There’s no known date for when the highly anticipated book by Benedict XVI’s longtime personal secretary will be published in English — and at least one American publisher has already passed.
ROME — A book detailing Benedict XVI’s papacy and his decade as pope emeritus, written by his longtime personal secretary, hits bookshelves in Italy today — but English-language readers will have to wait.
Despite generating significant buzz across the Catholic world, there are no publicly available details of when Archbishop Georg Gänswein’s Nothing but the Truth — My Life Beside Benedict XVI will be available in English.
The book is co-written by the Italian Vaticanista Saverio Gaeta, who told the Register via email that he was aware that negotiations for English publication were in progress but did not have any specific news to share.
What is known is that one significant English-language publisher has already passed on Nothing but the Truth: Ignatius Press, the leading American publisher of the works of Benedict XVI and others from the Communio school of theology.
According to Mark Brumley, Ignatius’ president, opinions varied among the editorial team, “but there was general agreement to pass on the project, as much as we appreciate Archbishop Gänswein and his service to Pope Benedict.”
Sharing his own view, Brumley said that “a ‘behind-the-scenes’ book right now, in my opinion, risks furthering what seems [like an] over-focus on ‘Vatican intrigue.’ Ignatius Press’ priority at the moment is to promote Benedict’s writings.”
In the absence of an authoritative English-language version, Anglophones have taken to relying upon unofficial translations of the 330-page Italian text, which had been leaked widely even before today’s publication date.
Just yesterday, traditionalist website Rorate Caeli published a lengthy excerpt, in which Archbishop Gänswein recollected Benedict XVI’s reaction to Traditiones Custodes, Pope Francis’ controversial motu proprio that restricted the traditional Latin Mass.
“When I asked [Benedict XVI] for his opinion, he reiterated that the reigning Pontiff has the responsibility for decisions such as this and must act according to that he considers to be the good of the Church,” reads the unofficial translation of Archbishop Gänswein’s text. “But on a personal level, he found a definite change of course and considered it a mistake, as it jeopardized the attempt at pacification that had been made fourteen years earlier.”
Similarly, major news services like Reuters have also run pieces on the book, relying on unofficial translations of the Italian text.
According to an Italian press release on the book translated by Catholic News Agency, Archbishop Gänswein said the pages of Nothing but the Truth “contain a personal testimony of the greatness of a meek man, a fine scholar, a cardinal, and a pope who made the history of our time. But they are also a firsthand account that seeks to shed light on some misunderstood aspects of his pontificate and to describe the real ‘Vatican world’ from within.”
The press release also promised an “authoritative reconstruction” of “enigmatic events,” such as the “Vatileaks” dossier, the mystery of the missing “Vatican Girl” Emanuela Orlandi, the pedophilia scandal, “and the relationship between the pope emeritus and his successor Francis.”
Given Archbishop Gänswein’s close proximity to Pope Benedict XVI, as well as his apparent willingness to share previously unpublicized details in the wake of his mentor’s death, Nothing but the Truth is sure to deliver its share of noteworthy revelations.
But unless you can read Italian, or are willing to rely on unauthorized translations, you may have to wait a while to read them yourself.