U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta got a grip-and-grin with Benedict XVI at the Wednesday general audience. Also in this photo is the pope’s secretary, Msgr. Georg Ganswein. Guess which one made the new cover of Italy’s Vanity Fair? Answer below…
Yes, you guessed right! It is Ganswein, a newly-minted Archbishop — a promotion that makes him a more powerful gatekeeper than ever as the 85-year-old pope ages. Not that the monsignor needed more attention.
The blue-eyed Bavarian priest and longtime personal aide to Benedict, who is also from southern Germany, has been compared to George Clooney or Hugh Grant — hence the jibes inside the Vatican about “Gorgeous Georg” and the “Black Forest Adonis.”
Hence the magazine’s subhead: “It’s not a sin to be handsome.”
The Tablet’s Vatican correspondent Robert Mickens has a comprehensive profile of Ganswein.
“Pray for me,” Panetta, a weekly communicant, asked the pontiff. Audience photo via L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican daily.