February 1, 2023

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A secret plot to force Pope Francis to resign: the battle rages inside the Vatican after the death of Benedict XVI

Georg Ganswein (left) is a key figure among conservatives within the Vatican. ©AP

Just as Prince Harry’s memoirs are rocking the UK, the Vatican City is eagerly awaiting the publication of a German archbishop’s book. After the death of Benedict XVI, the man is out for revenge, so the book is part of a plot to get the Pope to abdicate. The Italian media write that, among other things. “It’s invisible. The rumor mill is running at full speed,” says Tom Zwinpoel, a Vatican expert.

Sophie Geosens

The Pigeons vs. hawk. It is not a contest for bird lovers, but rather an internal struggle within the Catholic Church for years. Pigeons are conservatives – supporters of the late Pope Benedict XVI. Progressives inside the Vatican go under the heading of “hawks”. There have been tensions between these two wings for some time. But because of Benedict’s death, that battle has raged more ferociously than ever in recent days.

“Since Pope Francis took office in 2013, ultra-conservatives have used potentially destabilizing tactics,” said Vatican expert Tom Zwinpoel, who published the book in mid-February. against the flow About Pope Francis. “For example, they spread a rumor that Pope Francis had a brain tumor, so we shouldn’t pay too much attention to what he said. But they also put up anti-papal posters in Rome or alleged that there was a mistake during the voting to elect Francis. They have tried to undermine the Pope’s credibility since Years “. According to informed sources, the 66-year-old German Archbishop Georg Ganswing is a key figure in that vandalism story.

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Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI passed away on December 31, 2022. © via Reuters

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The German was the private secretary of the previous Pope Benedict, and he was also appointed Prefect of the Papal House. That is, he specified who was allowed to visit the Pope. When Benedict resigned, Ganswein remained his private secretary and governor under Pope Francis. “During the day he sat with Francis and in the evening with Benedict. Few in the Vatican thought that was a good thing, ”says Zwinpoel.

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Franciscus and Ganswein had different visions, and their professional relationship did not get along well, thus their professional relationship lasted until 2020. Things went wrong when Pope Emeritus Benedict wrote a contribution to a book by a Guinean cardinal. In it, Francis was criticized indirectly. Gänswein tried to pick up the pieces, but couldn’t. Francis kicked him out. Formally he was allowed to keep his title of prefect, but in reality he was out of work. “For Gänswein, who was held in high esteem in the Vatican, this meant losing face.”

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Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (left) and his private secretary Georg Ganswein (right). © Reuters

Hang dirty laundry outside

Now Ganswein seeks revenge. “Even before Benedict’s burial last Thursday, he gave a tsunami of interviews in which he attacked Francis. He is now in the process of publishing a book,” says Zwinpoel. “You can compare it a little bit to Britain’s Prince Harry: he’s going to air the Vatican’s dirty clothes. So now there are huge tensions about what’s going to be in that book. Gänswein no longer has to hold anyone back, and he clearly wants to deal with the Pope.”

So the pressure on Francis to resign is building. It had been known for some time that he did not want to remain pope until his death and also wanted to retire. So far this has been difficult as Papain Emeritus is not an ideal scenario. “Given Gänswein’s unprecedented performance, the rumor mill is running at full speed and people are wondering if Francis will now step down as well,” says the Vatican expert. “But I don’t think he’s going to do this anytime soon. He still has a big goal ahead of him and he’s planning to travel too. So the question is how far Gänswein will succeed in achieving his goal?”

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Georg Ganswein (left) and Pope Francis (right). © Reuters

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