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Benedict XVI: “With the Papa Emeritus I have tried to [be] completely clear that there is only one Pope”

Ever since Benedict XVI announced his resignation on Feb. 11, 2013, the Vatican has been a continually alternating hodgepodge of drama, comedy, freak show, circus, and haunted house of horrors. Not that the Vatican II Church wasn’t already clearly a blasphemous and heretical madhouse before then, but at least it had tried to give an appearance of honor, respectability, and order. At this point, it’s a laughing stock as “Pope” Francis has maneuvered himself into what can only be described as a lame-duck session of the rest of his “papacy”, where each day that passes may bring yet another scandal, confidentiality leak, or other embarrassing development.

The latest drama from the Eternal City is a set of leaked private letters that Antipope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote to “Cardinal” Walter Brandmuller in late 2017, after the latter had given an interview to the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in which he criticized Benedict for having created the figure of a Pope Emeritus, which he rightly said was a complete novelty in 2,000 years of Catholic history.

Yesterday, Sep. 20, 2018, the German tabloid Bild and the American New York Times published excerpts of the two letters Benedict wrote to his compatriot. Here are the relevant links (be careful accessing the Bild web site — they like to post lewd pictures):

Today, Sep. 21, Bild released the two leaked letters in full, and the National Catholic Register published them in English translation:

For our readers’ convenience, we are reproducing here the two leaked letters in full, as translated by the Register, omitting only the recipient’s address:

Vatican City, 9 November 2017

Your Eminence,

In your recent interview with the FAZ [Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung] you say that I created, with the construction of the Pope Emeritus, a figure that does not exist in the entirety of Church history. Of course, you know very well that popes have retired, even if very rarely. What were they afterwards? Pope Emeritus? Or what instead?

As you know, Pius XII left instructions in case of being captured by the Nazis: that from the moment of his capture he would no longer be Pope but a Cardinal again. Whether this simple return to the Cardinalate would have been in fact possible, we do not know. In my case it surely would not have made sense simply to claim a return to the Cardinalate. I then would have constantly been exposed to the public in the way a Cardinal is – indeed, even more so, because in that Cardinal one would have seen the former Pope. This could have led, intentionally or unintentionally, to difficult consequences, particularly in the context of the present situation. With the Papa Emeritus I have tried to create a situation in which I am absolutely inaccessible to the media and in which it is completely clear that there is only one Pope. If you know of a better way and thus believe that you may condemn the one I have chosen, please tell me about it.

I greet you in the Lord


Benedict XVI


Vatican City, 23 November 2017

Your Eminence,

From your kind letter of November 15th I assume I may conclude that in the future you no longer want to comment publicly on the question of my resignation, and for this I thank you.

The deep-seated pain that the end of my pontificate has caused in you, as in many others, I can understand very well. But the pain in some — and it seems to me also in you — has turned into anger, which no longer regards only the resignation, but increasingly is expanding to my person and to my pontificate as a whole. In this manner a pontificate is being devalued and fused into a sadness about the situation of the Church today. From this fusion a new kind of agitation gradually results, for which the little book by Fabrizio Grasso, La rinuncia (Algra Editore, Viagrande/Catania 2017) could become emblematic.

All this fills me with worry and, precisely for that reason, the end of your FAZ interview left me so troubled, because it ultimately cannot but foster the same sort of atmosphere.

Let us pray instead, as you did at the end of your letter, that the Lord may come to the aid of his Church. With my Apostolic blessing I am


Benedict XVI


Not surprisingly, these lines have journalists, theologians, commentators, and bloggers busy analyzing, interpreting, and speculating.

Indeed, some of the contents are downright stupid: “With the Papa Emeritus I have tried to create a situation in which I am absolutely inaccessible to the media and in which it is completely clear that there is only one Pope.” Really? He’s tried to make absolutely clear that there is only one Pope by retaining his white cassock, zucchetto, and his “papal” name, and by still having himself addressed as “Your Holiness”? Is this also why he even — as evidenced in the second letter above — still imparts his “Apostolic blessing”?

