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Archbishop Gänswein meets with Pope: to discuss new assignment?

May 19, 2023

Archbishop Georg Gänswein, who was private secretary to the late Pope Benedict XVI, met with Pope Francis in a private audience on May 19.

Although the Vatican did not disclose the topics discussed at the meeting, it is likely that the Pope spoke with the German archbishop about a new assignment. The two had met in January, after the death of Pope Benedict In April, an Argentine journalist who had interview the Pontiff reported: “Francis reminded Gänswein that all the private secretaries of the popes had returned to their dioceses when the Pope died.”

On paper, Archbishop Gänswein still has a Vatican assignment, as Prefect of the Pontifical Household. But in 2020, after a brief uproar over a book in which the Pope-emeritus and Cardinal Robert Sarah defended clerical celibacy, Pope Francis instructed Gänswein to devote all his energy to the care of Pope Benedict—effectively dismissing him from the Pontifical Household. So he is, at the comparatively young age of 66, effectively a prelate without portfolio.


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