Rome / Freiburg (dpa) – The longtime private secretary of pope According to information from the daily newspaper “Welt”, Benedict XVI, Georg Gänswein, is to return to his home diocese of Freiburg – and without office. Pope Francis instructed the 66-year-old to leave Rome by July 1 at the latest, the newspaper reported on Friday. According to dpa information, talks about the change are ongoing, but these have not yet been completed.
The decision to do so was made in May at an official private audience, reports “Welt” and refers to several high-ranking church sources. The decision is said to have been preceded by “a back and forth of several weeks”. Gänswein is said to have proposed various tasks. Francis, on the other hand, thought of working as a professor of theology. A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Freiburg said on request that the diocese leadership could not comment on the report. Only in mid-May did Gänswein lead a service in the Freiburg Cathedral.
The Argentine newspaper “La Nación” reported back in April that Francis is said to have reminded Gänswein that it is common for popes’ private secretaries to return to their dioceses – such as Stanislaw Dziwisz, who after the death of John Paul II Kraków returned.
Since the death of Benedict XVI. On New Year’s Eve 2022, Gänswein had been waiting for Pope Francis to assign him a new task. He received him three times for an official private audience. There was speculation about a possible transfer to Costa Rica as Vatican ambassador or that Gänswein could become Archbishop of Bamberg. The bishopric there is vacant after the resignation of Ludwig Schick.
Most recently, Gänswein had left the “Mater ecclesiae” monastery, where he had previously lived with the emeritus pope. “If I fly back to Rome tonight, I will spend the night in my new apartment for the first time,” Gänswein told dpa in March. “In agreement with Pope Francis, I received this a few years ago, but initially nothing happened due to Corona. It was then gradually prepared. Now I can move in. There are still a few things in the monastery, I’ll get them then . But there are only a few little things left.”
With the publication of a book entitled “Nothing but the Truth” about his time with Benedict, Gänswein recently caused a stir at the curia. In it he reports his disappointment at having been suspended by Francis as prefect of the papal house in 2020. He also published the content of some of the Pope’s private letters.
Only in mid-May did Gänswein lead a service in the Freiburg Cathedral. He is an honorary canon there. He also studied theology in Freiburg and was ordained a priest in May 1984.
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