In the last two long weeks, since the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, his personal secretary and Prefect of the Pontifical Household since 2003, appointed a month before the historic resignation from the pontificate of Joseph Ratzinger in February 2013, the archbishop George Ganswein he was propelled to the world’s attention by the attacks he directed at Pope Francis.
To think that in the early days in the Vatican, the physical beauty of “Don Georg”, his passion for tennis and skiing, even made him the cover of magazines such as Vanity Fair and the title of “George Clooney of the Vatican”which led him to raise a lively protest.
Ganswein has chosen to throw his darts at the worst time for the Argentine pontiff, which was the death of Ratzinger, and the best time to promote a memoir titled “Nothing but the Truth”, whose announced presentation did not materialize due to the “chimney scandal” scandal of their complaints.
But his memoirs will be in bookstores in the next few days.
The death of the Pope emeritus, who accompanied the Argentine George Bergoglio from that March 13, 2013, when he was elected in the almost ten years of his pontificate, he inaugurated the second phase, alone in command without Ratzinger, of his reign which coincides with the last period of Francis’ pontificate which has turned 86 years.
While the world followed the preparations, the funeral chapel, the countless funerals in St. Peter’s Square presided over by Francisco and the burial, Ganswein he has been loquacious in various interviews in his attacks on the Pope reigning.
He told a German newspaper that Francis had “with a broken heart” to emeritus Ratzinger reduce to the maximum with a “motu proprio” in 2021, the provisions in favor of the traditional Latin mass that Benedict XVI had approved during his pontificate.
Monsignor Ganswein also said that the Pope emeritus with whom he lived in the Mater Ecclesiae monastery located in the Vatican gardens had sent a message to Francis with the request to maintain the bans on blessing homosexual couples and to change the total refusal to accept openings to those postulates gender changes, such as transgender people, violating the Church’s principle that God created man and woman and that’s it, there are no more genders.
Pope’s secretary Ratzinger said that no response ever came from the nearby Vatican Apostolic Palace and the Casa de Santa Marta, where the Pope resides in the Vatican.
To conclude his complaints, in another journalistic interview, Ganswein said so the Pope had severely punished him following the scandal over the appearance of a book published in Paris with the signature of pope emeritus Ratzinger and cardinal Robert Sarah, then the pope’s “minister” in the dicastery of divine worship.
The book attacked the danger that the 2019 Synod on the Amazon would approve two critical points that violated strict prohibitions. First. obligatory celibacy, authorizing, given the scarcity of priests in the Amazon, that elderly local leaders, with families of women and children, called the “Viri Probati”, were consecrated priests. Also the openings of the Synod to the access of women to the priesthood from the female diaconate.
Pope Francis has not approved any of these audacities proposed by the majority of the Synod Fathers.
Ganswein was accused of poor performance in handling an explosive issue, although the emeritus Ratzinger has asked that his signature be removed from the book.
He revealed in his book of memories that the Pope summoned him and told him: «You will continue to be Prefect but don’t come to work from tomorrow. Just take care to take care of Benedict XVI”. He was also denied the corresponding apartment in the Apostolic Palace so that he could continue living in the Monastery.
“I’ve been half a prefect since then,” Ganswein said.
Three days ago he was informed that he had to leave the “Mater Ecclesiae” monastery by 1 February at the latest. Apparently he was given an apartment outside the Apostolic Palace.
The Pope summoned Ganswein and told him “God is Silence”. The prefect defended his position, but said he obeyed the will of the pope. At stake is his future and there are several hypotheses.
The Pope can leave him hanging on his important post of Prefect with suspended power. But other options are more probable, such as appointing him Vatican nuncio (ambassador) in some country or professor in one of the many Catholic universities.
Bergoglio could also choose a diocese in Germany for Ganswein. Appointing him Prefect of the Papal Household, Pope Benedict promoted him to the bishopric.
But the majority of German bishops do not welcome this perspective. They are developing a protracted National Synod where progressives clearly predominate, which sponsor new openingsthey are supporters of optional celibacy, the priesthood of women and the blessing of same-sex couples.
The second phase of the Pope’s pontificate is complex and controversial due to the clashes between the conservative traditionalist sector and the progressive one. In both cases there are different groups.
The Pope turned 86 in December and is in good health, apart from osteoarthritis in his knee which forces him to move around in a wheelchair. He didn’t want to be operated on. Thanks to an intense infiltration and massage treatment, he can stand and walk briefly with a cane.
In 2022, when his knee problems worsened, he had to cancel several trips, including a very important one, to the Republic of Congo and South Sudan.
Thanks to the recovery, it will leave for Africa on January 31 to both countries and hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend scheduled meetings.
Complicated years for Francisco
But age and mobility issues weigh more and more. The Argentine Pope has three years ahead of him with very important commitments. Two Synods are planned this year and in 2024 to ensure that the Church is more ready to listen to the faithful. Also to give more responsibility to the laity and women. Soon to delve into the contemporary world.
Conservative Catholicism takes a critical view of these “synods of synods”.
Monsignor Ganswein’s accusations against the Pope have helped to exacerbate the clashes between traditionalists and progressives.
After the synods of these two years, the Pope has another crucial appointment: the Jubilee Year scheduled for 2025, the second of his pontificate.
Francisco has spoken several times, choosing the method of journalistic interviews, of hypothesis of his resignation with the title of Bishop Emeritus of Rome. It is not a question that arises immediately but the deadline cannot be far away either.
Conservatives know that the only valid battle will be the Clave and they are acting.
There are currently 125 cardinal electors, under the age of 80, who choose the new pontiff and 81 of them were created by the Argentine pontiff.
Between this year and next, Francis could convene two consistories announcing the appointment of, say, twenty or more cardinals, which would give an absolute majority of the electors he appoints.
If you resign at the right time, Francisco it could help you control your assets and ensure the implementation of their reformist agendas.
The scandals caused by the denunciations and accusations against the Pope launched by Monsignor Ganswein and published in his memoirs have entered into this critical situation.
It is essential that the pope silences him to prevent the secretary of the late emeritus Joseph Ratzinger from becoming an agitator against the pontiff, causing even more damage to Bergoglio and his plans when the last phase of his pontificate becomes more difficult.
Mark Jones is a world traveler and journalist for News Rebeat. With a curious mind and a love of adventure, Mark brings a unique perspective to the latest global events and provides in-depth and thought-provoking coverage of the world at large.