Francis on Benedict: “Today I was with ‘el viejo’… ‘the old man’…”

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.

My translation:

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.”


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. OrthodoxChick says:

    Fr. Z.,

    If this post is meant to calm the nerves of those who get squeamish when other traditional blogs find something to freak out about…it worked.

    Thank you!

  2. votefassino24 says:

    Great post. I can’t believe that this isn’t getting more play in Catholic circles… maybe some folks just like having selective hearing?

    How can anybody read this and fail to recognize that Francis is:

    (1) obviously trying very hard to be faithful to the Church and the papacy (by removing occasions for manipulation and isolation at the hands of romanita bower brokers)

    (2) obviously trying very hard to love his flock and serve them faithfully (in the same way listed above), and,

    (3) obviously loves and respects Benedict very much! And not only in an abstract and detached sense, but in such a profound way that Francis seeks him out, talks with him, recognizes that Benedict is profoundly wise, and listens to the private advice he receives!

    Talk about a win for Holy Church.

    Also, why all of this worrying, doubting, nitpicking? When tempted to freak out, just remember:

    “That we may be altogether of the same mind and in conformity with the Church herself, if she shall have defined anything to be black which to our eyes appears to be white, we ought in like manner to pronounce it to be black. For we must undoubtedly believe, that the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of the Orthodox Church His Spouse, by which Spirit we are governed and directed to Salvation, is the same;…”
    (Ignatius Loyola, Rules for Thinking with the Church)

  3. Lori Pieper says:

    I too feel really warm and happy knowing that we have twice the mind, twice the heart, twice the soul, twice the holiness, twice the POPE that we had before.

    Our Lord has arranged it this way, I’m sure. (Yes, I know that only one is actually Pope right now, but we really need something like this, and are getting it in a unique way).

    viva i papi . . . . for a long long time yet!!

  4. anna 6 says:

    “El Viejo”…how sweet! It is reassuring to see that the Holy Father is confident and wise enough to take council from his predecessor.

    Just one itty-bitty favor?
    To counteract the erroneous perception that has grown in recent months, would Pope Francis please say publicly that Benedict XVI and his immediate predecessors were all men of great humility despite the color of their shoes, address and mode of transportation…and that beautifully crafted objects that are made with love, and are “the work of human hands”, used to glorify God, are not frivolous, but are tools of evangelization.

    Those 2 statements, in addition to the lovely words he spoke to his friend about Papa Emerito, would be very helpful.

  5. e.davison49 says:

    Amusing: Michael Sean Winters of the Fishwrap seems finally to be figuring out what Fr. Z has been saying since Day One.

    QUOTE: “The differences between Popes Benedict and Francis are obvious, but anyone who sees them as in anyway opposed to one another is missing the mark.”

  6. HighMass says:

    il vecchio…in Italian???? if anything makes me sad it is the comparing of Popes….Benedict XVI Papa Emerito, didn’t have a chance from Day One as Pope, 19, April, 2005….between the liberals, liberal press, secular and religious……always picking at him……

    He was an answer to prays “dop0 il grande Papa Giovanni Paolo Secondo”/after the Great John Paul II……Almost S. J.P.II had done soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much good for mankind and suffered for Christ and His Church…..

    Lets face it Papa Benedetto did the same in a much different way and still is today………….

    I love Papa Francesco and think he is doing God’s work also….

    VIVA PAPA EMERITO BENEDETTO XVI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  7. Ben Kenobi says:

    Personally, I loved the epithet ‘der PanzerKardinel.’

  8. Laura R. says:

    Thank you so much for posting this, Father Z! This is exactly what I began hoping for as soon as the news about Pope Benedict’s resignation broke: that the new Pope would consult with him and seek his wisdom and help, and it is wonderful to see this hope fulfilled.

  9. Anti-Relativist says:

    In a world full of negative news, thank God for this – it certainly helped brighten my rainy day! Gracias, Fr. Z for passing it along!

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