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Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, flanked by Prefect of the Pontifical House and his former personal secretary Georg Ganswein, April 2014.Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

(LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Georg Gänswein has revealed that Pope Benedict XVI read Pope Francis’s orders restricting the use of the Traditional Latin Mass “with pain in his heart.” 

Gänswein, Pope Benedict’s private secretary from 2003 until the Pope Emeritus’ death in 2022, made the comments about the late pontiff’s reaction to Traditionis Custodes in a recent interview with the German Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost 

When asked if Pope Benedict was disappointed about the release of the motu proprio, Gänswein said that “it was indeed a blow.”  

READ: Pope Francis abrogates Pope Benedict’s universal permission for Old Mass 

“I believe that Pope Benedict read this motu proprio with pain in his heart because he wished to help those who wanted to find inner peace, also the liturgical peace, and to get them away from [Archbishop Marcel] Lefebvre. Those who simply found a home in the Old Mass,” Gänswein stated. 

“If you think about how many centuries the Old Mass was the source of spiritual life for many people, nourishment for many saints, you cannot imagine that this is something that is no longer good,” he continued. 

“Many young people who were born long after the Second Vatican Council and no longer really understand the whole fuss about the Council, who also know the new Mass… have found a spiritual home and a spiritual treasure in the Old Mass. To take this treasure away from the people, I am not quite comfortable with that.” 

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America’s best loved pro-life priest, Fr. Frank Pavone, the National Director of Priests for Life as well as the President of the National Pro-Life Religious Council, has been laicized (dismissed from the priesthood) by order of Pope Francis.  

SIGN: This outrageous attack on the pro-life movement by the so-called “listening Church” is a mockery of justice. Stand by Fr. Pavone ASAP! 

A December 13 letter to all bishops in America, sent from the Pope’s representative in America – the Papal Nuncio Fr. Christophe Pierre – said that Fr. Pavone was laicized for “blasphemous communications on social media” and “persistent disobedience of the lawful instructions of his diocesan bishop.” 

In a separate statement, the papal nuncio wrote that the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Clergy – the head of the Vatican’s department dealing with priests – said that there was “no possibility of appeal” of the decision. 

DEMAND JUSTICE: Pope Francis' totalitarian regime cannot strike down faithful pro-life priests like Fr. Frank Pavone without international outrage! 

The statement calls Fr. Pavone, “Mr. Pavone.”  

“Since Priests for Life, Inc. is not a Catholic organization, Mr. Pavone's continuing role in it as a lay person would be entirely up to the leadership of that organization,” the statement says. 

The statement notes that the decision on the matter by the Dicastery for Clergy was issued on November 9, but Fr. Pavone had not heard of the decision from the Vatican until CNA called him for comment. 


If Pope Francis and this Vatican regime can get away with expelling faithful priests like Fr. Frank Pavone, then the Catholic Church may truly be entering the darkest period of her existence!  


John-Henry Westen: Here Is What the 'Blasphemy' Charge Against Fr. Pavone Is All About

John-Henry Westen: BREAKING: Pope Francis laicizes America’s best loved pro-life priest Fr. Frank Pavone

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Gänswein also stressed that the “Vati-Leaks” scandal or “so-called homosexual lobbies” had nothing to do with Pope Benedict’s resignation. The German prelate called these theories “stupid and wrong.” 

“That’s what they want to have so they can say he couldn’t handle it and just threw in the towel. Just not true,” Gänswein said. 

He insisted that Benedict resigned “because he did not have the strength,” referring to his physical health.  

When asked why Pope Benedict chose to still wear white, be referred to as “His Holiness,” and live in the Vatican, Gänswein said that “a cardinal who resigns stays an ‘Eminence’” and keeps his red colors, and so a pope who resigns could do the same. 

READ: Pope Benedict XVI dies at the age of 95 

Pope Benedict expanded then-current permissions to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) with his 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum and said that the older form of the Roman Rite had never been abrogated. In a letter accompanying his motu proprio, Benedict wrote the following about the TLM: “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. 

However, on July 16, 2021, Pope Francis issued his restrictions against the TLM, abrogating Benedict’s Summorum Pontificum at the same time. Directly contradicting his still-living predecessor, Francis declared that the liturgy of Paul VI, or the NovusOrdo, is the “unique expression of the lexorandi of the Roman Rite.” 

According to a statement by the Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), a traditional priestly society that exclusively celebrates the Traditional Latin Mass, the Pope Emeritus sent a “private letter of encouragement” to the superior of the FSSP after the publication of Traditionis Custodes in the summer of 2021.  

READ: ‘Providential support’: FSSP releases statement following death of Pope Benedict XVI 

The FSSP did not publish this news until after Benedict’s death on December 31, 2022.