- Pilgrimage to nowhere
There has long been an ambivalence about the man who was both the ultimate betrayer and the means by which God’s plan was fulfilled. The author of a new book visits the lonely place where the renegade apostle took his own life
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Archbishop Georg Gänswein, who served as personal secretary to Pope Benedict XVI for eight years, described the news of the Pope Emeritus’ resignation in February as “an amputation”.
Archbishop Gänswein, who was by Benedict XVI’s side for the duration of his eight-year papacy, said: “I gave blood for eight years,” the German weekly Die Zeit reported.
Shortly before he resigned, Benedict XVI made Gänswein head of the papal household and promoted his to archbishop. Pope Francis asked him asked him to remain in office and Gänswein replied, “If that is your wish, then I obediently accept it.”
“I must be honest with myself: Accepting and coming to terms with my new role is painful,” he said.
Die Zeit said that Gänswein saw Pope Francis’ decision to live in the Domus Sancta Marthae guesthouse and not the papal apartments as an affront against his predecessor.
Benedict didn’t live in the papal apartments for egotistical reasons – he was also very modest, Gänswein said.
The paper said that for Gänswein the papal apartments express the dignity of the papal office.
The German weekly suggested that a certain uneasiness exists in Gänswein’s relationship with Pope Francis. “At the beginning of each day, I find myself once again waiting to see what will be different today.”
The paper said that each evening after 9pm Gänswein looks after the former Pope’s affairs and deals with his post for the man he still calls “Holy Father”.