Retired Pope Benedict critiqued major interview for Pope Francis

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI sent a commentary to Pope Francis on the major interview the new pontiff gave last year to La Civilta Catholica.

The prefect of the Pontifical Household for both popes, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, said this to a German television station.

Archbishop Ganswein, who is also Benedict’s secretary, said the retired Pope wrote the commentary at Pope Francis’s request.

“When Father Spadaro (the director of La Civilta Cattolica) delivered the first copy of this interview, (Pope) Francis gave it to me and asked that I take it to Benedict,” said Archbishop Ganswein.

“Look, the first page after the index is blank,” Pope Francis reportedly told him, saying that Benedict “should write down all the criticism that comes to mind and afterwards give it to me”.

In the interview, published in September last year, Pope Francis presented his vision of the Church as a field hospital after battle, needing to heal wounds.

He warned that the Church has locked itself up in small-minded rules.

Pope Francis also said that “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods.”

These things had to be spoken of in a context, he said.

Archbishop Ganswein said Benedict delivered four pages in response to the Pope’s request.

“He did his homework,” the archbishop said of the former pontiff.

“He read it and responded to the request of his successor, offering some reflections and some observations about certain statements or questions which he thought could perhaps be developed later on another occasion.”

What Benedict wrote has not been revealed.

Archbishop Ganswein also admitted to favouring candidates other than Francis in last year’s papal conclave.

“Well, yes, as I had favoured other candidates – I was wrong – but then so were other people,” he said.



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