Vatican will be run by two popes. A co-papal arrangement, if you like

via dish.andrewsullivan.com

via dish.andrewsullivan.com

Andrew Sullivan writes

The damage Benedict XVI has done to the Catholic church and the papacy may be far from over. All I can say about yesterday’s developments is that they seem potentially disastrous and also indicative to me of something truly weird going on underneath all of this.

Benedict XVI has claimed that his almost unprecedented resignation came about simply because of his physical infirmity in the face of what appears to be a growing vortex of sexual and financial scandal inside the Vatican. He said he would quietly disappear to serve the church through prayer and meditation. But we now realize he’s going nowhere. He’s staying in the Vatican’s walls, and retaining the honorific “His Holiness.” He will keep white robes. His full title will be Pope Emeritus. Far from wearing clerical black, returning to the title of Bishop of Rome, and disappearing into a monastery in Bavaria, he’s going to be a shadow Pope in the Vatican. And this, we are told, was his decision:  

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Benedict himself had made the decision in consultation with others, settling on “Your Holiness Benedict XVI” and either emeritus pope or emeritus Roman pontiff. Lombardi said he didn’t know why Benedict had decided to drop his other main title: bishop of Rome.

What a mess.  If there was any dignity surrounding the Pope and the Vatican, surely this has to be the final nail in its grubby little coffin?

If you were trying to avoid any hint of meddling, of a Deng Xiao Peng-type figure pulling strings behind the scenes, you would not be doing this. The only thing the Pope will give up, apparently, are his red Prada shoes. He has some fabulous brown leather artisanal ones to replace them. But this is what really made me sit up straight, so to speak:

Benedict’s trusted secretary, Monsignor Georg Gänswein, will be serving both pontiffs — living with Benedict at the monastery inside the Vatican and keeping his day job as prefect of the new pope’s household. Asked about the potential conflicts, Lombardi was defensive, saying the decisions had been clearly reasoned and were likely chosen for the sake of simplicity. “I believe it was well thought out,” he said.

What’s going on?  Really?  This is extremely weird.

Sullivan says out loud what many are thinking:

So Benedict’s handsome male companion will continue to live with him, while working for the other Pope during the day. Are we supposed to think that’s, well, a normal arrangement?

Heh.  He closes his piece with a great summary.

This man – clearly in some kind of love with Ratzinger (and vice-versa) will now be working for the new Pope as secretary in the day and spending the nights with the Pope Emeritus.

This is not the Vatican. It’s Melrose Place.


Do you want:

  • Ad-free access?
  • Access to our very popular daily crossword?
  • Access to daily sudoku?
  • Access to Incite Politics magazine articles?
  • Access to podcasts?
  • Access to political polls?

Our subscribers’ financial support is the reason why we have been able to offer our latest service; Audio blogs. 

Click Here  to support us and watch the number of services grow.

As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

40%