by Archbishop Carolo Maria Viganò
Authorized translation of the Italian original by Giuseppe Pellegrino
It is time to reveal the control that has been abusively and systematically exercised by Msgr. Gänswein towards the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, ever since the beginning of his pontificate.
Gänswein has habitually filtered information, assuming the right to judge for himself how much or how little to tell the Holy Father.
I can testify that, when Pope Benedict received me in audience on April 4, 2011, a few days after I had sent him my first letter (later abusively published in the course of Vatileaks) I said to the Pontiff: “I will not speak to you about the situation of corruption in the administration of the Pontifical Villas, because I presume that you have already reviewed the Memorandum in this regard that I gave to your secretary for you, in view of this Audience.”
The Holy Father, in all simplicity and innocence, and without showing any surprise, said “No, I have seen nothing.”
I further testify another fact that reveals how much Msgr. Gänswein controlled information given to the Holy Father and conditioned the liberty of action of the Same. On the occasion of the canonization of Marianne Cope and Kateri Tekakwitha, having requested in writing to the then-Prefect of the Papal Household, Msgr. James Harvey, to be received in an audience with the Pope, and not having received any response, I asked the Prefect, on October 23, 2012, why I had not received any response to my request for an audience.
I recall the circumstance perfectly, because Msgr. Harvey suggested to me that I would participate in the General Audience the following day, so as to at least be able to personally greet the Holy Father with the other bishops present. Msgr. Harvey responded with the following words: “Gänswein said to me: ‘Monsignor Viganò is the last person who can approach Pope Benedict!’”
Harvey then added that at the beginning of the Pontificate, Benedict XVI, pointing at him [Gänswein] with his finger, exclaimed, “Gestapo! Gestapo!”
This unscrupulous attitude was shown from the very beginning of the pontificate in the determination with which Gänswein succeeded in distancing the Pope from his dear assistant and secretary Ingrid Stampa, whom then-Cardinal Ratzinger wanted at his side for well over a decade after the death of his sister, Maria Ratzinger.
And then I note that in order to escape from this total control exercised over his person by Gänswein, Pope Benedict often went to his previous personal secretary, Msgr Josef Clemens, also inviting to said family meeting Ingrid Stampa.
I make this declaration following what has been asserted by Msgr. Gänswein to the Ansa agency, in contradiction of what Pope Benedict himself wrote in the exchange of letters made with Cardinal Sarah. It is a sensational as well as slanderous insinuation towards the most eminent Cardinal Robert Sarah, promptly denied by the same.