Archive for the ‘Consistory 2014’ Category

“Francis’s ruthlessness is no secret”

13/04/2016

An article in Foreign Policy argues that Pope Francis is the “dictator of the Vatican” following the publication of Amoris laetitia. It opens “There is hardly anyone in the world by now who is unfamiliar with the affable, down-to-earth, conspicuously humble persona projected by Pope Francis. His style of governance, however, is a far cry from this carefully cultivated public image. Influenced by the Peronist ideology of his native Argentina, he rules the Catholic Church with the idiosyncratic passions, and disciplined commitment to an agenda, of a true ideologue. And Amoris Laetitia, Francis’s 260-page, nearly 60,000-word, post-synodal apostolic exhortation on marriage and family, which was at long last released on Friday, is the clearest example yet”.

The report goes on “Francis’s “People’s Pope” persona has always belied an autocratic temperament that is coldly efficient at achieving his aims, if not winning allies to his cause. In his National Geographic profile of the pontiff, formerly known as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Robert Draper relates that:

[Francis has] an awareness that his every act and syllable will be parsed for symbolic portent. Such prudence is thoroughly in keeping with the Jorge Bergoglio known by his Argentine friends, who scoff at the idea that he is guileless. They describe him as a “chess player,” one whose every day is “perfectly organized,” in which “each and every step has been thought out.” Bergoglio himself told the journalists Francesca Ambrogetti and Sergio Rubin several years ago that he seldom heeded his impulses, since “the first answer that comes to me is usually wrong.”

Robert Mickens, editor in chief of Global Pulse, an online Catholic magazine, described Francis as a “master tactician” who was able to “make a move to outflank various groups and people that continue to oppose many of his initiatives.” Such cold and calculating determination has been in evidence throughout the process leading up to Friday’s publication of Amoris Laetitia”.

The piece adds “Never in my lifetime as a Catholic has a papal document been more anticipated — or feared — than this follow-up to the two-part Synod of Bishops that originally convened in October 2014. Institutionally, the document’s roots can be traced back even further, at least to the consistory, or meeting of cardinals, in February 2014, at which the octogenarian Cardinal Walter Kasper, bishop emeritus of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, was personally asked by Francis to give the keynote address. It was here that Kasper — once a lightning rod of theological controversy who had already begun to fade into the obscurity of retirement — had new life suddenly breathed into his ecclesiastical career as he was lavished with praise by the unconventional new pope for his “serene theology.” At the core of this theology was a novel conception of mercy that appeared to preclude repentance. While paying lip service to the church’s long-established doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage, Kasper proposed the exploration of new paths to respond to the alleged deep needs of divorced people who have remarried, offering the idea of a period of penance after which they might be re-admitted to the sacraments”.

The writer correctly argues that “This “Kasper Proposal,” as it came to be known, was nothing new in his native Germany, where he had advocated it (and implemented it in practice) for years, but thrust into the spotlight of Rome it became an immediate point of contention for orthodox Catholics. It represented the possibility of an institutional embrace of adultery, as well as permission for those living in grave sin to be re-admitted to Holy Communion — a practice that had been understood previously as sacrilege. Nevertheless, it formed the locus around which both the extraordinary and ordinary synods on marriage and family would trace their orbits in October 2014 and 2015, respectively”.

The writer goes on to argue, perhaps pushing the boundaries between truth and falsehood, “Kasper — with a strong papal endorsement in hand — continued to pitch the idea as he went on a world tour to promote his bookMercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life. Francis, who described Kasper early in his papacy as a “superb theologian,” said that his book “has done me so much good, so much good.” As pressure mounted against the Kasper Proposal from more conservative quarters within the church, the cardinal responded with an appeal to authority: “I agreed with the pope. I spoke twice with him. He showed himself content [with the proposal]. Now, they create this controversy. A cardinal must be close to the pope, by his side. The cardinals are the pope’s cooperators.” With no correction from the Vatican, Kasper’s testimony stood, in the eyes of many of the faithful, as proof that Francis was an advocate of his position. And as the list of unorthodox prelates invited personally by Francis to the synod grew, so too did the suspicion that the pope was, in fact, entertaining the unthinkable: a blessing for changes in Catholic practice that would fatally erode the very doctrine they purported not to change”.

The piece goes on to mention “Examples abound that the apparently simple, jovial Francis — who is so keen to refer to himself only as the “bishop of Rome,” and who gives the appearance of a strong sense of collegiality with his brother bishops — has always preferred to wield his authority like a hammer in pursuit of his own agenda. His scathing and wide-ranging rebuke of the Roman Curia, the central government of the church, in his 2014 Christmas address left feathers ruffled among the “princes of the church.” His removal of the staunchly orthodox Cardinal Raymond Burke from his position as the head of the Apostolic Signatura (and his other curial positions) was seen by many as retribution for Burke’s public criticisms of the themes — like Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried — that were informing the synod process. His unilateral promulgation of two motu proprio letters reforming the marriage annulment process caused consternation among canonists and members of diocesan marriage tribunals and generated uncomfortable whispers from members of the appropriate Roman dicasteries who were not consulted in the creation of these important juridical documents. Last year, rumours of a conspiracy to force Pope Benedict XVI out of office and elect then-Cardinal Bergoglio were started by none other than Cardinal Godfried Danneels, the beleaguered archbishop emeritus of Brussels who remains a close associate of Francis, despite his track record as a promoter of heterodox ideas and protector of clerical sex abusers”.

The writer adds “For close observers of the church, if not the wider public, Francis’s ruthlessness is no secret. This aspect of the Argentinian pope’s personality has already earned him his share of enemies. In an open letter to Francis from a former high-ranking member of the Roman Curia published last December, the official — who chose to remain anonymous for fear of retribution — admonished the pope for “an authoritarianism of which even the founder of your Order of Jesuits, St. Ignatius himself, would not approve.” He went on to describe the result of this authoritarianism: a “climate of fear” within the Vatican. Rumours have been circulating Rome for months that the Holy Father threatened the 13 Cardinals who sent him a letter expressing their own concerns over the synod — rumours that no source able to talk about it has been willing to confirm on the record”.

The piece ends “With the promulgation Friday of his new, extensive apostolic exhortation, Francis has shown once again that he is a man clever enough to get what he wants against all odds. The document’s length will prohibit a comprehensive analysis for some time yet, but already Catholic progressives are celebrating its innovations, and theologians are lamenting the damage it will undoubtedly do to the already crumbling edifice of Christian marriage and the church’s teaching on sexual ethics. As has been the Vatican playbook since the 1960s, the document is packed with careful language, layers of nuance, and ambiguity offering a buffer against cries of “heresy.” At the same time, these openly semantic doors offer opportunities for exploitation by means of subjective “discernment” by those who have most longed to see the church change its teachings to “get with the times.” In his own words from the text of the exhortation, Francis advises that we “recall that this discernment is dynamic; it must remain ever open to new stages of growth and to new decisions which can enable the ideal to be more fully realized.” Like much else about this papacy, it’s a statement that could mean whatever one wants it to mean. The real agenda lies hidden beneath”.

Advertisements

Cardinal Chaput, Gomez or Cupich?

16/12/2014

John Allen writes about the recently announced consistory that will take place in February.

He opens the piece “The Catholic Church’s most exclusive club will have new members come February, as the Vatican announced Thursday Pope Francis will hold a consistory to create new cardinals Feb. 14-15. Almost nothing a pope does is as critical to the direction of Catholicism, in part because cardinals are the most influential leaders in the Church after the pontiff himself. In part, too, a pope shapes the future by selecting cardinals, because they will eventually elect his successor. Although dates for the consistory have been announced, we don’t yet know the names”.

This echoes the trend that Francis began last year. At the same time the fact that the consistory takes place over two days suggests a reversal of the reforms introduced by Pope Benedict who shortened the ceremony to take place over one day.  The events of the 15th however could simply be a collective Mass with the new cardinals but it is obviously too soon to tell.

