Benedict XVI’s personal secretary defends the former pontiff’s inner circle

Benedict XVI’s personal secretary defends the former pontiff’s inner circle

In this Feb. 4, 2017 file photo, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein looks at Pope Francis delivering his message during an audience at the Paul VI Hall, at the Vatican. (Credit: Andrew Medichini/AP.)

Archbishop Georg Gänswein, personal secretary of the Benedict XVI said that it's "a generic and superficial criticism" to define the statements made from the monastery where Benedict lives as "inappropriate."

ROME— Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the personal secretary of the Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, has denied that the communications that come from the former pontiff’s household are somehow damaging to the Church.

“To judge the communications or interventions coming from the Mater Ecclesiae monastery as ‘inappropriate’ seems a generic and superficial criticism, fruit of a superficial reading or, even, myopic and deceitful,” he said in his latest interview.

The archbishop was answering a question posed to him that used the word “inappropriate” to refer to some communications and interventions coming from the monastery within Vatican grounds where the pope emeritus has lived since his resignation in 2013.

He’s recently given several written interviews to a handful of Spanish-speaking outlets to promote the Spanish edition of his book How the Catholic Church Can Restore Our Culture, published in 2020.

“The book is a collection of texts written for different occasions in the five-year period 2014-2019,” Gänswein told Vida Nueva in an interview published Monday. “They belong to different literary genres: conferences, homilies, prologues and book presentations. The common thread that unites them is precisely that to which you are alluding: To make a modest contribution to Catholic culture in this secularized world of ours.”

“Evidently, as it is easy to guess, the background and rich soil that inspires and animates these texts is constituted by reading and meditating on the works of Benedict XVI, in whose school I was formed,” he said.

Last week, speaking with Alfa & Omega, Gänswein had used the term “inappropriate” himself, arguing that even though it’s understandable and excusable to try to compare the various popes to create a raking based on the merits of each one, it’s also inappropriate to do so.

“But we must convince ourselves that the criteria of this ranking do not depend on applause or a common denominator, but on how they bear witness to Jesus Christ, true man and true God, the only savior of the world,” he said. “Each pontiff does so with his peculiarities, with all the differences of character, intellectual formation, spiritual maturation, experiential heritage … But this diversity is precisely the manifestation that no pope is the successor of his predecessor, but rather the successor of the Apostle Peter.”

Follow Inés San Martín on Twitter: @inesanma

Latest Stories