“As far as Germany is concerned, I have never understood why Church authorities have sometimes even exceeded state guidelines and have been so excessively loyal to the state during the crisis,” he said.
“I understand the concern for safety and security. But when the welfare of the body is placed above the salvation of the soul, and that was not just my impression, then something is awry.”
CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, reported that the archbishop described Benedict XVI as “stable in his physical frailty and, thank God, crystal clear in his head.”
“But it is also understandable that at 94 and after the death of his brother, which took its toll on him, his physical strength continued to decline. It is similar with his voice. The best medicine for him is humor and a steady daily rhythm,” the archbishop said.
Gänswein became personal secretary to the future Pope Benedict XVI in 2003.
He was appointed prefect of the Papal Household in 2012, continuing in the role after the resignation of Benedict XVI and the election of Pope Francis a year later.
But he was placed on leave from his duties as prefect in 2020 to be able to dedicate his time exclusively to the former pope.
He said that the decision had troubled him, but he had been able to discuss it with Pope Francis.
“The good thing is that you can talk to him openly and directly,” he said.