Pope Benedict XVI's longtime private secretary says his boss' stunning decision to resign paved the way for the "enormous impact" Pope Francis is having on the church and world at large.

Monsignor Georg Gaenswein's comments Monday came on the eve of the first anniversary of Benedict's retirement announcement that changed the course of the 2,000-year-old Catholic Church and led to the historic election of the first Jesuit pope and the first pontiff from Latin America.

"We are all seeing the impact that Pope Francis is having on the world ... and this impact was also facilitated by Pope Benedict in resigning," Gaenswein told Vatican Television.

Gaenswein is in the unique situation in history of serving two popes: while he remains Benedict's secretary, he is also head of Pope Francis' household.