Papal apartment’s frosty relations with Secretariat of State are source of Vatileaks scandal

Vatican Insider

The rift between the Secretariat of State and the papal apartment is clearly felt in the Apostolic Palace

Giacomo Galeazzi
Vatican City

The Vatican’s two physical centres of supreme power are the papal apartment and the Secretariat of State. Both are located in the third loggia of the Apostolic Palace but are being driven apart by the Vatileaks scandal.

Benedict XVI’s right hand man Mgr. Georg Gaenswein is the “king of the castle” in the papal apartment while Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone sets the rules in the Holy See’s “control room”. At the beginning of Benedict XVI’s papacy, when Bertone substituted Angelo Sodano it seemed as though the papal apartment and the Secretariat of State had reached a peaceful co-existence, a sort of silent agreement.

But then came a series of contested nominations, such as those for the Archdioceses of Turin and Milan. In both cases, Bertonian candidates were rejected in favour of those preferred by the Italian Bishop’s Conference team lead by Cardinals Bagnasco and Ruini who saw the Pope’s secretary, Fr. Georg, as an excellent support figure, apt for creating a power balance with the Secretary of State. This detachment between papal apartment and Secretariat of State is partly responsible for triggering surprise appointments and unexpected decisions.

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