Allen says this consistory will be smaller than 2014. Francis should have 10 electoral slots to fill which would bring the College of Cardinals back to its 120 limit. However there is a strong possibility that Francis could go over this with only four other cardinals losing their voting rights next year. Thus Francis could easily have a consistory that would make the electors 124 and simply wait until Cardinal Naguib, Cardinal Rigali, Cardinal de Paolis and Cardinal Abril y Castello all age out by September. Of course Cardinal Lajolo will have already turned 80 in January by the time the consistory will take place.

Naturally Francis will have a small group of those over 80, so the class of new cardinals for 2015 could be 16 or 17 with 14 of these being electors.

Allen adds that “A pope isn’t obliged, however, to follow the rules. In 2001, John Paul II blew past the 120 limit by raising the total of voting-age cardinals to 135 in one of the largest consistories ever, with a total of 38 new under-80 cardinals, plus two more announced to the world who had previously been named in pectore, meaning secretly. Last February, the take-away from Francis’ first round of new cardinals is that it was the ‘Consistory of the Peripheries.’ The global south had nine cardinals out of the 16, while only three red hats went to members of the Roman Curia, meaning the Vatican’s administrative bureaucracy. The pope also made a point of giving cardinals to places that never had them before, such as Haiti, and even within countries he tended to select smaller and often overlooked dioceses, such as Cotabato in the Philippines and Perugia in Italy”.

By way of context Allen makes the point that Europe has 54 cardianls, Latin America has 16, North America has 15, Africa has 12, Asia has 11, Mid East with 2, Caribbean 1, and Oceania has 1.

Allen continues that “almost two-thirds of the voting cardinals (69) still come from the global north, while two-thirds of the world’s Catholic population today lives in the global south. Benedict XVI began to address this imbalance in his last consistory in November 2012, in which he named seven new cardinals without a single European. Francis continued to move towards realignment in his first consistory, and will presumably do so again next February. In terms of candidates from the United States, there are three prelates from archdioceses traditionally led by a cardinal who are currently in line. In order of how long they’ve been waiting, they are: Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, who took over in March 2011; Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, who was appointed three months later in July 2011; and Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago, tapped by Francis in September 2014 and installed in November”.

He mentions that “In Los Angeles, retired Cardinal Roger Mahony is 78; in Philadelphia, Cardinal Justin Rigali is 79; and in Chicago, Cardinal Francis George is 77. However, Francis has already demonstrated a willingness to break with protocol. So the question would still be asked of why he chose not to in this case. Moreover, Rigali turns 80 in February and George is in ill health, so there would be a clear logic for setting tradition aside in at least those two cases. No matter what Francis does, many Americans will be tempted to read it as a statement. If a red hat goes to Gomez, it will be seen as history’s first pope from Latin America creating the first Hispanic cardinal in the United States, thereby giving a shout-out to the country’s burgeoning Latino Catholic population. If it’s Chaput, it will be styled as a sign of confidence ahead of the pope’s trip to Philadelphia next September for a Vatican-sponsored World Meeting of Families”.

He ends the piece, “If it’s Cupich, the perception may be that Francis is moving quickly to ensure that his hand-picked allies occupy the Church’s most senior posts. Critics may resurrect charges familiar from the John Paul era, albeit in a different ideological direction, that the pope is ‘stacking the deck’ in the College of Cardinals. If the pope bypasses the United States, it may be seen as a snub ahead of his American trip, since this will almost certainly be the only consistory between now and then. On the other hand, it could also be spun as an education for Americans in the realities of living in a global Church”.

2014 Curial assignments

29/05/2014

The Press Office of the Holy See informed that Pope Francis appointed as members of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia the following cardinals created during in February:

The loyal opposition?

04/04/2014

Following Cardinal Kasper’s talk that he gave before the consistory about the possible opening up of communion for [civilly] divorced and remarried Catholics a number of interviews have been published in the press stating their firm opposition. The clear opposition of Cardinal Burke has already been noted before and where Francis stands with Burke.

Rorate carries an interview by Carlo Cardinal Caffarra, “We provided, on the day of publication, a translation of the only available excerpt of the interview granted by the Cardinal-Archbishop of Bologna, Carlo Caffarra, to Matteo Matzuzzi in Il Foglio. Yesterday, Zenit published a translation of the full text which we transcribe below for the record of events related to the 2014 Extraordinary Synod of Bishops”. The post goes on to discuss Pope John Paul II’s Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Familaris Consortio. Cardinal Caffarra, replying to the question that the document is out of date notes pointedly that “the document does speak about all the other problems. In particular it speaks a great length about the problem of the divorced and remarried. I can testify to this personally because I was one of the consultors for the 1980 Synod. It is simply not true to say that Familiaris Consortio comes out of a historical context that is completely alien to ours today. That said, I think, above all, Familiaris Consortio taught us an approach to the questions of marriage and the family. Using this approach we arrive at a teaching that, even today, remains a reference point that cannot be disregarded. What is this approach? When Jesus was asked in what circumstances divorce might be allowed – a theme that was not discussed at that time- he did not enter into the casuistic issues which gave rise to this question, instead he indicated in which direction we should look in order to understand what marriage is and consequently why marriage is indissoluble”.

Needless to say this is going against the view of both Cardinal Kasper, and also implicitly, Pope Francis as it was Francis who chose Kasper to give the talk in the first place. Rorate then, in a separate post which carries an article by noted Vaticanista, Marco Tosatti about the reaction of the cardinals after Kasper had given his address. Rorate in its usual nuanced way opens, “the first member of the College of Cardinals to speak up clearly in public following the consistory was Cardinal Caffarra, followed by Cardinal Burke. Marco Tosatti explains, however, that from day one the College of Cardinals was in its majority against the ‘Kasper Doctrine’, whose practical effect would be the complete destruction of the edifice of the Sacramental Theology of Matrimony”.

It should be noted that Pope Francis and Cardinal Burke have already clashed openly about the culture war issues, with Burke in an interview saying that the Church should never stop talking about issues such as gay marriage and abortion, while Pope Francis has famously stated that the Church has become obsessed with this issues.

Rorate goes on to carry the article by Tosatti of La Stampa, “The Consistory on the 22nd February to discuss the family, was supposed to be secret. Instead a decision came from the top that it was opportune to publish Cardinal Kasper’s long report on the theme of the Eucharist for the divorced and remarried. In all probability [this] to open the way in prospect of the October Synod on the Family. However half of the Consistory remained secret: [that half] concerned observations from Cardinals. And maybe not by chance, as, after Cardinal Kasper had presented his long report (and as it seems it was not very light when given ,) rather a lot of voices were raised in criticising it. So much so, that in the afternoon when the Pope gave him the job of responding, the German Cardinal’s tone appeared piqued, even angry to the many [present]. The current opinion is that ‘Kasper’s theorem’ tends to allow permission in general for the divorced and remarried to receive communion, without the previous marriage being recognised as null. At present this does not happen, based on Jesus’ words which were very severe and explicit on divorce. People who live a full matrimonial life without the first union being regarded as invalid by the Church, find themselves in a situation of permanent sin, according to present doctrine”.

Tossati notes that in addition to the oppostion of Cardinal Caffarra and Cardinal Burke, Cardinal Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa and Cardinal Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, both also stated their opposition. Others against the proposal Tossati reports are Cardinal Re, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Bishops and Cardinal Piacenza who is considered close to Pope Benedict.
Tossati writes that “Cardinal Tauran, (of Inter-Religious Dialogue) returned again to the attack on the family, also in light of relations with Islam. Likewise Cardinal Scola of Milan raised theological and doctrinal perplexities. Cardinal Ruini was also very critical. He [also]added: ‘I don’t know if I understood well, but at this moment, about 85% of the Cardinals have expressed opinions apparently contrary to the layout of the report.’ He added that among those who did not say anything – therefore could not be classified – he took from their silence that: ‘I believe they are embarrassed'”.
If this is what has happened over only a few months, it will be interesting to say the least, what will happen in the coming months and years in the course of the pontificate of Francis.

