I have kept the banner image of Benedict and Francis with that phrase “Reading Francis through Benedict” at the top of the blog, to remind people that we don’t pit Popes against each other. There will be differences in interests and styles, but when it comes to the big things, they will be consistent. There is consistency between Francis and Benedict in many aspects of their ministry. If you want a striking example of consistency, look at Lumen fidei. It was written mainly by Benedict and Francis made it his own. If a Pope needs a ghost writer, who could be better than a Pope?
In Lumen fidei we have “Reading Benedict through Francis”.
So, imagine Francis consulting with Benedict.
I found a piece at Terra d’America by Jorge Milia, who is a journalist and former student of Papa Bergoglio, Pope Francis.
He wrote about a phone conversation with the Pope. The topic of Lumen fidei and Benedict XVI came up.
I told him that had started to read the encyclical Lumen fidei and he refused any personal merit. He mentioned that Benedict XVI had done the large part of the word, that he was a sublime thinker, not recognized or understood by the majority of people.
“Today I was with el viejo, ‘the old man’…”, - he referred to him in that way, in the Argentinian manner, with that affectionate attitude that we give to the word – “we chatted a great deal; for me it is a pleasure to exchange ideas with him.”
And truly when he speak of Ratzinger he does so with gratitude and affection. To me it seemed a bit like the effect of someone who has rediscovered an old friend… [...]
“You can’t imagine the humility and wisdom of this man”, he said.
“So,” I responded, “stick close to him.”
“I wouldn’t even think of giving up the counsel of this kind of person. It would be foolish for me to do that.”