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How the pope got things ready before his resignation

2013-02-28

ANTOINE MARIE IZOARD
Director, I.Media Agency

"Greg Burke's nomination was the final decision taken by the Secretariat of State, probably by English-speaking persons. Many say Peter Wells chose to appoint someone inside the Vatican that's familiar with the media, that's a journalist and knows how journalists react. Someone to avoid having the Holy See always on the defensive, but also to counterattack, as they say in soccer.”

Benedict XVI, up until the end, tried to heal the most recent schism within the Church, the one with lefebvrians. In June, he reached out and made them an offer, which they ultimately turned down. Now, this becomes a task for the next Pope.

Near the end of the summer, he made his last foreign visit, to Lebanon. He called for peace in the Middle East, pushed for dialogue with Muslims, and urged Christians to remain in the Holy Land.

ANTOINE MARIE IZOARD
Director, I.Media Agency

"To me it seemed very brave, because for several months the situation in Syria had become a serious conflict, and the Pope chose to go there. He was brave because later we learned there was threats made against him, which he knew about and the Vatican knew about.”

Before stepping down, the Pope who was also a professor, finished his most important work: A  theological description of Jesus of Nazareth. He wrote it between his free time and finished it in the summer. It was published in November in nine languages and distributed in 50 countries.

He will also be remembered for his Synod on the New Evangelization, the main challenge for the Catholic Church. Nearly 300 bishops from across the globe exchanged ideas about how to spread the word of God to a world that doesn't seem very interested in listening.

In November, he surprisingly created six new cardinals, none of them from Europe, in a bid to diversify the group that will choose the next Pope. Many believe, he was likely thinking about the dynamics within the upcoming conclave.

ANTOINE MARIE IZOARD
Director, I.Media Agency

"It seemed a small consistory that the Pope made before Christmas and that was his decision alone. But today we can read into it differently. The Pope created this small consistory and nominated Msgr. Gaenswein as prefect of the Papal Household. He wanted to leave things in order before leaving office. He knew about it and was very clear about what he was doing.”

Something important is also his first tweet. The Pope has issued several messages, hoping to reach every cell phone and computer screen in the world. He will leave behind his account with more than two million followers.

He also declared former pontiff Paul VI venerable.

In December, he named his personal secretary Georg Gaenswein as the prefect of the Papal Household, ensuring that he will continue working for the next Pope.

ANTOINE MARIE IZOARD
Director, I.Media Agency

"When he was named archbishop, we all thought it was a great display of loyalty towards him during an intense 2012, with the Vatileaks case, and to give him job security because Benedict XVI is leaving but Gaenswein will remain with the next Pope.”

All of these efforts paved the way for his resignation, and the arrival of his successor.


BR – JMB /Rcarr   @javierMbrocal
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