Six years ago, on February 11, 2013, Pope Francis announced his desire to leave the Petrine Ministry for reasons of age and health. Recalling “this event that will mark the history of the Church,” Andrea Tornielli, Editorial Director of the Dicastery for Communication, stresses that Benedict XVI’s personal testimony and especially his Magisterium must not pass to a second plane.”
Historian Andrea Tornielli comments on the “timeliness” of Pope Benedict XVI’s Magisterium, in an editorial published by “Vatican News” on Monday, February 11, 2019.
Recalling the Meeting for the Protection of Minors, which will soon take place in the Vatican, Tornielli points out “that it was precisely Benedict XVI who began the meetings with the victims of abuses.” The meetings were “far from the cameras,” and they consisted of “listening, prayer and tears.”
“Of course, these meetings were accompanied by clearer and more decisive norms to combat the terrible wound of abuses. However, there is no doubt that the change in mentality exacted, first of all of Bishops and Religious Superiors, passes through this capacity to meet the victims and their families, letting oneself be wounded by their tragic accounts, to become conscious of a phenomenon which can never be combatted only by norms, codes or ‘best practices,’” he continues.
In regard to Pope Benedict XVI Magisterium, the Editorial Director explains that he was “very often ‘crushed’ by reductive readings and preconceived cliches incapable of appreciating the richness, complexity, and fidelity to the teaching of the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council.”
Tornielli points out Benedict XVI’s insistence on the fact that the Church “doesn’t possess anything by herself in face of Him who founded her.” “Her meaning consists in being an instrument of Redemption, allowing herself to be penetrated by the word of God and transforming the world by introducing in it the union of love with God.”
“The Church must always open herself to the concerns of the world — to which she belongs –, be dedicated unreservedly to them, to continue to make present the sacred exchange that began with the Incarnation,” continued Benedict XVI (Address at Fribourg-en-Brisgau, 2011).
Tornielli explains that, in that same address, Pope Benedict XVI put one on guard against the opposite tendency: that “of a Church that is satisfied with herself, which installs herself in this world, which is self-sufficient and adapts herself to the criteria of the world.”
The historian also notes that the Pope Emeritus emphasized the positive aspect of secularization, “which has contributed in an essential way to the purification and interior reform” of the Church. “Freed from the burden and from material and political privileges, the Church can dedicate herself better and in a truly Christian way to the entire world; she can truly be open to the world, said Pope Benedict XVI.”