Pope Francis and Pope Benedict
Watch: Funeral Of Pope Benedict XVI Begins In St Peter's Square Photo by: Vatican Media

A controversial book, written by the closest aide to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has detailed tensions between the two pontiffs that could put Pope Francis in a bad light. The book, which is a tell-all of Archbishop Georg Gänswein’s time as Benedict XVI's secretary has gained much controversy after its release comes just days after the former pontiff’s passing.

According to sources from Slate, Archbishop Gänswein’s book titled, "Nothing but the Truth: My Life Beside Pope Benedict XVI" came as a surprise to many observers of the Catholic Church as the former pontiff had just been laid to rest, with the faithful still in mourning. Archbishop Gänswein served both Pope Francis and the late Benedict XVI but was opposed to many reforms issued by Pope Francis, including the current pontiff’s stance on the celebration of the traditional Latin mass and priestly celibacy. The book has now been poised as a chance for the Archbishop to criticize Pope Francis for reforms that caused confusion on certain vital policies of the Catholic Church and avenge his former boss.

Massimo Faggioli, a theologian and church historian at Villanova University told sources over the phone how the situation was unprecedented. He added that the most shocking part was the fact that Benedict XVI’s secretary is stirring the pot, despite Pope Francis’ leniency toward Archbishop Gänswein, who has caused similar controversies in the past that resulted in him losing an important position within the Vatican. Faggioli added that the archbishop's accusations against Pope Francis were in “very bad taste” at the very least.

A press release for the book said that Archbishop Gänswein’s book will touch upon misunderstandings about Benedict’s pontificate and set them right while also detailing some of the workings within the Church. It also vowed to shed light on some calumnies that tried to besmirch the legacy of Benedict XVI’s papacy.

Although Benedict XVI and Pope Francis were seen by the public as being on good terms, the two occasionally opposed each other on some of the Church's more sensitive topics. Benedict was seen as a champion among the more conservative faithful, who felt alienated when Pope Francis ordered the traditional Latin mass to be celebrated sparingly. According to Archbishop Gänswein, Benedict XVI said that Pope Francis’ decision regarding the Latin mass was a mistake.

Archbishop Gänswein said he would have his book published after Benedict XVI had passed away, though it remained unclear whether the book’s publication had the former pope’s blessing, or if he had even read the manuscript. Some critics said the archbishop may be using the former pope’s death as a rallying cry for a theological war between the supporters of both pontiffs. Reports said Pope Francis had summoned the Archbishop for a private audience on Monday, but the agenda has been kept under wraps. After their meeting, Gänswein merely said that he must now keep silent. The tell-all book is set to hit bookstores this week.

Pope Francis along with Archbishop Georg Ganswein
Pope Francis talks with Archbishop Georg Ganswein during the Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican. Photo by: Reuters/Max Rossi

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