Pope Benedict with Stefano Spaziani a few days ago in the Vatican Gardens.
(Rome) At the beginning of Pope Francis’ term of office, numerous pictures of encounters with Benedict XVI. were released. "Thin sheets of paper" fit between the two, it said. That was long ago.
Even then it was clear that this was a form of staging. The pictures of Benedict XVI. served to secure the authority of the new pope. Only pictures were published, never content.
The official reading is still today that Pope Francis regularly visited his predecessor Benedict XVI. to talk to him and get advice. It was like visiting the "grandfather," Francis explained.
But that has not the case for a long time. Supposedly, visits from Francis took place in the monastery Mater Ecclesiae, where Benedict XVI. lives, on the high festivals of Christmas and Easter as well as the birthday of his predecessor. However, pictures of these encounters were not published, although there are other such occasions for everyone.
The only exception recently was on June 28, the visit of Francis with the newly created cardinals.
The need of Francis to seek advice from his predecessor is very limited and kept from the beginning within limits. Cardinal Kasper had revealed in the time of the Sedevacant that now an anti-Ratzinger pontificate was needed.
If one takes only the official Vatican pictures of Benedict XVI. in consideration, the impression arises that the former head of the Church should be made invisible. This is not surprising after the affair over the letter of his predecessor, which was manipulated in honor of Francis, which led to the overthrow of a close confidant of Francis in the spring.
Even before, Benedict XVI, although extremely rare and always discreet, had spoken out to formulate some opposing positions to the present pontificate. These include the defense of Cardinal Robert Sarah, the thorn in the flesh of the current pontificate at the Roman Curia, when Pope Francis' prefect was condemned personally by Pope Francis.
There are now mostly private visitors in the monastery Mater Ecclesiae, who publish photos of Benedict XVI. He does not seem to mind, which is why the image barrier of the Vatican hardly takes his desire in consideration.
On Wednesday, the Vatican Foundation Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI. published pictures of the of the photographer Stefano Spaziani with Benedict XVI. Spaziani gave the former Pope an illustrated book containing the most beautiful recordings of his pontificate.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
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