ROME (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI’s longtime secretary acknowledged Sunday that his telling memoirs, published in the days after Benedict’s death, had been criticized for portraying Pope Francis in an unfavorable light, but stressed that some polemics are more about prejudice than prejudice. about something else.
In some of his first public comments since Benedict’s death on Dec. 31, Archbishop Georg Gaenswin said he remained loyal to Francis and was still waiting for the pope to give him a new job.
Gaenswein’s future has been much speculated after Benedict’s death and the publication of “Nothing But the Truth: My Life Beside Pope Benedict XVI.” In the memoir, Gaenswein charted his nearly 30-year association with Benedict, but he also settled old scores, revealed palace intrigues and described some of the bad blood built up during the decade when Benedict lived alongside Francis as a retired pope.
The book, published during the emotional period surrounding Benedict’s funeral on January 5, summarized conservative criticism directed at Francis and his more progressive leanings from people nostalgic for Benedict’s doctrinal papacy.
Speaking to Sky TG24 Sunday after celebrating mass at a church in Rome, Gaenswein acknowledged that his book had raised eyebrows both because of its content and the timing of publication.
“There has been and will be criticism,” he said. “And I have to live with the criticism.”
He said he welcomes valid criticism.
“If the criticism is unfounded, but is criticism based on prejudice or other unfounded motives, then I have to accept it, but I cannot take it seriously. I accept real criticism and I learn from it,” he said.
He spoke to Sky at Santa Maria Consolatrice, Benedict’s titular church when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. After the Mass, a plaque was unveiled in honor of the late Pope.
In an interview with The Associated Press on January 24, Francis responded to Gaenswein’s criticisms and those of other conservatives by saying that after 10 years they were natural and proved that the prelates felt free to speak.