Pope says opponents 'exploited' death of predecessor

Pope believes his opponents “exploited” the death of his father


Pope Francis said on Sunday that some opponents within the Catholic Church have “exploited” the death of his predecessor Benedict XVI to criticize his own pontificate. 

Benedict XVI stepped down as pope in 2013, but until his death on January 31, aged 95, he remained a leading figure for the conservative wing of the Church, which judges Pope Francis too progressive.

The latter, speaking to the press on the plane that brought him back from South Sudan, rejected “certain stories that are being told, according to which Benedict XVI was bitter because of the action of the new pope”.

“Indeed, I consulted Benedict for certain decisions to be made. And he accepted. He agreed. I believe that the death of Benedict XVI was instrumentalized by people who want to provide grist for their own mill,” Francis said.

“And those who instrumentalize such a good person, such a man of God, I would almost say a Holy Father of the Church, are people without ethics, who act for partisan ends, and not people of the Church”, he accused.

< p> “I wanted to give this clarification on the personality of Pope Benedict. He was not an embittered person,” according to Francis.

He did not name anyone, but Benedict XVI's closest aide, Georg Ganswein, published memoirs after the latter's death where he recounts the tensions between the ex-pope and Francis.

Mr. Ganswein affirms in particular that the Argentine pope had “broken the heart” of his predecessor by limiting the use of Latin that he himself had developed.