More secretariats coming

09/03/2014

A long article from Monday Vatican reports that Pope Francis has a style that watches, examines and then swiftly acts. It argues that more Secretariats are to be established which will report directly to the pope and not through the Secretariat of State as is the current pratice. He also discloses the long known idea that a moderator of the curia, along the lines of the diocesan role, will be established with Cardinal Bertello the prime candidate for the appointment.

The piece begins, “Watch, judge, act. These are the three steps put into action by Pope Francis. After almost one year of pontificate, Pope Francis has decided on a way forward on how to reform the Curia. Those who were thinking of a wide reform, built on a solid legal framework, will be perhaps disappointed. Pope Francis seems to have taken the decision of changing everything without waiting any longer. And of starting the Curia reform without reforming the Pastor Bonus, i.e. the constitution that regulates the functions of the offices of the Curia. Rather, Pope Francis is going to directly establish a parallel Curia. When this parallel Curia is complete, he will probably let all the other structures wither away”. By this logic the presidents of the Pontifical Councils are in for a major culling. The most obvious candidate is Cardinal Veglio, 76, and after him the others by age.

He goes on to argue that “This development is informed by two decisions Pope Francis has taken and is reportedly going to take. The first, that of establishing an Secretariat for the Economy. The second, that of appointing Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello as ‘Moderator Curiae’, i.e. a general coordinator of the Roman Curia”.

The writer goes on to make the point that “There had been clues of an imminent change on the afternoon of the 22nd of February, during the “visite di cortesia” (courtesy call) to the new cardinals. By tradition, after a consistory for the creation of new cardinals, the doors of the Apostolic Palace are opened for anyone who wants to come and greet the new cardinals. Generally, many cardinals take part to the “visite di cortesia” to greet the new members of their college, as well as the top officials of the Secretariat of State. But none of the cardinals of the Council of Eight Cardinals was at the “visite di cortesia”, and nor were any from the Council of Fifteen, i.e. the council of cardinals that deals with the economic issues of the Holy See. Only late in the day did Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi arrive in the Apostolic Palace.  Versaldi is President of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See. He was seen wandering, wearing his coat, and carrying a suitcase, and with the semblance of a troubled man”.

Perhaps most interestingly he mentions that “The establishment of the Secretariat of the Economy also signals how Pope Francis wishes to carry out the reform of the Curia. While the Council of Eight cardinals discusses a reform of the “Pastor Bonus” and lays proposals on the Pope’s desk, Francis is taking action. Reforming the Pastoral Constitution would take a lot of time: experts in canon law would be required, who would need to study in detail how to carry out the reform. Pope Francis is in a hurry. He wants to streamline the Curia and make it work, thus creating a new model for the Church”.

He goes on to reveal that the plan for the reform of the Curia comes from, not just the conclave, but the most extreme voices. He writes “The complaints of cardinals were focused on the Secretariat of State. The Pastor Bonus already underscores that the Secretariat of State is at the Pope’s service. Pope Francis wants it to be a dicastery like any other. At one point, it was thought best that the diplomatic functions of the Secretariat of State (the “Second Section”) be kept separate from the management functions of the general affairs section (residing in the “First Section”). However, the reform proposal of Cardinal Attilio Nicora at the beginning of 2005, shortly before John Paul II’s death, became alive again. Nicora’s draft was considered ferocious: the project was to incorporate all Pontifical Councils within the Congregations, and to entrust the Secretariat of State only with diplomatic tasks, while the general affairs of the Church were to be handled by a Council of Cardinals. Pope Francis actually went beyond this reform concept. He made up his mind following his many daily meetings (many more than those officially scheduled), and in the end he decided to make of the Secretariat of State a Curia office like any other. The establishment of a Secretariat for the Economy, which name denotes that it is on par with the Secretariat of State, is just the first step. Attentive observers believe that Pope Francis will establish several secretariats, at least eight, and the prefects will be the cardinals of the Council of Cardinals”.

He goes on to speculate that “An immediate secretariat could be that for Communications, which would consolidate the Vatican media and external relations functions. According to Vatican rumors, Pope Francis wanted to know the details of the Vatican communications in a recent close-door, two-hour meeting, and this has led to the speculation that the communications functions will be the next to be reformed”. This is certainly needed with the arrary of communications offices and networks, often with little intra communication between them all representing the Holy See.

He closes the piece noting “of the new secretariats will be directly under Pope Francis, as the Secretariat for the Economy is. The Secretariat of State will not be a linking and coordination office anymore.  This is why a “Moderator Curiae” is needed. Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, was first to raise the notion a Moderator Curiae. A very skilled law expert, Cardinal Coccopalmerio introduced this concept to the General Congregations together with his own ideas for reform. It was a precise program”.

He concludes “The reform is evolving without a new pastoral constitution, nor the amending of the Pastor Bonus. Even the motu proprio regarding the Secretariat for the Economy underscores that this Secretariat  is established as a «dicastery of the Roman Curia according to the Pastor Bonus,» but fails to specify – as it should– where is it that the Pastor Bonus is to be amended to make room to this new dicastery. In the end, Pastor Bonus has already been overtaken. Pope Francis does not want to waste time. He was elected with a clear mandate, and he wants to carry it out.”

Cardinal Capovilla

03/03/2014

Loris Cardinal Capovilla, 98, has recieved his biretta, papal bull and ring from Angelo Cardinal Sodano in his hometown on behalf of Pope Francis.

Pell’s revenge

24/02/2014

Following the consistory that has just taken place, today, Pope Francis has made public his decision to create a new Secretariat for the Economy. Francis has, with the creation of the new office has at the same time named the prefect, George Cardinal Pell.

In the press release from the Press Office of the Holy See it notes, “Today’s announcement comes after the recommendations of the rigorous review  conducted by the Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Organization of the  Economic- Administrative Structure of the Holy See (COSEA) were considered and  endorsed by both the Council of 8 Cardinals established to advise the Holy  Father on governance and the Committee of 15 Cardinals which oversees the  financial affairs of the Holy See”.

It adds, “COSEA recommended changes to simplify and consolidate existing management  structures and improve coordination and oversight across the Holy See and  Vatican City State. COSEA also recommended more formal commitment to adopting  accounting standards and generally accepted financial management and reporting  practices as well as enhanced internal controls, transparency and governance”.

Several things are worth noting. Firstly, the head of the office is not called president but prefect, a title akin to that of the head of a congregation. Both other economic/finanacial offices use president.

Secondly, Cardinal Pell is already on the Council of Cardinals but more importantly his appointment as prefect of the Congregation for Bishops was nixed at the last moment due to intense curial opposition.

Thirdly, this new office raises questions. Where does the Prefecture of the Economic Affairs of the Holy See stand in relation to it, and what of its current president, Cardinal Versaldi. As has been noted here before both Palermo and Bologna both have archbishops serving past the canonical retirement age.

An article by the famous Thomas Reese notes that “The prefecture had little impact until Pope John Paul II appointed Cardinal Edmund Szoka of Detroit as its head in 1990. Szoka imposed the first unified chart of accounts for the Vatican and published detailed financial statements. He computerized the books so that the statements came out within a year rather than five years late. Szoka had to fight hard for every victory. He was hated by many people in the Curia because he was changing the way things had always been done. John Paul not only brought in Szoka; he also put other non-Italians as heads of every important financial office, including Vatican City, APSA (the Vatican finance office), and the Vatican bank. This did not last. By the end of his papacy, the Italians were again in control of all these entities. Once Szoka left in 1997, things quickly deteriorated. Subsequent prefects were Italians who were less competent and less aggressive than Szoka. They preferred to get along rather than upset other Vatican officials by pushing reform. Most only wanted the job because it came with a red hat”.

