Pope Benedict XVI’s aide acknowledges criticism of memoir

ROME (AP) – Pope Benedict XVI’s longtime secretary acknowledged Sunday that his revealing memoir, published in the days following Benedict XVI’s death, had been criticized for putting Pope Francis in an unfavorable light, but he said insisted that some of the controversy was more about anti-Benedict bias than anything else.

In some of his first public comments since Benedict’s death on Dec. 31, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein said he remained loyal to Francis and was still waiting for the pontiff to give him a new post.

Gaenswein’s future has been the subject of much speculation since 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 years of work with Benedict, but also settled old scores, revealed palace intrigues, and detailed some of the bad blood that accrued during the decade Benedict lived as a retired pope alongside Francis.

Published during the emotional time around Benedict’s funeral on Jan. 5, the book has come to encapsulate the conservative criticism that has been leveled at Francis and his more progressive leanings by people nostalgic for Benedict’s doctrinaire papacy.

Speaking to Sky TG24 on Sunday after celebrating mass in a Rome-area church, Gaenswein acknowledged that his book had raised eyebrows both at its content and the timing of its publication.

“There are and there will be criticisms,” he said. “And I have to live with the criticism.”

He said he welcomed well-founded criticism.

“If the criticisms are unfounded, but they are biased (anti-Benedetto) criticisms or other unfounded motives, I have to accept them, but I cannot take them seriously. Real criticism I accept and learn from,” she said.

He spoke to Sky at Santa Maria Consolatrice, which was Benedict’s titular church when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. After the Mass, a plaque honoring the late pope was unveiled.

In an interview with the Associated Press on Jan. 24, Francis responded to Gaenswein’s criticisms, and those of other conservatives, by saying they were natural after 10 years and showed that the prelates felt free to speak out.

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