Today exactly a year ago, the predecessor of Pope Francis dropped a bomb so gigantic it could have wiped out the whole contingent of the Roman Catholic faith off the face of the globe. But Benedict XVI stood pat on his decision to voluntarily step down from office as supreme pontiff. Much has happened since then. Much as the secular faith got confused over the idea of two living popes, the spiritual leaders managed to douse off the apprehensions. Credit goes to Benedict XVI who vowed to give full support to his successor by just remaining in the shadows of prayer.
Archbishop Georg Ganswein, who is the former pope's secretary as well as current head of Pope Francis's household, told Reuters there is no bad air between the two eminences.
"Indeed, he is far from the world but he is present in the Church. His mission now, as he once said, is to help the Church and his successor, Pope Francis, through prayer. This is his first and most important task," Archbishop Ganswein said.
He said that from the very start of Pope Francis' reign, there was good contact between them and this good beginning developed and matured. "They write to each other, they telephone each other, they talk to each other, they extend invitations to each other."
Benedict XVI rocked the secular faith when he announced his intent to step down as leader of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State, the first to do so in 600 years. He succeeded Pope John Paul II in 2005. He cited his declining health as the reason for his stepping down.
Despite the lashes of harsh criticisms thrown his way during his reign, Benedict XVI believed vindication will come for his all in God's time.
"No. It's clear that humanly speaking, many times, it is painful to see that what is written about someone does not correspond concretely to what was done. But the measure of one's work, of one's way of doing things, is not what the mass media write but what is just before God and before conscience."
"I am certain, indeed convinced, that history will offer a judgment that will be different than what one often read in the last years of his pontificate," Mr Ganswein said.
Benedict XVI's retirement officially went into effect on Feb. 28, 2013. St. Celestine V in 1294 and Gregory VII in 1415 were the only two other Pope's who resigned from their post in the history of the Church.
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