Gorgeous George, the Vatican’s First Pin-Up

Public stardom is difficult for anyone to handle. Based on the outcomes we’ve had with several “star” priests, I would say that clergy don’t handle it any better than anyone else.

That said, I have to admit that I’ve noticed the nice-looking man standing in the background in several photos of Pope Benedict XVI. I wasn’t aware until today that the Italian press had dubbed the good father “Gorgeous George.”

I tend to associate the moniker “gorgeous george” with a small monkey who is the lead character in a series of children’s books. A reader pointed out that, even though I remember him as “Gorgeous” the monkey is actually “Curious George” and that “Gorgeous George” was a famous wrestler. Somehow, that makes it funnier to me.

For all that, I have to admit that the priest in question is, as I said, a nice-looking man. But I don’t faint or anything when I look at him. Of course, I’ve got an exceptionally good-looking fellow that I see across the dinner table every night.

Maybe that’s why I can’t get beyond “nice-looking” in my description of the new Vatican hunk.

My reserved assessment is evidently a minority report. Not only has the Italian press gone loopy over him, but Vanity Fair has now put Archbishop Georg Ganswein on its cover.

I wish Archbishop Ganswein good luck with his new international pin-up status. It’s not easy, being a religious celebrity.

Reuters has the details:

ROME (Reuters) – Archbishop Georg Ganswein, Pope Benedict’sprivate 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 honor his recent promotion to the rank of archbishop and as recognition of his growing power inthe 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. (Read more here.)

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