of con­ser­v­a­tives have latched onto to him as a sym­bol­ic ally.

    In the peri­od fol­low­ing the shock abdi­ca­tion of Bene­dict XVI on Feb­ru­ary 13, 2013, sev­er­al com­men­ta­tors (and I count myself among them) drew atten­tion to this pos­si­bil­i­ty and even sound­ed a warn­ing about trou­ble ahead.

    This is espe­cial­ly so because the two men are very dif­fer­ent, not just in per­son­al­i­ty, but — more cru­cial­ly — in their vision of the Papa­cy and the future direc­tion of the Church. They have what the schol­ars call “dif­fer­ent eccle­si­olo­gies” — dif­fer­ent mod­els of the Church and of the role of the Pope.

    Bene­dict, just like John Paul II before him, was wed­ded to a monar­chi­cal mod­el, and, also like his pre­de­ces­sor, com­mit­ted to rolling back the reforms of the Sec­ond Vat­i­can Coun­cil (1962–65).

    Fran­cis, on the oth­er hand, has been work­ing to dis­man­tle and aban­don the monar­chi­cal trap­pings of the Papa­cy, hence his deci­sion not to live in the baroque splen­dour of the pala­tial sur­rounds of the papal apart­ments, but to set­tle instead for a suite of rooms in a guest­house.

    The diver­gence of approach was clear ever since, as Paul Val­le­ly, anoth­er papal biog­ra­ph­er, put it. Fran­cis announced “his inten­tion to trans­form the cul­tured silk-bro­cad­ed pro­pri­ety of the Rome of Pope Bene­dict XVI into ‘a poor Church, for the poor’.”

    He is also pas­sion­ate­ly com­mit­ted to imple­ment­ing the reforms of Vat­i­can II, and has been active­ly pro­mot­ing a syn­odal mod­el of gov­er­nance accom­pa­nied by a decen­tral­i­sa­tion of the pow­er increas­ing­ly con­cen­trat­ed under the long com­bined pon­tif­i­cate of Wojtyla/Ratzinger in the Roman Curia.

    And last month, in what will be seen as anoth­er indi­ca­tion of Francis’s reformist poli­cies, Jason Horowitz of the New York Times report­ed from Rome that “in a poten­tial­ly ground­break­ing move”, the Catholic Church “cracked open the door to ordain­ing mar­ried, elder­ly men to the priest­hood to meet the pas­toral needs of Catholics in remote areas of the Ama­zon”.

    The pro­pos­al is con­tained in a doc­u­ment pre­pared for a forth­com­ing Syn­od on the Pan-Ama­zon region.

    “It is the kind of excep­tion to the celiba­cy require­ment that church experts say — and church tra­di­tion­al­ists wor­ry — could be a step toward the ordi­na­tion of mar­ried men in oth­er areas of the world,” accord­ing to Horowitz.

    Fran­cis had already enraged tra­di­tion­al­ists with the pub­li­ca­tion in April 2016 of his doc­u­ment Amor­is Laeti­ta (“the Joy of Love”) which fol­lowed two Syn­ods in Rome on the theme of “the fam­i­ly”.

    In it, he soft­ened reg­u­la­tions to make it eas­i­er for divorced and remar­ried Catholics to receive the Eucharist.

    In a move that is unprece­dent­ed in the mod­ern his­to­ry of the Papa­cy, four Car­di­nals pub­licly chal­lenged Pope Fran­cis. In the words of his biog­ra­ph­er, Paul Val­le­ly, the four “have pub­lished ‘doubts’, vir­tu­al­ly accus­ing him of heresy”.

    The four were Car­di­nal Ray­mond Burke (USA), Car­di­nal Car­lo Caf­far­ra (for­mer Arch­bish­op of Bologna), Car­di­nal Joacim Meis­ner (for­mer Arch­bish­op of Cologne), and Car­di­nal Wal­ter Brand­muller (Ger­many), for­mer pres­i­dent of the Pon­tif­i­cal Com­mis­sion for His­tor­i­cal Sci­ences. Two of this quar­tet (the oth­ers have died in the mean­time) — Burke and Brand­muller — are reg­u­lars at the get-togeth­ers in the salon of Princess Glo­ria.

    Car­di­nal Burke, a for­mer Arch­bish­op of Arch­dio­cese of St Louis, has been a per­sis­tent crit­ic of Pope Fran­cis, and was removed from his posi­tion as head of the Supreme Tri­bunal of the Apos­tolic Sig­natu­ra (the Church’s Supreme Court) for refus­ing to imple­ment changes to pro­ce­dures for annul­ments which has been sanc­tioned by the Pope.