Reese goes on to make the point that “the new prefect will have great authority in Rome because he reports directly to the pope. In the papal court, this matters. He will have greater access to the pope and therefore greater authority than the heads of the Vatican City State and APSA, whom he will supervise. Szoka never had this type of access and authority. Second, Pell, like Szoka, is no shrinking violet. He is a tough cookie who is not afraid to throw his weight around. He will be a formidable opponent to anyone who tries to oppose him. As a member of the eight-member Council of Cardinals, he is well placed to influence future reforms. Third, the authority of the new secretariat is more extensive than that of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs. No longer is there talk of “inspecting the books, if need be.” The new secretariat “will undertake economic audit and supervision” of Vatican offices. Audits are now mandated. The new secretariat also has the authority to establish “policies and procedures regarding procurement and the allocation of human resources,” which was never under the purview of the prefecture. This authority would have been held by APSA. Finally, the new secretariat is totally independent of the Secretariat of State. This means that the new office does not have to explain financial accounting to a bunch of diplomats and convince them before getting approval for doing anything. In addition, the new secretariat will have the authority to impose financial rules on the Secretariat of State and audit its books. No one would have dared do that in the past. But questions still remain. What kind of staff and budget will Pell have? The new secretariat cannot be run by priests and nuns with no accounting training. Experienced lay accountants do not come cheap”.

He ends noting that the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, “should be dissolved and its functions should be given to the new secretariat”.

The document states that the APSA currently headed by Domenico Cardinal Calcagno will become a central bank with all the functions of those institutions

Penny pinching?

22/02/2014

An article in AP discusses the simple style of Pope Francis in relation to today’s consistory. It begins that “Pope Francis’ pared down papal wardrobe of sensible black shoes and a white cassock so thin you can see his black trousers through it is a perfect fit for his call for simplicity and humility among his clergy. The pope’s personal style — which earned him Esquire magazine’s ‘Best Dressed Man of 2013’ award — and his broader message of sobriety will be put to the test Saturday when he inducts 19 prelates into the College of Cardinals, placing the three-cornered red silk biretta on the heads of the new ‘princes of the church.’ For the festive occasion, cardinals are traditionally outfitted in scarlet from head to toe, from the silk skull cap to bright red socks, with a white lace embroidered surplice known as a rochet worn over the red cassock and underneath the mozzetta, or shoulder cape. But with the “slum pope” now calling the sartorial shots, fashionistas and Vaticanistas are wondering how his new cardinals — who hail from some of the poorest places on Earth, including Haiti, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast — will dress themselves for their new role”.

The report goes on to mention “will they go the route of the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who according to clerical legend wore an altered hand-me-down cassock inherited from his predecessor for his 2001 consistory? “The cardinals and priests are much more careful of shining and spend less on their clothes,” Mancinelli told The Associated Press. “The gilded miters are only in shop windows. This is a consequence of Francis. They want to show they are on the same pastoral page.” Mancinelli, who is getting little sleep these days putting the finishing touches on outfits commissioned by several of the new cardinals, has some tips of what to watch out for on Saturday, when Francis will preside over the consistory formally welcoming the new cardinals. Immediately noticeable will be how much lace is on the rochet, once sewn by hand — with a price-tag to match — but now often machine made. “This is the Francis effect,” he said of the cheaper version as he ran his fingers over a prototype. Back in 2001 when the then-archbishop of Buenos Aires was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II, he wore a simple rochet with only two thin bands of embroidered lace. Another saving can come in the material used for the cassock itself. Once made out of precious silk and cashmere, the cassocks are now often synthetic: polyester for the red lining and territal, a synthetic wool blend”.

The danger with this approach is that it oversimplifies not only the role of a cardinal but the Church also. The cardinals are the princes of the Church and as such they need to dress accordingly. Of course this can be taken to extremes but on the whole a more “frugal” approach does nothing for the dignaty of not only the cardinalate but also how others view the Church as a whole.

The piece goes on to mention “Once handmade, the 33 red buttons (representing the years of Christ’s life) are now more often than not machine made. The cardinals’ red, it should be noted, isn’t just a fabulous fashion statement: As Francis will recite when he places the biretta on each prelate’s head, red symbolises a cardinal’s readiness to sacrifice his life for the church and “to act with courage, even to the shedding of your blood.” Altogether, a cardinal’s outfit runs in the ‘few hundreds of euros, not few thousands,’ Mancinelli said. One relatively reasonable add-on: a pair of red socks at 12 euros a pop. Cardinal watchers might also want to keep their eyes on the pectoral crosses worn by the churchmen: When the Jesuit Bergoglio became a bishop in 1992, a friend bought him the simple metal pectoral cross he continues to wear as pope (having eschewed the gold-plated one offered to him the night of his election). Bergoglio’s metal cross was purchased in Mancinelli’s shop and identical versions are on sale for about 330 euros today”.

The article ends, “Mancinelli said that ever since Francis became pope a year ago, there has been a bit of “belt-tightening” all around in clerical garb, due also to the global economic crisis. But there will always be exceptions. Across the Tiber river from the Vatican and Mancinelli’s small shop is Gammarelli, tailors by papal appointment and founded in 1798. Gammarelli famously prepares the three white outfits — small, medium and large — that a newly elected pope picks according to his size to wear out onto the balcony of St. Peter’s after his election. Sixth generation Lorenzo Gammarelli said Francis’ call for sobriety — which Esquire credited with subtly signaling “a new era (and for many, renewed hope) for the Catholic Church” — hadn’t really affected business at all”.

Consistory 2014:titles and deaconries

22/02/2014

After meeting the Council of Cardinals and after two days of consultation with almost the entire College on the  family.

Rocco writes that “Francis has signaled his premium on hearing the ‘mind of the body’ instead by extending the session to two days, while culling back its agenda to just one item: the pastoral challenges facing the family – Papa Bergoglio’s marquee issue-item for 2014, set to culminate at October’s Extraordinary Synod on the same topic'”.

Rocco goes on to write “At the same time, what the Pope’s “script” lacked in a heavy roster, it more than made up for with his choice of messenger. Yet again, no small amount of shockwaves made the rounds on the announcement that the retired Christian Unity Czar, German Cardinal Walter Kasper, would be the keynote speaker at yesterday’s opening session. For all the warmth that’s marked the unprecedented dynamic of ‘two Popes’ coexisting behind the walls, the move signaled yet another theological turn from the mind of Ratzinger toward a greater openness to the thought of his rivals. A onetime assistant to Hans Küng, Kasper memorably clashed with the future B16 over the primacy of the universal or local church and, before his 1998 arrival in Rome, over the very issue that’s become the flashpoint of Francis’ call to reflection on family life: the standing of civilly remarried Catholics, particularly on their reception of the sacraments. Specifically citing the ‘adamant refusal’ of the Eucharist posed by the latter scenario, Kasper wrote in 2001 that ‘no bishop should be silent or stand idly by when he finds himself [facing] such a situation.’ Within days of his election, the new Pope began showcasing the German iconoclast as – to quote Mickens – “the theologian of his pontificate.” At his first Angelus, Francis conspicuously plugged Kasper’s recent opus on mercy, hailing him as an ‘on the ball’ thinker. Even before the election, meanwhile, the cardinal – who, having turned 80 days after B16’s resignation, was able to vote in the Conclave by the skin of his teeth – said the next Pope ‘need[ed] to realize the perception of the Second Vatican Council; we have not accomplished this task… to fully realize collegiality.'”

In a related article Rocco reminds readers that “In today’s Vatican, meanwhile, the sign of the times is subtler – and for many, not as sweet… but still no less significant. After 33 years of one German’s dominance in matters of the Doctrine of the Faith, today sees another of Joseph Ratzinger’s countrymen take his seat as the cardinal-prefect of the “Holy Office.” Even so, a continuity argument would be a challenge to make – despite being reconfirmed in his post, Gerhard Müller has already been eclipsed. Once ranked atop the Curial orbit as “La Suprema,” a dicastery technically headed by the Pope, this Consistory finds the CDF taking an inferior place to the power-center of the new pontificate, as the Secretary of a newly-emboldened Synod trumps the “Grand Inquisitor” in seniority and standing, upending an order of rank that dates to the 16th century”.

