Archbishop Gänswein Might Be Moving Soon

March 29, 2023

According to persistent rumors in the press, the Holy See has just asked the Costa Rican authorities for the necessary placet to allow Pope Benedict XVI’s former secretary to become a nuncio in Costa Rica. Unless there is a twist, an ocean should soon separate the German prelate from the host of St. Martha’s House, to the latter's great relief.

The somewhat annoyed former private secretary to the late Pope Benedict XVI declared a few days ago, “I don't have a job yet, but the Church is vast.” Msgr. Georg Gänswein took advantage of the Mass celebrated on March 19, 2023, in memory of the Bavarian Pope to exchange a few words with the press, pending his fate.

The prelate – who is also Benedict XVI's executor – gave some details about the late pope’s heirs: “I thought at first that he had two heirs in his family, but in fact there are five cousins who are involved and who have yet to say whether or not they accept the inheritance.”

And the former aide to the late pontiff specified that the inheritance “has nothing to do with the copyrights” to his numerous works, recalling in passing that he had, in accordance with the last wishes of the pope emeritus, “destroyed his private correspondence, as he wanted,” regretting “not having had any other alternative in the matter.”

According to him, “there are no more unpublished books” written by Benedict XVI: the last published text is, and will therefore remain for posterity, What is Christianity, a posthumous work in which Josef Ratzinger admits, among other things, that “Luther's theses played a tacit role” in the liturgical reform, “so that certain circles could claim that the decree of the Council of Trent on the sacrifice of the Mass had been tacitly abolished.”

Two days after this speech, we learned, with details not yet confirmed at this time, that the Holy See has asked Costa Rican authorities for their placet for the appointment of Msgr. Gänswein as nuncio. If the rumor is confirmed, the prelate should soon pack his bags, and officially leave his functions as prefect of the Pontifical Household from which he had been “retired” in 2020.

In Roman circles, Costa Rica is considered a “retirement nunciature” - a reputation damaged, for a few months, by a case of abuse of a member of the clergy - easy to take in hand for someone who has never gone through the school of nuncios, as is the case of the former secretary of Benedict XVI.

Having fallen into disgrace with St. Martha’s House several years ago, Msgr. Georg Gänswein, whose critical attitude towards the current pontificate is public, expected to leave for a distant destination: having the rank of archbishop, the function of nuncio constitutes a tailor-made way out, given that the German episcopate is absolutely opposed to seeing him return to the land of St. Boniface.

After the passing of Pope Francis’ predecessor, “Msgr. Georg” left the Mater Ecclesiae monastery, where he had resided since the resignation of Benedict XVI in 2013, for a 300-square-meter apartment, very close – ironically – to St. Martha’s House.

It is from there that the prelate launched, last January, the publication of his book Nient'altro che la verita [Nothing But the Truth], in which he settles his accounts with the current Roman pontiff, in particular regarding the liturgical question literally unraveling Benedict XVI’s legacy.

If his appointment is made official, before long, it will no longer be a few streets but an ocean that will separate Msgr. Gänswein from the leonine walls, to the relief of many, in Rome.