The secretary of Benedict XVI: My day with the pope

Rèsumè : Mgr Georg Gänswein, private secretary of Benedict XVI, answered the questions…

Mgr Georg Gänswein, private secretary of Benedict XVI, answered the questions put to him by Radio Vatican on August 8. “The day of the pope,” he said, “begins at 7:00 am with Mass. Follow the recitation of the breviary, and a period of silent adoration before the Lord. Then, we take our breakfast together, and I begin the day’s work with the preparation of the mail, I peruse the letters which arrive every day in great number.” “A time of exchange” with the pope is scheduled before I accompany him to the second loggia of the apostolic palace for the private audiences at midday. “Then we have lunch together. After the meal we go for a short walk before the siesta. In the afternoon, I take care of the mail again, I bring to the Holy Father what is most important and demands his signature, his advice or his agreement,” he added. Called to work at the side of Benedict XVI, Mgr Georg Gänswein is keen on “being worthy of the pope’s trust”.

Mgr Georg Gänswein was born on July 30, 1956 near Waldshut (Germany). He studied in Fribourg-in-Brisgau, in Rome, and in Munich where he obtained a doctorate in Canon Law. In 1984, he was ordained a priest in Rome, at the age of 28. Adviser of the archbishop of Fribourg-in-Brisgau, he was called to the Vatican in 1995. Appointed secretary to Mgr Josef Clemens – himself secretary to Cardinal Ratzinger – at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he was consecrated a bishop in the year 2000. When Mgr Clemens was promoted secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Mgr Gänswein took his place as secretary to Cardinal Ratzinger. Once elected pope, Benedict XVI again called upon him.

During the radio interview, Mgr Gänswein affirmed that he was finding his “roots” in his family, in Germany. Besides, he said that his major fault was the “lack of patience”, and his main virtue “tenacity”. He spoke about his youth when he used to play the clarinet in an orchestra and football, his favorite sport.

Mgr Gänswein celebrated his fiftieth birthday in the gardens of the Summer pontifical palace of Castel Gandolfo on July 30 last.