Notably, Benedict XVI attended the ceremony, Rocco notes that “the first fully public appearance of the Pope and his predecessor together since B16’s epochal resignation a year ago this week. Even beyond our time, meanwhile, the duo’s joint presence at a major event made for an act never before witnessed in the two-millenia history of the papacy, and one that wasn’t expected to be seen until Pope Francis’ joint canonizations of Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II on April 27th”. He goes on to write that “Once he emerged – greeted at the front by an applause most of the congregation couldn’t see to understand – the Pope-emeritus unusually remained in his white grecca (overcoat). Then again, the place was said to be freezing during the midmorning rites.  In any event, Papa Ratzinger – seated alongside the junior cardinal-bishop in the same red silk chair as the rest of the College – made a conspicuous homage to his successor; as Francis approached Benedict on both his entrance and exit from the Altar of the Confession, B16 removed his zucchetto (skullcap), a lower prelate’s classic act of homage to the Pope, albeit one which has largely gone by the wayside over recent decades”.

Pope Francis has created his first cardinals in a ceremony in Rome today. As per custom each recieved a titular church linking them to the historic clergy of the diocese of Rome. These were announced today as follows:

  • Pietro Cardinal Parolin: Cardinal-Priest of Santi Simone e Giuda Taddeo a Torre Angela
  • Lorenzo Cardinal Baldisseri: Cardinal-Deacon of  Sant’Anselmo all’Aventino
  • Gerhard Ludwig Cardinal Muller: Cardinal-Deacon of Sant’Agnese in Agone
  • Beniamino Cardinal Stella: Cardinal-Deacon of Santi Cosma e Damiano
  • Vincent Gerard Cardinal Nichols: Cardinal-Priest of Santissimo Redentore e Sant’Alfonso in via Merulana
  • Leopoldo Jose Cardinal Brenes Solorzano: Cardinal-Priest of San Gioacchino ai Prati di Castello
  • Gerald Cardinal Lacroix, ISPX Cardinal-Priest of San Giuseppe all’Aurelio
  • Jean-Pierre Cardinal Kutwa: Cardinal-Priest of Sant’Emerenziana a Tor Fiorenza
  • Orani João Cardinal Tempesta, O. Cist.: Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria Madre della Provvidenza a Monte Verde
  • Gualtiero Cardinal Bassetti: Cardinal-Priest of Santa Cecilia
  • Mario Aurelio Cardinal Poli: Cardinal-Priest of San Roberto Bellarmino
  • Andrew Cardinal Yeom Soo-jung: Cardinal-Priest of San Crisogono
  • Ricardo Ezzati Andrello SDB: Cardinal-Priest of Santissimo Redentore a Valmelaina
  • Philippe Cardinal Nakellentuba: Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria Consolatrice al Tiburtino
  • Orlando Cardinal Quevedo OMI: Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria “Regina Mundi” a Torre Spaccata
  • Chibly Cardinal Langlois: Cardinal-Priest of San Giacomo in Augusta

In addition to the 16 voting cardinals Pope Francis elevated three non-voting others:

  • Loris Francesco Cardinal Capovilla: Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria in Trastevere
  • Fernando Cardinal Sebastian Aguilar: Cardinal-Priest of Sant’Angela Merici
  • Kelvin Edward Cardinal Felix: Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria della Salute a Primavalle

This means that there is now 122 cardinal electors. Before this consistory there was 13 vacant titles and nine vacant deaconaries. However, as a result of the number of Cardinal-Priest’s new titles have been established, are Santi Simone e Giuda Taddeo a Torre Angela  which is the new titular church of Cardinal Parolin, Cardinal Langlois’s church of San Giacomo in Augusta and Sant’Angela Merici of Cardinal Sebastian Aguilar.

Not attending

20/02/2014

Cardinal-designate Loris Francesco Capovilla will not be attending the consistory  in which he will be created cardinal because of age reasons, and will receive the red biretta on March 1 at the church in Sotto il Monte Giovanni XXIII, where he resides.

Their third meeting

18/02/2014

Just days before his first consistory to create new cardinals, Pope Francis is holding the third meeting of the Council of Cardinals. Archbishop Pietro Parolin has joined the group during these days and according to the Press Office of the Holy See will continue to sit with the group from now on.

Cardinal Langlois

10/02/2014

A profile of Cardinal-designate has been published in the Miami Herald. It opens, “For Monsignor Chibly Langlois, the honor of joining the Catholic Church’s elite hierarchy and being among those who may one day choose the next pope — and perhaps be among the top contenders — is unbelievable. So unbelievable, in fact, that when the emails and voice mails hit his cell phone last month congratulating him on being named Haiti’s first cardinal, Langlois didn’t believe it. So the 55-year-old Bishop did what any tech-savvy priest would do: he Googled himself””.

The piece goes on to note “Langlois, who currently serves as bishop of Les Cayes in the south, will be officially elevated on Feb. 22 at the Vatican by Pope Francis, who in deciding the historic decision professed his “profound affection” for the country that has suffered so many misfortunes. “I will give Haiti greater visibility under positive lights. I will honor the Church in Haiti. I will create a Haitian cardinal,” the Apostolic Nuncio Bernardito Auza, the pope’s representative, said Francis told him on Dec. 19 while swearing him to secrecy”.

It adds, “it’s precisely this high-profile role and his tireless advocacy on behalf of Haiti’s poor masses that some believe brought him to the attention of the 77-year-old Argentine pontiff, who has been pushing for a more inclusive church that is as much the church of the poor as the privileged. Langlois, who is pro-poor and creating educational opportunity for Haiti’s dispirited youths, reflects the shifting tone. “The people at the bottom need to know that God loves them, and to not be afraid,” he said. “And all of us, priests, bishops, we all should find a way to give the church this mark.” Anite Langlois, who is married to Langlois’ brother Edguert, said this has been his philosophy both as bishop of Les Cayes, the second diocese where he has been posted, and as bishop of Fort Liberte in the north of Haiti”.

Interestingly, though not suprisingly it adds, “A Christmas message from the bishops’ conference that Langlois heads decried the government corruption and mismanagement, the political polarization and “great suffering and conflict situations” that heavily impact Haitian’s lives. On Friday, Langlois marked his fifth day as chief mediator among 50 opposition groups — some have been demanding Haitian President Michel Martelly’s resignation — and representatives of the president. The sides disagree about governance of the country, where the parties and government are divided about whether one or two elections should be held this year”.

It goes on to mention “Still, he acknowledges that Haiti’s church faces challenges, from rebuilding schools and houses of worships destroyed in the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake, to keeping its members in the wake of Evangelism movements that are gaining a foothold post quake. As cardinal, he sees his role as working to help the church grow and strengthen that base inside the country. “This is a population with a lot of needs,” he said. Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski, who has worked with Langlois, said he is a good choice because he represents all Haitians”.

Quebec over Monterrey

27/01/2014

In an interesting article Rocco writes that Pope Francis has overlooked one of the most Catholic countrries in the world when it comes to giving out the red.

He opens, “Despite having over 30 million more faithful than the US church – and, lest anybody forgot, providing sufficient numerical cover for the enduring Anglo hemorrhage on this side of the border, to boot – Mexico won’t be represented at the impending Consistory, either. For the second-largest Catholic country of all, in this first-ever Latin American pontificate, that elision is an infinitely more glaring one than its Northern counterpart. For starters, no Mexican prelate has received the red hat since 2007, and with the occupant of one of the country’s traditional trio of cardinalatial posts (the 63 year-old archbishop of Monterrey, Rogelio Cabrera Lopez) yet to be elevated”.

