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Pope Francis meets with Monsignor Georg Gänswein for the third time
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Vatican Media

Pope Francis received Archbishop Georg Gänswein in a private audience on Friday, May 19. As is customary in such meetings, the content of the conversations was kept confidential.

This was not an extraordinary meeting, as Monsignor Gänswein, who served as Pope Benedict XVI's personal secretary for many years, continues to hold the position of Prefect of the Papal Household.

"The Holy Father Francis received this morning in audience His Excellency Monsignor Georg Gänswein, Archbishop titular of Urbisaglia, Prefect of the Papal Household," stated the Vatican Press Office, without providing further details about the meeting. This marks the third time that the Pontiff has received Monsignor Gänswein this year. The previous meeting took place on March 4, with no details disclosed. The first audience occurred on January 9, just four days after Benedict XVI's funeral.

Monsignor Gänswein, 66 years old, whose future remains undetermined, has been the subject of various headlines in different media outlets following the publication of his memoirs on January 12, in a book titled "Nient'altro che la verità. La mia vita al fianco di Benedetto XVI" (Nothing but the Truth. My Life alongside Benedict XVI).

In recent months, the German archbishop has been occupied as Benedict XVI's executor. After a note was published in March by a Spanish media outlet suggesting that Pope Francis would appoint Monsignor Gänswein as the new Apostolic Nuncio to Costa Rica, Vatican sources informed ACI Group that this was "at best, speculation."

Meanwhile, the Roman newspaper "Il Messaggero" reported on May 18 that by the end of the month, the German archbishop will know where he will be assigned. According to the German Catholic news agency KNA, Monsignor Gänswein mentioned at the end of April during a public event in Vienna, Austria, that he expected a decision regarding his new assignment by Pentecost.

A few days ago, when asked if he foresaw a role for himself as a bishop in Germany in the future, Monsignor Gänswein replied, "It is not up to me to decide; that depends on the Pope." Currently, there are three vacant bishoprics in the country: Bamberg, Paderborn, and Osnabrück. In previous cases, the secretaries of deceased Popes, from Loris Capovilla (for St. John XXIII) to Pasquale Macchi (for St. Paul VI) and Stanisław Dziwisz (for St. John Paul II), returned to their original dioceses.

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