Catholic Family News
A Monthly Journal Preserving our Catholic Faith and Heritage

Pope Benedict Insists: "My Resignation was valid; speculations are simply absurd"

Feb. 27: I just returned from covering the Consistory of Cardinals in Rome. Was there for a week. More on the Consistory later. The story below broke the last day of my stay in Italy - jv

Former Pope Benedict Insists: "My Resignation
was valid; speculations are simply absurd"

by John Vennari

On February 25. Vatican journalist Andrea Tornielli posted a Vatican Insider piece headlined, “Ratzinger: “My resignation is valid. Speculations are simply absurd”

Tornielli had written to former Pope Benedict about the speculation, particularly fuled by Antonio Socci, that his resignation may be invalid.

The key paragraph of Tornielli’s piece reads, “On Frebruay 16, the author of this article [Tornielli] sent the Pope Emeritus a letter with some specific questions regarding these interpretations. A response came two days later. '
There is absolutely no doubt regarding the validity of my resignation from the Petrine ministry,' Ratzinger wrote in his letter of reply. 'The only condition for the validity of my resignation is the complete freedom of my decision. Speculations regarding its validity are simply absurd.' Those closest to Ratzinger had been aware of the possibility of his resignation for a long time and he himself confirmed it in a book-length interview with the German journalist Peter Seewald (Light of the World, 2010): ‘If a pope clearly realizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically, and spiritually capable of handling the duties of office, then he has a right and, under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign’."

It has been suggested by this or that commentator that
CFN held this position as well, that Benedict’s resignation might be invalid.

This is not the case. I have never subscribed to this theory. In fact, I wrote a short piece distancing myself from this speculation a good six weeks before Antonio Socci began spreading it.

On page 27 of the January 2014
Catholic Family News, which went to press in late December, I wrote the following in answer to a Letter to the Editor:

“I do not take this theory seriously. In a case such as this, evidence alone matters. And the amount of evidence I would require to entertain this notion is colossal, much more than the present whisperings here and there.

“I’ve even heard that in Europe, various Catholic ‘conservatives’ (not traditionalists) have quietly adopted this theory. I think these poor conservatives are so scandalized by Pope Francis’ words and actions that perhaps they seek a solution that, at least to them, might appear to be plausible. Did not the
New York Times recently headline a piece, 'Conservative Catholics feel left out of Pope’s embrace'? How many conservative Catholics expressed shock and consternation at Pope Francis’ questionable statements about homosexuality (see p. 17) and other issues?

“Even moral theologian Germain Grisez, whom I have never before seen express reservations about a pope, said that Francis speaks like a man who is not quite sober: ‘I’m afraid’ said Grisez, ‘that Pope Francis has failed to consider carefully enough the likely consequences of letting loose with his thoughts in a world that will applaud being provided with such help in subverting the truth it is his job to guard as inviolable and proclaim with fidelity. For a long time he has been thinking these things. Now he can say them to the whole world—and he is self-indulgent enough to take advantage of the opportunity with as little care as he might unburden himself with friends after a good dinner and plenty of wine.’

“One of the many problems I have with Benedict-resignation theory is this: if Benedict is still Pope, he seems blithely unaware of the fact. In all the photos I see of Benedict and Francis together, they both look quite chummy with each other. It’s all smiles and embraces. Benedict does not appear to treat Francis as a usurper in any way…”

The above photos were also published on page 27 of the January CFN.

Now Benedict himself has come forward categorically denying his resignation was invalid. And despite Benedict’s curious statements in Tornielli’s article as to why he continues to wear white, I would say the issue is closed.

See Vatican Insider: Ratzinger: “My resignation is valid. Speculations are simply absurd”

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