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.
From the Depths of our Hearts
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.