I received an email from a reader of this Blog asking the following question:
“I was surprised to see no commentary from you on Edward Pentin’s post
Benedict stepped down. How can it be a shared Petrine ministry? Is there not only one ‘Peter’ at a time?”
I did not comment because I was swamped with work. Even though I am retired, I am busier now than I was when I was Ordinary of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, and I believe that my Chancery staff can testify that I was very busy then.
I am surprised by the readers question since it seemed to me that Archbishop Gaenswein did a good job of explaining the difference between Pope Benedict as Pope and Pope Benedict as Pope Emeritus.
Yes, there can be only one pope at any time. Although there have been many occasions in the history of the Church when there were several men living at the same time who either had the title of Pope or claimed to have the title of Pope.
Archbishop Gaenswein explained the precedent for Pope Benedict continuing to use the title of Pope when he explained about the retirement of Pope Celestine.
As to Pope Benedict “sharing” the papacy with Pope Francis, he can only ‘share’ it to the extent that Pope Francois allows him to ‘share’ it and when he does ‘share’ it he does not enjoy any of the power of Pope Francis to rule and sanctify the Church. When he teaches he does not do so with magisterial authority enjoying the freedom from error Jesus Christ promised to Peter.