    The very pub­lic expres­sion of oppo­si­tion by these four senior church­men to the Pope has no par­al­lel in the his­to­ry of the mod­ern Papa­cy, and meant, in the words of Clif­ford Lon­g­ley, edi­to­r­i­al advis­er to The Tablet, that “Pope Fran­cis has a mutiny of his hands”.

    This sit­u­a­tion, which, of its very nature, is poten­tial­ly schis­mat­ic, con­tin­ues and bodes ill for the remain­der of the pon­tif­i­cate of Jorge Mario Bergoglio who will be 83 in Decem­ber.

    It remains to be seen whether Bene­dict XVI, whose health if fail­ing, allows him­self to go on being used in a way that sug­gests a par­al­lel papa­cy. The ses­sions in the opu­lent salon of Princess Glo­ria are pred­i­cat­ed on the on-going “legit­i­ma­cy” of the pon­tif­i­cate of Joseph Ratzinger — with very dan­ger­ous impli­ca­tions for the Catholic Church, impli­ca­tions no one can fore­see.

    With papal res­ig­na­tions like­ly to become the norm rather than the excep­tion from now on, it is clear that steps must be tak­en to ensure there is no repeat of the present sit­u­a­tion.

    ...

    ————

    “A Pope too many: Does Pope Fran­cis have a mutiny on his hands?” by TP O’Mahony; Irish Exam­in­er; 07/06/2019

    “The opu­lent Roman salon of a wealthy Ger­man princess is the loca­tion for reg­u­lar gath­er­ings of a group of ultra-con­ser­v­a­tive Catholics — includ­ing Steve Ban­non, for­mer White House strate­gist once favoured by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump — where they plot their cam­paign to under­mine the Papa­cy of Fran­cis.”

    A far right Ger­man princess is reg­u­lar­ly hold­ing gath­er­ings of ultra-con­ser­v­a­tive Catholics at her opu­lent Roman salon where they plot the under­min­ing of the cur­rent Pope who has earned their ire for his calls to bring the church back to things like help­ing the poor. And Steve Ban­non is part of this cabal. It’s like the back­sto­ry for a supervil­lain orga­ni­za­tion. And the senior Car­di­nals who reg­u­lar attend these meet­ings include Car­di­nal Burke but also Arch­bish­op Georg Gaenswein:

    ...
    She is Princess Glo­ria of Thurn and Taxis, famous­ly dubbed Princess TNT by Van­i­ty Fair in 1985 because of her explo­sive per­son­al­i­ty, a devout if very tra­di­tion­al­ist Catholic.

    She hosts meet­ings attend­ed by a num­ber of senior Car­di­nals as well as Arch­bish­op Georg Gan­swein, the long-time per­son­al sec­re­tary to Emer­i­tus Pope Bene­dict XVI.

    This group — and this is what is most con­tro­ver­sial — is appeal­ing to and seek­ing to use the lega­cy of the retired 92-year-old Pope, who is res­i­dent in the Vat­i­can, to lend legit­i­ma­cy to their anti-Fran­cis cam­paign.

    ...

    This was a con­tro­ver­sy wait­ing to hap­pen.

    The big mis­take was made in the imme­di­ate after­math of Benedict’s bomb­shell res­ig­na­tion. Back in 1294, when Celes­tine V became the last Pope to resign vol­un­tar­i­ly, his suc­ces­sor imme­di­ate­ly ban­ished him to a remote cas­tle.

    There were plen­ty of insti­tu­tions in his native Ger­many that would have been hap­py to accom­mo­date him, includ­ing the Uni­ver­si­ty of Regens­burg in Bavaria, where he was pro­fes­sor of the­ol­o­gy before becom­ing Arch­bish­op on Munich in March 1977.

    Inci­den­tal­ly, it was in the cathe­dral in Regens­burg that Glo­ria von Schon­burg-Glauchau mar­ried Prince Johannes of Thurn and Taxis in 1980; she was 19 he was 53 and lived in the Palace of Emmer­am in Bavaria, a 500-room man­sion where he died in 1990. His wealth at the time of the mar­riage was esti­mat­ed at $3bn.

    Allow­ing Bene­dict to stay on in Rome as Emer­i­tus Pope was always preg­nant with risk. A com­ment made by the dis­tin­guished church his­to­ri­an, JND Kel­ly of Oxford, in his Oxford Dic­tio­nary of Popes, about Celes­tine V in the 13th cen­tu­ry, has a trou­ble­some rel­e­vance today: “Pli­able in clever hands, Pietro (Pietro del Mor­rone was Celestine’s name) could eas­i­ly have been made the ral­ly­ing-point of a schism”.
    ...

