Book by Benedict’s top aide reveals tensions in Vatican

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Although Pope Francis often compared having former Pope Benedict living in the Vatican to having a grandfather in the house, a book by Benedict’s closest aide shows what he says were strains while two men wearing white lived in the tiny city-state.

Benedict was buried on Thursday and hours after the funeral in St. Peter’s Square an Italian publishing house began sending journalists advance copies of the 330-page “Nothing But The Truth – My Life Beside Benedict XVI”, by Archbishop Georg Ganswein.

Ganswein, 66, was Benedict’s personal secretary from 2003, when Benedict was still Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, and remained as his side for nearly 20 years until his death on Saturday. He was Francis’ gatekeeper until he was replaced in 2020.

In the book, due to be in bookstores on January 12, Ganswein gives an insider’s view of Benedict’s election in 2005, his 2013 decision to become the first pope in 600 years to step down, his post-papacy years, his sickness and his final hours.

Even though Benedict largely avoided public appearances after his resignation, he remained a standard-bearer for Catholic conservatives, who felt alienated by reforms ushered in by Francis, including cracking down on the old Latin Mass.

Ganswein says Benedict was “surprised” that Francis never responded to a public letter by four conservative cardinals in 2016, including American Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, which accused Francis of sowing confusion on moral issues.

The book also says Benedict did not agree with some of Francis’ stands.

After Francis gave a long interview to a Jesuit journal six months after his election in 2013, Francis sent the journal to Benedict for his comments.

Ganswein says Benedict, in his annotated response to Francis, critiqued the way Francis had responded to questions on abortion and homosexuality.


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