Benedict XVI’s aide’s tell-all book will expose ‘dark maneuvers’
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The longtime personal secretary to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has penned a tell-all book that its publisher promised on Monday to tell the truth about the “blatant slander,” “dark maneuvering,” mysteries and scandals that have sullied the reputation of a pontiff best known for his historic resignation.
“Nothing But the Truth: My Life Next to Pope Benedict XVI” by Archbishop Georg Gaenswein is published this month by the Piemme imprint of Italian publishing giant Mondadori, according to a press release.
Benedict died Saturday at the age of 95 and his body was laid out Monday in St. Peter’s Basilica ahead of Thursday’s funeral to be celebrated by his successor, Pope Francis.
Gaenswein, a 66-year-old German priest, stood by Benedict for nearly three decades, first as a civil servant working for Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then from 2003 as Ratzinger’s personal secretary.
Gaenswein followed his boss to the Apostolic Palace as secretary when Ratzinger was elected pope in 2005. And in one of the most memorable images from Benedict’s last day as pope on Feb. 28, 2013, Gaenswein wept as he accompanied Benedict through the frescoed halls of the Vatican, saying goodbye.
He remained Benedict’s guardian, confidant and protector during a decade of retirement, while serving until recently as prefect of the papal household of Francis. It was Gaenswein who performed the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick last Wednesday when Benedict’s health deteriorated, and it was he who called Francis on Saturday to tell him that Benedict had died.
According to Piemme, Gaenswein’s book contains “a personal testimony to the greatness of a gentle man, a good scholar, a cardinal and a pope who made the history of our time”. But he added that the book also contained a first-hand account that would correct some “misunderstood” aspects of the pontificate as well as Vatican machinations.
“Today, after the death of the pope emeritus, the time has come for the current prefect of the pontifical household to speak his own truth about the flagrant calumnies and dark maneuvers that have tried in vain to cast a shadow over the magisterium and the actions of the German pontiff,” the press release read.
Gaenswein’s tale would “at last bring to light the true face of one of the greatest protagonists of decades past, too often unjustly disparaged by critics as ‘Panzerkardinal’ or ‘God’s Rottweiler,'” he said, referring to some common media nicknames for the famous German. for his conservative and doctrinaire bent.
Specifically, the editor said Gaenswein would address the “Vatileaks” scandal, in which Benedict’s own butler leaked his personal correspondence to a reporter, as well as the clergy sex abuse scandals and one of the mysteries. Vatican officials, the 1983 disappearance of the 15-daughter of a Vatican employee, Emanuela Orlandi.