Francis, Georg, Benedict. Interview by Lo Speciale with Marco Tosatti.
11 Gennaio 20231 Commento
Dear readers of Stilum Curiae, overcoming my usual timidity, I offer for your attention this interview which Lo Speciale had the goodness to do with me. The questions were posed by Americo Mascarucci. As a small addition, today I have heard from a source that normally very reliable that the future assignment of Archbishop Georg Ganswein will be more than just some small nunciature. We will see. Enjoy your reading.
Yesterday [January 9], Pope Francis gave an audience to Archbishop Georg Ganswein, the personal secretary of the deceased Benedict XVI. It was a meeting that caused much discussion, whose contents remain confidential, but which inevitably must have been connected to the polemics of the last few days in light of the last few statements made by Ganswein that were quite critical towards the pontiff, and also in anticipation of Ganswein’s soon-to-be-published book Nient’altro che la verita [Nothing Other Than the Truth]. We have tried to understand what significance this meeting may have had and what will happen in the Church now after Ratzinger’s death by interviewing someone with a profound knowledge of Vatican affairs, journalist Marco Tosatti. For many years was the Vaticanista of the daily newspaper La Stampa, where he followed the pontificates of Saint John Paul II and Benedict XVI. He is now the editor of Stilum Curiae, a widely-followed blog focused on the problems of the Church as well as other concerns.
In your opinion, what was the meaning of the meeting yesterday between Pope Francis and the personal secretary of Pope Benedict XVI? What could have been the reason for the meeting? Was it a clarification, or was it about Father Georg’s future?
I believe that both of these aspects may have been possible. There is no doubt that Ganswein’s comments about Traditionis Custodes were a blow against Pope Bergoglio. And naturally, given that Ganswein formally is still the Prefect of the Papal Household, the problem now arises of what to have him do, now that his principal work has vanished.
In the past few days there are those who are accusing Father Georg of having taking advantaged of the death of Pope Benedict by announcing the publication of his book and other particulars. Does Georg want to remove the pebbles from his shoes? Or is he negotiating his severance pay, hoping to receive a prestigious position at the head of an important archdiocese?
I think that with his book Ganswein wanted on the one hand to clarify some controversial episodes, in particular Vatileaks, but on the other hand, for example the firing of the banker Ettore Gotti Tedeschi from the Vatican Bank. There are contradictions with what he himself said at that time. So I would read what he says very carefully. It is probable that some of the revelations are targeted, or are intended to be read by someone within the Church based on parameters that we do not know.
What consequences will the death of Benedict XVI have within the Church?
With the death of Benedict, the Wojtyla era definitively ends. And we have now entered into a totally new situation. Also because Pope Bergoglio gave to a certain extent the impression of taking Ratzinger’s sensibilities into consideration. But now he is totally free to act without even the slightest hesitation.
Why do you say that the Wojtyla era is over?
Joseph Ratzinger was intimately connected to the pontificate of Karol Wojtyla, from the very beginning. As Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he played a role of primary importance. When I asked Father Stanislaw, Wojtyla’s secretary, on the day of Benedict’s election, what the relationship between these two men was, he responded that John Paul II did not make any important decision without consulting him. And Ratzinger’s election was in the line of continuity with the work, action, and climate created by Wojtyla. This is why I speak of a Wojtyla era that continued having its icon in Benedict.
Will the anti-Bergoglian front be weaker without Ratzinger, or will his disappearance provide motivation for a regrouping?
I believe that the second hypothesis is more probable, they will aim to regroup, even if I think that some tiny but noisy fringes are heading towards sedevacantist terrain.
Do you think that Bergoglio will remain pope until the end, or will he follow the example of his predecessor and retire?
Ha! Just in the last few days he has instituted provisions for the governance of the Diocese of Rome in order to bring everything back under his direct oversight. This doesn’t seem to me like giving notice of a future resignation. And, considering his personal character, which is centralizing and in some ways very authoritarian, I believe that he will resign when I see it, in spite of the health problems that are clearly evident.
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