Forget Waldo — where’s Georg?!
The Sudden Disappearance of Georg Gänswein: Vatican confirms “Redistribution” of Duties
It must be a complete coincidence that after the inglorious kerfuffle over the Ratzinger/Sarah book on celibacy and the priesthood, the man caught in the middle of it all has suddenly vanished from the public eye.
We are talking about
Archbishop Mr. Georg Gänswein, a 63-year-old German who plays an interesting and significant double role in the Vatican: On the one hand, he is the head of the “papal” household under Francis and therefore present at most of the “Pope’s” public appearances. At the same time, he is Benedict XVI’s personal secretary, a job he’s had since Joseph Ratzinger was elected in April of 2005.
Today, Feb. 5, 2020, German and Italian media are reporting that “Pope” Francis has placed Ganswein on a leave of absence for an indeterminate period of time so he “can dedicate more time to Benedict XVI” while he officially retains his role as prefect of Francis’ household, according to the German conservative Novus Ordo paper Die Tagespost.
The report adds that “sources close to the Vatican have confirmed” this and that the background to this move “appears to be” the recent Ratzinger/Sarah book fiasco. The Novus Ordo site Life Site has an article on this in English.
The Italian Vaticanist Marco Tosatti shares additional details, based on what his own sources have related to him, according to which Francis told Ganswein: “I do not want to see you anymore”. A follow-up question by Ganswein remained unanswered, and the fake pope subsequently told him that “Mgr.” Leonardo Sapienza had taken over his duties, according to Tosatti’s information.
The Italian Il Messaggero, a centrist secular daily, adds another tidbit: While Ganswein can occasionally be seen accompanying Benedict XVI in the Vatican Gardens, he “can no longer been seen” in those places “where Pope Francis also moves about.” In other words, it looks as though Ganswein will now be all Benedict’s, all the time. (Don’t be surprised if some people make him into “Pope Benedict XVII” after Ratzinger is called to render an account to the Almighty.)
Not surprisingly, the Vatican press office was approached for comment. Vaticanist Edward Pentin writes on Twitter:
Vatican spokesman: +Gänswein has not been put on leave: "We have no information in that sense." His absence "during certain audiences in recent weeks" is "due to ordinary redistribution of the various commitments and duties" of Papal Household prefect and as personal sec to BXVI— Edward Pentin (@EdwardPentin) February 5, 2020
The Catholic News Agency relates essentially the same thing:
A Vatican source told CNA that the Die Tagepost report was on the mark. Gänswein has been requested to “stay away from his office [as prefect of the papal household] indefinitely,” the source said.
But the Holy See press office told CNA Wednesday that it has “no information” regarding Ganswein being on a leave of absence from the prefecture.
Regarding the archbishop’s absence from papal audiences in recent weeks, the press office stated “it is due to an ordinary redistribution of the various commitments and duties of the Prefect of the Papal Household, who, as you know, is also the personal secretary of the Pope emeritus.”
And the National Catholic Reporter writes:
The Vatican press office confirmed Feb. 5 that there has been an adjustment to Archbishop Georg Gänswein’s role as head of the pontifical household, following reports that Pope Francis had placed the German prelate on an indefinite leave of absence.
In an email to NCR, the press office said it had no information over whether Gänswein had been put on leave, but said there had been a “redistribution of the various commitments and duties” undertaken by the archbishop.
Gänswein has been serving concurrently as the prefect of Francis’ official household and as the private secretary to retired Pope Benedict XVI.
…although Gänswein is normally responsible for welcoming foreign leaders to the apostolic palace during visits with Francis, the archbishop has missed at least four major encounters in the last month….
It will be interesting to see what developments or other news there may be in the coming days concerning this “adjustment” of duties on Ganswein’s part, and, indeed, how this whole “Pope Emeritus” drama will end. Ratzinger is almost 93, we must remember, and the entire circus about an “expanded” papacy with an “active” and a “contemplative” member (Ganswein’s words!) will have to come to an end before long.
Ganswein, who was once asked about a Novus Ordo Watch post, is himself not in the best of health, incidentally. In 2017, he was hospitalized for sudden hearing loss, and to our knowledge it was never reported whether or to what extent he has recovered.
One thing, however, is entirely certain in all of this: Georg Ganswein is not a Catholic. He has publicly professed his adherence to the heresy of Fideism, rejecting the Catholic dogma, solemnly defined at the First Vatican Council in 1870, that the existence of God can be proved by reason alone: “If anyone shall have said that the one true God, our Creator and our Lord, cannot be known with certitude by those things which have been made, by the natural light of human reason: let him be anathema” (Denz. 1806).
But like any good Modernist, “Abp.” Ganswein disagrees: “There is neither proof that God exists, nor is there proof that God does not exist,” he said in a Christmas interview in 2016.
Obviously, the man has lost more than just his hearing and his job.
Image source: shutterstock.com (modified)