    And while it’s unclear to what extent Steve Ban­non is a dri­ving force in this plot to under­mine Pope Fran­cis, it’s clear he’s involved. Ban­non has appar­ent­ly become the dar­ling of right-wing Catholic groups in the US and Europe who wish to see a restora­tion of pre-Vat­i­can II Catholi­cism, which is basi­cal­ly an attempt to role back the var­i­ous reforms in the church over the last 50+ years:

    ...
    Steve Ban­non, whose per­son­al enmi­ty towards Fran­cis is well known, has become the dar­ling of right-wing Catholic groups in the USA and parts of Europe who wish to see a restora­tion of pre-Vat­i­can II Catholi­cism.

    Ban­non is part of a con­sor­tium plan­ning to buy or lease a dis­used monastery some 80km from Rome which he hopes to turn into a cen­tre to defend the “Judaeo-Chris­t­ian West” — an implied crit­i­cism of the Fran­cis Papa­cy.

    The Pope’s stat­ed poli­cies on immi­gra­tion and cli­mate change have met with fierce oppo­si­tion, not just from Italy’s far-right par­ties but also from Ban­non, who is also hos­tile to the EU.

    It is not clear to what extent Ban­non has been behind efforts to manip­u­late the Emer­i­tus Pope in the under­min­ing of the serv­ing Pope.
    ...

    And accord­ing to Austen Iver­eigh, Gaenswein and Ger­man Car­di­nal Ger­hard Muller are cen­tral play­ers in the Vat­i­can oppo­si­tion to Fran­cis, not­ing that it was Gaenswein who urged Ratzinger to con­tin­ue dress­ing in papal garbs after step­ping down in 2013 and con­tin­ue liv­ing in the Vat­i­can and being referred to as ‘His Holi­ness’, despite the protests:

    ...
    The sce­nario that some feared came into the pub­lic forum back in April. The French Catholic dai­ly paper, La Croix, report­ed that a Ger­man mag­a­zine had pub­lished a long essay by the for­mer Pope who seemed to take the oppo­site posi­tion to Pope Fran­cis on the issue of sex­u­al abuse.

    “Bene­dict XVI has linked the 1960 sex­u­al rev­o­lu­tion and cliques of homo­sex­u­als in sem­i­nar­ies to the ongo­ing cri­sis with­in the Catholic Church over sex­u­al abuse of chil­dren. The retired Pope, who in 2013 became the first Pope in more than 700 years to vol­un­tar­i­ly step down, argued that the sex­u­al rev­o­lu­tion had led some to believe pae­dophil­ia and pornog­ra­phy were accept­able.

    “He stat­ed his views in a 6,000-word essay that was to be pub­lished on April 11 in his native Bavaria by the month­ly Catholic paper, Klerus­blatt. But a num­ber of con­ser­v­a­tive Catholic web­sites had already post­ed an Eng­lish trans­la­tion of the text a day ear­li­er.”

    ...

    The real­ly sur­pris­ing thing is that the essay was seen in advance by both Pope Fran­cis and the sec­re­tary of state, Car­di­nal Pietro Parolin. They did noth­ing about it. That was the sec­ond mis­take. The Emer­i­tus Pope should have been remind­ed of his promise to stay silent dur­ing his retire­ment.

    When the essay appeared, Vat­i­can com­men­ta­tors wrote sto­ries about “duelling Popes”, and a Wash­ing­ton Post head­line said: “Pope Bene­dict, in retired seclu­sion, looms in the oppo­si­tion to Pope Fran­cis”. This is the cen­tral and very wor­ry­ing con­cern. Austen Iver­eigh believes the Pope Emer­i­tus, since his res­ig­na­tion, “has been exploit­ed by those seek­ing to under­mine his suc­ces­sor”.

    Iver­eigh says Arch­bish­op Gan­swein and Car­di­nal Ger­hard Muller are cen­tral play­ers in the oppo­si­tion to Fran­cis. The Pope removed Muller from his pow­er­ful post as pre­fect of the Con­gre­ga­tion for the Doc­trine of the Faith in 2017. Muller has been open­ly crit­i­cal ever since.

    “It was Gan­swein who in 2013 had urged Bene­dict, in spite of his protests, to dress in white, live in the Vat­i­can and be referred to as ‘His Holi­ness’,” Iver­eigh says.
    ...

    So this ‘two Popes’ legit­i­ma­cy pow­er-strug­gle sce­nario that’s play­ing out now is a sce­nario that Gaenswein appeared to be ensur­ing could play out in the future back in 2013. But note one of the oth­er key dynam­ics in all of this that could end up being a major fac­tor in how this pow­er strug­gle plays out: the chal­lenge to Pope Fran­cis’s author­i­ty is pred­i­cat­ed on the on-going “legit­i­ma­cy” of Pope Bene­dic­t’s author­i­ty. And it’s very unclear how much longer Bene­dict is going to be alive. So the clock is tick­ing:

    ...
    Fran­cis had already enraged tra­di­tion­al­ists with the pub­li­ca­tion in April 2016 of his doc­u­ment Amor­is Laeti­ta (“the Joy of Love”) which fol­lowed two Syn­ods in Rome on the theme of “the fam­i­ly”.

