Archbishop Georg Gaenswein: Benedict XVI's Resignation Was "Revolutionary"

Pontiff Emeritus’ Personal Secretary Reflects One Year After Historic Announcement

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Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation was “an act of great courage, even a revolutionary act, which opened up possibilities that no one at that moment could see.”

This was the sentiment expressed by Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s personal secretary, during an interview with Vatican Television Center today.

February 11th marked the first anniversary of Pope Benedict’s surprising resignation, a day Archbishop Gänswein said was “marked by feelings of sadness and gratitude.”

“Clearly, taking one’s leave is always a sad thing, a thing that hurts, that is painful,” he said. “On the other hand, there was also the feeling of gratitude for these years that I was able to live near a great Pope.”

The German prelate, who also serves as head of the Pontifical Household, went on to say that despite knowing of the Pontiff Emeritus’ decision, the Holy Father’s announcement still shocked him.

“For me, the last day of his pontificate was a day of great sorrow,” he recalled.

Calling Benedict’s decision as an act of great courage, Archbishop Gänswein said it was an act of love for the Lord, the Church and the faithful. Another aspect of Benedict’s resignation was the faithful’s emotional reaction to Pope Francis, an aspect, he said, “that should not be underestimated.”

“We are all seeing the impact of Pope Francis on the world, not only on the faithful in the Church, but on the world; it is a huge impact, and this impact was also facilitated by Pope Benedict in his resignation,” Archbishop Gänswein said.

“He opened up a possibility that until then was not there, and we see that Pope Francis has taken up this situation and we are pleased that today it is so. “

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