Georg Gänswein

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Archbishop Georg Gänswein (2017)
Archbishop Georg Gänswein (2013)

Georg Gänswein (born July 30, 1956 in Riedern am Wald ) is Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church , private secretary of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. and Prefect of the Papal House on leave .


Georg Gänswein grew up as the eldest son of Albert and Gertrud Gänswein with two younger brothers and two younger sisters in Riedern am Wald in the southern Black Forest . The father was the seventh generation to run a forge and later an agricultural machinery business and was active in local politics. Gänswein's mother was a housewife. In 1976 he graduated from the commercial high school in Waldshut . He then entered the Collegium Borromaeum and studied Catholic theology and philosophy from 1976 to 1979 at the University of Freiburg and from 1979 to 1980 at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome .

Georg Gänswein in conversation with a Maltese helper (2006)

After Georg Gänswein first entry into the Carthusians had considered he was on 19 December in 1982 by the Freiburg Archbishop Oskar Saier to deacon ordained and the clergy of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Freiburg incardinated . In 1983 he was a deacon in the parish of St. Mary Neckarelz - Diedesheim worked and received on 31 May 1984 to the archdiocese of Freiburg by Oskar Saier the priesthood . The first Mass celebrated Georg Gänswein on June 3 of the same year in the parish church of St. Leodegar in Riedern am Wald. Then he was chaplain in Oberkirch in Baden for two years .

In October 1986 he was released for postgraduate studies in canon law at the University of Munich . From 1988 Gänswein was a research assistant to Winfried Aymans and, after completing his canonical studies with a licentiate, from 1989 also worked as a judge at the Archbishopric Consistory and Metropolitan Court of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, and as a subsidiar to St. Peter in Munich . In 1991 he submitted his Winfried Ayman as a doctoral supervisor supervised dissertation titled membership of the Church according to the Second Vatican Council, to history, preparation and interpretation of the Council's doctrinal statements about the membership of the Church and was following the oral examination in 1993 summa cum laude for Dr. iur. can. PhD .

In 1994 the Archbishop of Freiburg, Oskar Saier, appointed him cathedral priest ( cathedral vicar ) at Freiburg Cathedral and his personal assistant. In 1995 the then Cardinal Prefect Antonio María Javierre Ortas appointed him to collaborate with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Order of the Sacraments . In 1996 he switched to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the request of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger . Gänswein also held a lectureship in Canon Law at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome.

In 2000 Pope John Paul II awarded him the honorary title of Chaplain to His Holiness ( Monsignor ). In 2003 he became the personal assistant of Cardinal Ratzinger and thereby took part in the 2005 conclave as assistant to the cardinal dean. After Ratzinger was elected Pope on April 19, 2005, Gänswein became his private secretary in his new office. On January 28, 2006 he was given by Pope Benedict XVI. bestowed the title of Honorary Prelate of His Holiness .

On December 7, 2012, Benedict XVI appointed him. the Titular Archbishop of Urbs Salvia and Prefect of the Prefecture of the Papal Household . The episcopal ordination received his Benedict XVI. on January 6, 2013 in St. Peter's Basilica ; Co-consecrators were Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone SDB and Zenon Cardinal Grocholewski . On this occasion, Gänswein gave himself the motto Testimonium perhibere veritati (“ Bearing witness to the truth”).

Even after the resignation of Benedict XVI. on February 28, 2013 Gänswein initially remained prefect of the papal household. In this office, Pope Francis confirmed him on August 31, 2013. He is still private secretary of Benedict XVI, who, like him, lives in the Mater Ecclesiae monastery in the Vatican Gardens. As prefect of the papal budget, however, Pope Francis gave him leave of absence in February 2020 so that he could meet the retired Pope Benedict XVI. could devote more time. The background for this measure could be circumstances around the presentation of a book by Cardinal Robert Sarah on celibacy , in which an essay by Benedict XVI. is printed and the Pope emeritus was wrongly portrayed at the presentation as its co-editor.

coat of arms

Archbishop's coat of arms in the pontificate of Francis
Archbishop's coat of arms during the pontificate of Benedict XVI.

