Titled Nothing but the Truth: My Life with Benedict XVI (Piemme Publishing), the next book by Archbishop Georg Gänswein, secretary to Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI, is due to be published in Italian this January 2023.
The man who followed him for nearly 30 years intends to “tell the truth about the blatant slanders and obscure maneuvers that tried in vain to cast a shadow on the magisterium and actions” of the late German pontiff, the publishing house announces.
“Today, after the death of the pope emeritus, the time has come […] to tell the truth,” announces Piemme’s statement, which promises a new light on “a very special period for the Catholic Church.”
The book, written with Saverio Gaeta, an Italian Vatican reporter who specializes in the history of the controversial Marian shrine of Medjugorje, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, promises to make known at last the “true face” of a Benedict XVI “too often unjustly denigrated.”
There is not yet an announcement regarding plans for an English translation.
The book does not only promise to counter the image of Joseph Ratzinger as “God’s Rottweiler.” Archbishop Gänswein is also expected to address sensitive issues, such as the Vatileaks scandal – the leak of confidential documents that revealed major irregularities in the awarding of contracts by the Vatican in 2012; the relationship between Benedict XVI and Francis; as well as the pedophilia scandal.
Archbishop Gänswein is also expected to speak about the “mysteries of the Orlandi case,” named after Emanuela Orlandi, a 15-year-old girl living in the Vatican who disappeared in 1983 in a crime that remains unsolved. As the 30th anniversary of her disappearance is being marked this year, a series released by Netflix in the fall of 2022 has rekindled interest in the story, prompting Italian Senator Carlo Calenda to open a parliamentary investigation.
Joseph Ratzinger’s collaborator since 1996
Georg Gänswein, like Benedict XVI, is from southern Germany, where he was born in 1956. Often affectionately referred to as “Padre Georg,” he was ordained in 1984 and completed extensive university studies in Munich before being called to Rome in 1995 to work in the Curia.
The following year, in 1996, he joined the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, with whom he has worked ever since. In 2000, he was appointed John Paul II’s personal chaplain, a position he held until the death of the 264th pope.
In 2003, he also became the personal secretary of Cardinal Ratzinger, who chose him as his private secretary after his election to the Throne of Peter in 2005. In 2012, he became prefect of the Papal Household, and was ordained an archbishop in early 2013.
Aware of Pope Benedict XVI’s desire to resign in September 2012, as he confided in an interview published on January 2, 2023, by La Repubblica, he played an important role after the election of Pope Francis, who kept him in office. He became the link between the Residence of Santa Marta, where the Argentine pontiff lives, and the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, where the pope emeritus stayed until his death.
As spokesman for Benedict XVI, with whom he resided during his last years, Archbishop Gänswein was removed from his responsibilities as prefect of the Papal Household in 2020. He then concentrated on his mission with the pontiff emeritus, whom he accompanied until the end.