05 February 2020, The Tablet

Gänswein dismissed from top job?

Gänswein's apparent removal follows the book on celibacy by Cardinal Robert Sarah, where Benedict XVI was named as co-author

Gänswein dismissed from top job?

Pope Francis speaks during his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican on Jan 15, with Archbishop Georg Gänswein
CNS/Paul Haring

Pope Francis appears to have suspended the prefect of the papal household, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, for an indefinite period.

However there was confusion over whether the Vatican was actually confirming, denying or merely finessing the report in the conservative German newspaper, Die Tagespost, which explained: "The Pope Emeritus' private secretary remains in office as head of the Prefecture responsible for the procedure of the Pope's public audiences but has been released from his duties in order to be able to devote more of his time to Benedict XVI."

In offering its own explanation of the move, the newspaper referrred to "differences of opinion between Gänswein and Sarah". AP reported that Gänswein had not been officially suspended over his role in the scandal but his absence from the Pope's various audiences was "due to an ordinary redistribution of the various commitments and duties of the prefect of the Papal Household".

A recent book by Cardinal Robert Sarah, "From the Depths of Our Hearts", offered observations on clerical celibacy from the two men, and has aroused controversy because the observations did not tally with those expressed at the recent Amazon Synod, whose recommendations Francis is currently considering.

Gänswein intervened in the controversy to suggest there had been a misunderstanding between Sarah and Benedict XVI over which parts of the book the Pope Emeritus was happy to named as author of.

Tagepost said that the "unfortunate" episode is "obviously" the background reason for what has happened. The cover of Sarah's book at first gave the impression that the Pope Emeritus and the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship wanted to instruct the Pope on how he was to solve the question of viri probati, or the ordination of proven married men, that had come up at the Amazon Synod“, the paper said.

While Benedict’s contribution to he book "had avoided all involvement in ongoing debates", there had been differences of opinion between Gänswein and Sarah on how the book originated.   

Archbishop Gänswein's role with regard to Francis' public audiences will be carried out by by Mgr Leonardo Sapienza, Regent of the Prefecture of the Papal Household, and it is "uncertain" when Ganswein will resume his duties.



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