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SEPTEMBER 13, 2016 Papal Secretary Archbishop Gänswein Speaks on Benedict, The Two Popes, and Proph
September 17, 2016

Papal Secretary Archbishop Gänswein Speaks on Benedict, The Two Popes, and Prophecy

When Pope emeritus Benedict XVI resigned as pontiff three years ago, he added a new dimension to the papacy, said his personal secretary Archbishop Georg Ganswein.

The archbishop spoke about Benedict’s pontificate and its wake at a May 20 book presentation of “Oltre la crisi della Chiesa” (Beyond the Church’s Crisis) by Father Roberto Regoli, an historian and professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University. The book aims to be the first history-based evaluation of Benedict XVI’s pontificate.

He also talked about other interesting matters: The struggle that happened during the 2005 papal conclave, Benedict XVI’s view of his historical resignation, the “Prophesy of Malachy” which allegedly sees Francis as the last pontiff, and others. His thoughts were captured in a rare, candid conversation with veteran journalist and EWTN Rome correspondent Paul Badde.


Archbishop Ganswein reflected on the meaning of Benedict XVI’s election. He said that the election was “certainly the outcome of a clash” whose key interpretation had been given by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger himself in his homily for the pre-conclave Mass on April 18, 2005.

Then-Cardinal Ratzinger reflected on the clash of two forces. He criticized “a dictatorship of relativism” that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desire.” With this, he contrasted Christians’ goal of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and “the true man.” This is “the measure of true humanism.”

This clash is epitomized in what Archbishop Ganswein described as “the dramatic struggle” between two parties in the conclave. He labeled one the “Salt of the Earth” party after the name of a book-length interview with Cardinal Ratzinger. This party gathered around Cardinals Lopez Trujillo, Ruini, Herranz, Rouco Varela and Medina Estevez.

Then there is the highly-liberal “St. Gallen group” gathered around Cardinals Daneels, Martini, Silvestrini and Murphy-O’Connor. This is the group, Archbishop Ganswein noted, that Cardinal Daneels “himself amusedly described as ‘a sort of Mafia-club’.” Cardinal Daneels, in his biography, has suggested that the St. Gallen group was behind election to the papacy of Pope Francis.


When a massive lightning strike lit up the top of Saint Peter’s dome on the evening of Feb. 11, 2013, many observers chose to interpret this as a divine reaction to the historical announcement of Pope Benedict’s resignation, made that very morning. As his personal secretary, Archbishop Gänswein, reminisced about how both he and Benedict only found out about the lightning strike after the event. “The impression was one of a sign from above, a reaction,” he told Badde. When he showed Benedict images of the spectacular incident a few days later, the pope asked whether this was some kind of digital montage, Gänswein said, adding: “however, nature had spoken.”

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