[T]he buzz around the Roman Curia has concentrated -- not surprisingly -- on possible changes in the Roman Curia. Murmurs of a clean sweep of several top Vatican officials and a major "shrinking" of Vatican departments have been echoing down the marble hallways for several weeks.And you've been hearing that in this marble hallway for... several weeks.
The real Roman Curia is awaiting the first wave of significant appointments in Pope Benedict's young papacy. The pope's only major appointment so far came last May, when he named U.S. Archbishop William J. Levada to head the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.Cardinale subito!
The speculation about wholesale curial changes has been fueled by the fact that seven cardinal heads of major Vatican departments are past age 75, the normal retirement age. They include Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the 77-year-old secretary of state, and Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, 76, head of the Congregation for Clergy.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, who served for many years at the Vatican, was mentioned in one press report as a candidate for the secretary of state job. But in a radio interview in early September, Archbishop Martin seemed to dismiss the report, saying he was happy in Dublin and had a busy work program there for the foreseeable future.
Many at the Vatican remember a speech Cardinal Ratzinger gave at the 1998 Synod of Bishops for Asia, in which he warned that too many institutions could make the church immobile.If I were a Stato staffer reading that line... you get the idea.
"The only institutional element always necessary for the church is what was given by the Lord, that is, the sacramental structure of the people of God," he said at the time.
Whenever he does name new cardinals, a Vatican official said, one thing can be certain: The pope made the decision himself.And whenever he does maintain cardinal-archbishops past their 75th birthdays, Rock said, one thing can be certain: The pope made the decision himself.