» 02/11/2014, 00.00
Fr. Lombardi: Benedict XVI’s resignation "a truly incisive decision in the History of the Church"
The Pope Emeritus "lives a discreet life, without any public dimension, but this does not mean that he is isolated, closed as if in a strict cloister". His relationship with Pope Francis "also includes moments of personal encounter, dialogue ... one goes to the home of the other and vice versa. And then there are other forms of contact for example the phone or messages that are sent: a completely normal relationship and, I would add, one of solidarity".
Vatican City ( AsiaNews) -
Benedict XVI's decision to renounce the papacy was "a great act of
government", "a decision that was taken freely and that was really incisive
in the situation and History of the Church". Father
Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See Press Office, comments on the 11
February 2013 decision by the Pope Emeritus. "An
unusual and surprising gesture" for the vast majority of people, but "for
those closest to Benedict XVI" it was a decision upon which he had "prayed,
reflected evaluated" for a long time, it was a decision the result of "spiritual
In an interview with Vatican
Radio, Father Lombardi recalled the "fear" aroused at the time by the
idea of two contemporary popes. "To
me - he says - it seemed quite clear that there was absolutely no need to fear.
Why? Because the fact is that the papacy is a service and not a power. If power
is what motivates, then
it is clear that two people may find it difficult to coexist in the same role, because
it could be difficult to renounce power and live with one's successor. But if service
is what motivates, then a person who has done his duty before God and in
full consciousness of this service passes on the testimony to another person
with that attitude of service and full freedom of conscience carries out this
task, then there is absolutely no problem! There is a deep spiritual solidarity
among the Servants of God who
seek the good of the people of God in the service of the Lord".
And now Benedict XVI "lives discreetly,
without a public dimension, but this does not mean that he is isolated, closed
as if in a strict cloister. His activities are normal for an older person - an
elderly religious, a life
of prayer, reflection, reading, writing in the sense that he responds to
correspondence he receives; interviews, meetings with people who are close to
him, whom he willingly meets, with whom he believes it is useful to have a
dialogue, that ask for advice or spiritual
closeness. Therefore: the life of a person who is spiritually rich, highly
experienced, in a discreet relationship with others ... there is no longer that
public dimension to which we were accustomed, as Pope, then he
was always on television, in the global spotlight. This is no longer the case,
but for the rest, it is a normal life of relationships. Among these relationships, there is the relationship
with his successor, his relationship with Pope
Francis, with whom, as we know, he also has moments of personal encounter,
dialogue ... one goes to the home of the other and vice versa. And then there
are other forms of contact which could be the phone or messages that are sent:
a completely normal situation and relationship, and I would add, one of solidarity.
I believe those rare images of the two popes together and praying together -
the current Pope and the Pope emeritus - is a truly beautiful and encouraging
sign, the continuity of the Petrine ministry in the service of the Church".
Pope, a morally precious example for all Christians and human beings, Fr Lombardi says
Vatican Press Office head calls on the faithful to face the situation with faith and serenity. He also releases Benedict XVI's schedule until 28 February. On that day, the Pontiff will leave the Vatican at 5 pm for Castel Gandolfo.
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