More on The First 100
Bettinelli says that B16 "is less likely to leave matters of ordinary governance to his subordinates, like JP2 did with Navarro-Valls and Dziwisz. While he does have a certain group of people who work with him, they are much less influential than JP2’s inner circle, especially at the end of his life."
To put Navarro-Valls on a plane with Dziwisz as a policymaker is, at best, a naieve understanding of the operations of the Holy See from 1984. At worst, it's inept and an insult to Dziwisz, who has been insulted too much these days. JP had an inner circle of one: Dziwisz. Period. This Pope's circle, though wider and spread more thinly, is no less influential. Look at The Man Who Will Be Kingmaker, lo Statiunitense....
Even before the www.chiesa story broke, and having written extensively about Ingrid, I've become very intrigued with the figure of Birgit Wansing. While Stampa is not a theologian but a musician, translator and guardian of the Pope's sanity, Wansing is a force of theological heft whose voice carries weight with Ratzinger. Now that Ingrid has been integrated into the Curia, I'm told, her influence keeps increasing markedly, and her gentle hand is being felt.
Ostensibly with her Prefect's blessing, John Allen noted in The Rise that Birgit Wansing wrote an essay for L'Osservatore a few years back condemning animal cruelty as incompatible with Christianity. That's just fascinating. But it remains to be seen if she'll remain at the CDF or if she, too, will make the move once Levada is installed in Rome come September. Amato said in a recent interview that Wansing "is destined to change palaces," i.e. from the Holy Office to the Pope's direct service.
A major difficulty in the central coordination of the Curia -- a top reason why it speaks with so many voices -- is that, for all its many organs, there is no entity which could be seen as the Office of the Pope. The closest thing to this is State, to which his secretaries are accredited, where his correspondence is handled and the details of his major travel are worked out. The Prefecture of the Pontifical Household handles visitors and logstics, but where conflicts arise there is no gravitational force to balance the two, just the Pope himself and his secretary.
I have a funny feeling that this will be rectified in the coming shake-up, that we'll see the establishment of a properly constituted gathering of the Pope's own officials accountable to him alone and under his direct leadership, to assist in the increased effectiveness both of his own mission and that of the Curia which operates in his name. There'd be Georg, Ingrid, Birgit, etc... maybe a TNT or two to add to the glamour quotient.
And, of course, there'll be cats to keep the State mice at bay.