Thursday, March 03, 2005

Italian Eyes Are Smiling

Among the many questions surrounding the pope's current situation is the level of contact he is having with the senior officials of the curia. Of course, Cardinal Ratzinger dropped by the Gemelli the other day and handled the business of CDF with the boss. But the only areas where the pope's expressed involvement is necessary in the daily governance of the church are the canonization of saints and the appointment of bishops. As no list of audiences is being produced in the daily bulletins, a Vaticanista is led to wonder....

In that vein, we just received word of an American appointment of the unexpected kind. Pre-empting the August 75th of Bishop Ken Angell of Burlington, John Paul II has just announced the elevation of 59 year-old Msgr. Salvatore Matano of the diocese of Providence to serve as Angell's coadjutor. Again, given the number of superannuated bishops who are being made to wait in the area of two years for their successors, the timing of this one leads us to consider the circumstances.

The fact that Matano's appointment wasn't sat on for six months means that, when that August day rolls around, Rome wants Angell out -- and quickly. Either that, or the latter was just tired and put in a request for a coadjutor in the interests of a smooth transition. (And that's doubtful.)

But an Italian as bishop in Vermont, home of Phish? That's a pretty nice "wow" factor.

Get this -- Matano comes to Burlington from the Nunciature in Washington, where he has served as a "local collaborator" of Montalvo's. That the nuncio got Matano through the pipeline should be sign enough of his respect. Here's why: that job title is code for private investigator; Matano's been running the background checks which, since the scandal, have torpedoed more prospective bishops than you'd think. (Why else would the process have doubled in length since '02, eh?)

Joaquin Navarro speaks.... "In recent days the Pope has been receiving several of his collaborators with whom he daily follows the activity of the Holy See and the life of the Church."

That's all well and good, but who's coming to dinner and who isn't? Give us a list.



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