Action Alert!

The media's strange obsession with Archbishop Gänswein's looks

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jan 16, 2013

Yes, I know that Archbishop Georg Gänswein--the Pope’s private secretary and now the Prefect of the Pontifical Household as well—is on the cover of Vanity Fair. Yes, I know that Italian reporters refer to him as “Gorgeous George,” compare him with George Clooney, and delight in the fact that he is now officially a “cover boy.”

No, this is not a news story (unless you think it’s news that the media are obsessed with a cleric’s personal appearance). So while you’ll find references to the Vanity Fair story in scores of other outlets, you won’t find a report on the Catholic World News site.

But wait, you might say. Does the Vanity Fair article have any important insights on the work of the Pope’s private secretary? That’s a fair question. A Reuters story provides the answer:

A spokeswoman for the magazine said Ganswein was not interviewed for the article…

Ah, but he was photographed, and that’s the important thing. Well, actually Vanity Fair worked with an existing shot. So not even the cover photo is news.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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