In an interview to mark five years since Pope Benedict XVI's resignation as pontiff, his former secretary has revealed Benedict pledged his “total obedience” to Pope Francis on the evening of his election. Source: The Tablet.
Msgr Alfred Xureb, Benedict’s former secretary, witnessed a phone conversation between the retired pope and Francis, just hours after the first Latin American Pontiff stepped out to greet the world.
“I heard him say: ‘Your Holiness, from now on I promise my total obedience and my prayer’,” Msgr Xureb told Vatican News in an interview to mark five years since Benedict’s shock resignation on February 11, 2013.
Msgr Xureb explained there had been a delay in the new Pope appearing on the balcony overlooking St Peter’s Square because he had been trying to speak to his predecessor. But Benedict XVI and his aides had not heard the telephone ring because they were sitting in front of the television waiting to see who the new Pope was.
“We were in the television room, where the phone is always muted so we did not hear it,” the Maltese Vatican official explained. “This explains why Pope Francis was delayed in going onto the loggia.”
Mgr Xureb recalled how Benedict XVI informed him of his plan to resign six days before making it official.
“On February 5, 2013, Pope Benedict invited me to sit down in his study and announced his decision to resign. I then spontaneously felt to ask him: "But why do not you think about it a little?” he explained.
“But then I held back because I was convinced that he had prayed [about it] for a long time. In fact, just at that moment a detail came to my mind. There was a long enough period, when he, in the sacristy, before starting to celebrate Mass in the private chapel, remained for a long time in prayer; and despite the clock tolling to mark the beginning of the Mass, he ignored this and remained gathered before the Crucifix in the sacristy.”
Benedict XVI’s Abdication, Five Years Later (National Catholic Register)