Sandro Magister, "Double Friendly Fire Against the 'Pope Emeritus'" (www.chiesa, August 29, 2016):
ROME, August 29, 2016 – In his retreat on the Vatican hill, Joseph Ratzinger just won’t keep quiet. Neither in the written nor in the spoken word.Read more >>
In the anticipation of the early autumn release of his book-length interview with Peter Seewald, a new monumental biography will arrive in bookstores tomorrow, written by his friend the theologian Elio Guerriero, introduced with a preface by Pope Francis and ending with an interview of the ex-pope conducted by the author, previewed on August 25 by the newspaper "la Repubblica": Ratzinger confessa: "Troppo stanco, così ho lasciato il ministero petrino"
In the interview, Ratzinger once again explains that the only reason for his resignation of the papacy was his loss of energy. Thereby contradicting his successor Francis, who in an interview last July 3 with “La Nación” asserted that the abdication of Benedict XVI “had nothing to do with anything personal.”
But there is one point, among others, one which the two latest successors of Peter agree. Both of them give credence to the figure of the “pope emeritus,” a figure that however has no precedent, whether historical, theological, or juridical.
Francis writes in this regard, in the preface to the book previewed on August 24 by the newspaper “Avvenire”:
“For the Church, the presence of a pope emeritus in addition to the one in office is an innovation. [. . .] It expresses in a particularly evident manner the continuity of the Petrine ministry, without interruption, like the links of a selfsame chain joined together by love.”
Not only that. It is known that the prefect of the pontifical household, Georg Gänswein - who as Ratzinger’s personal secretary before, during, and after his pontificate is certainly the person closest to him - has pressed much further in setting forth this contemporaneous presence of the two popes, according to him almost “an expanded ministry,” “in common,” with “a collegial and synodal dimension’: Not One Pope But Two, One “Active” and One “Contemplative” (17.6.2016)
But it is not known to what extent Ratzinger may share the reckless ideas asserted in public by his secretary. What is ever more certain, however, is that some of the most competent and authoritative figures of the circle closest to the ex-pope are absolutely opposed to them.
One of these is Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, an illustrious Church historian, who last July spoke out in tough critical terms not only against the figure of the “pope emeritus,” but also against the goodness of Ratzinger’s abdication itself: Brandmüller: “The Resignation of the Pope Is Possible, But May It Never Happen Again” (18.7.2016)
Another is Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, a luminary of canon law and secretary of the supreme tribunal of the apostolic signatura, who in an interview with Andrea Tornielli for “Vatican Insider” on August 25 ripped to pieces the juridical and theological sustainability of the title “pope emeritus” being applied to one who has abdicated the papacy: Sciacca: "Non può esistere un papato condiviso"
[Hat tip to JM]