Archbishop Gänswein’s Modified Agenda

February 13, 2020

“Pope Francis dismisses Archbishop Gänswein”: it is by this catchy title published in Die Tagepost, on February 5, 2020, that the German Catholic news site, reputed to be close to “Ratzingerian” circles, introduced the new act of the drama which has been playing out in the hushed enclosure of the Vatican since the publication on January 15 of the book From the Depths of Our Hearts.

The work, co-signed in its first French edition, by the Pope Emeritus and Cardinal Robert Sarah, created controversy by taking up the defense of ecclesiastical celibacy, going against the proposals arising from the recent synod on the Amazon.

Should this be seen as a cause and effect relationship, since mid-January, Archbishop Georg Gänswein has no longer appeared alongside the sovereign pontiff, during the weekly audiences and the various protocol visits, as required by his function as prefect of the Pontifical House.

Questioned by several American agencies including Catholic News Service and National Catholic Reporter, the Holy See announced on February 5 that this absence was the result of an “ordinary redistribution of the various engagements and obligations of the prefect of the Pontifical House, who is also, as we know, private secretary of the pope emeritus,” assuring that to date he has “no information” regarding the possibility of replacing Msgr. Gänswein.

An official comment with diplomatic overtones, which hardly convinced the trade press. So, several Vatican sources, cited by Die Tagepost and La Croix, report that the relations between Pope Francis and the current Prefect of the Pontifical House have deteriorated. The latter is being held responsible for the controversy caused by the publication of the work.

Several weeks after its publication, Des profondeurs de no cœurs is still one of the best-selling religious books in France: a veritable thorn in the foot of those who, in the Church, claim to run roughshod over ecclesiastical celibacy.