He also predicts the red will go to the archbishop emeritus of San Francisco, “John Raphael, of course”,  84, who retired in 1995.

Yet again, church, recall the time-honored advice of our revered Sisters: these days, you’ve just gotta “leave some room for the Holy Spirit.”

Rocco writes that “On the Pope’s choice of the archbishop of Quebec City, Gerald Lacroix,several theories have been buzzed, ranging from the designate’s close ties to his predecessor – the Hatmaker-in-Chief Cardinal Marc Ouellet, whose auxiliary Lacroixfleetingly was – to the US ties born of his New Hampshire boyhood, to this year’s 350th anniversary of his cathedral, or the desire of sending a lift to a woefully secularised modern Quebec, where a proposed provincial charter of values has aroused heated protest from a wide array of church leaders over its perceived infringements on religious freedom”.

Crucially he adds “all of these miss the mark – at least, the seemingly key one which has suddenly made the 56 year-old lumberjack’s son the youngest North American to receive the red hat since one Roger Mahony was elevated in 1991. (Shortly before addressing the US’ religious superiors of men on the New Evangelization last August in Nashville, the cardinal-designate is shown above left with Francis following a springtime audience.) Ordained a priest at 31 after several years as a graphic designer, Lacroix spent a decade of his first 12 years in ministry as a missionary in Colombia, beginning there as pastor of a church on a mountaintop”,

Rocco goes on to mention that “Underpinning the sense behind the selection is Lacroix’s native grasp of two concepts which have repeatedly resonated in Francis’ word and witness both before and since his election: the“continental mission” that Cardinal Bergoglio articulated at Aparecida, an impetus now spreading to the global church… and, with it, the understanding – an admittedly rare one among senior North American clerics – of what the Pope’s expressed ‘want’ of ‘a church which is poor and for the poor’ means in its fullest light”.

He ends the piece. “But who needs any of that when you’ve got sex and politics? At least, that seemed to be the thrust of the local media’s interest when Lacroix met with them on Monday afternoon. Usually held on Selection Day itself, the delay on the presser came as – in a wild shift from at least a century of precedent – the cardinals-designate themselves received no advance notice of their elevations. While the Quebecker learned the news on checking to see why his iPhone was suddenly buzzing non-stop just after 6 last Sunday morning, among other examples of how the biglietti found out, Loris Capovilla (arguably the “star” of the coming Consistory) happened to be tuned into the Angelus while tooling away at his desk… Orlando Quevedo heard when a frenzied Chito Tagle tracked him down with congratulations”.

The archbishop of Perugia was told by a parishioner.

“Not informed before”

23/01/2014

Archbishop Gualtiero Bassetti said a parishioner told him he’d been named a cardinal by Pope Francis, and “my jaw dropped” when he found out it was true. The 71-year-old archbishop of Perugia-Citta della Pieve and president of the bishops’ conference of Umbria in central Italy said he was not informed before Pope Francis told the world on Sunday that he would induct Cardinal-designate Bassetti and 18 others into the College of Cardinals on February 22. The cardinal-designate told the same story to several Italian newspapers: “I was in a church in Perugia to administer the sacrament of confirmation to 80 young people; after Mass, one of the women in the parish, rushing and out of breath, told me the Pope had just named me a cardinal. “Like the apostles who didn’t believe it when the women brought them news of the Resurrection, I didn’t believe it until I verified it with my own eyes by looking on the Vatican website,” he said. “I almost fainted.” Cardinal-designate Bassetti will be the first cardinal from Perugia named in 160 years, Italian newspapers reported. The last Perugia bishop to wear the red hat, Cardinal Gioacchino Pecci, became Pope Leo XIII in 1878″.

Curable?

23/01/2014

In an interview Cardinal-designate Fernando Sebastián Aguilar, C.M.F. said, “I say that homosexuality is a deficient way of manifesting sexuality, because  the latter has a structure and an end, which is that of procreation.  Homosexuality, which cannot reach this and, is faulty. This is not an outrage  for anyone. We have in our body many deficiencies. I have high blood pressure,  should I get upset because others tell me so? It is a deficiency that I have to  correct as well as I can. To identify in a homosexual [person] a deficiency is  not offensive, it is a help, because many cases of homosexuality can be treated  and normalised with adequate treatment. It is not an offense, it is care. When a person has a defect, the good friend is the one who tells him so”.

The breakup of Catholicism?

21/01/2014

An article profiles Cardinal-designate Orlando B. Quevedo of Cotabato.

The piece opens, “has advocated and designed the structures of pastoral Asian churches. As an active participant and former Secretary General of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences, Quevedo has played an influential role in developing volumes of Asian pastoral statements in recent decades. He is widely respected among his Asian peers. In 1994, Quevedo was elected with the highest vote to membership in the General Council of the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops in Rome. The Quevedo appointment clearly reinforces Francis’ vision of church in the Philippines and adds to the already powerful pastoral influence of Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, who undoubtedly was influential in the appointment.  The Quevedo appointment has special meaning because it is unprecedented for a cardinal to be named to the see of Cotabato on the island of Mindanao in the southernmost part of the Philippines. The writings of the FABC over the past 40 years have consistently aligned themselves with the teachings of Vatican II in efforts to build vital local churches throughout Asia. With Tagle and the 74-year-old cardinal-elect Quevedo as Philippine cardinals, the Asian nation with the largest population of Catholics is solidly in the hands of bishops who advocate the need to build a church of the poor”.

The piece goes on to mention that “Until the early 1970s, the local churches of Asia had little communication. That changed after the November 1970 pastoral visit by Pope Paul VI to Asia. Bishops throughout Asia came to Manila for that visit. Out of it came the idea to form a pan-Asia Catholic episcopal conference, which eventually took the name Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences. Though the organization ran into early opposition from some Vatican prelates, it had the backing of the Paul VI. Within years it was asserting new pastoral leadership, so new that locals began to call it ‘a new way of being church.'”

Interestingly the piece adds, “Bishops in the Philippines and throughout Asia have often deferred to Quevedo to draft papers on diverse issues dealing with terrorism, migration, poverty, and the Eucharist as fundamental community builder”.

This could be yet another signal of the way Pope Francis wants to take the Church, towards a more collegial model, like the Orthodox Churches, each united, but distinct. Of course, the danger with this model is that it would not work for the Catholic Church that is just too big and too diverse compared with the Orthodox to work. What would ensue is a quasi-Anglicanism with each country, or continent, going its own way on doctrine and morals. This would mean either the complete breakup of the Catholic Church, or the Anglicisation of it with absurd compromises to keep the group nominally together.

No longer a majority

21/01/2014

Pope Francis, the first pope born in the Americas, has named his first new cardinals and in doing so has potentially made a bit of global history. As of Feb. 22, when the new cardinals are scheduled to be elevated, Europeans will not make up a majority of cardinal electors (i.e., those eligible to select the next pope and the pool from which popes are typically selected). Since 1978, Europe has been at or near 50.0% of cardinal electors at the time of a conclave, however assuming Cardinal O’Brien from Scotland would not participate as an elector in the future as he has retired and undergoing a course of ‘spiritual renewal, prayer, and penance,’ the European share will functionally fall to 49.6%.

Capovilla interviewed

19/01/2014

Interview with Cardinal-designate Loris Francesco Capovilla, former private secretary to Pope John XXIII.

Not a honour or decoration

15/01/2014

Pope Francis has written to all 19 of the cardinals-designate and told them the the cardinalate “does not mean a promotion, nor an honor, nor a decoration”.

Consistory 2014:the names

13/01/2014

Yesterday Pope Francis announced the news of the new cardinals-designate. The 19 names, 16 of which are under 80 will bring the College of Cardinals to 122 electors.

