Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Expanding Papacy

Archbishop Georg Gänswein’s recent remarks are always interesting, his recent interview is of particular interest. Gänswein, like his master Pope Benedict, is a subtle creature and should not be underestimated. I have always admired Ratzinger, especially as over the years his thought has developed.It is unlikely that Gänswein speaks with out Ratzinger knowing what he will say.

It is fascinating what Gänswein says about the two rival groups before the last Conclave, it is also fascinating what he leaves us to speculate about the election of Pope Francis in the light of these rival factions.

People have been pondering what the Archbishop meant by an 'expanded Papacy'. I think that we need to start with Pope John Paul's Et in Unum Sint  88ff - a document which seems to be as much the work of Cardinal-Prefect Ratzinger, as Pope Wojtyła. It recognises the role of the Pope today. it goes beyond the teaching of Vatican One's Pastor Aeternus, where the Pope is seen as the locus of the authentic Church, and the ultimate judge, or rather definer. of where authentic Christianity ends and heresy begins. It is role well suited to a non-travelling Pope, with a limited staff, whose concern was essentially doctrinal, with a Secretariate of State, whose role was essentially concerned with relationships Catholic princes, and few other Cardinal's with a tiny staff who held particular offices.

Mass communications above all have changed the role of the Papacy, today he is no longer the prisoner of the Vatican. We are more likely to be familiar with the image, actions and words of the Bishop of Rome than we are with our own Bishops. The Pope is no longer 'just for Catholics', he has another role, that of pre-eminence not only among Christians but among 'faith leaders' too. As a 'world leader' he has a moral authority which goes beyond that of any other leader.  He is also the head of one of the largest and most active NGO in the world.

I think Benedict has always wanted to reform the Papacy, it is not unconnected with his attempt to reform the Liturgy. His writings recognise the rootlessness both in scholarship and tradition of Paul VI's liturgical reforms, which rather than being a popular movement was something imposed from above through Papal authority. Vatican II, I am sure he welcomes but he has spoken and written about the Council of the Documents and the Council of Media. He has spoken of course of two hermeneutics, of rupture and continuity. Most especially in regard to the liturgy the Papacy itself has been the source of the hermeneutic of rupture, a rupture in the liturgy would for Benedict be a rupture in the entire fabric of the Church.

My personal feeling is the Archbishop is right that neither Vatileaks or conspiracies were responsible for Benedict's resignation, his devotion to Pope Celestine, his his symbolic leaving of his pallium on his shrine happened as early as April 2009, in retrospect it was an obvious sign of his intention to resign. I am sure his increased tiredness and difficulty in walking hastened it somewhat.

His resignation has changed the Papacy, more than any other event could have done. It has 'de-mystified' it. It has taken away the sense that the Pope is in some sense a sacred person, rather than a human being, brilliant or otherwise, fulfilling a sacred role. It strikes me as being highly unlikely that Pope Benedict was blind and deaf to "the so-called St. Gallen group” that included “Cardinals Danneels, Martini, Silvestrini or Murphy O’Connor”, what is perhaps interesting is that the Archbishop should mention them by name, and it is unlikely that he was unaware of who was their preferred candidate and where he would take the Papacy.

So what are we to make of the idea of an 'expanded' papacy? I cannot help see that it is significant that in the light of Amoris Laetitia and the confusion that it has created that Archbishop Gänswein should point out that the Pope Emeritus is still alive and able to comment, albeit by his choice through the Archbishop. The 'expanded papacy' is presumably a reference to the fact that as long as Benedict is alive Pope Francis has to take his legacy into account. In the past once a Pope was safely in his grave his successor had the freedom to make use of his predecessor's legacy as he wished, this is not an option for Francis. Benedict still has the capacity to cry out from his cloister, as we have seen recently over a misrepresentation of his words about Fatima.

Gänswein, by this speech has rather clearly shown himself to be one of the chief custodians and defenders of the Ratzingarian legacy. It is not by chance that he reminded the world that Ratzinger was elected after his sermon on the evils of Relativism. Perhaps when Pope Benedict is dead we will see what those who keep legacy which has perhaps grown rather and will grow rather than fade, will do and are capable of doing.


JARay said...

Yes indeed the legacy of Pope Benedict is in good hands.
I have just been reading the latest from Sandro Magister and he makes the claim that the dubious parts of Amoris Laetitia are really the work of an Argentinian priest who was refused the job of Professor of Theology in Buenos Aires and who wrote those parts before the two sessions of the Council even began. Of course he is a protege of Pope Francis and who included those parts in his Exhortation (as Cardinal Burke describes it). The idea of one Papacy having two incumbents is now surfacing and we will see how that plays out.

David O'Neill said...

pp JARay: I cannot see that "the legacy of Pope Benedict is in good hands." IMHO the Church is moving backwards insofar as the traditionalists are concerned.The second part of the comments appears to contradict the "good hands" speaking 9as it does) about the possible part-author of Amoris Laetitiae. I cannot honestly see how or why we should or can have 2 incumbents of the papacy - or am I being thick?

