Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Official... Finally: "Ratzingerino" Rises at CDW

As has been expected for several months, what could be called the ultimate "lex orandi est lex credendi" appointment has formally, finally, come to pass: the Pope has named the primate of Spain, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera of Toledo, as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Dubbed the "Ratzingerino" -- the "Little Ratzinger" -- as a collaborator of the then-prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the 63 year-old prelate succeeds Cardinal Francis Arinze, who reached the retirement age of 75 in November 2007.

Born in Valencia, the global church's incoming Liturgy Czar -- whose plate now finds the coming implementation of the revised English-language Mass-texts near its top -- hails from an extensive background steeped not in the beat he'll now supervise, but in catechetical theology. After 15 years in the classroom, he became the Spanish bishops' desk chief for doctrine in 1985 and was ordained bishop of Avila in 1992. Named archbishop of Granada in 1996, he was promoted to Spain's eldest see six years later.

As a sign of B16's favor, at 60, Cañizares was the youngest of the 15 new cardinals elevated at this pontificate's first consistory in 2006.

With this morning's appointment, 45 months since his election to Peter's chair, Benedict has now named six of the nine heads of the Roman congregations -- a pontiff's chief deputies in the oversight of the universal church. Of these, four have come from the leadership of high-profile archdioceses.

Formally vacant following this morning's announcement, Cañizares will remain apostolic administrator of Toledo "for at least some months," according to Spanish reports. However, the 63 year-old archbishop of Zaragoza, Manuel Ureña Pastor, has already been tipped as his successor in the venerable 560,000-member archdiocese, its history traceable to the 1st century AD.

SVILUPPO: According to the Spanish press, the new prefect will arrive in Rome to take up the CDW post within 48 hours.

Permitted to remain in charge of the Toledo see pending his successor's appointment and installation, Cañizares said earlier today that he intends to shuttle between the two for the duration of the interregnum.

It is an arrangement without precedent.