In a lecture in Rome, Gaenswein said (according to a report in the National Catholic Register) that Benedict had “left the papal throne” but had not “abandoned [the] ministry” he had accepted “in April 2005,” such that, while there are not “two popes,” there is “de facto” an “expanded” [Petrine] ministry – with an active member [i.e., Pope Francis] and a “contemplative member [i.e. Pope Emeritus Benedict].” That is why, Gaenswein continued, Benedict XVI “has not given up his name or the white cassock,” and why “he has also not retired to a monastery in isolation but stays within the Vatican – as if he has taken only one step to the side to make room for his successor and a new stage in the history of the papacy.”
Complete English Text: Archbishop Georg Gänswein’s ‘Expanded Petrine Office’ Speech: Benedict XVI’s personal secretary stresses there are not two popes, but “an active member and a contemplative member”.
Based on Arch.Gaenswein explanation he clarified that Pope Benedict XVI had abandoned the "papal throne" but had not abandoned the "ministry". And further stated it should not be understood as the Catholic Church having Two Popes but instead he used the term "expanded Petrine ministry".
From reading the text of Arch.Gaenswein it can be understood that Pope Benedict XVI has not abandoned the embraced responsibility of the Pope in praying for the Church the People of God towards it's mission on the salvation of souls.
Let's compare the personal testimony of Pope Benedict XVI in his speech addressed.
Saint Peter's Square
Wednesday, 27 February 2013
1.I feel that I bear everyone in prayer, in a present, God’s present, in which I gather together every one of my meetings, journeys and pastoral visits. In prayer I gather each and all, in order to entrust them to the Lord: that we might be filled with the knowledge of his will, with all spiritual wisdom and understanding, and that we might lead a life worthy of him and of his love, bearing fruit in every good work (cf. Col 1:9-10).
2.In these last months I have felt my energies declining, and I have asked God insistently in prayer to grant me his light and to help me make the right decision, not for my own good, but for the good of the Church. I have taken this step with full awareness of its gravity and even its novelty, but with profound interior serenity. Loving the Church means also having the courage to make difficult, painful decisions, always looking to the good of the Church and not of oneself.
3.Here, allow me to go back once again to 19 April 2005. The real gravity of the decision was also due to the fact that from that moment on I was engaged always and forever by the Lord. Always – anyone who accepts the Petrine ministry no longer has any privacy. He belongs always and completely to everyone, to the whole Church. In a manner of speaking, the private dimension of his life is completely eliminated. I was able to experience, and I experience it even now, that one receives one’s life precisely when one gives it away. Earlier I said that many people who love the Lord also love the Successor of Saint Peter and feel great affection for him; that the Pope truly has brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, throughout the world, and that he feels secure in the embrace of your communion; because he no longer belongs to himself, he belongs to all and all belong to him.
4.The "always" is also a "for ever" – there can no longer be a return to the private sphere. My decision to resign the active exercise of the ministry does not revoke this. I do not return to private life, to a life of travel, meetings, receptions, conferences, and so on. I am not abandoning the cross, but remaining in a new way at the side of the crucified Lord. I no longer bear the power of office for the governance of the Church, but in the service of prayer I remain, so to speak, in the enclosure of Saint Peter. Saint Benedict, whose name I bear as Pope, will be a great example for me in this. He showed us the way for a life which, whether active or passive, is completely given over to the work of God.
Here we can see that Pope Benedict XVI had affirmed what Arch.Gaenswein had stated that he did not renounce the "ministry of praying for the Church" and clearly stated by saying "I am not abondoning the cross.. but in the service of prayer I remain."
It is also worth noting that Pope Benedict XVI mentioned the he bear his chosen name Benedict who is well known as a Great Prayer Warrior or Great Intercessor.
To understand how great the power of intercession of St. Benedict is let us consider this story;
In one story of Benedict's life, a poor man came to the monastery begging for a little oil. Although Benedict commanded that the oil be given, the cellarer refused -- because there was only a tiny bit of oil left. If the cellarer gave any oil as alms there would be none for the monastery. Angry at this distrust of God's providence, Benedict knelt down to pray. As he prayed a bubbling sound came from inside the oil jar. The monks watched in fascination as oil from God filled the vessel so completely that it overflowed, leaked out beneath the lid and finally pushed the cover off, cascading out on to the floor.
In Benedictine prayer, our hearts are the vessel empty of thoughts and intellectual striving. All that remains is the trust in God's providence to fill us. Emptying ourselves this way brings God's abundant goodness bubbling up in our hearts, first with an inspiration or two, and finally overflowing our heart with contemplative love.
St. Benedict of Nursia
Pope Benedict XVI also addressed the following words that shed more light on the intention of his resignation and acknowledge the legitimacy of Pope Francis.
The decision I have made, after much prayer, is the fruit of a serene trust in God’s will and a deep love of Christ’s Church. I will continue to accompany the Church with my prayers, and I ask each of you to pray for me and for the new Pope. In union with Mary and all the saints, let us entrust ourselves in faith and hope to God, who continues to watch over our lives and to guide the journey of the Church and our world along the paths of history.
GENERAL AUDIENCE Saint Peter's Square Wednesday, 27 February 2013
In closing, we can view the meaning of the "expanded Petrine ministry" as the Papacy's "contemplative ministry" had been strengthen by the Wisdom of God inspired to Pope Benedict XVI in purposely choosing the title "Emeritus" so that his offering of a life of prayer and sacrifices carries still the universal force of a Pope. Pope Benedict still retain the "munus" and still wear the White Robe and still addressed as "Your Holiness" but as far as his testimonies and numerous videos are concerned he clearly acknowledges the legitimacy of the Papacy of Pope Francis.
The key word in his testimony is by acknowledging the mission of his chosen name St.Benedict a well known powerful Prayer Warrior/Intercessor which he intend to live and fulfill as long as he lives for the service of the Church.
In reality Pope Francis is so blessed to have a Great Prayer Warrior inside the Vatican who did not abandon the Church and did not flee from the wolves rather Pope Benedict XVI courage has engage a direct spiritual combat with the wolves thru contemplative prayer.
The testimony of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI clearly debunked all conspiracy theories circling around the mainstrean and social media about the legitimacy of Pope Francis papacy and the issues on his forced resignation are all false.