Pope Benedict XVI ordered destruction of private notes before death, Archbishop Gänswein reveals
Rome (KNA)—Archbishop Georg Gänswein was once ordered by Benedict XVI to completely destroy the pope’s private notes. This was explained by the longtime private secretary of the deceased pope, who died on Dec. 31, 2022, in a book to be published in Italy next week. According to the book, the pope emeritus ordered the destruction of all his private notes in writing, “without exceptions and without loopholes,” Gänswein said. The book “Nient’altro che la verita” (English: Nothing but the Truth) will be published on Jan. 12 by the Italian publishing house Piemme.
A similar order had also been given by Benedict’s predecessor, John Paul II. However, his private secretary Stanislaw Dziwisz overrode it because he wanted to preserve important private records of the late pope for historical research.
Gänswein also reports in the book that he received precise instructions from the late ex-pope as to whom he should give what, especially from his library, from his book manuscripts to documents from the Second Vatican Council (1962-5) and the correspondence.
In addition, Benedict XVI left instructions regarding his material inheritance, for which he had appointed him, Gänswein, as executor. The ex-pope updated these instructions several times, the last time in 2021.