We are being asked to believe that pictures such as the following show the best Joseph Ratzinger was able to do to ensure that “it is completely clear that there is only one Pope”:

Which one is the real fake?

Likely story.

We also recall that Benedict XVI had his private secretary, the heretical Archlayman Georg Gänswein, announce to the world the following pseudo-theological explanation of what his resignation and the subsequent Papa Emeritus circus mean:

In essence, the epochal resignation of the “Pope of theologians” was therefore a step forward, when on February 11, 2013, speaking in Latin, he established in front of the surprised cardinals the new institution of the “Pope emeritus” in the Catholic Church, on the grounds that, as he put it, his strength was no longer sufficient “to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry [munus Petrinum].” The key word in this declaration is the term munus Petrinum, which was translated as “Petrine ministry” here, as it usually is. However, the Latin munus has many meanings. It can mean service, task, direction, or gift — even miracle. Benedict understands his mission as a participation in such a “Petrine ministry”, both before and after his resignation, even today still.

He vacated his chair, but he did not renounce this ministry [service] with the step he took on February 11, 2013. Instead, he augmented the personal office with a collegial and synodal dimension, as a shared ministry so to speak (als einen quasi gemeinsamen Dienst), as though he wanted to repeat once more the invitation inherent in the motto which Joseph Ratzinger had given himself as Archbishop of Munich and Freising and of course retained as Bishop of Rome: “cooperatores veritatis”. That is in German, “Mitarbeiter der Wahrheit” [in English, “coworkers of the truth”]. For it is not a singular but a plural form, taken from 3 John, where it says in verse 8: “We therefore ought to receive such, that we may be fellow helpers [coworkers] of the truth.”

Thus, there have not been two Popes since the election of his successor Francis on March 13, 2013, but there is de facto an expanded ministry — with an active and a contemplative member. That’s why Benedict XVI did not take off his white cassock, nor did he give up his name. That’s why even today the correct way to address him is, “Holy Father” (in Italian: Santità [Holiness]), and that is why he did not retire to a secluded monastery but to the inside of the Vatican — as though he had only stepped aside in order to make room for his successor and for a new stage in the history of the papacy, which, by means of this step, he enriched by the power of his prayers and his shared suffering in the Vatican Gardens.

(“Archbishop” Georg Ganswein, in “Das Ende eines Alten und der Beginn eines, May 23, 2016; our translation; italics and underlining added.)

Truly, one has to wonder: What better way could Benedict XVI possibly have chosen to ensure people will not be confused about how many Popes there are? It seems very difficult to come up with a better idea. (sarcasm off)

Speaking of better ideas, “Fr.” Gerald Murray had a few to offer on EWTN’s The World Over program yesterday with Raymond Arroyo (begin at the 21:26 min mark):

All of this will necessarily stoke the fires of the people who believe Benedict’s resignation was invalid because forced — we call them “Resignationists” — and therefore, so they claim, he is still “Pope”.

Benedict XVI had offered bizarre reasons in the past for his resignation and for still retaining the trappings of the Papacy — from jet lag to no other clothes being available — that one cannot help but wonder if this entire theater is not exactly that: theater. Theater which is meant to keep people from abandoning the Vatican II Sect because the worse Francis gets, the more they will want to leave; but if there is always lurking in the shadows that “orthodox alternative” of Benedict XVI, as he is falsely considered by many, it will keep countless people attached to the Modernist church who might otherwise leave and discover that the entire Vatican II religion is a fraud.

In other words: By sticking around as the “Pope Emeritus”, Benedict XVI is indirectly helping to ensure that Francis can continue snuffing out the last few vestiges of Catholicism in people’s souls. But either way, it is the Vatican II Sect that ultimately benefits by keeping people confused and, most of all, away from real Catholicism.

By the way, we have produced a brief podcast in which we discuss this drama about the leaked Benedict letters to Brandmuller:

So Benedict says that had he acted differently than to create this theological fantasy figure of the “Pope Emeritus” with his “shared ministry” — one might call it a “half-Pope” — then “[t]his could have led, intentionally or unintentionally, to difficult consequences….”

Thanks a lot.

Image sources: Novus Ordo Watch composite with elements from,, / (cropped)
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