Tuesday, September 06, 2005

"The Pope's 'Hot' Autumn"

Having made an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" decision by giving the vote of confidence to Cardinal McCarrick's good service in Washington, we return to B16's coming curial reform -- where the mantra increasingly seems to be, "it's broke, fix it."

In that vein, a goodly amount of buzz was generated across the water by a Saturday piece in Il Giornale by their Vaticanista, Andrea Tornielli.

Stating that the Pope sees the task as "the simplification of the structures of the Roman Curia," Tornielli seems to be of the school that the big more-than-tweaking will come after, as opposed to before, the Synod of Bishops which runs from 2-23 October. But the vacuum of hard news at this point says much about the Pope's style (all translations from the Italian are my own):
Benedict XVI spends many hours of the day alone, in his library, reading and studying letters; he doesn't receive people for the Mass celebrated in his private chapel, he doesn't receive people for lunch, and rarely for dinner (although he brought once from the palace of the Holy Office his former secretary, Bishop Josef Clemens, and on another occasion invited the German bishop Paul-Josef Cordes, president of Cor Unum).
You all know how much Clemens and the current secretary love each other to bits and pieces....

As reported here before, this Pope has intensified his role in the appointments of bishops when compared with his predecessor.
The style of Papa Ratzinger is very reflective, as demonstrated by his deep review of the dossiers on new episcopal appointments that Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re [prefect of the Congregation for Bishops] passes onto him, and that the pontiff holds onto without deciding on them immediately, which John Paul II did.
Our good friend Papabile (who also understands the dance of Romanita') has noted that Re's quinquennio -- the five-year term of appointment all curial superiors are given -- expires on the 17th of this month. Don't remind Rigali, the news most likely gets him even more skittish....

And Tornielli returns to what has become a constant thread of the reform drumbeat: the continual side-lining of the Secretariat of State. Apparently, the dicasteries are sending their correspondence straight to the Pope without passing it through the customary San Damaso clearinghouse. He mentions four names for the Sodano succession, a decision which is expected quickly: Cardinals Attilio Nicora, president of APSA, the Holy See's investment office; Angelo Scola of Venice, a darling of the Communione e Liberazione; and Tarcisio Bertone of Genoa, Cardinal Ratzinger's former number-two at CDF, the Holy See's frontman on combatting The DaVinci Code, "who has discussed the future of the Roman Curia with [Benedict] many times," according to Tornielli.

None of the three, nor the fourth name mentioned -- Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Jesuit archbishop of Buenos Aires (and, if several reports are to be believed, the conclave's "runner-up") -- have any experience in the diplomatic corps of the Holy See which the Secretary of State heads.

You say you want a revolution....



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