Abp Viganò denounces Benedict’s secretary for ‘abusive and systematic control’ of Pope Emeritus

ROME, January 16, 2020, LifeSiteNews:

In the wake of the controversy surrounding the genesis of Cardinal Robert Sarah’s new book with Benedict XVI on priestly celibacy, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has released a testimony denouncing Archbishop Georg Gänswein for what he calls his “abusive and systematic control” of the pope emeritus.

“It is time to reveal the abusive and systematic control exercised by Archbishop Georg Gänswein over the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI since the beginning of his pontificate,” Archbishop Viganò writes in the one-page testimony released on January 16 (see official English text below).

LifeSite has reached out to Archbishop Gänswein, and will update readers if he responds.

Archbishop Viganò’s testimony follows several days of fierce backlash against the pope emeritus and the cardinal, portraying them as opposed to Pope Francis and undermining his widely anticipated apostolic exhortation on the Amazon Synod. It also comes after the Archbishop Gänswein openly contradicted Cardinal Sarah’s official account of the genesis of the book, claiming instead that Benedict “did not approve a project for a co-authored book and he had not seen or authorized the cover.”

In the new testimony, Archbishop Viganò asserts that “Gänswein habitually filtered information, arrogating to himself the right to judge how opportune or not it was to send it to the Holy Father.”

Archbishop Gänswein, who currently serves as personal secretary to Benedict XVI and as prefect of the papal household in the current pontificate, has worked alongside the pope emeritus for over two decades. In 1996, Gänswein joined the staff of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and in 2003, he replaced Josef Clemens as Ratzinger’s secretary.

When Cardinal Ratzinger was elected pope in 2005, Gänswein was appointed his principal private secretary. In 2012, he replaced Cardinal James Michael Harvey as prefect of the papal household. In this post, the German prelate oversaw the majority of Pope Benedict XVI’s public and private events, correspondence, visitors, and apostolic journeys.

In his January 16 statement, Archbishop Viganò offers two personal experiences he had of Gänswein’s alleged “control” of Benedict, the first as a high-level official in the Vatican Secretariat of State and the second as apostolic nuncio to the United States.

He says what has moved him to take this step is Archbishop Gänswein’s “sensational and slanderous insinuation” against Cardinal Robert Sarah following the release of the new co-authored book, titled From the Depths of Our Hearts: Priesthood, Celibacy, and the Crisis of the Catholic Church.

In comments to the ANSA news agency on Tuesday, Archbishop Gänswein said he has “acted on instructions from the pope emeritus and asked Cardinal Robert Sarah to contact the book’s publisher and request that they remove Benedict XVI’s name as co-author of the book, and remove his signature from the introduction and conclusion.”

“The pope emeritus knew that the cardinal was preparing a book and he sent him a text on the priesthood authorizing him to use it as he wished,” Gänswein continued. But contrary to an official statement released by Cardinal Sarah earlier on Tuesday, the German prelate claimed that Benedict “did not approve a project for a co-authored book, and he had not seen or authorized the cover.”

“It is a misunderstanding that does not raise questions about Cardinal Sarah’s good faith,” he said.

Just a short time after, Cardinal Sarah openly said he stood by his official statement, affirming that it “remains my one and only version of the course of events.”

Ignatius Press, which is publishing the book in English, has stood by the co-authorship and cover.

Here below is the official English text of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s testimony.

* * *

Testimony by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò

It is time to reveal the abusive and systematic control exercised by Archbishop Georg Gänswein over the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI since the beginning of his Pontificate.

Gänswein habitually filtered information, arrogating to himself the right to judge how opportune or not it was to send it to the Holy Father.

I can testify that, when Pope Benedict summoned me in audience on April 4, 2011, a few days after I had sent him my first letter (that was later illegally published during Vatileaks), I said to the Pontiff: “I will not speak to you about the situation of corruption in the management of the Papal Villas, since I assume that you have already taken note of the memo on the matter, which I delivered to your secretary for you, in view of this audience.”

The Holy Father, in all simplicity and innocence, and without showing any surprise, said to me: “No, I didn’t see anything.”

I also testify to another event that shows how Monsignor Gänswein controlled information for the Holy Father and conditioned his freedom of action. On the occasion of the canonization of Marianne Cope and Kateri Tekakwitha, having requested in writing to the then-prefect of the papal household, Archbishop James M. Harvey, to be received in audience by the Pope, and having received no response, I went to the same Prefect on Tuesday, October 23, 2012, asking him why I had received no response to my request for an audience.

I remember perfectly the circumstance, because Archbishop Harvey suggested that I attend the general audience the next day, so that I could at least greet the Holy Father personally, with the other bishops who were present. Archbishop Harvey answered me with the following words: “Gänswein said to me: ‘Archbishop Viganò is the last person who can approach Pope Benedict!’”

He then added that, at the beginning of his pontificate, Benedict XVI, indicating Gänswein to him with his index finger, exclaimed: “Gestapo! Gestapo!”

This unscrupulous attitude was revealed from the very beginning of his pontificate, also in the determination with which Gänswein managed to distance from the pope his precious assistant and secretary, Ingrid Stampa, whom then-cardinal Ratzinger had wanted at his side for well over a decade after the death of his sister Maria Ratzinger.

Furthermore, it is known that to escape this total control exercised over his person by Gänswein, Pope Benedict often went to visit his previous special secretary, Bishop Josef Clemens, inviting Ingrid Stampa to these familial gatherings.

I am issuing this statement following what Archbishop Gänswein asserted in recent days to the ANSA news agency, contradicting what Pope Benedict himself had written in his correspondence with Cardinal Sarah. This statement is a sensational and slanderous insinuation against the most eminent Cardinal Robert Sarah, which he swiftly denied.

