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Event in Spain headlined by Archbishop Gänswein abruptly canceled

Archbishop Georg Gänswein was the personal secretary of the late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. / Credit: Bohumil Petrík

ACI Prensa Staff, Oct 19, 2023 / 18:20 pm (CNA).

The Spanish University Foundation (FUE) canceled an event announced weeks ago that was going to feature Archbishop Georg Gänswein, who was the personal secretary of Pope Benedict XVI, and did not offer an alternative date.

The archbishop emeritus of Madrid, Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela, and the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Bernardito Aúza, had confirmed their attendance at the event. If held, it would have been Gänswein’s first public appearance outside Germany since his arrival in the Diocese of Freiburg, where he was transferred months after the death of Benedict XVI without a specific assignment.

The conference by the former personal secretary of Benedict XVI and prefect of the papal household was organized to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the presentation in Spain of the Catechism of the Catholic Church by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the future pope.

On the occasion of the anniversary, the FUE republished the conference given by Ratzinger that day, which included photographs of the event and a list of the foundation’s courses and publications on the successor of St. John Paul II.

In a brief statement, the Spanish University Foundation announced that the event billed as the “opening event of the 2023/2024 academic year” that was going to be held Oct. 18 “has been suspended for organizational reasons.”

The announcement of the event was received as a kind of “anti-Pope Francis” meeting by some media such as Religión Digital, which also accused the organizers of not having informed the archbishop of Madrid, Cardinal José Cobo. However, Religión Confidencial confirmed that Cobo had been informed of the event and that he was invited to preside.

On Jan. 12, Gänswein published a book titled “Nothing But the Truth: My Life with Benedict XVI” in which he reviews his experiences with the late pontiff. In mid-June, the Vatican reported that Benedict XVI’s former secretary was due to return to Germany on July 1.

Born in 1956 in Waldshut, southern Germany, and the son of a blacksmith, Gänswein was ordained a priest in 1984 by the then-archbishop of Freiburg, Oskar Saier, whom he served as his secretary. Gänswein holds a doctorate in canon law from the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich (Germany). He was prefect of the papal household from the end of 2012 until this past February.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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