Peter Seewald: ‘Benedict XVI Suffers from Church’s Current Situation’

For Seewald, Benedict XVI is an authentic man, because he says and does what he thinks. 

Newsroom (29/10/2022 2:55 PM, Gaudium Press) — “Benedict XVI is the longest-living pope. Two weeks ago I was with him and I have the impression that he is suffering a lot because of the current situation of the Church.

He confessed to me that maybe God still keeps him here to give a testimony to the world,” said Peter Seewald, journalist, writer and biographer of Pope Benedict XVI, on October 26.

He spoke at a conference organized on the occasion of the 95th birthday of Pope Emeritus and explained that Benedict XVI considers that if the Church does not do what it should, it has repercussions in the modern times in which we live. “He is a man who has suffered a lot, and we will see how he will go down in history in the coming years,” said the writer, who knows Joseph Ratzinger well, after interviewing him when he was still head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Being left-leaning, Seewald had a rather negative prejudice concerning the German Cardinal, but was won over by his personality, and finds it unfair that the media still presents the German Pope as a “reactionary.”

For Seewald, Benedict XVI is an authentic man, because he says and does what he thinks. “It is very easy to enter into a dialogue with him. He is a very humble man and not at all an inquisitor. You can criticize him, but it is more interesting to listen to what he has to say,” said the biographer.

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Seewald said another surprising element is that all of Benedict XVI’s analyses of the Church have since come true. “When man turns away from God, society suffers,” the biographer said, echoing the words of the Pope Emeritus and the powerful movement of secularization that is shaking up Western societies, but also, increasingly, the countries of the southern hemisphere.

The congress was also an opportunity to recall that, despite their obvious differences in style, Pope Francis is not in opposition to Benedict XVI. Msgr. Markus Graulich, undersecretary of the Dicastery for Legislative Texts and president of the Association of Ecclesiastical Theology, recalled the words of Francis, who considers that the theological work of Benedict XVI, places him among the great theologians who have occupied the Chair of Peter. Pope Francis considers his predecessor as a man who truly believes and truly prays, a man of peace and a man of God, recalled Msgr. Graulich.

– Raju Hasmukh with files from Aleteia

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