You Can't Help the Pope by Committing Crimes, Says German Cardinal

By Andrea Tornielli
Vatican Insider
May 30, 2012

The Sistine Chapel

"The Pope is sad but calm. He knows the Church needs to cross this stormy sea and that he must share the experience of Jesus…" 83 year old Walter Brandmüller, a cardinal since November 2010 and President of the Pontifical Committee of Historical Sciences, has known Ratzinger from when they were both university professors in Bavaria and has a long experience of working in the Roman Curia.

You are German and have known the Pope for a long time. How do you think he feels? Why does he seem so calm?

Benedict XVI is obviously saddened, but is certainly calm because he totally trusts in the help of the Almighty. He is aware that the Church must cross the tempestuous sea of this world; it must face its problems. Difficulties are not ideal, but I think they are normal occurrences in life."

In the book-length interview with Peter Seewald, "Light of the World" the Pope said that one must expect attacks and be ready to resist them.

"The Gospel is a sign of contradiction and the contradiction of the world almost seals the authenticity of the message. The destiny of the disciple of Jesus is that of sharing his experience of suffering. I believe that this certainty of faith is at the root of Benedict XVI's tranquillity."

As a historian of the Church, how do you see current events? Are there similar instances from the past that could be compared with the present?

"Well, in the middle ages, a French king, Philip the Handsome reached the point of falsifying papal bulls to discredit Boniface VIII. And one must not forget that at the end of the nineteenth century, during the first Vatican Council, during the course of the discussion on papal infallibility there were leaks of documents which were used as the basis for articles to discredit the Council. The articles were published in Germany and signed with the pseudonym "Quirino's letters".

The alleged moles claim to have leaked the documents to 'help the Pope'. What do you think of this statement?
"Sorry but I can't accept this explanation. You can't tell me you are helping the Pope by committing crimes. This way you are not helping him, you are only hurting him."

How do you think believers across the world view current events?

"I think Catholics must be grieved and I understand them. But I also think that they must feel closer to the Pope than ever, sharing his pain."

What is your personal experience of the Roman Curia, which at the moment seems torn apart by conflicts and internal tensions? "My experience is this: the Roman Curia is basically loyal to the pope and his mission. There are many good people whose work is professional, selfless and loyal. Unfortunately cases of disloyalty cannot be excluded nor denied. But these should not make us lose sight of what I said before."


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