Monsignor Gänswein’s Photo: FSSPX

First Words of Benedict XVI’s Former Secretary After Appointment by Pope Francis

Archbishop Georg Gänswein’s first words after appointment as Pope’s nuncio

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(ZENIT News / Rome, 27.06.2024).- Exactly a year after his exile from Vatican City, where Benedict XVI’s private secretary lived from 1996 to 2013, year in which by Pope Francis’s decision he was banished to Freiburg, Germany, Benedict XVI’s former secretary has a new mission: to represent the Holy See in three Baltic countries. In other words, he is becoming the Pope’s Ambassador in Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.

However, what some described as exile was lived otherwise by the “exiled one.” “In fact,” he said, “quite a few people had the impression that I had been sent ‘into exile.’ To be honest, I also felt the same thing, but I followed the Pope’s clear instructions, without complaining, that I had to return to my native city of Freiburg, although not being assigned a new task. That was a bitter personal experience. But I didn’t allow myself to get discouraged and I hoped and prayed that one day a new task would await me. Now it’s here. It’s very possible that there is a divine logic behind this appointment as Apostolic Nuncio, of which papal pedagogy made use.”

Monsignor Gänswein’s statement was picked up by the German newspaper Die Tagespost, but it’s not the only one that the known German Archbishop succeeded in obtaining. Asked about whether he is looking forward to his new job, Gänswein answered: “Yes, I look forward to the future task, which I also see as a sign of the Pope’s confidence in me. That honours and pleases me at the same time. The new mission takes me to a country or countries which are a difficult challenge, given the current political situation. I’m in a good mood and I face the new diplomatic mission with confidence. Needless to say, I must first familiarize myself with the new situation.”

The delicate situation of the Baltic States has a name: The Russian threat due to their proximity to that country. Another question Gänswein answered has to do with the most immediate steps, which also imply a new meeting with Pope Francis. “Before assuming my functions as Apostolic Nuncio in the Baltic States, I’ll travel to the Vatican, and very soon, to get from the competent authorities, especially the Secretariat of State, the necessary information, advice, instructions, assistance, etc., which must be considered as a useful initial preparation.  With the tools we receive there and with much trust in God, we’ll get to work.”

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