Thursday, July 21, 2005

Behind The Pope Is His Secretary

Don Giorgio, as he is called in Italian has been quite visible these days. Although one might think that all he does is adjust the microphone for the Pope, the Monsignor is an accomplished scholar of canon law. Here's a short biography.

Reverend Monsignor Georg Gänswein, J.C.D. (born 1957 in Riedern am Wald, Baden-Württemberg) is a priest of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany. He has been a Chaplain of His Holiness, Pope John Paul II since 2000. Though a scholar of canon law, he is mostly known for his service as private secretary to Pope Benedict XVI.

Known by Italians as Don Giorgio, Gänswein was born in a small town of Germany and ordained to its presbyterium in 1984. Upon his ordination, Gänswein dedicated himself to rigorous academic activities. He received his doctorate in canon law at the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich in 1993 and arrived in Rome, Italy as private secretary to Josef Cardinal Clemens in 1995.

In 1996, Gänswein was invited by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to join the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He eventually became the prefect's private secretary. After being appointed to Cardinal Ratzinger's staff, Gänswein became professor of canon law at at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. In 2000, Gänswein was elevated by Pope John Paul II to Chaplain of His Holiness.

In his private life, Gänswein devotes his time to playing tennis and flying airplanes. (Source: Wikipedia)

The relationship between Pope and his private secretary is one that is perhaps unique, somewhat a cross between a father-son relationship and a fraternal relationship. In any case, I would assume the key elements that bring about any good relationship would be that of trust and intellectual compatability and we see that the duo of Benedetto and Giorgio is not any different.


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