Late Pope Benedict’s top aide to be given a new job

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ROME, (Reuters) – Pope Francis will decide on a new role for German Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, a critic of the pontiff who was the long-term senior aide to his predecessor Benedict, in the coming days, Gaenswein said.

Gaenswein made the comment to Italian RAI public television in an extract from an interview to be broadcast on Thursday evening.

The archbishop was Benedict’s personal secretary from 2003, when Benedict was still Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, and remained in his employ for nearly 20 years until his death on Dec. 31.

The archbishop also acted as Francis’ gatekeeper until Francis dismissed him in 2020, telling him to focus on looking after Benedict.

Gaenswein, 66, did not say if he expected to stay at the Vatican or be sent somewhere else, perhaps his native Germany.

Benedict stepped down in 2013, becoming the first pope in modern history to resign and live side-by-side with his successor.

The cohabitation was awkward, as conservatives rattled by Francis’ relatively liberal approach looked up to Benedict as a sort of alternative leader.

In a book published in January, Gaenswein alleged that Benedict quietly disagreed with Francis on a number of issues, including abortion, homosexuality and the use of the Latin Mass.

In his interview with RAI, the archbishop said he remained “faithful and loyal” to Francis, but had published his book to “tell the truth for all those who wanted to know it”.

Francis has not commented directly on Gaenswein’s memoir, but last month said some conservatives had exploited Benedict’s death to spread malicious gossip.

The pope used the Spanish expression “Cuento Chino”, meaning tall tales, to describe allegations that Benedict was saddened by some of his decisions.

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