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Gänswein: Benedict did not ‘confirm’ Viganò testimony

Archbishop Georg Gänswein (Bohumil Petrik)

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” Viganò’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