Retired Pope Benedict Critiqued Francis' Interview

This is an amazing, unprecedented time in history we are living in! Pope Francis submitted the transcript of his September 16th interview to Pope Emeritus Benedict, who offered a four page critique. I wonder what he wrote? (Something like: “Don’t you know if this interview gets published the Catholic Answers Forums will go crazy with people voicing their opinions?” …probably not…). But it certainly again shows Pope Francis’ humility in seeking the input from Benedict.

One thing we can be sure of is that Benedict would not be happy to be reported as criticizing his successor.

This is fascinating, but since we don’t know what was said on either side, it’s hard to glean too much from it.

But it’s good to know that Francis is consulting with Benedict in such an involved way.

The way I read it, it was offered as constructive criticism, not negative criticism. More like Benedict was asked by Francis, and so offered his very educated opinion. A good thing, in my opinion.

The substance of the information was Gänswein’s remark that “he did indeed offer some thoughts and some remarks on certain comments or certain questions on which he thought something additional could perhaps be said in another place”. It’s “criticism” in the sense of “literary criticism” - i.e. not negative at all.

There is a difference between “critique” and “criticize”.
So long as Pope Benedict did the first one, and not the second–he wouldn’t be reported as being critical toward his successor.


Yes. Like a meeting of the minds. That Francis honors and thinks so highly of Benedict’s input is commendable.

The only thing unusual is that Joseph Ratzinger is now pope emeritus. He is a brilliant theologian and did the same thing for John Paul II many times as a cardinal and trusted advisor, although before publication. I give Pope Francis credit for agreeing with John Paul II that his predecessor has a lot to offer the Church in his own ministry as the successor to Peter.

Constructive criticism is pretty much defined here. Benedict responded to an invitation by Francis to privately give feedback and suggestions.

Contrast that with the sort of criticism people like Sr. Joan Chittister or Fr. Richard McBrien give in publicly published columns regularly.

The former is constructive criticism. The latter is religious politicking.

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