Like other prefects of the papal house before him, Gänswein carries the papal coat of arms in his episcopal coat of arms. Description : The shield is split, heraldic on the right the coat of arms of the Pope (until 2013 the coat of arms of Benedict XVI. , Since then the coat of arms of Francis ), in addition as personal symbols of Gänswein heraldic left in blue a golden Saint George's dragon, pierced vertically by a silver lance and raised by a silver seven-pointed star. Above the shield is a patriarchal cross , framed by a green archbishop's galero with 20 tassels. In addition, the coat of arms contains - as an attached motto - the episcopal motto: Testimonium perhibere veritati. ("Bearing witness to the truth", Jn 18:37)



  • Church membership: from the Second Vatican Council to the Codex iuris canonici . The reception of the conciliar statements about church membership in the post-conciliar code of the Latin Church . EOS-Verlag, Sankt Ottilien 1996, ISBN 3-88096-923-X (dissertation).
  • with Christine Schröpf: Why does the Pope wear red shoes? Children's questions to Benedict XVI. Benno, Leipzig 2007, ISBN 978-3-7462-2176-2 .
  • with Martin Lohmann (editor): Catholic - first-hand knowledge , CMZ-Verlag Winrich C.-W. Clasen, Rheinbach 2010, ISBN 978-3-87062-116-2 .
  • (Editor): Benedict XVI. Urbi et Orbi - Out and about with the Pope in Rome and the world , Herder, Freiburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-451-32505-2 .


  • Paul Kreiner: Who is Georg Gänswein? In: Der Tagesspiegel from August 22, 2005 (accessed on September 19, 2010).
  • Hanspeter Oschwald : Among brothers. Papal Secretary Georg Gänswein moves to the center of the Vatileaks affair. And it shows: a powerful man like him has many enemies. In: Christ & Welt 25/2012 from June 15, 2012, p. 5.
  • Sonja Kargl: Who's Who of Catholics. Edition 2013/2014 , Pattloch Verlag, Munich, 2012, p. 19 f., ISBN 978-3-629-13020-4 .

Individual evidence

  1. Stefan von Kempis : Vatican: Gänswein is "not suspended" , in: Vatican News from February 6, 2020
  2. Biography on Gänswein homepage, accessed on March 25, 2015 ( Memento from April 4, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  3. Peter Seewald : The Pope always wears white. Even with television , in: SZ-Magazin 30 (2007).
  4. Martin Zöller: Georg Gänswein. The Pope's doorman , in: Badische Zeitung of September 24, 2011.
  6. Georg Gänswein: It was a time of asceticism , in: Welt am Sonntag from February 27, 2011.
  7. Nomina del Prefetto della Casa Pontificia , in: Holy See Press Office: Daily Bulletin of December 7, 2012.
  8. Pope confirms Gänswein as prefect of the papal house . Vatican Radio website. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  9. ↑ A bang in the Vatican. According to the media, Pope Francis is on leave of absence from Archbishop Gänswein., February 5, 2020, accessed on February 5, 2020 .
  10. High Austrian distinction for Georg Gänswein , January 13, 2009.
  11. List of all decorations awarded by the Federal President for services to the Republic of Austria from 1952 (PDF; 6.9 MB)
  12. ^ Vatican Radio: Vatican: Doctoral Hat for "Don Georg" , ansa, February 4, 2011.
  13. Ühlingen-Birkendorf: Georg Gänswein made an honorary citizen , Badische Zeitung from August 19, 2012
  15. ^ Churches: Pope Secretary Gänswein appointed the Freiburg Dome of Honor - Freiburg - FOCUS Online - Nachrichten . Focus Online website. Retrieved August 21, 2013.

Web links

Commons : Georg Gänswein  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
predecessor Office successor
James Michael Harvey Prefect of the Papal House
since 2012