Joachin Meisner Hertz
(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 03.01.2023).- The German weekly Die Tagespost published an interview with Monsignor Georg Gänswein, who was Benedict XVI’s private secretary and the person closest to him, until the Pope Emeritus’ death.
In a part of the extensive video-interview, Guido Horst, Editor-in-Chief of Die Tagespost, questions Monsignor Gänswein on Pope Francis’ controversial document, which limits the celebration of Mass with the Missal used before Vatican Council II. This is the question: “Benedict XVI’s revocation of the restrictions to the celebration in the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite according to the 1962 Missal has not lasted, as had been foreseen. As Pope Emeritus, was [Benedict XVI] witness of the promulgation of Pope Francis’ Motu Proprio Traditionis Custodes. Was he disappointed?
To which Monsignor Gänswein replied:
“It affected him very much. I think Pope Benedict’s heart was broken on reading the new Motu Proprio, because his intention was that those who had simply found a home in the old Mass would find interior peace, liturgical peace, and distance them from Lefebvre. And if one thinks during how many centuries the old Mass was source of life and spiritual food for many people, including many Saints, it’s impossible to imagine that it no longer has anything to offer. And let’s not forget that many young people who were born after Vatican II and who don’t understand fully the drama of the Council — that these young people, although they know the new Mass, still find a spiritual home, and also a spiritual treasure in the old Mass. To take away this treasure from people . . . Well, I can’t say that I feel comfortable with that.”
Although the interview was carried out presumably before Benedict XVI’s death (as far as is known Monsignor Gänswein was in Germany before the deterioration of the Pope Emeritus’ health and he had to return), it was held in a context of frankness and openness of personal opinion, and also in the context of the forthcoming publication of Monsignor Gänswein’s Memoirs. The interview (translated into English), can be viewed at this link. The statement about Traditionis Custodes is around minute 23.