Archbishop Georg Ganswein, the longtime personal aide to former Pope Benedict XVI, who Pope Francis continues to employ in the papal household, has given numerous interviews in recent weeks and has been remarkably frank in his observations — and left-handed compliments — about his new boss Francis.
Ganswein recently revealed, for example, in an interview for a German documentary, that Francis had sent Benedict a copy of his blockbuster interview last summer pre-publication. He had included a single blank page for the emeritus pope’s comments. Benedict sent back four pages of “observations,” which were apparently criticisms as well.
But I had missed Ganswein’s other, more explosive comment in the film, which was flagged by Elena Curti of The Tablet, about the election of Francis in the conclave a year ago:
“I had favored other candidates – I was wrong – but then so were other people,” Ganswein says.
Curti goes on to write:
By stating that he would have preferred that someone other than Pope Francis had been elected to the Chair of Peter he has made his own position untenable.
And with more than a hint of sourness he then said that at the moment the Pope is the darling of the media “but that won’t always be the case”. The Pope is not “everybody’s darling”, he adds, using the English phrase.
She says Ganswein ought to resign, given that the “serving two masters” ideal apparently isn’t working.
Should Ganswein go? Is he undermining his new boss? Or is Ganswein providing an admirable example of honesty in the church — and perhaps showing Benedict’s fans on the Catholic right that they don’t need to pretend, as so many do, that there is no difference between Francis and Benedict?