Pope Francis accuses his critics of instrumentalising the death of his predecessor

 Pope Francis accuses his critics of exploiting the death of his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI for their own interests. The current pontiff said this to journalists on the plane on Sunday on the return flight of his Africa trip. "I believe that Benedict's death has been instrumentalised," Francis said, speaking of people who were only pursuing their own agenda.

Shortly after the death of the Pope Emeritus on New Year's Eve, books - for example by Benedict's long-time private secretary Georg Gänswein - and other opinion pieces criticising Francis had appeared. There is speculation in the Vatican that conservative clerics in particular want to take up a front against Benedict's successor after his death.

It was unethical to instrumentalise "such a good, God-fearing person" as Benedict, Francis stressed. These people were not acting in the interest of the Church. "One sees again and again the tendency to provoke conflicts out of theological positions."

He had a good relationship with Benedict, the Argentinean recounted, again contradicting claims that tensions had arisen between the two in the almost ten years since Benedict's resignation. "I could talk to Pope Benedict about everything and exchange opinions. He was always by my side," Francis said. "There were no problems."

Once, "a person who thinks he is a great theologian" went to Benedict and tried to blacken Francis, he recounted. The German Pope Emeritus, however, did not get upset but soberly examined the matter "and so the story was over".


Cathcon: Never has a Pope been so guilty of pursuing his own agendas, so no surprise he should accuse others of precisely this sin.

The grim reality


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