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Documentary says Benedict XVI’s secretary tried to convince him not to resign

CNA 512df7dad6b89 18462 Vatican City - February 27, 2013: Pope Benedict XVI stands to show his thanks after a standing ovation from the audience. @ Stephen Driscoll / CNA

A documentary being released on Benedict XVI’s 94th birthday states that his personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, tried to dissuade him from abdicating the papacy.

“Benedict XVI, the Pope Emeritus”, directed by Andrés Garrigó, will be released April 16 by Goya Productions.

The film will focus on Benedict’s papacy, and his time as prefect of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

“At that time he had to deal with such crises as Liberation Theology in its Marxist version with its affinity to guerrilla warfare, and the cases of pedophilia that were beginning to surface then. Elected in 2005, Benedict is faced with two immense tasks:  defending Catholic doctrine from the 'dictatorship of relativism' on the outside and reforming the Church from within, starting with the confusing structure of Vatican finances,” the filmmaker stated.

The film discusses Achbishop Gänswein's attempt to dissuade the pope from abdicating, "to which the pope replied that he had prayed and there would be no going back ... as was the case," the producer said.

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Among those interviewed for the documentary are Gerhard Cardinal Müller, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Julián Cardinal Herranz Casado, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts;  and Antonio María Cardinal Rouco Varela, Archbishop Emeritus of Madrid; historians such as Bernard Ardura; Vaticanisti such as Aldo Maria Valli, Andrea Tornielli, and Andrea Monda; and friends of Benedict, such as Réal Tremblay and Gabriele Kuby.

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