Cardinal Parolin says there’s a spiritual harmony between Francis and Benedict XVI – La Croix International

In book preface, the Vatican's Secretary of State emphasizes the "natural continuity of the papal magisterium" between the current pope and his retired predecessor

Pope Francis and Benedict XVI at the Vatican on December 22, 2018. (Photo by VATICAN MEDIA/EPA/MAXPPP)

Contrary to what some say or want to believe, a newly published book in Italian insists there is no fundamental opposition between Pope Francis and his still living predecessor, Benedict XVI.

Una sola Chiesa (Just One Church) was released Sept. 1 by Rizzoli Publishing. It compares numerous excerpts from the two men's papal teachings to show their profound convergence.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Holy See's Secretary of State since October 2013, has written a preface to the new book in which he argues that there is a "spiritual harmony" between Benedict and Francis, despite "the difference in their styles of communication".

Beyond the contrasts in the two men's "pastoral style", the cardinal argues that there is a "natural continuity of papal magisterium" in their teachings.

Parolin points out that this continuity is all the more special because it has "a unique character: the presence of a pope emeritus in prayer at the side of his successor".

He says this unique situation is reinforced by the "strong mutual affection" between the two popes, which allows for an "intimate and profound closeness".

The Italian cardinal especially notes Benedict's "extraordinary manifestation of tenderness" towards Francis, when in 2016 he said to him, "your goodness is the place where I live and feel protected".

On several occasions since the papal transition in 2013, both Pope Francis, 83, and Benedict, 93, have refuted rumors of any dissension between them.

The retired pope in 2018 dispelled the "senseless prejudice" of those who see "the figure of Pope Francis as opposed to mine".

There is an "interior continuity between the two pontificates, even with all the differences in style and temperament," Benedict insisted at the time.

Francis has repeatedly confided that he considers his predecessor to be akin to a "grandfather in the home".

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Cardinal Parolin says there's a spiritual harmony between Francis and Benedict XVI - La Croix International

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