Friday, August 16, 2013


Don Giorgio's apartment on Herrenstraße
It had been my intention to deal with the aftermath of Georg Gänswein's visit to Freiburg on the occasion of Archbishop Robert Zollitsch's 75th birthday by just adding a paragraph to my earlier blog. When, however, today's Badische Zeitung printed two articles about Don Giorgio being in town I decided to dedicate a special blog to our guest.

Presently George is spending his vacation in the region living in an apartment he still keeps on Freiburg's Herrenstraße. This is a decent place for a Curial Archbishop for the street was named after the clerical dignitaries - like those of Freiburg's Chapter - who once had their houses there in the shadow of the Münster Church.

George's doorbell
Vacation? No way! On the occasion of yesterday's Assumption Day (August 15) it was quite natural that Archbishop Robert invited his colleague George to preach in the Münster Church. St. Mary's Assumption day is the patronal festival of the Münster and hence one of the highest church holidays in Freiburg. It is the only day of the year when there is no Münstermarkt. The square stayed absolutely empty, however the Münster Church was packed with 2500 people and many a woman had come to catch a glimpse of handsome George.

Curial Archbishop Georg Gänswein (right) co-celebrating the Latin mass (©BZ).
In his homily Gänsewein dealt with the difficult topic of Pope Pius' XXII Dogma on the bodily Assumption of Mary into heaven promulgated in 1950. Admitting that this dogma nowadays somehow "stands in the way" he explained that the tenet means that God knows and loves the whole person, soul and body. Nothing that is precious to men and women will perish with death. God's love is the foundation of eternity and those who love God will not perish. George spoke in German but the mass - did you expect anything else? - was read in Latin.

Following the festival service Freiburg's Financial Mayor Otto Neideck invited Gänswein to the city's oldest town hall to sign the Golden Book. A Freiburg official whispered: Never before I have seen so many press photographers in our venerable Gerichtslaube. George, who was born in the Black Forest, acknowledged his roots: Those who cut roots, cut life. With this remark he passed a plate to Neideck who immediately filled it mentioning the succession to Archbishop Robert. Yesterday George modulated his previous statement about his future somewhat: I have never striven for a position (That's what they all say). My previous positions were all entrusted to me.

Get moving, Pope Francis!

Archbishop Rober Zollitsch and Financial Mayor Otto Neideck watching
Curial Archbishop Georg Gänswein signing Freiburg's Golden Book (©BZ).
More about Georg Gänswein you will find in two previous blogs on the occasion of Pope Benedict's visit to Freiburg and President Joachim Gauck's visit to the Vatican.

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