The Pope accuses Benedict XVI's secretary of conspiracy

After punishing him by sending him back without charge to his home diocese in Germany, Pope Francis has bluntly charged Benedict XVI's historic personal secretary, Georg Gänswein, who he accuses of using the figure of the late pope emeritus to empower opponents of his pontificate.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
02 April 2024 Tuesday 11:23
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The Pope accuses Benedict XVI's secretary of conspiracy

After punishing him by sending him back without charge to his home diocese in Germany, Pope Francis has bluntly charged Benedict XVI's historic personal secretary, Georg Gänswein, who he accuses of using the figure of the late pope emeritus to empower opponents of his pontificate. "It hurt me that Benedict was used", acknowledged Francesc, who asserted that the German monsignor demonstrated a "lack of nobility and humanity" when he published a book on the day of the burial in which he criticized the Argentine Pope

"That a book is published on the day of the funeral that leaves me like a dirty rag, that explains things that are not true, is very sad. Of course, it doesn't affect me in the sense that it doesn't condition me. But it did make me feel bad that Benet was used", admits Francesc in an interview about his relationship with Joseph Ratzinger published by journalist Javier Martínez-Brocal in the book The Successor.

After more than a year since the death of the pope who resigned, Jorge Mario Bergoglio thinks the time has come to let the world know how he lived coexistence with his predecessor, which he defines as excellent. Benedict XVI was "a great theologian who left a great legacy for the Church with his teachings", "a child prodigy who went ahead", and when he took a step back he showed that he was making a decision "very advanced and progressive" for the future of Catholicism's government.

However, he believes that the figure of the German was used by the minority but noisy ultra-conservative opposition. Something that Benedict believes he never wanted, and of which he accuses some "loquitos" who tried to give the German the role of guarantor of the pontificate.

"I say it with regret, but his secretary made it difficult for me at times", says Francesc about Gänswein. For example, when he replaced a person at the head of a department, which caused controversy, the historical collaborator of Benedict XVI wanted to bring it before the emeritus and spread a photo, as if he was retracting the decision of the Pope. "Honestly, it wasn't right", he says.

In his opinion, "many of those who supported him wanted him to become more traumatic, more forceful, more managerial, in other words, for him to leave the role of great shepherd and enter the game of controversies", but he "did not he never entered."

The Pope assures that his predecessor always defended him, and gives the example that, after he pointed out that civil unions are a correct way to give legal protection to homosexual people without equating it to marriage, a series of cardinals they turned to Benedict to call him a heretic and promoter of homosexual marriage. Benedict listened to them one by one and then came out in his defense and made it clear that he was not saying heresies. "The situation helped me to understand that I had people here who were half-hearted and who took advantage of the slightest opportunity to bite me", advises Francesc.

The Pontiff also criticizes Gänswein regarding the isolation perceived by the press during the papacy of Benedict XVI. The Pope considers that his predecessor was a man of "great meekness", who sometimes preferred not to impose himself on the will of some people who wanted to take advantage of the occasion and limit his movements. For example, Ratzinger used to go to dinner on Sundays at the home of his former secretary, Josef Clemens, who had a reputation as a good cook. Overnight, they stopped having these dinners. One Sunday Benet called Clemens and told him that he could call him now "because Mr. Georg had left". "It's as if, in order not to offend his collaborators, he avoids even talking on the phone", reflects the Jesuit.