UK & World News

  • 16 January 2013, 14:34

Vanity Fair: Pope's Secretary Is New Cover Boy

It's usually Hollywood stars or models who grace the cover of Vanity Fair but in a break from tradition the Italian edition of the magazine has come out with a full page portrait of Pope Benedict's private secretary.

Archbishop Georg Ganswein, 56, who has been dubbed "Gorgeous George" by the Italian media has been the Pope's righthand man for more than six years and is always at his side.

The softly spoken clergyman, who is also a pilot, likes to keep fit by playing tennis, is often pictured in glossy magazines because of his rugged good looks and some have even compared him to actor George Clooney.

Archbishop Ganswein has given a handful of interviews but is on the whole a private man - although there was a media frenzy recently after he was snapped late at night walking close to the Vatican with a mystery woman.

He was pictured on the cover of the latest issue of Vanity Fair alongside the headline ''Being beautiful is not a sin'' adding that he was a ''particular'' clergyman, describing him as the ''George Clooney of the Vatican.''

Archbishop Ganswein's main role is to organise Pope Benedict's day to day diary and he was recently in the spotlight over the Vatileaks scandal when it emerged he had angered senior Catholic Church figures because of the media's interest in him.

However he has insisted his mind is fully on the job and recently said: ''Personally I see my role or service with the Pope as similar to that of glass.

"The cleaner it is then it will achieve its task. I need let the sunlight and the less you see of the glass then the better it is. If you don't see it at all that means I'm doing my job well.''

During an interview with Vatican Radio he was asked about his good looks and he said: ''I have never had trouble with the so called fairer sex, I have always had a very serene and natural relationship with women.

''Of course in my youth there were women who I would happily see and there were others I was even happier to see.''

He added: ''The Italian newspapers started this offand they wrote very complimentary pieces about me.

"At first it surprised me and to be honest I also found it irritating. I didn't know what to do - should I say something or should I ignore it. I decided to ignore it and now with time I have got used to it.

''The risk is that by just judging a person superficially you don't really find out what they are like inside.''

A spokeswoman for Vanity Fair said: ''It is just a close up profile of Archbishop Ganswein.

"He did not pose for the photograph and he didn't give an interview but he is such a interesting person we decided to put him on the cover - it's the first time a clergyman has been on the front of our magazine which is normally reserved for high profile celebrities.''

Advertisement