Text: Giuseppe Nardi
(Rome / Buenos Aires) A spectacular newspaper interview with Pope Francis was published on Sunday in which the Pope uses an unusual dialectic. Is the Catholic Church leader to understand that his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, was a “problem” for the Church?” Indicates Francis in addition that “ultraconservative” Church representatives, according to context meaning the defender of Catholic marriage and morality and the Discipline of the Sacraments, actually “beheaded” include?
Newspaper interviews as a new papal “magisterium”
With his first interview that was published in the leftist daily on October 2013 by La Repubblica, Pope Francis revolutionized the communication policy of the papacy. The atheist from a Masonic Lodge, Eugenio Scalfari, gave it the title: “The Pope: ‘Thus, I Will Change the Church'”. With Francis a new communication strategy of a pope was introduced. For Pope Francis, interviews are part of the Magisterium: “All the time I submit declarations, keep preaching, and that is teaching,” he said in December 2014 in his first interview with a Latin American newspaper, the Argentine La Nacion.
With his recent interview, which was published in Argentina yesterday, again by the daily newspaper La Nacion, Pope Francis continued with his special “magisterium”.
The interview has an Argentina focus and addressed recent polemics in the Pope’s home country. The Pope has been accused of having a disturbed relationship, since December 2015 with incumbent President Macri. The pope had supported the left-Peronist rival candidate in the election campaign.
The interview was meant to smooth the waves, hence the title: “I have no problem with Macri. He is a noble man. ”
The Pope and the “Ultraconservatives”, “I want an open Church. They say no to everything ”
However, some questions concern the entire Church. So the Pope was asked by Joaquin Morales Solá how he gets along “with the ultra-conservatives in the Church.”
The tendentious exaggeration of the term “ultra-conservatives”, as it is known by left journalists, was neither corrected nor rejected by the Pope. The Pope responded by implicitly adopting it. In his own words about the “Ultraconservatives”:
“They do their job and I do mine. I want an open, understanding Church that accompanies the injured families. They say no to everything. I follow my path, without looking to the left and right. I don’t want to behead anybody. That’s what I never liked. I repeat: I do not support the conflict.’ With a broad smile he concludes: ‘nails are pulled by making upward pressure. Or one puts them quietly to the side when they reach retirement age.'”
Astonishingly, Pope Francis made a direct connection between “Ultraconservatives” and “heads.” He said he’s never “chopped off anyone’s head” because that still doesn’t appeal to him. At the same time, the Church leader actually suggested that “ultra-conservatives” were actually “beheaded.” And by that the Pope does not mean any special marginal groups, but apparently, high-ranking employees of the Roman Curia.
Resignation of Benedict XVI. “Has made all the problems of the church visible”
Another question from the interview which took place on the June 28th relates to the health of Benedict. Pope Francis confirmed his reply that there actually was no compelling health reason for the resignation:
“He has problems in moving, but his head and his memory are perfectly intact.”
Simultaneously Francis presented, however, that the resignation was clearly Pope Benedict XVI’s “last act of government.” Recently, there were discussions after a lecture by Curial Archbishop Georg Gänswein about a type of dual papal authority in an “almost common” exercise of the papacy by an “active” and a “contemplative” Pope.
Pope Francis said of Pope Benedict XVI. for La Nacion: “He was a revolutionary. In the meeting with the cardinals just before the conclave of May 2013, he told us that one of us will be the next pope, and he did not know his name. His behavior was impeccable. His resignation made visible all of the problems of the Church. His resignation had nothing to do with the personal. It was a governmental action, his last governmental action.”
Pope Benedict XVI. a “revolutionary”? The statement made with the excessively used word “revolution” which seems to be meant as a compliment, but is rather outlandish in characterizing the German pope.
On the other hand, the statement, Pope Benedict XVI. has “made visible all the problems of the Church” with his resignation is truly noteworthy. In connection with the next statement, his resignation had “nothing to do with anything personal,” but was a “governmental action”, Pope Francis himself opens the floodgates to new speculation that Benedict XVI. may have been pressured to vacate the Chair of Peter in order to eliminate “all the problems of the Church.”
Does Pope Francis himself adopt the opinion as it was represented in 2012 by the late Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini? He even demanded the resignation of Benedict XVI. shortly before his death, because he saw in the German pope a “problem” for the Church, rather even, “the problem.”