Benedict XVI's Personal Secretary Seeks to Find Late Pontiff's Five Cousins Who Are Potential Heirs

Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI

Archbishop Georg Gänswein, who aided Pope Benedict XVI, took on the task of managing the late Pope's estate. However, he was shocked when he discovered more heirs to the estate than he expected.

During an interview with Italian news outlets on Sunday, Archbishop Gänswein revealed that he initially thought Pope Benedict had only two cousins. However, he found out that five cousins in total could make claims to the estate. The Archbishop expressed his surprise and interest in discovering this information.

Unexpected Heirs of Pope Benedict XVI

In the report by Catholic News Agency, according to Archbishop Georg Gänswein he is legally required to contact the closest relatives of Pope Benedict XVI, his five cousins, and inquire whether they accept the inheritance. This was revealed in an interview with various Italian national media.

Archbishop Gänswein also shared that before his death, Pope Benedict XVI had meticulously listed his personal belongings, such as watches, pens, paintings, and liturgical items, and some of them have already been distributed to people close to him, including collaborators, secretaries, seminarians, students, drivers, parish priests, and friends.

However, the rights to the written works or his books will stay with the Vatican, and a portion of them will be donated to the Joseph Ratzinger Vatican Foundation.

In addition, according to the story shared in the National Catholic Register, the former secretary of Pope Benedict XVI has confirmed that all of the late Pope's most personal documents, including letters and notes, have been destroyed following his will. Archbishop Gänswein further clarified that there are no longer any unpublished writings of the pope emeritus, and his last book, "What Is Christianity?" was published posthumously in January.

When asked about his future, Archbishop Gänswein stated that he has not yet been given any responsibilities by Pope Francis and is awaiting his decision. He added that the Catholic Church is vast both geographically and culturally, and he remains available, loyal, and faithful to the church.

Also Read: Pope Benedict XVI Passes Away at 95, Remembered for His Defense of Orthodoxy and Historic Resignation

The Inheritance Inclusions

In another source, according to Catholic Herald, it has been confirmed by Archbishop Georg Gänswein that the inheritance left by Pope Benedict XVI does not include any payments or royalties from his written works before his election as Pope, during his papacy or after his resignation in 2013. All copyrights and royalties from his written works were assigned to the Vatican publishing house after he became Pope.

Archbishop Gänswein recently celebrated Mass at the Rome parish of Santa Maria Consolatrice, the titular church of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI, from 1977 to 1993. It was also the first Rome parish that Pope Benedict visited after his election as Pope. The Mass was celebrated on the traditional feast of St. Joseph, which is the late Pope's name day.

During the Mass, Archbishop Gänswein gifted the parish with a white chasuble made for and used by Pope Benedict, featuring his coat of arms. In response to questions from reporters, the Archbishop clarified that he still does not know what his next assignment will be, and he dismissed rumors that Pope Francis was evicting him from the Vatican as "fake news."

Related Article: Uncovering the Essence of Christianity: A Look at Benedict XVI's Final Work "What is Christianity"