    In it, he soft­ened reg­u­la­tions to make it eas­i­er for divorced and remar­ried Catholics to receive the Eucharist.

    In a move that is unprece­dent­ed in the mod­ern his­to­ry of the Papa­cy, four Car­di­nals pub­licly chal­lenged Pope Fran­cis. In the words of his biog­ra­ph­er, Paul Val­le­ly, the four “have pub­lished ‘doubts’, vir­tu­al­ly accus­ing him of heresy”.

    The four were Car­di­nal Ray­mond Burke (USA), Car­di­nal Car­lo Caf­far­ra (for­mer Arch­bish­op of Bologna), Car­di­nal Joacim Meis­ner (for­mer Arch­bish­op of Cologne), and Car­di­nal Wal­ter Brand­muller (Ger­many), for­mer pres­i­dent of the Pon­tif­i­cal Com­mis­sion for His­tor­i­cal Sci­ences. Two of this quar­tet (the oth­ers have died in the mean­time) — Burke and Brand­muller — are reg­u­lars at the get-togeth­ers in the salon of Princess Glo­ria.

    Car­di­nal Burke, a for­mer Arch­bish­op of Arch­dio­cese of St Louis, has been a per­sis­tent crit­ic of Pope Fran­cis, and was removed from his posi­tion as head of the Supreme Tri­bunal of the Apos­tolic Sig­natu­ra (the Church’s Supreme Court) for refus­ing to imple­ment changes to pro­ce­dures for annul­ments which has been sanc­tioned by the Pope.

    The very pub­lic expres­sion of oppo­si­tion by these four senior church­men to the Pope has no par­al­lel in the his­to­ry of the mod­ern Papa­cy, and meant, in the words of Clif­ford Lon­g­ley, edi­to­r­i­al advis­er to The Tablet, that “Pope Fran­cis has a mutiny of his hands”.

    This sit­u­a­tion, which, of its very nature, is poten­tial­ly schis­mat­ic, con­tin­ues and bodes ill for the remain­der of the pon­tif­i­cate of Jorge Mario Bergoglio who will be 83 in Decem­ber.

    It remains to be seen whether Bene­dict XVI, whose health if fail­ing, allows him­self to go on being used in a way that sug­gests a par­al­lel papa­cy. The ses­sions in the opu­lent salon of Princess Glo­ria are pred­i­cat­ed on the on-going “legit­i­ma­cy” of the pon­tif­i­cate of Joseph Ratzinger — with very dan­ger­ous impli­ca­tions for the Catholic Church, impli­ca­tions no one can fore­see.

    With papal res­ig­na­tions like­ly to become the norm rather than the excep­tion from now on, it is clear that steps must be tak­en to ensure there is no repeat of the present sit­u­a­tion.

    ...

    Yes, the anti-Pope cabal knows it does­n’t have much time left, but it does­n’t know the actu­al amount of time left. It just knows it has to move fast, before Ratzinger kicks it. And it’s that ‘tick...tick...tick...’ dynam­ic that could make this a par­tic­u­lar­ly explo­sive pow­er strug­gle. This can’ be a slow under­min­ing that plays out over years. They may not have years left.

    So we’ll see if this far right cabal wins out. It’s not like there isn’t a long his­to­ry of the Catholic Church col­lud­ing with fas­cists. The Nazi Rat­lines could­n’t have hap­pened with­out the Catholic Church’s coop­er­a­tion. In some respects we’re see­ing the con­se­quences of those post-WWII moves to keep the inter­na­tion­al fas­cist net­works alive and intact in the post-War envi­ron­ment.

    But as the arti­cles have point­ed out, we’re also see­ing the direct con­se­quences of the deci­sion made by Pope Bene­dict to down in 2013 but not step down entire­ly. He remained a qua­si-Pope and that was a choice. A choice that many warned at the time could lead pre­cise­ly to a sit­u­a­tion like we’re see­ing right now. And a choice that Ratzinger was appar­ent­ly pushed into by Gor­geous Georg Gaenswein. So while Gaenswein may be pro­claim­ing that the scan­dal over the cur­rent “Pope Bene­dict” book cov­er was some­thing nei­ther Ratzinger nor Gaenswein agreed to, it’s going to be impor­tant to keep in mind that the cur­rent scan­dal is some­thing Gaenswein and the ultra-con­ser­v­a­tive forces he’s aligned with appear to have planned on years ago. And time for that plan to be com­plet­ed is run­ning out. In oth­er words, the final years, or months, of Joseph Ratzinger’s life could be unex­pect­ed­ly active for a guy who stepped down as Pope over health con­cerns.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 18, 2020, 4:31 pm

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