Manfred Lütz, a close colleague of Benedict XVI, revealed in a recent interview that he is still in contact with retired pontiff, who still considers himself in the service of the Church, and of Pope Francis.
Lütz explained in a Dec. 4 interview with CNA that during a recent visit with Benedict, the previous Pope “said he didn't leave the service of St. Peter, that he lives the service of St. Peter in another way.”
“He's praying, and this is an important aspect, he said, of the service of St. Peter.”
Manfred Lütz is a German psychologist and theologian, and was present in Rome for the Pontifical Council for the Laity’s Dec. 5-7 plenary on “Proclaiming Christ in the Digital Age.”
The theologian explained that he originally met Cardinal Ratzinger when he first came to Rome in 1980, because the two lived together for “some weeks” near a German cemetery inside of the Vatican, adding that “I lived here to study, and so I know him since that time.”
In his recent conversation with Benedict XVI, Lütz stated that “for me, it was a very, an emotional vision that Pope Francis is there as the Pope and behind Pope Francis there is another pope…Benedict, who is praying, like Moses, for Pope Francis and the Church.”
Lütz noted that although Benedict is “old physically… mentally he was very good. He had a better memory than me!”
The occasion of his meeting with the Benedict XVI, Luetz stated, was a book that he has written with Cardinal Cordes, the previous president for the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum,” about a speech the retired pontiff made in Freiburg, Germany emphasizing that “the Church has not to be too near to the world.”
“We'll say the Church has to be in the world, this is clear, but the Church has not to be too much involved in power of the world…and this is the same thing that Pope Francis says.”
So this is a book, he noted, “about the two popes and about this aspect where the two popes have an identity.”
“Benedict said to us that he also has the impression that theologically he is very in the same line with Pope Francis.”
In comments made to journalists on Dec. 6 at the presentation of the new “Bible World” iPad application, Archbishop Georg Genswein, Prefect of the Papal Household and personal secretary to Benedict XVI, revealed that “between Pope Benedict and Pope Francis there is a very good relationship,” which he helps to facilitate.
“My job,” noted the archbishop, “is compared with a bridge” between the two.
Bible World is an app that was launched by the Saint Paul Society in honor of their 100 year anniversary, and which contains the written word, and allows you to navigate the various places and figures of the Bible in an animated modern way.
Echoing the words of Lütz, archbishop Genswein explained that the previous pontiff is “an old man, but right now very clear, very sharp, and very good,” and that he “receives a lot of visits.”
The Papal prefect also revealed to journalists that it is “a great hope” that Benedict XVI will attend the April canonization of his predecessors Bl. John Paul II and John XXIII, but “it is not confirmed.”