An Insider’s View of Benedict’s Resignation
Even after his death, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI raises a lot of questions. Was his resignation legitimate? Was he forced to resign? Was he working covertly to undermine his successor’s pontificate? As someone who worked for both men, I can assure you it’s all nonsense.
Yes, we are living in unprecedented times. No one could foresee a retired pope living within the walls of the Vatican. But it is not as if Pope Benedict XVI had not carefully prepared for this situation, seeking counsel beforehand and establishing a cordial friendship with his successor afterward. It is not as if conversations regarding the eventual funeral rites and burial of the retired pope had never taken place, even if the rest of the world (and most of the Holy See) still doesn’t know what they are.
I worked at the Vatican’s Secretariat of State from 2007-2017. I’ll never forget the surprise on February 11, 2013, when Benedict announced his intention to retire. I was one of his Latinists, and even we had not seen beforehand the Latin declaration he read to the cardinals gathered in consistory. (Nevertheless, it was our duty to correct three minor mistakes, none of which would have voided his le
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