IL MESSAGGERO: Archbp. Gänswein sacked? #BOOKGATE continues – UPDATED

UPDATE 6 Feb 2020:

Some updates at the bottom: how other newsies are treating this.

___ Originally published on: Feb 6, 2020 at 02:43

The Italian daily Il Messaggero of 6 February has run with the story that was in the German Die Tagespost, namely, that Francis has sidelined the head of the Pontifical Household, Archbp. Georg Gänswein, who is also the private secretary to Benedict XVI, because of the dust up over the book Benedict co-authored with Card. Sarah.  That book argues against what some people claim: Francis wanted to open the possibility of “married priests” through the upcoming Apostolic Exhortation following the Amazon Synod (“walking together”).   It was thought – based on a leak repeated without solid confirmation – that Francis would undermine priestly celibacy through the approval of “viri probati“.

That said, it seems that the upcoming document won’t break with tradition about celibacy.  Some folks got out over their skiis a little too far.

It is possible that the document did contain something about celibacy, but maybe the exceptionally good Sarah/Benedict book (out in French, in English, March) threw a spanner into the works and changes were made to the text.

The story goes that Francis was/is furious at Gänswein for #Bookgate. Gänswein has now effectively vanished from sight, been “disappeared” as it were.

In any event, here is the page from the 6 February Il Messaggero.

Gänswein has been seen less and less and is now, apparently, on a leave from his duties in the Pontifical Household for an indeterminate time.  However, Il Messaggero says that this is because of a “normal change” a new “redistribution of internal work”.

The writer at Il Messaggero used a grim Spanish word for Gänswein: “Una sorta di desaparecido … A kind of disappeared.”  As in “los desaparecidos” during the Argentinian “Dirty War”.  People considered to be ideological threats to the junta were “disappeared”, dropped alive out of airplanes into the Atlantic.  No bodies. No crime.  Just a shrug.

The writer of the piece guesses that another “head will roll”: Card. Sarah.   However, the writer also mentions that Sarah is just a few months from the obligatory age of retirement and it is unlikely that Francis will renew his mandate.

The writer for Il Messaggero archly concluded:

“The ultraconservative fringe of the Church which brought some of the bishops of the United States to threaten schism is in a state of alarm, but the text of Pope Francis (after some corrections [alcune correzioni], it seems) appears not to create any openings.  It seems that there isn’t a hint of married priests.”

American bishops?  Threat of schism?  After some corrections?  Perhaps the book made the difference.

However, it remains that Archbp. Gänswein is – right now – still officially Prefect of the Household.


And Card. Burke is – right now – still officially the Cardinalis Patronus of the Sovereign Order of Malta.

Speaking of desaparecido, as Il Messaggero suggested, at only 63 years of age Gänswein has perhaps not been given a golden parachute.


You should read this book, which caused a good deal of the sort of “mess” which Francis invited.  See what the fuss is about.

¡Hagan lío!

From the Depths of our Hearts

US Pre-Order Soon HERE for 12 March 2020 release! – FRENCH HERE

UPDATE: later 6 Feb 2020:

Die Tagespost today says that Gänswein has a leave of absence and that the papal spox says there are no openings for “viri probati” in the upcoming Exhortation.   But!  They end on a hopeful note for the libs!  Francis doesn’t have to use an Exhortation to announce married priests or deaconettes!  He could create “new commissions” to study these questions, and announce them in an apostolic letter.  Uh huh.

Il Fatto Quotidiano seems to go with the punishment scenario

Corriere della Sera goes with punishment, after a looong ramble to fill column inches.

From Il Simografo another take.   They try to “decode” what is going on with a simpler answer.  Benedict XVI’s health is declining and it was decided that Gänswein would take time off – he is still officially head of the papal household – to take care of Benedict.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in The Drill and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. JonPatrick says:

    “The ultraconservative fringe of the Church” – I guess that would be those that still believe the Catholic Faith as it was passed down to us from the Fathers.

    I wonder who are these “US bishops that threatened schism” ? As though the USCCB was a hotbed of opposition to Francis?

  2. The Astronomer says:

    To the Pope of Mercy, I’d say, in the words of the old Cyndi Lauper song: “I see your true colors shining through…

  3. Benedict Joseph says:

    Given the “fury” reported to be inhabiting the Domus recently there is little doubt in my mind that Benedict and Cardinal Sarah threw a wrench in the works which made what was intended unjustifiable. Unjustifiable in the face of superior faith, virtue and reason. There is also little doubt in my mind that this was their intention. God reward them abundantly.

  4. JabbaPapa says:

    I am always dubious about Italian news articles when they use the phrase “[i]di fatto[/i]” …

  5. JustaSinner says:

    Marxists/Communists NEVER change their stripes! They just use newer technology in a vain attempt to alter reality. The end results never change; just the body count.

  6. Ave Maria says:

    Well, the firing (or whatever they are calling it) would be in keeping with past behaviors. Anyone who does not please the man in charge or, worse yet, speaks against him can expect retaliation. And an elephant never forgets.

  7. iamlucky13 says:

    Maybe I missed it, but which American bishops threatened schism?

    Is that claim anything less than a lie for which Il Messaggero should be publicly called out on?

  8. teomatteo says:

    I’m looking forward to the book that Archbp. Gänswein should write. “The Bridges of Vatican State.”

  9. Pingback: Canon212 Update: Let’s Play Spot The FrancisFlunkie – The Stumbling Block

  10. L. says:

    I once had a very unpleasant telephone call from Legal Counsel for our diocese who assured me that in our diocese, “We don’t disappear people.” The call was occasioned by our sabotage of the diocesan attempt to “disappear” our parish Priest who was rather too vocally critical of the recreational proclivities of the diocesan hierarchy. So, I have it on good authority that the church doesn’t “disappear” people.

  11. Pingback: Le desaparecido du Vatican | Benoit et Moi

  12. Kathleen10 says:

    Charming fellow, our pope. There isn’t even the polite lapse of time between the offending act (something Catholic) and the offender getting axed. Time was when at least for politeness sake there would be some time, so the apologists for Francis could whip up some reasonable excuses. Now he doesn’t even do that, and obviously Ganswein got the old ax. But isn’t it wonderful how God writes straight with crooked lines.
    But Francis will keep that threat going, it’s going to be kept alive, because this is to enjoy the power seat, when all conversations are abuzz with, what’s he going to do NEXT. Success!

Comments are closed.