Translation by Diane Montagna of LifeSiteNews.



More on the Sarah/Benedict XVI book fiasco from LifeSiteNews:

ROME, January 15, 2020 LifeSiteNews:

A Vatican-based journalist has alleged that Pope Francis was “furious” over Pope Benedict’s contribution to a book co-authored with Cardinal Robert Sarah defending priestly celibacy, demanding that Benedict retract his name from the work.

Antonio Socci, an Italian Catholic journalist best known for his coverage of Church news, has reported on social media that Pope Francis was infuriated by the texts in Des Profondeurs de nos coeurs (From the Depths of Our Hearts) supporting priestly celibacy.

“The day before yesterday … the end of the world broke out in the Vatican because Bergoglio was furious,” Socci wrote this Tuesday.

“In fact, that very authoritative pronouncement of Benedict XVI prevents him from taking a pickaxe to ecclesiastical celibacy as he had planned to do in the next post-synodal exhortation,” he continued.

“Thus, [Pope Francis] personally called Archbishop Gänswein, the secretary of Benedict XVI as well as the prefect of Bergoglio’s pontifical household, and ― furious ― ordered him to remove the name of Benedict XVI from the cover of the book …”

“Bergoglio demanded a full and total retraction,” Socci wrote.

“For this reason the first filtered news spoke of sources ‘close to Benedict XVI’ who said that Benedict had neither co-authored a book with Sarah nor approved the cover, that is, his signature on the book,” he continued.

“This, however, was not true, and Benedict XVI could not bring himself to bear false witness implying that Cardinal Sarah had involved him without his consent. Nor had Pope Benedict the least intention of retracting what he had written in defence of celibacy in that volume.”

Socci noted that at the outbreak of the scandal Cardinal Sarah had published his correspondence with the Pope Emeritus that demonstrated that the book was the work of them both and that the book had Benedict’s consent. The Pope Emeritus’ instructions to publishers to downplay his authorship in future editions of the work, however, was allegedly to protect Archbishop Gänswein.

“….Benedict also found it necessary to shelter his secretary from South American ‘vendettas’, given that he had received a peremptory order from Bergoglio,” Socci wrote.

“Thus this compromise solution was adopted: on the cover of future editions of the book the author will be Cardinal Sarah ‘with the contribution of Benedict XVI,” he continued.

“The text in the book, in any case, will remain the same.”

Socci said that this “messy compromise” means that Pope Francis’s “court” are able to tell the media that the Pope Emeritus has retracted his signature from the book, “even though this is not true” and his name still appears on the agreed-upon parts of the work.

“A most ugly story of clerical power that in the end points to a gagging of Benedict XVI,” he remarked.

“However, there remains the underlying question: if Bergoglio, in his exhortation bashes celibacy, with the ordination of ‘viri probati’, which is in fact in direct conflict with the doctrine of the Church recently reaffirmed by Pope Benedict XVI,” Socci stated.

“Thus he assumes responsibility for a most serious breach with heavy consequences.”

The American publisher of the English translation of the work, Ignatius Press, has affirmed the co-authorship of the work. The company’s founder and editor-in-chief, a former student of Joseph Ratzinger, told LifeSiteNews on Monday that claims Benedict had not co-authored the book were “fake news.”

“I just got a call from Cardinal Sarah. He confirms that Pope Benedict is co-author with him,” said Fr. Joseph Fessio.

Ignatius press confirmed Tuesday that it will continue to list the two prelates as co-authors.

According to an official letter written to the bishops of the world, but leaked to LifeSiteNews, Pope Francis wants to publish a final document on the Amazon Synod by early February. One of the most controversial topics of the synod, the possibility of ordaining married aboriginal men in the Amazon to the priesthood, is expected to be addressed in this post-synodal exhortation.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Abp Viganò denounces Benedict’s secretary for ‘abusive and systematic control’ of Pope Emeritus

  1. Crow says:

    Archbishop Viganò is adopting the tactic of disinfectant by exposing to the light. He is obviously a very loyal person who has a strong sense of justice. He is shining a light on the workings and intrigues of the Vatican. He is an incredible man – an inspirational man. He will be absolutely torn apart for this, but he obviously doesn’t worry because he is standing up for both Cardinal Sarah, who has been wrongly calumnied, and the celibate priesthood, in regards to which the objective by those enforcing the agenda is to obfuscate and dilute the doctrine so that they can morph into women priests, married priests, gay priests, transgender priests, or whatever the agenda calls for at any given time. They will now personally attack him as they have their power-base and the Vatican millions to defend. And the way they attack is by poisonous gossip and character assassination – Just like the KGB programs of ‘desinformation’ that applied to those out of favour with the prevailing regime at the time.


  2. mmvc says:

    Catholic Monitor raises the question:

    Our Lady of Good Success: Is Pope Benedict the “Prisoner in the Vatican… in that Greatest Crisis of the Church”?

    The apparitions of Our Lady of Success have been approved by the Catholic Church. Moreover, Our Lady of Good Success has had many miracles associated with it.

    Here is part of the “Fourth Apparition: January 21, 1610” which the influencial and prominent Catholic blogger Laramie Hirsch believes may possibly be referring to Pope Benedict XVI:

    “The Supreme Shepherd and Vicar of Christ on Earth, who, being a prisoner in the Vatican… in that greatest crisis of the Church, he who is obligated to speak in due time will remain silent.”
    (The Story of Our Lady of Good Success and Novena, Dolorosa Press, Pages 40-41)


  3. Crow says:

    That prophesy is extraordinary.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s