Pope Francis has ordered Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, the private secretary and long-time aide of the late Pope Benedict, to return to his native Germany by the end of the month without any new assignment, the Vatican said on Thursday.
A Vatican statement put an end speculation about what role Gaenswein, a powerful figure in the Vatican for more than a decade before Francis sidelined him after a personal falling out, would have in the Church.
Former Pope Benedict died on Dec. 31, nearly a decade after he resigned in 2013, the first pontiff to do so in 600 years.
Gaenswein is 66 and it is exceptionally unusual for someone of that relatively young age and rank not to have an assignment, giving the pope’s decision a sense of banishment.
The two-line statement said Francis “had disposed” that the 66-year-old Gaenswein return to his diocese of Freiburg “for the time being”.Follow us on social media