Fr Ray Blake said...

I don't think we can think of Benedict having more than a moral authority, and after AL part of that moral authority is also an intellectual authority which Francis is obviously lacking.

John Fisher said...

Danneels, Martini, Silvestrini or Murphy O’Connor and McCarick, Kaspar as well as Mahoney. These men are part of the pro gay Modernist mafia.
Benedict would have been right to make them resign as he did O'Brien. He must have realized the Conclave depended on those present. Philip Jedin in his book Crisis and Closure of the Council of Trent points out Cardinal Carafa (from Naples) was executed for crimes that parallel those of the names above.
"Carafa was born at Naples into one of the city's most ancient and distinguished families and without making a name for himself,[6] he had a long and dubious career as a mercenary soldier in Italy and Germany. He entered the household of Cardinal Pompeo Colonna at an early age, as a page and was enrolled in the Order of St John of Jerusalem later, that of Pierluigi Farnese, duke of Castro, the son of Paul III. He then fought under the Alfonso d'Avalos, marchese del Vasto, in Lombardy and Piedmont, and under Ottavio Farnese, Duke of Parma, in Flanders and Germany, fighting Protestants in the name of the Emperor. Here an incident occurred that illuminates his greed, arrogance and violent nature: his possession of captive gentleman worth a considerable ransom was challenged by a Spaniard, whose right was upheld by his compatriot, the duke of Alba; and in the aftermath Carlo, pursuing his adversary to provoke a duel was incarcerated at Trent until he agreed not to pursue the vendetta.[7] He was exiled from Naples in 1545 for murder and banditry and, having withdrawn to Benevento, was embroiled in another assassination.[8] was alleged to have perpetrated the massacre of Spanish soldiers as they recuperated in a hospital in Corsica.
Two weeks after Giovanni Pietro Carafa was elected pope, as Paul IV he raised Carlo to the cardinalate 7 June 1555. His tenure as Cardinal Nephew was not a great success as he and Paul IV brought the Papacy to a humiliating defeat against the Spanish that nearly resulted in another Sack of Rome. Carlo's government was unpopular in Rome and he developed a reputation for avarice, cruelty and licentiousness, as well as for sodomy. In January 1559, Paul IV finally accepted the accuracy of the accusations made and exiled both his nephews from Rome and replaced Carlo as Cardinal Nephew with Carlo's own nephew Alfonso Carafa, cardinal archbishop of Naples.

In June 1560, Paul's successor, Pope Pius IV arrested the leading members of the Carafa family, his brother the duke and their nephew the cardinal archbishop of Naples,[9] seizing their papers, on a range of charges relating to abuses of power during Paul's reign. Carlo was charged with a range of crimes, including not only sodomy but also murder and promotion of Protestantism. After a nine-month trial, the cardinal was condemned along with his brother Giovanni and was executed by strangulation at Castel Sant' Angelo on the night of 6 March 1561." :)
My point is in our own time Pope Benedict's resignation left the conclave prey to his enemies who are unctuous liars. He would have been wise to make them resign and replaced them with men who are solidly Catholic. Yes Benedict does influence Francis simply by living however he did not need to resign. He could have brought in Cardinals he could trust and let them do his work for him. Obviously the present situation is some sort of stalemate between Catholics and Modernists however if Modernists were not given authority as Cardinals etc. they would be disenfranchised as they should be. Weeds need to be pulled out or got rid of not allowed to grow and spread their seeds. The Papacy has always been either a cause for good or the source of abuses such as the old abuses of simony,love of luxury and corruption sexual and otherwise. In our own time Modernism is the same vanity clothed as populism and rupture. A human race that has no past is so easily manipulated and used by those with power. Modernists have found denigrating the past, creating rupture a tool that allows them to destroy and rule leading us to perdition.

Jacobi said...

The Church has not been well served by its Popes from 1965-2013. The present Pope awaits the verdict of history.

Benedict was in many ways a good pope and certainly did much to reverse the liturgical chaos of Paul VI. But in another sense he has probably damaged and diminished the Office of the Keeper of the Keys as much as any previous Pope. He effectively reduced that great office to the status of a CEO. For “expanded” we can read “diluted”.

Yes, I am sure he was getting on a bit and therefore finding things a bit of a struggle. Well so are a lot of people who nevertheless grin and bear and carry on. I personally know one or two. His intellectual capacities, which is what counts, are as good as ever.

Athelstane said...

I think there's something to the idea that Benedict wanted to control how the next pontificate might handle his legacy, by remaining alive through some significant part of it.

But if he really wanted to control his legacy, the surest way to do so is by influencing how his successor is selected. And the surest way to do *that* is by selecting who gets to do the selecting - in short, packing the College with more like-minded cardinals. But while Benedict made some slight progress in shifting some (a handful?) episcopates in a more Ratzingerian direction, he made little if any progress in so doing with the College of Cardinals.

His successor has been much less restrained in such appointments. He understands that "personnel is policy."

Sadie Vacantist said...

