Sandro Magister reveals at his blog Chiesa the ongoing contact between Pope Francis and the Pope Emeritus:
In his latest interview, with “Corriere della Sera,” Pope Francis has revealed that he has struck a deal with Joseph Ratzinger on a new role for the “pope emeritus,” unprecedented in the history of the Church:
“The pope emeritus is not a statue in a museum. It is an institution. We have not been accustomed to this. Sixty or seventy years ago, the bishop emeritus did not exist. It came after the Council. Today it is an institution. The same thing must happen for the pope emeritus. Benedict is the first, and perhaps there will be others. We do not know. He is discrete, humble, he does not want to be a nuisance. We have spoken about it and have decided together that it would be better that he see people, get out and participate in the life of the Church. [. . .] Some may have wished that he would retire to a Benedictine abbey far from the Vatican. I have thought of the grandparents who with their wisdom, their advice bring strength to the family and do not deserve to end up in a nursing home.”
No sooner said than done. A few days ago a book came with a previously unpublished text by Benedict XVI. And this is not a matter of just any sort of text. But of a judgment that the last pope – under the reign of his successor – is pronouncing on his predecessor, John Paul II. A veritable public judgment not only on the person but on the central features of that memorable pontificate.
Some media, in covering the news of this text by the “pope emeritus,” have emphasized the passage in which he recounts how the question of liberation theology was addressed in the first phase of Karol Wojtyla’s pontificate.
Go here to read the rest. The Pope Emeritus is so careful that hopefully no harm will come of this. If he were less careful and wise, PopeWatch would be quite concerned about this. The office of Pope is unique, vast spiritual authority exercised by one man. A retired Pope could quickly become a rallying point for all those discontented with the present Pope. PopeWatch assumes that the Pope Emeritus will not allow himself to be used in this fashion, but the potential exists for much mischief when a retired Pope speaks or writes. PopeWatch hopes that future popes will not emulate the Pope Emeritus in retiring, precisely because of the potential for Catholics hearing two different messages from Vicars of Christ. During the Great Schism of 1378-1418 rival popes routinely excommunicate each other and that spectacle helped lead to unrest in the Church that paved the way for the Reformation.