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Gänswein to Costa Rica? Doubts about news of new position for Benedict XVI's secretary
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Daniel Ibáñez/CNA

The news caused excitement, but sources in the Vatican have cast doubt on a report that Pope Francis will appoint Archbishop Georg Gänswein as the next Vatican ambassador to Costa Rica, according to CNA Deutsch.

The Spanish news site "Religión Digital" reported on Tuesday that Benedict XVI's long-time private secretary will take over the post of Apostolic Nuncio in the Central American nation.

According to "ecclesiastical sources", the Holy See contacted the country's authorities last week regarding this appointment, the online portal reported. Due to its history, Costa Rica is a strongly Catholic country, whose roots date back to the Spanish colonial period in the 16th century. It is considered a "good post" in ecclesiastical diplomatic circles.

The news of Gänswein's transfer to Costa Rica was picked up by several media outlets but has not been officially commented on. Sources in the Vatican described the news as at best questionable speculation. The future field of action of the German prelate has been the subject of rumors and gossip in Rome and the Church in Germany for days.

The Heir of Benedict

Meanwhile, the 66-year-old Gänswein is active as the executor of Benedict XVI's estate and has located relatives of the pontiff emeritus, who died on December 31, 2022.

As reported by Rome correspondent Almudena Martínez-Bordiu for ACI Prensa, the Spanish-language sister agency of CNA Deutsch, Gänswein confirmed last Sunday to Italian media that five German cousins are the direct heirs of the private property.

"The other personal items, from watches to pens, from paintings to liturgical furniture, were on a list that Benedict XVI had carefully put together before his death," Gänswein said in an interview with the Italian daily Il Messaggero.

Some of these personal items have been passed on to people close to him: "He didn't forget anyone: employees, secretaries, seminarians, students, drivers, priests, friends."

Gänswein also explained that the rights to his books will remain with the Vatican and a portion of them will be handed over to the Pope Benedict XVI Foundation.

Regarding the most personal documents of the pope emeritus, such as letters and notes, his former secretary confirmed that they were destroyed at Benedict XVI's request. He made it clear that there are no unpublished writings by the pope emeritus, so there are no further, previously unknown books from the "Mozart of Theology" to be expected.

Finally, the German Curial Archbishop spoke about his own future and said, "The Catholic Church is big, not only geographically but also culturally. Pope Francis has not yet given me a task, he has to think about it and then tell me. I am available to the Church and am loyal and faithful," he concluded.

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