Pope's secretary "Gorgeous George" on Vanity Fair cover

ROME Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:31pm IST

Pope Benedict XVI's personal secretary Georg Ganswein holds a copy of the Pope's book ''The Childhood of Jesus'' during a presentation in Vatican November 20, 2012. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/Files

Pope Benedict XVI's personal secretary Georg Ganswein holds a copy of the Pope's book ''The Childhood of Jesus'' during a presentation in Vatican November 20, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi/Files

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ROME (Reuters) - Archbishop Georg Ganswein, Pope Benedict's private secretary, who has been dubbed "Gorgeous George" by the Italian media, is now a real-life cover boy.

The prelate has landed on the cover of Vanity Fair.

The cover on the Italian edition of the magazine shows the 56-year-old archbishop smiling, his blue eyes beaming, above a headline that reads "Father Georg - It's not a sin to be beautiful."

The magazine calls Ganswein "The George Clooney of St Peter's" and says it dedicated a cover story to honour his recent promotion to the rank of archbishop and as recognition of his growing power in the Roman Catholic Church.

A spokeswoman for the magazine said Ganswein was not interviewed for the article and did not pose for the cover photo, which she said was a close-up of an existing picture.

Ganswein, who has been Benedict's personal secretary since the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Roman Catholic leader in 2005, was elevated to the rank of archbishop earlier this month.

A German like the pope, he was also promoted to the job of Prefect of the Pontifical Household, a position that will significantly increase his power as the pope gets older and frailer.

As prefect, Ganswein - already one of the most recognisable and powerful figures in the papal court - will arrange all the pope's private and public audiences and his daily schedule.

And, because he will be keeping his job as chief private secretary, he will have even more power in deciding who has access to the 85-year-old pope.

Vanity Fair said the article about Ganswein was a "close up profile of a particular monsignor". The magazine goes on sale on Wednesday.

(Reporting By Philip Pullella, editing by Paul Casciato)

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