The names in order of precedence they will appear on the biglietto they will be listed thus:

  • Pietro Parolin, secretary of State to His Holiness
  • Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops
  • Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
  • Beniamino Stella, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy 
  • Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster
  • Leopoldo José Brenes Solórzano, archbishop of of Managua
  • Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, primate of Canada & archbishop of Québec
  • Jean-Pierre Kutwa, archbishop of Abidjan
  • Orani João Tempesta, O.Cist. archbishop of Rio de Janeiro
  • Gualtiero Bassetti, archbishop of Perugia-Città della Pieve
  • Mario Aurelio Poli, archbishop of Buenos Aires
  • Andrew Yeom Soo Jung, archbishop of Seoul
  • Ricardo Ezzati Andrello SDB, archbishop of Santiago de Chile
  • Philippe Nakellentuba Ouédraogo, archbishop of Ouagadougou
  • Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI, archbishop of Cotabato
  • Chibly Langlois, bishop of Les Cayes

The three over 80:

  • Loris Francesco Capovilla, prelate emeritus of Loreto
  • Fernando Sebastián Aguilar, CMF, archbishop emeritus of Pamplona
  • Kelvin Edward Felix, archbishop emeritus of Castries

Francis has made very clear his priorities by naming Baldisseri ahead of both Muller and Stella in the order of precedence. The only voting non-Italian European is Vincent Nichols who was denied the red by Benedict in both February and November 2012 consistories.

What is interesting is not only the names that made the list but the names that were not on it. Several high profile names did not make the list, notably the archivist of the Holy Roman Church, Archbishop Jean Louis Brugues. It was reported that Brugues was against the appointment of the rector of the Pontifical Catholic University in Buenos Aires who, Francis, in an unprecedented move made titular  archbisohop last year. Also not on the list is the UGCC major-archbishop, who knows Francis personally during the time he spent as administrator of the eparchy in Buenos Aires.

Rocco reports that Bishop Chibly Langlois of Les Cayes in Haïti is “likely” to become the next archbishop of Port-au-Prince. Langlois at 55 is the youngest of the electors with Lacroix of Quebec next. On the other side of the scale Francis has chosen to elevate Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, OMI, of Cotabato in the Philippines, who at almost 75 is the oldest of the electors.

Of the non-electors the obvious name is Capovilla, 98, who was private secretary to Pope John XXIII (r. 1958-63). Capovilla will be elevated, if he lives long enough, and then within two months see his former superior become a saint in April along with someone less deserving of the honour. Cardinal-designate Felix in 2006 escaped death after an assaliant attempted to kill him.

Archbishop Philippe Nakellentuba Ouédraogo is not the first cardinal from his native Burkina Faso. Paul Cardinal Zoungrana was created a cardinal by Paul VI in 1967.

Rocco writes “the big story is the likewise-foreseen predominance of names not just from well outside the Vatican, but considerably off the traditional path of membership in the papal “Senate,” including the first-ever cardinals from Haiti, the outer Caribbean and the Philippines’ majority-Muslim island of Mindanao… and with them, the heads of only two European sees.  In another notable feature of the slate, for the first time since Blessed John Paul’s first class in 1979, no US prelate has made the cut, but that’s little surprise – as previously noted, the Stateside church’s traditional complement of cardinals is fully topped up, with none of the 11 electors from these shores set to turn 80 until 2015″.

He goes onto note, “For the Italian church, meanwhile, as reports in Rome have tipped for days, Papa Bergoglio has touched off yet another earthquake by passing over the heads of the historic “cardinalatial sees” of Venice and Turin both, elevating in their stead Archbishop Gualtiero Bassetti, 72 – a figure said to more faithfully reflect Francis’ identikit of a shepherd with the “smell of the sheep.” One of the three regional vice-presidents of the Italian bishops conference, Bassetti becomes the first archbishop of Perugia to enter the College since the late 19th century”.

Consistory 2014:possible names

03/01/2014

With the 80th birthday of Giovanni Battista Cardinal Re, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Bishops, on 30 January, Pope Francis will have 14 electoral slots to fill in the coming consistory set for 22 February. This would bring the College of Cardinals to the limit of 120 set by Paul VI, but as has been said already here and elsewhere Pope Francis could easily dispense with this. Given his comments of other matters he will probably exceed the limit, to what extent is the only real question. It is assumed that Pope Francis will use the ceremony that was first used by Pope Benedict in February 2012.

It has been speculated here before that Pope Francis may well choose those residential archbishops in South America that are normally cardinals. However, three curalists, maybe four, will in all probability become cardinals, the new secretary of State, the prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, prefect of the CDF, and perhaps the archivist and librarian of the Holy Roman Church. In light of this, below are the most likley names that could appear when the official list of names is published, in what is the predicted way they will be published.

  • Pietro Parolin, secretary of State  to His Holiness
  • Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
  • Beniamino Stella, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy
  • Lorenzo  Baldisseri, secretary-general of the  Synod of Bishops
  • Jean-Louis Bruguès, O.P., archivist & librarian of the Holy Roman Church
  • Sviatoslav Shevchuk, major archbishop of Kiev of the Ukrainians
  • Francesco Moraglia, patriarch of Venice
  • Fausto Gabriel Trávez Trávez, O.F.M., archbishop of Quito
  • Mario Poli, archbishop of Buenos Aires
  • Sergio da Rocha, archbishop of Brasilia
  • Vincent Nichols, archbishop of  Westminster
  • Oscar Vian Morales SDB, archbishop of Guatemala
  • Ricardo Ezzati Andrello SDB, archbishop of Santiago de Chile
  • Murilo Sebastião Ramos Krieger, S.C.J, primate of Brazil & archbishop  of São Salvador da Bahia

Naturally the number of vacancies available in the College of Cardinals in no way matches the number of candidates. Other names that could very well be added include Orani  João Tempesta, O. Cist., of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro, Braulio  Rodriguez Plaza of Toledo & primate of Spain, Rogelio Cabrera Lopez of Monterrey, Jose Palma of Cebu, Cyprian  Kizito Lwanga of Kampala, Odon Arsène Razanakolona of Antananarivo, Peter  Takeo Okada of Tokyo, Andre-Joseph Leonard of Brussels and a host of others.

Francis may also choose to dispense with the custom that no diocese has two electors at the same time and in light of this he may choose to elevate  Juan  Asenjo Pelegrina of Seville, Christian Lépine of Montreal, Charles Chaput, OFM Cap. of Philadelphia,  Jose Horacio Gomez of Los Angeles.

The other unknown is to what extent Francis may wish to elevate the presidents of the Pontifical Councils. He may see this as an easy way to gradually reduce the Italian/European number of cardinals in the next conclave. If this is not the case then he may elevate Vincenzo Paglia, Zygmunt Zimowski, Salvatore Fischella and Claudio Maria Celli.

Talks persists that Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, current serving as apostolic nuncio to the United States will be recalled to take an important post in Rome. However, the only positions that he could be appointed to in time for the consistory would be Saints, where Cardinal Amato is 75, or Legislative Texts or Migrants.

Another possibility should not be discounted however. Cardinal Romeo of Palermo and Cardinal Caffara of Bolgona are both past the retirement age and need replacements. It would be a fitting irony if Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Versaldi to either of these sees and named Vigano as president of  the Prefecture of the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.

This would remove perhaps the closest of those linked to Cardinal Bertone from Rome and at the same time would send a clear signal as to where Francis wants to go on the economic front.

Wuerl 1 – Burke 0

18/12/2013

Pope Francis has confirmed the officials of the Congregation for Bishops. He has also made some changes to the membership of the body that selects nominees to the episcopate for the developed world for the pope.

Rocco writes, “While a Franciscan “flush” of the membership of the Congregation for Bishops has been expected for months, the move’s execution came with a flourish at Roman Noon as the Pope reshuffled roughly half the prior makeup of the all-powerful “Thursday table” that recommends nominees for episcopal appointments in the developed world”.

He adds “Topping the slate of his new picks, Francis tapped Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington to join the body’s membership. Already a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on B16’s nod, the ever-assiduous, 73 year-old DC prelate (a veteran of the Curia from his early days overseeing the Congregation for the Clergy as priest-secretary to Cardinal John Wright) becomes the table’s lone resident member” in America.

