Biffi: It's What's For Preaching
According to Thavis via Vatican Radio, this year's Lenten retreat will fall to the archbishop-emeritus of Bologna, Cardinal Giacomo Biffi.
Cardinal Biffi was said to be a strong supporter of the pope in the conclave that elected him in 2005. The cardinal is well-known in Italy for his sometimes provocative statements; in 2000, he suggested that the Italian government should favor Catholic immigrants to offset the number of Muslim immigrants and protect Italy's "national identity."Among other notable quotables from Biffi, a Milan native -- and Ambrose scholar -- who retired in 2004 yet remains a papal elector for another 16 months: likening women's ordination to using Coke in lieu of altar wine; comparing the rainbow flag of Italy's peace movements to the banner of Arcigay, the country's flagship gay-rights group; and, most memorably, his Jubilee Year assertion that, as the BBC headlined it, the "Antichrist is a vegetarian."
OK, so even without a papabile preacher, it should still make for quite an interesting time.... Probably even more interesting than a younger designee tempted to make a lasting (i.e. career-making) impression.
SVILUPPO: Biffi's Lenten retreat will begin with its opening meditation, Eucharistic adoration and benediction starting at 1800 Rome time on 25 February, the First Sunday of Lent (a week earlier in the seasonal cycle than in years past). The exercises will then stretch through the morning of the following Saturday, 3 March. For their duration, the normal activity of the Roman Curia and Papal Household is suspended.
The theme of the talks will be "The Things of Above," chosen by the preacher and drawn from the first two verses of Colossians 3: "[S]eek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth."
According to the Italian news agency Korazym, it's the Bologna prelate's second turn at the ambo; Biffi offered the 1989 Lenten retreat in the presence of John Paul II.