Vatican fury: Pope Benedict’s EU snub exposed after Pope Francis’ plea for bloc’s future

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Last month Pope Francis said the EU’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic would affect its future, while claiming that the bloc should show “solidarity” during the crisis. His words at the traditional Easter speech saw many observers see this as Francis’ standing on the EU. But according to Lynda Telford – author of ‘Women of the Vatican – Female Power in a Male World’ – his predecessor would not have cared about the EU’s future.

Speaking to, the expert said: “I do believe there are serious cracks in the EU. 

“I can’t claim to know Benedict’s views on that as he was never an ‘open’ priest in the sense of interacting with the people. 

“Frankly he didn’t seem to care. 

“He’s an academic, not a pastoral pope.”

Francis’ comments at Vatican City came at a time of global panic, with the majority of Europe experiencing some form of lockdown.

Italy has endured some of the worst death tolls throughout the world, now having the second highest figures in Europe behind only Britain.

The services are normally witnessed by thousands of people, many who descend on St Peter’s Square to witness the spectacle.

But this year, he preached in a near empty St Peter’s Basilica.

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During the talk he said: “Today, the EU finds itself faced with an epochal challenge, on which not only its future but also that of the entire world will depend. 

“Let us not miss the opportunity to demonstrate, once again, solidarity, even by resorting to innovative solutions.

“It is urgent, especially in today’s circumstances, that these rivalries do not regain vigour but that all recognise themselves as part of a single family.”

He added: “This is not a time for division.”

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Francis and Benedict have often been seen on the opposite side of arguments, particularly in Catholic reform.

Despite this hostility that experts say exist, Benedict did say that his friendship with Francis had “not only endured but grown”.

Yet, many argue that Benedict’s presence in and around the Vatican continues to strangle whatever power Francis appears to have.

Francis replaced Benedict as the head of the Catholic church in 2013, after the latter became the first pope living pope to stand down in nearly 600 years.

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