Rocco notes, “Bergoglio simultaneously bumped both Cardinals Justin Rigali (emeritus of Philadelphia; the Congregation’s secretary from 1989-94) and Raymond Burke (the Holy See’s Wisconsin-born “chief justice,” whose public outspokenness and effectiveness in moving appointments alike have long stoked either adulation or discontent in the church’s polarized blocs) from the Congregation’s roster. Likewise among those shuffled out was Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa, the formidable president of the Italian bishops’ conference”.

He goes on to write, “For those who enjoy what Italians do best, that Wuerl – already known to be a sought-out figure in Francis’ orbit – has replaced Burke, his historic rival and cardinal-classmate, on the Congregation’s membership is nothing short of extraordinary. With today’s nod, the District cardinal becomes the first shepherd of the nation’s capital to have a seat at the Curia’s most significant table of all; until now, only prior archbishops of New York, Boston and Philadelphia have known the role”.

Rocco ends the piece, “A ‘raving moderate’ just like Wuerl, Levada is believed to have had a key role in convincing Benedict to name The Donald to Washington in 2006. A year after Papa Ratzinger’s election, the move marked the now-retired Pope’s first major US appointment”.

Of course, Burke and Wuerl’s most obvious row is giving the Eucharist to politicians who publicy support abortion. Cardinal Burke being prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, views the issue through a narrow legal lens, disregarding all else. However, Cardinal Wuerl takes a more pastoral approach and was not publicaly chided by Pope Benedict for his position on the stance, neither did Cardinal Burke recieve support or punishment.

As well as Burke, Cardinal Rigali lost his membership at Bishops, a light punishment for what he did, and did not do, in Philadelphia. Also to lose his seat was Cardinal Piacenza who was prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy but was demoted by Pope Francis. He was close to Pope Benedict theologically and liturgically and his removal should not have been a huge shock. The speed with which he was moved was.

A slew of new names where added to the Congregation’s membership, Francisco Cardinal Robles  Ortega of Guadalajara, Rubén Cardinal Salazar Gómez of Bogotá, Kurt Cardinal Koch and João Cardinal Braz de Aviz. Thoughts that Cardinal Braz de Aviz would leave Rome for a diocese in Brazil, probably Apacedia where Cardinal Assis is 76, may now not occur after all, though it is always a possibility.

Also appointed were Archbishop Pietro Parolin, Archbishop Beniamino Stella,  Archbishop Lorenzo  Baldisseri and interestingly, Archbishop Vincent Gerard Nichols of Westminister. Stella, Parolin and Baldisseri will all become cardinals in February and now there is a good chance Nichols will join them as he was denied the red by Benedict in 2010 and twice in 2012.

John Allen writes, “Francis also confirmed 18 existing members of the congregation. Beyond Levada, the other prominent English-speaking member to be confirmed was Cardinal George Pell of Sydney. The fact that Burke was not on the list may raise eyebrows, in part because some observers see him as representing a more aggressive line than the pope on the Western culture wars. Burke recently gave an interview to the American Catholic broadcaster EWTN, for instance, in which he said Pope Francis’ comments suggesting that church teaching on matters such as abortion and gay marriage doesn’t need to be repeated ‘are not altogether easy to interpret’ and said that in his view, ‘we can never talk enough’ about the defense of human life”.

What is most obvious however is that Francis knows who he wants around him and unlike Benedict will not wait for those who he doesn’t want to retire.

Plenty of notice

01/11/2013

Previous thoughts that a consistory to create new cardinals would be called in June or December of this year by either Pope Benedict or Pope Francis will now not occur.

Yesterday, Fr Frederico Lombardi SJ, director of the Press Office of the Holy See has stated that there will be a consistory on 22 February 2014, the Feast of the Chair of St Peter.

Rocco writes that “Lombardi detailed a full plate of events surrounding the first gathering of the Pope’s “Senate” since the Conclave. Bookended by the third meeting of Francis’ “Gang of Eight” and another summit of the (newly-)all-important Synod Council, Francis will maintain the tradition begun by his predecessor and hold a consultation day with the entire College on the eve of the Consistory, its focus reportedly centered on the reform of the Curia. Far from the usual means of announcement – a declaration by the Pope himself either at the Wednesday Audience or Sunday Angelus a month before the Consistory date – the date was given this far in advance to allow the nearly 200 red-hats to work the week into their schedules. Though the speculation of prior Consistory dates had largely panned out, far-flung cardinals have long complained that the lack of a formal confirmation until weeks before had the effect of holding their calendars hostage”.

Rocco notes that there will be 14 electoral slots available by February. However, he is right to point out that “the Pope is perfectly free to dispense from the limit”. Whether this is a hint that Pope Francis will exceed the limit of 14 to return the Electoral College to the limit imposed by Paul VI or not.

Interestingly, Rocco goes on to mention “As for the composition of the new intake, it’s fair to say that – with a “Pope of Surprises” who’s shown little reluctance about setting his own course – all bets are off. Still, it would be little shock if the first non-European Pope in a millennium started into an effort to significantly shift the geographic makeup of the College, which has habitually seen his home-continent (which contains half the world’s Catholics) and much of the global church’s emerging standard-bearers significantly underrepresented. For example, despite boasting the bulk of 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide, Latin Americans only comprised 12 percent of the electors at the March Conclave, its 15 voting cardinals just one more than the North American bloc from a church less than one fifth of its southern neighbour’s size”.

He goes on to add “several ops have indicated that one means Francis intends to use to achieve a geographic reboot is a significant curtailing of the red hats given to Vatican officials, along with a gradual drop of the “cardinalatial sees” in Europe. Taken together, the Curial and Continent blocs accounted for 67 of the 111 electors in March, or precisely three-fifths of the Conclave, just 11 shy of the requisite two-thirds margin needed to produce a Pope. Among the few bankable names on the coming biglietto – at least, at this point – are but three Curial officials: the new Secretary of State, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the CDF chief Gerhard Ludwig Müller, and Francis’ hand-picked head of the newly-amplified Synod, Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri”.

What this means in pratice is obviously unclear. It would be safe to say that all Congregational prefects would get the red, but it is uncertain as to whether the presidents of the Pontifical Councils will get it in the future. As for the reduction of red in Europe it will be interesting, to say the least, how far this will extend to Italy which has the most electors of any country. This is both through curial heads and residential bishops. Currently, Palermo, Naples, Turin, Florence, Rome (as vicar general of Rome), Genoa, Milan and Venice all traditionally get cardinals. At the moment only Turin and Venice are without the red. Although Cardinal Romeo of Palermo is 75 and will need to be replaced it is uncertain as to whether his successor will get the red.  There are naturally some questions as to what Francis will do to the rest of Europe. Germany, Spain, Poland and France also have a number of cardinal-archbishops.

There are a slew of candidates, as usual. These include Jean-Louis Bruguès, O.P., archivist & librarian of the Holy Roman Church, but notably there are a number of candidates from Latin America, Sergio da Rocha of Brasília, Oscar Vian Morales SDB of Guatemala, Ricardo Ezzati Andrello SDB, of Santiago de Chile, Orani João Tempesta, O. Cist.,  of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro and Murilo Ramos Krieger, S.C.J, of São Salvador da Bahia.

Rocco goes on to note “On the residential front, meanwhile, Bergoglio’s successor as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Mario Poli, especially after his election dropped Argentina’s number of resident voters to zero. Yet even more notably, as part of an expected increase of the College’s Eastern presence, both protocol and personal ties would see a seat going to the head of the largest Oriental body in communion with Rome – the major-archbishop of the 6 million-member Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, who at 43 would become the youngest cardinal elevated in the last century”.

He ends “for the sake of i Gammarelli and the arrangement of the pilgrimages – don’t be surprised one bit to see the designates’ names emerge well before January”.