Relationship between Benedict XVI and Francis
‘It’s Good to Have the Pope Emeritus, Who Prays for the Church and for His Successor,’ Says Father Lombardi
Vatican Radio interviewed the former Director of the Holy See Press Office, four years after Benedict XVI’s surprising gesture of renouncing the Petrine ministry, which happened on February 11, 2013.
“Every time we see images of Pope Francis and his predecessor together, it is a great joy for all and a good example of union in the Church,” said Father Federico Lombardi, President of the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation.
“The way in which he has lived and lives these years corresponds to what he told us, namely, to live in prayer, in retirement, from a spiritual point of view and with extreme discretion, his service of accompaniment in prayer of the life of the Church and also of solidarity with his Successor precisely in his responsibility. This is what is happening, in full serenity,” explained Father Lombardi regarding Benedict.
The former Director of the Press Office commented that it is “truly very good to have the Pope Emeritus who prays for the Church and for his successor. It is a presence that we feel, we know that he is there, even if we do not see him often; when we see him we are all very happy because we love him.”
Father Lombardi, who has met Benedict XVI on several occasions in the last months, says that he found him “perfect from the point of view of lucidity, of spiritual presence, mental state,” hence, it is a real pleasure to be with him.”
Photo: Servizio Fotografico - L'Osservatore Romano
Regarding the relationship between Benedict XVI and Francis, Father Lombardi explained that it is a “new” fact, but “lived with extreme serenity and normality, because the motivation and the way in which it happened, was extremely linear, clear, serene.”
He stressed that Francis “certainly feels” his predecessor’s support, with his presence and his prayer, “he cultivates this relationship, sometimes with visits, sometimes with phone calls, certainly with many signs of familiarity, of respect and of expectation of spiritual support.”
Father Lombardi then concluded: “yes, we are living this new, but good reality; it is consoling.”