Who Believes Is Not Alone
My Life Beside Benedict XVI
The collaboration between a future pope and young prelate is transformed into profound friendship when circumstances thrust Joseph Ratzinger into the Apostolic Palace, even as he expected to be released in retirement to his beloved Bavaria. Monsignor Georg Gänswein never left his side, and witnessed one of the most influential people of this century conduct his papacy on both sides of the curtain. From his appointment as private secretary in 2003, which was meant to be temporary, until the abdication of the pope in 2013 and subsequent years as emeritus, Monsignor Gänswein walked the same steps and weathered the same storms as his dear friend, the Roman Pontiff Benedict XVI. Here he offers the truth regarding the man and the papacy as a spiritual testament of a pope whose formidable legacy is often subject to unfounded characterizations of rigidity and secrecy.
Written with the involvement of the regarded Vaticanista Saverio Gaeta, Mons. Gänswein offers an account of a particular decade in history and confronts false claims of intrigue and cover-up (Vatileaks, the Orlandi abduction case, the sexual abuse scandal, among other issues) to tell the real story of a pope who faced a changing landscape and a public who largely misunderstood him and his style of governance. Here we meet one of the most affable and intellectually formidable popes the Catholic Church has ever known, and a priest who might also be considered a prophet of the post-modern age. Gänswein brilliantly contextualizes many of Benedict's most poignant theological positions, and in giving us a sense of their origin reveals that Benedict seamlessly lived everything he promulgated. His faith was the single bulwark upon which his personality as both teacher and leader were built. No biography has yet to establish the integrity and heart of Joseph Ratzinger as well as his friend, Georg Gänswein, does here.
As a spiritual testament more than just a journalistic exposé, Gänswein provides something only he can give––namely, the candid intelligence and sanctity witnessed up close. This is a remarkable and singular contribution to the history of the papacy and the record of the life of a saint. As Gänswein asserts, knowing this man is to encounter heroic virtue and an invitation to meet God, the greatest lover of mankind. Pope Benedict's own friendship with God will continue to provide warmth for as long as there are people on this earth who believe.