Gänswein: Benedict did not ‘confirm’ Vigano testimony

Vatican City, Aug 28, 2018 / 05:10 pm (CNA).- Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s personal secretary said Tuesday that the former pope has not commented on a testimony released Saturday by a former Vatican ambassador, and that he has no plans to do so.

Archbishop Georg Gänswein told German newspaper Die Tagepost Aug. 28 that accounts Benedict had “confirmed” Vigano’s testimony were “fake news.”

On Aug. 25, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, 77, who served as apostolic nuncio in Washington D.C. from 2011 to 2016, published an 11-page document which called for the resignation of Pope Francis and several cardinals and bishops, whom he accused of covering-up of sexual misconduct allegations against former cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

In the testimony, Viganò wrote that Benedict had “imposed on Cardinal McCarrick sanctions similar to those now imposed on him by Pope Francis” and that Viganò personally told Pope Francis about those sanctions in 2013.

Edward Pentin, a National Catholic Register correspondent, reported Aug. 25 that the Register had “independently confirmed that the allegations against McCarrick were certainly known to Benedict, and the Pope Emeritus remembers instructing Cardinal Bertone to impose measures but cannot recall their exact nature.”

In a blog post published Tuesday, Pentin wrote that that the Register’s sources confirmed only Vigano's statement that sanctions had been issued against McCarrick by Pope Benedict. Gänswein's report, Pentin said, did not deny the Register's reporting.

Pentin also mentioned a New York Times interview with Tim Busch, a board member of EWTN, in which Busch is reported to have told the Times that “leaders of the publication [the Register] had personally assured him that the former pope, Benedict XVI, had confirmed Archbishop Viganò’s account.”

“What Archbishop Gänswein said is entirely accurate,” Pentin wrote. “Any assertion that the Pope Emeritus had seen the entire testimony, and confirmed it, is untrue.”

CNA and the National Catholic Register are both owned by EWTN News, Inc


If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.


  1. The distinction between the truth and a lie is often a fine line. Archbishop Gänswein gave us the truth but not all. Edward Pentin is correct in verifying Gänswein’s release to the press. Where the apparent infraction lies is the omission by Gänswein that Benedict XVI was aware of Cardinal McCarrick’s homosexual abuse and that Benedict imposed sanctions. Pentin’s account of Benedict’s knowledge has merit largely because on his impeccable record of honest reporting. Benedict’s unwillingness to read or affirm Archbishop Vigano’s indictment is understandable for an emeritus pontiff. Nonetheless Archbishop’s Gänswein’s omission of any reference to Benedict’s actions at the time of the McCarrick allegations and his censure of McCarrick [Pentin notes Gänswein doesn’t deny this] does not meet the standard of honesty, and questions where Gänswein stands in this epochal moral dilemma.

    • Added to this comment is a new notice by Edward Pentin that Bishop Gänswein asserts neither he nor Benedict XVI would not respond to any query on Benedict’s MvCarrick sanctions. The question remains why McCarrick was permitted to roam freely and why the secrecy in imposing the sanction and the silence, which doesn’t reflect well on Benedict and may be reason for Gänswein’s reluctance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.