La Stampa, 4 April 2017: “Benedict XVI’s ninetieth birthday is approaching and monsignor Georg Gänswein, Prefect of the Papal Household and his private secretary, denies all the rumors and recent interviews about alleged pressure that led Joseph Ratzinger to resign. Gänswein was interviewed during Matrix an Italian late night TV show, broadcasted Wednesday, April 5, 2017.
“’It’s not true, it is invented, it is a groundless statement- Don Georg said – I spoke to Pope Benedict after this interview, and these rumors, he said that it is not true. His renunciation was a free decision, well thought out, as well as prayed for. The things I have read recently are invented and not true. Pope Benedict is not a person who gives into pressure. Quite the contrary. When there were challenges, when both the doctrine and the people of God had to be defended, he was the one who behaved in an exemplary way: he did not flee in front of the wolf, but he resisted, and this would never have been a reason to leave the pontificate and renounce.’
“In the interview, Gänswein also talks about the relationship between Francis and his predecessor: ‘Relations are very cordial, very good, they visit and call each other, they talk. It is clear: Pope Francis is the successor of Peter. Pope Benedict was the Pope, he renounced and now he has retired to pray. To pray means to help his successor and the Church, because the Church is not governed only by words and decisions, but also with prayer and suffering. And that is what he is doing now. There is no misunderstanding. If there are different interpretations, sometimes even a bit mischievous, this… this is life, it is the world and it is the Church. I see no confusion. I see sometimes some nostalgia and some misunderstanding; however, I do not perceive any confusion about the roles, about who is Pope.’
“The secretary of Benedict XVI also answered a question about the ‘gay lobby’ in the Vatican. ‘I don’t think the gay lobby is a power lobby – he said – there was an attempt to put things right and to give the necessary response.’ But ‘the importance of this group has been exaggerated; an answer and a solution were given at the time. Speaking of power lobby is not only exaggerated, but a hundred times exaggerated.'”