I read the interview and couldn't make any sense of it. The content contains the sort of blandishments which the present Holy Father endeavours to avoid with his own stream of confused outbursts.

The American writer and former Republican presidential candidate, Pat Buchanan, recently described the atheist Donald Trump as a possible emperor Constantine in waiting.

Like many Catholics, Buchanan is desperate and who can blame him?

JARay said...

May I please draw your attention to the latest article on the blog "Rorate Caeli"? It is headed "Family Synods were a hugely expensive Fraud: Essential Passages of Exhortation had already been written 10 years ago".
The Archbishop Fernandez wrote the controversial parts of Amoris Laetitia 10 years before the two synods on the Family. This was written as a riposte to St. John-Paul's "Veritatis Splendor" and Pope Francis specially appointed Archbishop Fernandez to the group chosen to write the summary of the two Councils.

kiwiinamerica said...

He threw in the towel.

pooka said...

When Benedict resigned he undertook to withdraw from the world and also pledged subservience to his successor. A 'cry from the cloister' would renege on that.

More like this is a case of an ambitious prelate positioning himself as the 'voice of Benedict', just as Dziwisz rode on JPII's coat tails.

Vincent said...

I think people forget in their adulation of Pope Benedict, in many ways deserved, that he was fundamentally not a 'Traditionalist', nor was he a liberal. If you look at Cardinal Ratzinger, his position on a number of things had altered as he had grown older; I think he thought that some of his appointments would do the same. I suppose Cardinal Muller is an example of that working in some ways.

Academics accept people with different opinions because it forces them to reappraise. Managers don't, they employ people they know they can trust to carry out their orders. That probably explains Francis v Benedict as well as anything else.

Personally I can't reconcile the old and the new with a 'hermeneutic of continuity'; I think that Pope Benedict papered over the huge gaps in the wall of Catholicism. Pope Francis' method of redecorating is to let the paper fall off and see what crawls out of the cracks.

Liam Ronan said...

With regard to the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the rumoured machinations of the Conclave which ultimately elected him, the theological bent of the opposing "St. Gallen" group, and the Curial resistance Pope Benedict XVI faced throughout his papacy, I have always felt that the situation paralled this moment recorded in Scripture by St. John.

"Jesus answered: He it is to whom I shall reach bread dipped. And when he had dipped the bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the morsel, Satan entered into him.

And Jesus said to him: That which thou dost, do quickly.

Now no man at the table knew to what purpose he said this unto him. For some thought, because Judas had the purse, that Jesus had said to him: Buy those things which we have need of for the festival day: or that he should give something to the poor. He therefore having received the morsel, went out immediately. And it was night." John 13:26-30

"That which thou dost do, do quickly."

Benedict XVI publicly decried the 'filth' in the Church long before his resignation and was well aware of 'the wolves'. I think it unlikely that he was under any illusion as to who and of what sort of stripe his immediate successor would be. I still believe the resignation was an act designed to force the filth and corruption within the Church to 'do quickly' what they had long been conspiring to do and thus, in faux triumph, encouraging the wolves to unmask and publicly declare themselves.

"May the seven years which separate us from the centenary of the apparitions hasten the fulfilment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity." Words of Pope Benedict XVI at Fatima, 13 May 2010

Celia said...

A sensible take on archbishop Ganswein's remarks. He is effectively expanding on what Pope Benedict said or implied when he abdicated: that he would remain in some sense a pope, and continue with what he sees as the office's charism of prayer. I'm pleased Ganswein has raised the matter because I think the distraction of the three-ring circus that is Bergoglio's pontificate has led most people to forget that Benedict's action raised serious questions about the nature and status of the papal office- not least the practical matter of whether popes should have a fixed length of office or retire at a certain age and what they should then do- lead a quasi-monastic life or remain in the world chatting to any passing journalist (the likely option for the current HF I'm afraid).
One of the reasons I admire Benedict is that it's not possible to label him as many would like to do- he can't be designated trad/conservative/liberal and he had the knack of seeing a problem and taking sometimes surprising action to deal with it.
Incidentally I hope the archbishop has succeeded in killing off that silly but widely circulated notion that Benedict wanted to be known as humble 'Father Benedict'. It's been denied in the past, but some people persist in using the appellation, I presume in an attempt to align him with the well-advertised 'humility' of his successor.

Sadie Vacantist said...

The "St Gallen group" are just brainwashed American puppets. Old men now, they have known nothing other than the current paradigm since they were children. They are the ecclesiastical variants of NATO and the EEC (institutions developed at the same time as the Council itself). People posting here are reading way too much into the significance of this group.

Listening to some American evangelicals on a podcast last night, talking about Trump and the Middle East, a picture is emerging that American non-Catholics are starting to wake-up to what has been going on these last 20 years. They are disobeying their leaders and voting ethnocentrically i.e. for “The Donald” who may yet betray them but they have hope in an Andy Dufresne sort of way.

Meanwhile, back in Catholic land, American papists are forced to endure Gallen group junior, Timothy Dolan, sounding like a jackass whenever he opens his mouth in public.

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