Meeting of Journalist Vittorio Messori With Benedict XVI

Journalist Vittorio Messori met with the Pope Emeritus after his resignation, but with the condition that he did so as a friend, and not as a journalist.

Newsroom (09/12/2021 17:44, Gaudium Press) The friendship between Vittorio Messori – the renowned Italian journalist and writer – with Benedict XVI crosses the boundaries of time and also the ‘enclosure’ of the Pope Emeritus in the Vatican’s Mater Ecclesiae monastery.

This is what Messori himself said at a meeting in June 2016 at the Franciscan Rosetum Centre in Milan, made known yesterday to Italian journalist Andrea Cionci, and reported today in Libero Quotidiano.

Cionci was invited on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception to witness the full recording of that meeting which had taken place in Rosetum, which was fundamentally the presentation of Messori’s now classic book “Hypotheses on Mary”. During the conversations there, very interesting recollections were heard, which in Cionci’s mind have now taken on a greater significance:

“In September” – Messori recounted in June 2016 – “I had a private meeting with the ‘Pope Emeritus’, as he wished to be called. A really strong friendship with Ratzinger was born from the book, ‘Report on the Faith’ (1984) that we did together. He, with his typical generosity, wanted to repay me with his friendship, so much so that we sometimes went to dine together in a trattoria in Trastevere. That personal relationship continued, but from 11 February, 2013 [the date of Pope Ratzinger’s resignation], I kept my distance because I wanted to respect his retreat. It was his secretary [Msgr. Ganswein], who phoned me saying: ‘His Holiness would be happy to see you again in the name of old times, to come and visit him in his retreat. However, it is understood that His Holiness awaits you as a friend and not as a journalist. The meeting will be private and therefore there will be nothing public to disclose.”

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Important things that would have filled the news

Messori maintained his commitment to discretion, because if he had said anything, “It would have filled the news for a long time.

However, something (or a lot) he did say:

“The only thing I can say – but which is significant – is that when Ratzinger asked my opinion about the current situation of the Church, I sincerely conveyed to him this climate of perplexity (to use an euphemism), of restless curiosity about how it will turn out in the face of certain experiences. In any case, I told him what I thought and it’s quite significant how, after listening to me, he opened his hands, raised his eyes to Heaven and said: ‘I can only pray‘. But know that only the news that others decide reaches him. I discovered, for example, that he only receives two newspapers: Corriere della Sera and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. (…) He does not watch television and does not listen to the radio”.

Compiled by Sandra Chisholm

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