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Pope’s secretary: God didn’t tell Benedict to quit

August 27, 2013

Pope’s secretary: God didn’t tell Benedict to quit


The personal secretary for former Pope Benedict XVI now says a recent news  report that the pontiff had a “mystical experience” in which God instructed him  to resign is simply nonsense.

“There is nothing true in that story,” Archbishop Georg Gaenswein told the  Italian TV channel Canale  5.

He said the original report by the Catholic news agency Zenit was “made up  from alpha to omega.”


The Zenit  report Aug. 19 claiming Benedict had a “mystical experience,” with God  personally instructing him to step down.


“God told me to do it,” the 86-year-old ex-pontiff reportedly told a friend,  according to Zenit, breaking his silence for the first time since becoming the  first pope to leave office in 600 years.


The report claimed Benedict indicated God had implanted in his heart the  “absolute desire” to resign and to devote himself to a life of prayer and  reflection, though he admitted he didn’t personally see the Creator of the  universe.


“It was not because of any type of apparition or phenomenon of that sort,” he  reportedly said, but a months-long “mystical experience” during what he called  “a direct rapport with the Lord.”


Is  God directing papal actions in fulfillment of a 900-year-old prophecy? See the  fascinating DVD movie, “The Last Pope?”


The conversation with the unnamed confidante was said to have taken place in  the Mater Ecclesiae, the former convent inside Vatican walls which has been  converted into a retirement home featuring views across Rome to the Apennine  mountains.


In the last six months, Benedict, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of  Germany, has received few visitors at his secluded house.


“During these meetings, the ex-pontiff does not comment, does not reveal  secrets, does not make statements that could be understood as ‘the words of the  other pope,’ but is as reserved as he has always been,” Zenit said.


Vatican sources did not initially splash cold water on news of the  conversation. To the contrary, one insider told Britain’s Daily Telegraph, “The  report is reliable, without a doubt, although this is not an official Vatican  statement or position.”


Another told the Guardian, “The report seems credible. It accurately explains  the spiritual process that brought Benedict to resign.”


After witnessing the “charisma” of his successor, Pope Francis, Benedict said  he understood how his decision to leave the papacy was the “will of God.”


Benedict’s story in Zenit did differ from the reasons he originally provided  when he announced his resignation Feb. 11.


“My strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate  exercise of the Petrine ministry,” he said at the time.


Even a German journalist who had met Benedict reported the pontiff was going  deaf, appeared to be blind in one eye and was emaciated and  “exhausted-looking.”


Pope Francis, left, meets his predecessor, Pope  Benedict


With one pope out and another one fresh to the scene, there had been some  concern that Benedict would exert undue influence at the Vatican, but the  popular approach of Pope Francis and his shakeup of Vatican protocols have  relegated Benedict to the sidelines.


The new pope has even made light of the situation, joking in July: “The last  time there were two or three popes, they didn’t talk among themselves and they  fought over who was the true pope!”


He added that having Benedict living in the Vatican “is like having a  grandfather – a wise grandfather – living at home.”


The purported revelation from Benedict is  re-energized the buzz about a 900-year-old Catholic prophecy suggesting that the  current pope, Francis, will be the last pontiff to hold office until the return  of Jesus to Earth.


“Gloria Olivae says he had ‘mystical experience’ during which God told him to  resign. So is it God who is keeping the ‘Prophecy of the Popes’ on track?” asks  Tom Horn, co-author of the book “Petrus  Romanus: The Final Pope Is Here.”


Horn also appears on the DVD movie “The  Last Pope?” which is based on his book.


The original prediction came from Malachy, a Catholic saint who lived in  Ireland in the 12th century.


His “Prophecy of the Popes” as it has become to be known forecast in the year  1139 that there would be 112 popes from that time until Jesus made His  triumphant return to the planet as King of kings.


The sudden and unexpected resignation of Benedict was the spark igniting the  new wildfire of speculation due to one simple reason: his successor, Pope  Francis, is the end of the line.

Horn explains on the DVD,  “The final line in the Prophecy of the Popes says there will sit Peter the Roman  who will nourish the sheep in many tribulations. And when these things are  finished, the city on seven hills will be destroyed and the Great and Terrible  Judge will judge His people. The end. …


“The most significant thing of course is we’ve reached the end of it. And now  the world is looking at it and they’re wondering, ‘Is this going to be the pope  who will preside over the Catholic Church as the world enters into the great  tribulation period? …


“Some believe that the Prophecy of the Popes is describing a man who in one  way or another is going to help give rise to the antichrist.”


Horn observed that people of all faith and even people of no faith are  looking at world events today with a sharper focus.


“Some are frightened by what they see happening, others are scrambling to  interpret the signs, and I think people have a sense that prophecy is unfolding  around the world. People have a sense that something is kind of unhinged right  now,” he said.


Dr. George Grant of Nashville, Tenn., a historian and former pastor who has  written more than 60 books, says regardless of whether there is any validity to  the prophecies, sooner or later Pope Francis and the Vatican will have to deal  with issue.


“It doesn’t matter whether or not it’s true. It matters that people think  it’s true and that they act in light of it. So my guess is that Francis and the  Vatican will have to deal with this in some way, and in dealing with it, they in  a sense give credence to it. That makes for fascinating politics, remarkable,  unpredictable undercurrents, and in an age when quite frankly the whole world is  unsteady and in the midst of turmoil, just that additional little bit creates  all the more uncertainty. Do I think we need to pay attention to it?  Absolutely.”


According to the Religion  News Service, Gaenswein continues to serve as Benedict’s secretary in his  retirement, and also works with Pope Francis as prefect of the papal household,  overseeing the staff who directly work with the new pontiff.


In the Italian TV interview, Gaenswein described his role as that of a  “bridge between the pope emeritus and the reigning pope,” and stressed the two  men have an “excellent” relationship.

Credit To: Joe Kovacs / WND




From → Current News

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