‘Stabbed in the heart’

Seewald pointed to the tight restrictions against the Traditional Latin Mass by Pope Francis, reversing Benedict XVI’s 2007 apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum, which acknowledged the right of all priests to say Mass using the Roman Missal of 1962, which is in Latin.

“Ratzinger wanted to pacify the Church without questioning the validity of the Mass according to the 1969 Roman Missal,” Seewald said. “‘The way we treat the liturgy,’ he explained, ‘determines the destiny of the faith and the Church.’” 

The biographer questioned the veracity of “the claim that the majority of bishops voted in favor of repealing Benedict’s Summorum Pontificum in a worldwide survey.”

“What I find particularly shameful is that the pope emeritus was not even informed of this act but had to learn about it from the press. He has been stabbed in the heart.”

Benedict had built “a small bridge to a largely forgotten treasure island, which until then had only been accessible through difficult terrain. It was a matter close to the German pope’s heart and there was really no reason to tear down this bridge again.”

Purging of staff

Seewald said the “purge of staff” completed the picture: “Many people who supported Ratzinger’s course and Catholic doctrine were ‘guillotined.’”

Seewald took particular issue with Pope Francis’ treatment of Archbishop Georg Gänswein, who served both as longtime secretary to Benedict and as the Vatican’s prefect of the Papal Household to both popes for several years.

“It was an unprecedented event in the history of the Church that Archbishop Gänswein, the closest collaborator of a highly deserving pope, of the greatest theologian ever to sit on the Chair of Peter, was shamefully thrown out of the Vatican. He did not even receive a word of pro forma thanks for his work.”