Hans Kung: Pope Benedict Will Be A ‘Shadow Pope’

Huffington Post

HuffPost Italy | By Stefano Baldolini Posted: 02/28/2013

The theologian Hans Kung has always been very hard on Joseph Ratzinger’s papacy, and was particularly disappointed by Pope Benedict XVI’s last audience. He did not expect that the resigning Pope would decide to stay in the Vatican to wield his influence. A situation without precedent.

Two Popes in the Vatican?

Let’s be clear, I don’t have anything against Joseph Ratzinger. I wish him all the best. I have nothing against a nice life, in a place where one can rest. We are the same age. … Initially I thought that retreating in a convent to pray was a good decision. But now it seems this is not the plan. It is very dangerous to have a former pope living in the actual Vatican. Who does not live in a monastery. He will not live with monks, but with nuns who were at his service in the Vatican when he was pope. He will have the same secretary, Father George. He wants to remain in contact with cardinals and with the new pope. I was afraid of a “shadow pope” in the Vatican. Now it seems confirmed. He is certainly interested in prolonging his line, otherwise he would not have done it like this.

What could happen?

He is not exactly going on a mountaintop to pray. Rather, he will have the possibility to intervene constantly. It is a dangerous situation. I see many conflicts. I live near Lake Constance, where we had the Council of the Western Schism, with as many as three popes. It was the 15th century. The situation was obviously different then. … But if, for example, the future pope says, “it is necessary to discuss the celibacy of priests,” as the current Cardinal of Scotland has said, whoever doesn’t want this will turn to the old pope [for support].

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