In 2013, Pope Benedict XVI, considered to be conservative-leaning among Roman Catholics, resigned from the papacy. The last pontiff to submit a resignation was Pope Gregory XII roughly 600 years ago. Benedict publicized his decision to leave the papacy on February 11, 2013. Some believed that the timing of the announcement was odd. It happened just weeks after Obama began his second term in office.
Benedict XVI said, “God Told Me To” Resign
While many speculated that Pope Benedict XVI had resigned due to failing health, Benedict would later refute this claim. In leaked comments to the Catholic news agency Zenit, he stated that “God told” him to leave the papacy and take up a secluded residence in the Vatican Gardens. The command from God happened during a mystical prayer session.
It is no coincidence that in America, even on the basis of what has been published by Wikileaks, some Catholic groups have asked President Trump to open a commission of inquiry to investigate whether the administration of Barack Obama exerted pressure on Benedict.”
Obama Told Benedict to Resign
Benedict XVI claimed his resignation was a mystical experience in which the Lord spoke to him, but Negri indicated this wasn’t true. Instead, Benedict came under “tremendous pressure” from the Obama administration. It is perhaps disturbing that Benedict XVI said God told him to resign when it was Obama who forced him out.
Leading up to his 2013 decision to step down, Benedict XVI faced increasing pressure from Catholic prelates who were lobbying for gay rights inside the Vatican. He also confronted opposition from a radical left-wing group seeking to oust him from the papacy. In 2012, he dealt with a series of embarrassing Vatican leaks exposing corruption and internal strife called “Vatileaks.” Some believed these leaks were the makings of a “soft coup” against the Pontiff.
Negri’s comments come on the heels of a letter sent to Donald Trump by American Catholics requesting that the President investigate whether the Obama administration had interfered in the functions of the Roman Catholic Church. The authors of the letter made explosive allegations suggesting Obama promoted a “regime change” in the Vatican. They said:
Specifically, we have reason to believe that a Vatican “regime change” was engineered by the Obama administration.”
Archbishop Emeritus Luigi Negri commented that he had visited with Pope Benedict XVI several times since his resignation. He also said, “I am certain that the truth will emerge one day showing grave liability both inside and outside the Vatican.”
Pope Francis, the Obama Vassal?
Since the start of his tenure, Pope Francis has been President Obama’s ideal partner, both sharing similar views on immigration, globalization, and the environment.
Obama worked very closely with Francis on a number of issues during his second term. Obama hosted Francis in September 2015 at the White House. Both leaders participated heavily in the December 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Francis and Obama were major power players behind the finalization of this treaty and the push for a global response to climate change.
Meanwhile, Francis has clashed with numerous conservatives inside the Curia including Cardinal Raymond Burke. Francis demoted Burke, however, he continues to speak out against the Pope and his policies. Burke recently infuriated the Vatican by meeting with Matteo Salvini, an Italian nationalist who is rapidly growing in popularity with his Trumpesque rhetoric and style.
President Donald Trump has not indicated whether he will investigate claims that Obama forced the resignation of Benedict XVI.