Featured Image
Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis has criticized Archbishop Georg Gänswein for publishing his book Nothing but the Truth shortly after Pope Benedict XVI’s death, saying Gänswein lacked “nobility and humanity.”

In a book-length interview titled The Successor, which is set to be published in Spanish on April 3, Francis addressed his relationship with his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. During his interview with Spanish journalist Javier Martínez-Brocal, Francis said that he was “pained” when Gänswein, Pope Benedict XVI’s private secretary from 2003 until the pope emeritus’ death in 2022, published his book about his experiences living alongside Benedict that included criticism of some of Francis’ actions.

The publication of Nothing but the Truth on the day of Benedict’s funeral showed a “lack of nobility and humanity,” Francis said.

He stated that Benedict XVI’s former private secretary “did some very difficult things to me.”

READ: Liz Yore: Pope Francis extends ‘mercy’ to clerical sex abusers but not victims

In a likely reference to Gänswein, Francis claimed that some people within the Catholic Church used Pope Benedict XVI to attack him when they did not have good arguments by attributing “things to Benedict that are not true.”

Shortly after Benedict’s death, Gänswein said that Pope Francis’ restriction of the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) caused Benedict “pain in his heart” and revealed in his book that Benedict thought the restrictions were “a mistake.”

Francis told Martínez-Brocal that he did not consult or warn Benedict about his decision to restrict the TLM and overturn his predecessor’s work, confirming Gänswein’s assertion that Benedict learned about Francis’s attack on the Latin Mass through the Vatican’s newspapers.

Pope Benedict expanded then-current permissions to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass with his 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum and said that the older form of the Roman Rite had never been abrogated. In a letter accompanying his motu proprio, Benedict wrote the following about the TLM: “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.”

However, on July 16, 2021, Pope Francis issued Traditionis Custodes, restricting the TLM and effectively abrogating Benedict’s Summorum Pontificum. Directly contradicting his still-living predecessor, Francis declared that the liturgy of Paul VI, or the Novus Ordo, is the “unique expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite.”

A few months after the publication of Gänswein’s book, Francis sent the German archbishop back to his home diocese of Freiburg, Germany, without assigning him any task or office.

Francis claimed that Benedict “never took his support away from me.”

“Maybe there was something I did that he did not agree with, but he never said so,” he added.

However, some of Benedict’s closest confidants, like Gänswein and Benedict’s biographer Peter Seewald, stressed how hurt and disappointed the pope emeritus was with some his successor’s decisions.

READ: Benedict’s biographer slams ‘authoritarian’ Pope Francis for undermining Catholic Tradition

“Benedict trusted Francis. But he was bitterly disappointed several times,” Seewald said in an interview published in December 2023.

Seewald told the New Daily Compass that Francis “repeatedly spoke of the gifts of his predecessor, calling him a ‘great Pope’ whose legacy will become more evident from generation to generation.”

“But if one really speaks of a ‘great Pope’ out of conviction, shouldn’t one do everything possible to cultivate his legacy? Just as Benedict XVI did with regard to John Paul II? As we can see today, Pope Francis has done very little indeed to remain in continuity with his predecessors,” Seewald observed.

Addressing Francis’ treatment of Gänswein, Seewald said, “It makes him [Francis] untrustworthy.”

“One cannot, with the Bible in hand, constantly speak of brotherly love, mutual respect, and mercy and at the same time trample these virtues underfoot. The brutality and public humiliation with which a deserving man like Gänswein was dumped is unprecedented. Not even the custom of giving a word of thanks to a departing employee, as is customary in the smallest company, was observed.”

“The Pope downgraded Gänswein, but he meant the one for whom Gänswein stands,” Seewald said in an apparent reference to Francis’ attack on Benedict’s legacy.


EXCLUSIVE: Pope Francis defends restrictions on Latin Mass – ‘Read the motu proprio’

Benedict’s secretary Gänswein mysteriously removed from papal household post

Abp. Gänswein: Benedict XVI was ‘surprised’ Pope Francis ignored the dubia

Abp. Gänswein: Traditionis Custodes caused Benedict XVI ‘pain in his heart’

Abp. Gänswein provides little-known details of Benedict XVI’s resignation that shocked the world

Pope Francis meets privately with Abp. Gänswein following criticisms in book about Benedict

Pope Benedict thought Pope Francis’ restriction of the Latin Mass was a ‘mistake’: Abp. Gänswein reveals