Archbishop Gänswein’s Comments Were Correct and We Stand By Our Reporting

The Register reported Aug. 25 that Benedict XVI had issued sanctions against then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick but we never stated that the Pope Emeritus confirmed — as alleged in The New York Times — all of Archbishop Viganò’s recent testimony on corruption in the Church.

Pope Francis and Archbishop Georg Gänswein arrive at the Paul VI Hall on May 10, 2015 in Vatican City.
Pope Francis and Archbishop Georg Gänswein arrive at the Paul VI Hall on May 10, 2015 in Vatican City. (photo: Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

Much is being made on social media today about Archbishop Georg Gänswein’s comments in which he said it is “fake news” to suggest that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI confirmed Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s testimony on abuse cover up in the Vatican.

What Archbishop Gänswein said is entirely accurate: Any assertion that the Pope Emeritus had seen the entire testimony, and confirmed it, is untrue.

The Register also never reported this.

What we did report, given by an inside source close to Benedict in July, was that Benedict had issued measures against then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick but was unable to remember their precise nature.

That has not been denied.

In his comments published today in Die Tagespost, Archbishop Gänswein said he was referring to a report published yesterday in The New York Times.

In that article, The New York Times interviewed and quoted Tim Busch, a board member of EWTN. And in comments attributed to him, but without quoting him directly, The Times reported that he told the newspaper that “leaders of the publication [the Register] had personally assured him that the former pope, Benedict XVI, had confirmed Archbishop Viganò’s account.”

Archbishop Gänswein, who is also prefect of the Pontifical Household, denied as “fake news” this assertion as reported by The New York Times, alleging that Benedict had “confirmed Viganò’s account.”

He also said Benedict had “no opinion” on the memorandum of Archbishop Viganò. It is not clear what memorandum he is referring to, as a number of memoranda are mentioned in Archbishop Viganò's  testimony, and Archbishop Viganò never refers to Benedict’s penal measures on McCarrick as a “memorandum.” Archbishop Gänswein did not go into any more details, but he did not refute that Benedict issued sanctions.

The Register fully stands by its reporting, drawn on sources close to the Pope Emeritus, that sanctions or disciplinary measures were issued by Benedict against McCarrick.

Editors' note: The original article was amended to reflect this clarification: The Register's source close to Benedict XVI did not describe the actions against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick as sanctions but as instructions or measures. Archbishop Viganò has continued to describe the measures as sanctions.