In April 2005, when he first attracted the floodlights as secretary of the new Pope, Georg Gänswein made a splash. They renamed it “the George Clooney of the Vatican“, Versace dedicated him a menswear collection and several websites and fan clubs on Facebook were immediately created. Georg was not so young at the time of the election of Ratzinger, but appeared less than the 48 years old he was.
At age 50 he was interviewed on Radio Vatican, where he responded candidly to personal questions about his physical appearance and, in relation to comments on his beauty, he joked: “I pretended not to hear those things and eventually I got used to them”. He explained he has always had “a peaceful and very natural relationship with women,” and admitted that during his youth “there were girls with whom he was comfortable and other girls with whom he was very comfortable”, but nothing more serious than little romantic friendships of youth.
Now that he’s Prefect of the Papal Household he remembers his early years, confessing that celibacy was not easy and that when he entered the seminary there was inner struggles: “When I entered the seminary to become a priest I was absolutely convinced regarding the challenge of celibacy. Sincerely and with no shame, I tell I had inner struggles; it was not easy, but everything in this life has a price, cause a priest who lives celibacy should do it in a sincere way and there cannot be a double life.” For Gänswein celibacy’s not a life without love but a life of a bigger love than the carnal one; he says he knows he had to give up something that is great, but he does it because there is something even greater, which is the Kingdom of Heaven.
He’s the oldest of five children of a blacksmith and a housewife, and was born in 1956 in a small village in the German region of Schwarzwald. He describes himself as reliable, determined and sincere although with little patience, and when he was a child he used to have a curly long hair which didn’t please his father (he asked him to cut it, in vain). When he was a teenager he used to listen to Cat Stevens, Pink Floyd and the Beatles. He played the clarinet in the town band and was a passionate about art history. Before entering the seminary he considered to become a stockbroker, when he was a ski instructor, a passion that has never left, even now living in the Vatican; actually, some Tuesdays (his usual day off) he goes to ski to the Terminillo ski staton with some friends.