Saturday, May 28, 2005

Aggiunto Non di Piu'


The buzz has come in fits and starts and spanned years and two pontificates. But after conversations across the pond, Benedict XVI now seems prepared to send his predecessor's heart back to Poland, appointing Stanislaw Dziwisz as the new archbishop of Krakow.

As John Paul neared the end, it was whispered that the succession to Cardinal Francizek Macharski, who turned 78 last week, would be handled on the pope's deathbed. There were even reports around 1pm on April 1 that Dziwisz had been named a cardinal. Neither came to pass at the time, but it's good that timetable wasn't followed -- for Don Stanislaw, the emotion of sending his brother-mentor of 40 years home required a "breather."

Well, he's back -- Stani and Ratzi have long enjoyed a good rapport, whilst the former papal secretary and Sodano legendarily clashed all the time. And this Pope is giving Dziwisz pride of place; he was at Benedict's side when he reopened the Apartment after his election, and at the screening of a film on John Paul last week, the place at the pope's left usually occupied by Ganswein was given to Dziwisz, Georg taking a back-seat for the evening.

If Papa Ratzi didn't like Dziwisz, he would've been banished immediately. But the title of "Adjunct Prefect of the Papal Household," created for Dziwisz in 1998, was created to get the longtime keeper of John Paul out of the clutches of the Secretariat of State (where papal secretaries are traditionally accredited) -- Sodano interfered with Dziwisz too much, and John Paul took care of that by promoting Dziwisz and putting Jim Harvey, who would never get in his way, over him. The job function was no different, it was just a chart reshuffling to ensure that Dziwisz could get done what the Pope wanted done, and that he could keep the backdoor to the Apartment wide open. (Friends who have gone through that backdoor speak with great love of Don Stanislaw, that his gentleness and kindness are exactly those of John Paul II.)

But Benedict has his own people, rendering the aggiunto role of Dziwisz redundant. And the man needs a new sense of mission after having lost the raison d'etre of most of his 66 years.

Lastly, John Foley (who, if the buzz is to be believed, will be hacked into four pieces and made ordinary of San Francisco, Baltimore, Washington and Lake Charles) tells a story about a lunch that illuminates Dziwisz's qualities and the role he played for John Paul the Great:

"The pope knew that I didn't drink. I don't drink alcohol. And his secretary, Archbishop Dziwisz, knew the same thing, so Archbishop Dziwisz, when I'm eating this rum-soaked cake with gusto, said, "Archbishop Foley, what do you call a person who doesn't drink alcohol but eats it?" and I looked at him and I said, "A hypocrite." And the pope had his mouth full and went...."

The pope had to cover his full mouth, because he was laughing so hard -- keeping the late pope balanced and happy was the aggiunto's most important job. And now, a new mission seems to await....



Post a Comment

<< Home