Monday, May 30, 2016

Benedict XVI, Ganswein & a Dual Papacy


Rorate is featuring an article by their anonymous cleric Pio Pace. In this article, Pio Pace posits what is in my opinion a ridiculous claim about Mgsr. Ganswein's comments about the "dual papacy."

You no doubt know to what I am referring; Ganswein stated that with the abdication of Benedict XVI, the Petrine ministry had been "enlarged" to include two popes - an active pope and a contemplative pope. So we would have a single Petrine ministry with two dual heads. This is not entirely new; both Benedict XVI and Pope Francis had hinted at a similar idea in the past. 

This is of course, absurd. And Pio Pace admits it, stating that the idea "makes no sense whatsoever" from a theological viewpoint. How ever, in order to save face for Benedict, he posits that the bizarre comments have some sort of "political" motive - that Ganswein and Benedict are attempting to posit Benedict as a "statue" of condemnation against Jorge Bergoglio in order to somehow weaken the legitimacy of the "active pope."

This claim is frankly ridiculous. It is an attempt to try to save face for Benedict XVI by trying to find some legitimizing motive behind the words of Ganswein, and ergo Benedict XVI, who has said similar things in the past.

Pio Pace says the theological explanation for the dual papacy concept "makes no sense whatsoever." The implication seems to be that Benedict XVI would never utter such a theological novelty. Therefore he defaults to assuming some "political" motive that makes Benedict into a clandestine anti-Bergolglian activist. The truth is much simpler: Benedict does in fact believe a theological premise that "makes no sense whatsoever."

This is one issue Traditionalists need to get over: Benedict XVI is not the "traditional" pope as opposed to Bergoglio the progressive pope. Benedict had a certain nostalgia for the traditional liturgy (and in my opinion it was nothing more than nostalgia), but he was a theological progressive in many ways. And with his abdication the "traditional" Pope Benedict perpetrated the greatest novelty of the modern papacy.

Anyone who has really studied the writings of Joseph Ratzinger knows that much of his theology is severely problematic. In fact, it is easier to find objectively heretical statements in the writings of Ratzinger than it is in John Paul II.

This is not to say Benedict is bad or was a failure as pope; but it is to say that we need not bend over backwards to read the bizarre statements coming from him or Ganswein as some sort of clandestine attack on Pope Francis. 

The reason Ganswein and Benedict have discussed an "enlarged" Petrine ministry is simply because Benedict really believes it. That's all there is to it; there's no subtle attempt to condemn Bergoglio. Benedict and Bergoglio are in fundamental agreement on this issue. Benedict has been a friend to Traditionalism, but only in an accidental sense. Essentially, he is a Teilhardian who thinks the Church needs to evolve - a stage in the "complexification" of spirit - and the enlargement of the Petrine ministry is probably just one aspect of this.

That's the simple truth.

14 comments:

Alexander said...

Do you have any information on Benedict/Ratzinger being a Teilhardian with examples? From time to time I hear about this and I would like to study it. Also, I think he has bit more than just nostalgia for the traditional liturgy, unless all his writings defending the objective value of the liturgy are simply fueled by blind nostalgia.

Radical Catholic said...

Thank you for the sober treatment of this matter.

Kathleen1031 said...

Darn.

St. Corbinian's Bear said...

Here, here. This is ridiculous topic that is getting far more attention than it deserves.

Catholic said...

He is just a wannabe. :)

Boniface said...

Alexander,

I do not have time to put together a comprehensive list of all the evidence (although I should), but please see:

"Cosmic Evolution in the Thought of Teilhard de Chardin and Benedict XVI" http://www.waragainstbeing.com/node/40

"The Quintessential Evolutionist" http://www.waragainstbeing.com/parti-article12

SAF said...

Excellent post. Thank you for citing The War Against Being blog; the writer there has chronicled Ratzinger's theological "journey" in a most eye-opening fashion.

Anonymous said...

Check out the second-to-last paragraph of this homily:
http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/homilies/2009/documents/hf_ben-xvi_hom_20090724_vespri-aosta.html

therealDymphna said...

I'm not convinced that his affection for Tradition was merely nostalgia. I think it was a little more than that. But, he was/is susceptible to the modernist thinking that has saturated the Church. He was no gold standard pope. To be fair though, it's pretty clear that he did not abdicate on a fancy. So, I'm not sure if you can use that example as clear sign of indulgence in novelty. I am only referring to the act itself, not to how he is currently living out his, er...um, Petrine ministry. Despite this minor nitpick, I like what you wrote. Keep it up.

Boniface said...

Dymphna,

Yeah, I don't think it is *merely* nostalgic, but he certainly does not see Tradition as integral. It's like a value-added thing that "completes" the Church's identity but is not at the core of it.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the relation between Ratzinger and Teilhard, one ought to look further back to various right wing Hegelians like Vincenzo Gioberti or Rosmini. Then, after examining Hegel himself, one may look further back to Jaime Balmes, Leibniz, Malebranche, Cardinal Gerdil and Giambattista Vico. Finally, we may proceed to a careful examination of Scotism.

A Daughter of Mary said...

The comment above that says Benedict did not resign on a 'whim' makes the point. If Cardinal Ratzinger thought this out carefully, over time, the result must be what we hear Ganswein saying.
Barbara

Confused said...

Thanks for your thoughts, which make sense to me. But what does this all mean? If it makes no theological sense, what is the effect on the Francis papacy? If the Petrine office can't be split, is the resignation valid? Is the election valid? Is the Sede actually vacante, although it would appear unintentionally so? Maybe there is no answer at this point.

Boniface said...

It means nothing other than that Benedict is not pope in any sense. There is only one pope and it is Pope Francis.