The German cardinal, an authoritative historian of Christianity, weighs in on the ever more incandescent question of the resignation of Benedict XVI. Which in his judgment has not been good for the Church
by Sandro Magister
ROME, July 18, 2016 – The dispute, ever more fiery, over the absolute innovation of “two popes” in being at the same time, one reigning and one “emeritus,” the former “active” and the latter “contemplative,” now has a new contender of absolute prominence, Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, who has taken the field with an article in the authoritative online juridical journal “Statoechiese.it”:
“Renuntiatio Papae”. Alcune riflessioni storico-canonistiche
Brandmüller, 87, a German, is an authority on the subject. He was for many years a tenured professor of Church history at the university of Augsburg. At the Vatican he headed the pontifical committee for historical sciences from 1998 to 2009. And he was made a cardinal by Benedict XVI in 2010.
He was one of the most resolute supporters of Joseph Ratzinger’s pontificate. But he did not take his resignation of the papacy well. It is his conviction, in fact, that such resignations are possible, but not all of them are morally licit, meaning directed to the “bonum commune” of the Church.
Much less does Brandmüller accept that the post-resignation should take the form that it is assuming today with the entirely unprecedented figure of a “pope emeritus,” with the very grave risks, including that of schism, which in his judgment it entails.