Head of papal household says he did not favour election of Francis

19 March 2014 | by Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

In an interview on German television to mark the first anniversary of Pope Francis’ pontificate, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, head of the papal household, revealed how he did not favour the election of Pope Francis.

Asked on ZDF on 13 March whether the election of Pope Francis at the conclave last year had surprised him, Archbishop Gänswein said, “Well, yes, as I had favoured other candidates – I was wrong – but then so were other people.”

He went on to say that at the moment the Pope is the darling of the media “but that won’t always be the case”. The Pope is not “everybody’s darling”, he said, using the English phrase.

Asked about his two jobs – he is also secretary to Pope Emeritus Benedict – he describes how Pope Francis asked him to give Benedict the text of the interview Francis gave to Antonio Spadaro, the Italian Jesuit and editor of La Civiltà Cattolica. The Pope pointed out that he’d left a blank page right after the table of contents for Benedict to make any comments, should he wish to.

“So I took the text to the Holy Father [sic], explained what the Pope had said and showed him the blank page. Three days later Benedict handed me four pages of reflections, notes and supplements concerning certain questions – things one might go into in more detail elsewhere – most interesting - but I’m not of course going to reveal them. I then took this booty back to the Pope," Gänswein said with a chuckle.

What the Pope Emeritus wrote on the pages has not been revealed.

Have your say on Elena Curti's blog: Gänswein: the mask slips

Photo: Pope Benedict XVI is assisted by Archbishop Georg Gänswein, prefect of the papal household and the pope's personal secretary, as he arrives to attend a meeting with seminarians at the major seminary of the Diocese of Rome in February 2013 Image: CNS

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