Former SSPX seminarian constant companion of Pope Francis

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Former SSPX seminarian constant companion of Pope Francis

By Brian Kopp

Some traditionalist bloggers seem to want to suggest that Pope Francis’ closest friends and confidantes are of the progressive persuasion, but his right hand man at present is a former SSPX seminarian

Georg Gänswein, despite his athletic and youthful appearance, is
extremely conservative. But he has been careful to tone down his
“traditionalist” side. Shortly after the election of Benedict XVI in
2005, all references to the papal secretary’s life prior to his
new-found fame disappeared from the internet. Only later did any
personal information about him gradually find its way back into the
public forum. One reason for this, it appears, is that he initially
began his seminary training at the international seminary in Ecône
(Switzerland) run by the Society of St Pius X (SSPX), or Lefebvrists
This was finally reported in 2009 by French magazine L’Express and
repeated on numerous, mostly Vatican-friendly internet sites. No one at
the Vatican has ever officially denied it.

…who is personally tasked with schooling Pope Francis on the Vatileaks dossier:

Vatican Insider


Fr. Georg has the task of guiding Bergoglio in his journey through the Vatican’s secrets
(vatican insider)
A discreet and unexpected presence on the eve of the Papal
election, Fr. Georg has been constantly by Francis’ side during his
first public appearances: from his visit to Saint Mary Major to pray, to
the meeting with journalists in the Paul VI Audience Hall. The role of
Archbishop Gänswein at the beginning of this Pontificate goes beyond
that of Prefect of the Pontifical Household; indeed, his sentimental
involvement is evident and says a lot about his personality. It also
brings to mind the words which, a few months ago, he had said regarding
his work with Benedict XVI saying that he wanted to be transparent like
glass so as not to obscure the Pope in any way.



Ratzinger’s closest collaborator was unable to hold the tears back
that afternoon on 28 February when together (like father and son) they
left the apartment of the third Loggia. When the seals were finally
taken off on Thursday afternoon the experience must have been just as an
emotional for him: returning there with Francis, who needed his help to
push the door which would not open. Once inside, the memories must have
come flooding back to him and Fr. Georg was so rapt that at one point
the Regent of the Pontifical Household, Fr.Leonardo Sapienza, had to
bring him back to reality by telling him to turn the light on.



This said, Gänswein really likes this Pontiff, who is so different
from “his”, and yesterday, when Francis said that the Holy Spirit
inspired Benedict XVI’s decision for the good of the Church, Fr. Georg
was truly moved. While under the spotlight, Mgr. Georg always
accompanies the new Pope in ceremonies and hearings, and then, behind
the scenes, he put the knowledge he had accumulated during his 8 years
of service to Ratzinger, at his disposal.



Even on issues left pending: the Vatileaks scandal, the return of
the Lefebvrists to communion with Rome, the reform of the Curia, the
sacred finances. He is the “ferryman” between two pontificates. An
entirely new figure in ecclesiastical history, Fr. Georg is the point of
contact between the reigning Pope and the Emeritus one. He preserves
his function as Ratzinger’s Secretary and continues to live with him at
Castel Gandolfo, but at the same time he runs the Pontificalis Domus of
his successor Bergoglio. Beyond any protocol, he substantially acts as a
transmission belt in the difficult starting phase of the pontificate.



“He is performing a very delicate task,” explains a head of a
dicastery, “Fr. Georg is with Francis not so much because of his current
tasks in the Apostolic Palace, but because he is helping in the
handover of delicate topics, on Ratzinger’s behalf.” In short, the
presence (and advice) of Mgr. Gaenswein is how Benedict XVI is helping
Bergoglio through the meanders of the Roman Curia and is “protecting”
him through the slippery transition phase. “It is Fr. Georg who has the
Vatileaks dossier to be delivered to Francis”, explains the cardinal,
referring to the report by the three investigating cardinals Herranz,
Tomko, and De Giorgi on the theft of documents from the papal apartment.



Tuesday, Gänswein was Ratzinger’s eyes at the moment of the extra
omnes; he was one of the last ones to leave the Sistine Chapel when the
Conclave got underway. Already on Thursday he was with the newly elected
Pope in the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome and then he was at the
mass pro Ecclesia co-celebrated in the chapel frescoed by Michelangelo
with the 114 cardinal electors. Friday, in the Clementine Hall, he
participated in the cardinals’ greeting ceremony, where many of the
cardinals delivered letters and gifts for the new Pontiff. Francis
entrusted them to Gänswein, who, on his right, acted as the imaginary
bridge to the Pope Emeritus repeatedly mentioned by Francis. Fr. Georg
was also the protagonist of a curious unscheduled episode: the Polish
Nycz, after the act of homage to Bergoglio, did not return directly to
his place, but stopped to ask Fr. Georg to bring his greetings to
Ratzinger (while Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Wojtyla’s successor in
Krakow and Georg’s predecessor in his Vatican tasks, had not done this).
As Prefect of the Pontifical Household, Fr. Georg manages the Pontiff’s
agenda of commitments, but he also continues to be the right-hand man
of his predecessor.



Meanwhile, Fr. Georg is giving Francis good tips on how to move
within the Curia environment and on which figures could be considered
for possible key positions.

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6 comments on “Former SSPX seminarian constant companion of Pope Francis

  1. My entire point in this post was to show how disingenuous the recent headlines at certain trad blogs and websites have been, including the three I linked in the first paragraph of the OP. My claim here is no more nor less disingenuous. You can make all kinds of outrageous claims based on what’s out there 24/7 on the internet. That does not make it right for us as Catholic to make those claims publicly, especially in the first couple hours or days of a new pontificate.

  2. Forgive me but I’m not sure I understand your point. Are you saying that because a former seminarian of the Society is at His Holiness’ right hand we should all be assured of a return to the Catholic Faith in the near future?

    The founding Priests of the FSSP were also once Seminarians of the Society. So were those of the SSPV.

    Your point is not clear. And please be assured that my question is sincere.

  3. No. I’m just saying that there is so much floating around out there that anyone with any agenda could paint PFI as a right winger or a left winger. If left wingers or non-Catholics want to cherry pick what’s out there to attack PFI, well, that’s to be expected. But real Catholics should not be doing that. Give him a chance, be vigilant, pray and sacrifice for him. But don’t crucify him before he has any record as a Pope on which to judge him.

    Sure, if there are definite signs he is going astray in the days ahead, by all means call him out on it. But in the early hours and days of this new pontificate Catholic bloggers should not be poisoning the minds of the faithful against this Holy Father.

  4. What you say is true, but you must admit that there is plenty of evidence in video, as well as first hand testimony of his own sheep re-posted right here on AQ which one can take as, in the words of a wise old transplanted Irishman, prologue of that which may come.

    But your point is well taken, Doctor. Thank you.

  5. UPDATE:

    I’ve received correspondence from NewCatholic at Rorate Caeli to the effect that the claim that
    Archbishop Gänswein attended the SSPX Econe seminary is a media fabrication.

    Archbishop Gänswein’s attendance at the SSPX Seminary in Econe was reported in the media at these links:

    Vatican: Les Clefs d’une Crise

    Power Behind the Papal Throne

    Neither of these reports were contradicted by the Vatican or by the SSPX. The claim is repeated in the Wikipedia file for Archbishop Gänswein and has not been amended.

    If anyone can verify or refute this claim, I will gladly amend this post as needed.

  6. There are plenty of “former” SSPX seminarians doing all sorts of things, probably including 3-5 at Rikers Island. Silly and desperate.

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