Benedict XVI was not subjected to “pressures,” which pushed him to his renunciation and “there is no mystery to reveal,” was the retort of Father Federico Lombardi, President of the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation, and former Director of the Holy See Press Office, who did not mince his words after statements of Monsignor Luigi Negri, Archbishop Emeritus of Ferrara, Italy.
On the site Il Sismografo, close to the Holy See, Father Lombardi reacted to an interview in which Monsignor Negri suspects “forces within and outside of the Vatican” regarding Benedict XVI’s renunciation. The Archbishop alluded to “enormous pressures” endured by the German Pope, exerted notably by the American Administration of “Barack Obama.”
For the Jesuit, who was the spokesman of the Vatican at the moment of the renunciation in February 2013, Monsignor Negri’s allegations create “useless confusion.”
He invites to return to Benedict XVI’s statements to the Cardinals and in his book-interview with Peter Seewald: “He affirms, in fact, that he took the decision of his renunciation in full freedom and responsibility and that there is no mystery to reveal.” And Father Lombardi defended the Pope Emeritus: “I always thought that Benedict XVI was a man who gives priority to the truth.”
“It is true – as Monsignor Negri said – that the Pope Emeritus is ‘very lucid in thought,’ but also ‘physically frail,’ he added. It is why four years ago he was not up to the measure of presiding over long public celebrations, long audiences, complex meetings, Synodal assemblies, and even less so trips or visits to parishes. (. . .) In his perfect lucidity, he was fully conscious already four years ago, and he thought it would be a problem for the Church’s community.”
“How can one prove him wrong?” asked Father Lombardi. “It seems to me it is not necessary to think of terrible pressures from across the Atlantic. We can calmly think that it was a very wise and reasonable decision, before God and before men.”
In the interview, Monsignor Negri also said that at his death, he will ask Saint Peter for clarification on the affair. To which Father Lombardi retorted: “I will not pose to Saint Peter the same question as Monsignor Negri, because Benedict XVI already gave the answer and, personally, I believe it.”