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Are Benedict and Francis Like Mary and Martha? Georg Gänswein Explains

L'Osservatore Romano/AFP

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 05/31/16

This is fascinating: the complete text of a recent speech from Archbishop Georg Gänswein, who serves both Pope Emeritus Benedict and Pope Francis.

Diane Montagna reports: 

According to an article last week in the National Catholic Register, the Prefect of the Pontifical Household, who is also Benedict’s personal secretary, told a conference at the Pontifical Gregorian University on May 20 that there are not two popes, but “de facto an expanded ministry — with an active member and a contemplative member.” “This is why Benedict XVI has not given up either his name, or the white cassock,” Gänswein said. “This is why the correct name by which to address him even today is ‘Your Holiness’; and this is also why he has not retired to a secluded monastery, but within the Vatican — as if he had only taken a step to the side to make room for his successor and a new stage in the history of the papacy which he, with that step, enriched by the ‘power station’ of his prayer and his compassion located in the Vatican Gardens.” Archbishop Gänswein, who was speaking at the presentation of a new book by Roberto Regoli entitled Beyond the Crisis of the Church — The Pontificate of Benedict XVI, also spoke of a “dramatic struggle” in the 2005 conclave that elected Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as pope, and acknowledged the existence of a so-called “St. Gallen Group,” which Cardinal Danneels of Brussels jokingly called “a kind of Mafia-club” opposed to Benedict’s election.

In effect, then, he told his listeners that we have a Mary-Martha Petrine office in the figures of Benedict and Francis—a challenging way to think of the papacy, to say the least.

Read the full text of his remarks.

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