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Georg Gänswein becomes papal ambassador in Vilnius

Published By Desantos Rocky | Jun 25, 2024 9:46 a.m.

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Note Descr: For a long time it was unclear what Georg Gänswein's new task would be. Now it is clear: the former papal secretary is moving from Freiburg to the Baltics....

For a long time it was unclear what Archbishop Georg Gänswein's new task would be. Now it is clear: the former papal secretary is moving from Freiburg to Vilnius.
Pope Francis is sending the long-time private secretary of his predecessor Benedict XVI, Georg Gänswein, to the Baltic States as Vatican ambassador. As the Vatican announced on Monday, Gänswein will become the so-called Apostolic Nuncio in Vilnius. As ambassador, he will represent the Vatican's interests in Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. The 67-year-old currently lives without office in his home diocese of Freiburg.
We asked around in Freiburg what people said about Gänswein's new job:

Waiting for a decision from Rome is over
The appointment marks the end of months of waiting and speculation about what Gänswein's new job will be. Last summer, Gänswein had to vacate his official apartment in the Vatican and then returned to Freiburg without a job. Pope Francis had given him a leave of absence and relieved him of all duties. The reason: Gänswein was the private secretary and confidant of the German Pope Benedict XVI for many years. been. Shortly after his death, he published a book about Benedict, which also included private conversations with the current Pope Francis. The relationship between Francis and Gänswein was considered broken.


Future of the former Pope's confidant
This is what's going on for Georg Gänswein in Freiburg

Many people from Freiburg are interested for the future of Georg Gänswein in their city. More and more details are becoming known - but a lot is still unclear.

In 1995, Gänswein went to Rome
Gänswein worked in the Vatican for almost three decades. In 1995 he was called to Rome, where he then joined the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith within the Curia. Joseph Ratzinger, Benedict XVI's real name, was prefect there at the time. In 2003 he made Gänswein his assistant. He has been Prefect of the Pontifical Household since the end of 2012 and has thus held one of the most important positions in the Vatican.
Connoisseurs: Job as nuncio in the Baltics is not an easy one
In his new position as nuncio in the Baltics, Gänswein will not have an easy task, as Vatican experts believe . Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are also concerned about their security, especially since Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine. The Baltic states were part of the Soviet Union until 1990 and are the focus of the war because of their geographical proximity to Russia. From a geopolitical perspective, the Baltics are therefore of great importance for the Pope, who has hardly missed an opportunity to promote peace and disarmament since February 2022.

The three countries in northeastern Europe are not only for the Vatican, but also for Germany and the EU is particularly strategically important. In response to the changed security situation in Europe, the Federal Government agreed to permanently station a combat unit in Lithuania that was ready for combat and capable of acting independently. The brigade is expected to be operational by 2027 and is expected to have a permanent presence of around 4,800 soldiers and around 200 civilian Bundeswehr members.
Catholic Church less strong in Estonia
The Catholic Church is positioned differently in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Lithuania is primarily Roman Catholic, while Latvia's population is primarily Evangelical Lutheran. The Catholic Church is even weaker in Estonia than in Latvia: the majority of Estonians do not profess any religion or adhere to the Protestant or Orthodox Church. In all three countries there are also larger Russian minorities who are close to the predominantly Russian Orthodox churches.