Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation, has said he does not agree with calling Benedict XVI “Pope Emeritus’.
Speaking at a presentation of the book Il Papa del coraggio (the Pope of courage) by Italian journalist Mammo Muolo, the archbishop said the title “theologically creates more problems rather than solving them”.
“I respect it, but I will not use it,” he added, saying he would wait for “another expression” to describe the former pontiff.
In an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Benedict XVI said he wanted simply to be known as “Father Benedict” after stepping down as Pope but felt too weak and tired to push the decision through.
Last year, Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, Secretary of the Apostolic Signatura, a close confidant of the former pope, also said he did not agree with the title.
“The uniqueness of the Petrine succession does not allow within it any further distinction or duplication of offices, albeit no longer free in exercise,” he said in an interview with La Stampa.
Despite his reservations over the title, however, Archbishop Fisichella said Benedict XVI’s decision opened a “new horizon” for the papacy, and could lead to future popes doing the same.
Having been unable to sell in churches for well over a year due to the pandemic, we are now inviting readers to support the Herald by investing in our future. We have been a bold and influential voice in the church since 1888, standing up for traditional Catholic culture and values.
Please join us on our 130 year mission by supporting us. We are raising £250,000 to safeguard the Herald as a world-leading voice in Catholic journalism and teaching. For more information from our chairman on contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund, click here
Make a Donation
Donors giving £500 or more will automatically become sponsor patrons of the Herald. This includes two complimentary print/digital gift subscriptions, invitations to Patron events, pilgrimages and dinners, and 6 gift subscriptions sent to priests, seminaries, Catholic schools, religious care homes and prison and university chaplaincies. Click here for more information on becoming a Patron Sponsor. Click here for more information about contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund