Gorgeous Georg: Pope’s Private Secretary Becomes Vanity Fair Cover Boy

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Tony Gentile/Reuters

A woman holds a copy of Italy's Vanity Fair magazine showing Archbishop Georg Ganswein on the cover in St Peter's Square at the Vatican January 16, 2013.

He’s been dubbed “The George Clooney of the Vatican,” and now Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the dashing, blue-eyed private secretary to the Pope, graces the cover of the latest edition of Italian Vanity Fair, along with the coverline “It’s no sin to be good looking.”

According to Reuters, the magazine cover is in recognition of Father Gänswein’s growing influence in the Roman Catholic Church: recently promoted to Archbishop and also to Prefect of the Pontifical Household, he wields considerable power in the Vatican, which will only increase as the Pope grows older and more frail.

And it was Monsignor Gänswein, who became the Pope’s private secretary in 2005, who was credited with finding the person responsible for stealing and leaking confidential documents in last year’s “Vatileaks” scandal.

(MORE: At Home with the Pope: Inside Benedict XVI’s Daily Life (and Menu))

But it’s his movie star looks and action-man image — he is reportedly a qualified pilot and accomplished skier and tennis player — that has cemented “Gorgeous Georg’s” position as Vatican pin-up. So much so that the fashion designer Donatella Versace dedicated a menswear collection to him, her “Clergyman Collection,” six years ago.

However, the Archbishop has run afoul of senior Church figures with the amount of media attention he receives in Italy. Despite his vow of chastity, he confesses that he receives love letters from admirers and sparked a media frenzy recently after he was reportedly photographed late at night walking near the Vatican with a mystery woman.

A Vatican official told the Daily Telegraph that the six-page Vanity Fair profile did not have the blessing of the Holy See, and that the Archbishop did not agree to it or pose for the cover picture. “Having said that,” the official continued, “we are fairly relaxed about it – this sort of thing has been going on for the last seven years. I don’t think it distracts from his role. But life might be a little easier if he was not so good looking.”

MORE: The Heartthrob from the Vatican