Following on quickly from the appointment of a new secretary of State, Pope Francis has appointed a slew of curia officials today.
Firstly, he appointed Archbishop Joseph Di Noia, O.P. who had been serving as Vice-President of Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” as Adjunct Secretary of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith where he had worked as Under-Secretary for many years previously. Archbishop Di Noia was only appointed to Ecclesia Dei in June 2012 having served for three years as secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship.
Francis retired Manuel Cardinal Monterio de Castro, 75, as major penitentiary of Apostolic Penitentiary and appointed Mauro Cardinal Piacenza who had been serving as prefect of Congregation for Clergy. The move is an effective demotion for Cardinal Piacenza who was close, theologically and liturgically, to Cardinal Bertone and Pope Benedict. It was thought previously that Cardinal Monterio de Castro would be replaced by Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri.
In his place Francis has named the diplomat and until now president of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, Archbishop Beniamino Stella, 72, who was given the post at Clergy partly as a result of the care of priestly formation he took at the PEA. Stella was replaced by Msgr. Giampiero Gloder, 55, who was at the same time appointed Titular Archbishop of Telde.
At the same time Francis appointed Bishop Jorge Carlos Patrón Wong of Papantla as secretary for Seminaries of the Congregation for Clergy and at the same time archbishop ad personam.
In what is a more important move Archbishop Jean-Claude Périsset was given early retirement, by a few months in his post as apostolic nuncio to Germany and ususually Archbishop Nikola Eterović, 62, was appointed in his place. He had previously been serving as Secretary General of Synod of Bishops. All previous occupants of the post recieved the red hat after their service but the fact that Archbishop Eterović was dispatched to Germany probalby says more about him than the post of Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops. In his place Francis appointed Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri.
He had been serving as secretary of Congregation for Bishops from January 2012 but no replacement was named at the Congregation. It would not be hard to believe that Baldisseri will become cardinal secretary-general at the next consistory, whenever that will be.
Rocco recounts how, the Synod of Bishops has become far more prominet under Pope Francis. He notes that after the 11th September attacks Cardinal Egan, who was relator general returned to New York, then Cardinal Bergoglio took over Egan’s job as relator general of the synod for the remaining three weeks.
Rocco adds that “Even so, all of a sudden, the surprise turn at the Synod became Bergoglio’s “launchpad” into the spotlight of the global church. In the gathering’s wake, the Argentine’s performance was deemed so effective that his name would start being floated for key offices in the Curia – a place where he reputedly said “I would die” were he called to work in it. Of course, that wouldn’t be the end of the buzz – were it not for his stand-in role in the Aula, the Argentine’s name would’ve attracted far less recognition (and, hence, been a non-starter) at the 2005 Conclave… and without Bergoglio’s showing at the last election – burnished by the amplified status which resulted from it – his emergence eight years later as B16’s successor simply never would’ve happened”.
He goes on to mention that “the Synod has accordingly been at the forefront of the first Pope Francis’ mind on the impending Curial reform. On June’s feast of Saints Peter and Paul – by tradition, the nonpareil celebration of centralized papal authority – the pontiff’s veering off-script to call the church ‘forward on the path of synodality’ sent shockwaves through the old guard he inherited just days after the Pope declared that “we trust” (read: “I intend”) that his Synod ‘will experience further development to ever more aid the dialogue and collaboration among the bishops and, with them, the Bishop of Rome.'”
Also today Francis confirmed the officials in the CDF, and Peoples. There had been previous rumours that Cardinal Filoni would be appointed to replace Cardinal Romeo in Palermo but this now does not look likely. Other dicasteries to be confirmed are most of the curia, Catholic Education, Oriental Churches, Bishops as well as a host of others. More reforms are expected after the meeting with Francis and his 8 cardinals in October.