Sunday, January 22, 2023

Schönborn criticises Gänswein's 'indiscretion' but confirms details

 Nient'altro che la verità. La mia vita al fianco di Benedetto XVI - Georg  Gänswein - Saverio Gaeta - - Libro - Piemme - | IBS

The Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn OP, has confirmed that it was he who encouraged Joseph Ratzinger to accept the conclave’s decision – if elected – to become the successor to Pope John Paul II.

Benedict’s long-serving secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, revealed Schönborn’s identity in his book Nothing but the Truth, published in Italy as Nient’altro che la verita last week.

CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, reported on 18 January that Cardinal Schönborn confirmed Gänswein’s assertion that Schönborn had written Cardinal Ratzinger “a little letter just in case”.

At the same time, the Archbishop of Vienna accused Gänswein of committing an act of “unseemly indiscretion” with his book by publishing “confidential things”, according to the Archdiocese of Vienna’s website.

Cardinal Schönborn said he had “so far deliberately kept silent” about his note to Benedict, noting “it happened within the context of the meeting of the cardinals, and not at the conclave itself”.

Pope Benedict XVI spoke about the letter on 25 April 2005, during an audience with pilgrims from Germany.

The address is famous among German Catholics as the “guillotine speech” – Fallbeilrede in German.

In it, Benedict compared the experience of his election to that of having the axe of a guillotine dropping down on him. The guillotine blade in German is called a fallbeil.

Speaking about what swayed him to accept his election, the then newly-elected pontiff revealed he had been “very touched by a brief note written to me by a brother cardinal”.

Benedict said: “He reminded me that on the occasion of the Mass for John Paul II, I had based my homily, starting from the Gospel, on the Lord’s words to Peter by the Lake of Gennesaret: ‘Follow me!’

“I spoke of how, again and again, Karol Wojtyla received this call from the Lord, and how each time he had to renounce much and to simply say: ‘Yes, I will follow you, even if you lead me where I never wanted to go.’

Benedict’s speech continued: “This brother cardinal wrote to me: Were the Lord to say to you now, ‘Follow me’, then remember what you preached. Do not refuse! Be obedient in the same way that you described the great Pope, who has returned to the house of the Father.

“This deeply moved me. The ways of the Lord are not easy, but we were not created for an easy life, but for great things, for goodness.”

Benedict added: “Thus, in the end, I had to say ‘yes’.”

In his book, Gänswein also addressed the fact that Schönborn and Ratzinger were on a first-name basis.

Apart from Benedict’s childhood friends, Cardinal Schönborn, a member of Ratzinger’s circle of students, was one of the few who addressed his former teacher as “Du” (the informal “You”), Gänswein wrote.

Another episode covered in Gänswein’s book – a brief but very personal conversation between the newly elected Pope Benedict XVI and Schönborn – also took place as described by Gänswein, the Viennese archbishop confirmed on 18 January.