Wednesday, August 24, 2005

State Appreciation Day

In his first major spree of audiences for the vacation period, B16 received a deluge of diplomats this morning. Among those brought in were his representatives to Canada, Ethiopia, Nigeria and El Salvador, and Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations at New York.

While Migliore was summoned to prep strategy for the upcoming UN General Assembly, the rounds of visiting nuncios is a usual rite of Vatican summer. But this year, with a new pope, there is the difference of three unique exigencies....
1. The Pope seeking particular briefings on local situations, maybe even his first in-depth explorations of those places
2. Possible consultation among his diplomatic corps on the appointment of a new Secretary of State -- coming soon to a San Damaso near you
3. Making known to the nuncios -- the first and most influential players in the appointments of bishops -- what he expects from them in their vetting and recommendations
The whole bishop-making operation is in for a Benedictine rejiggering. And along those lines came this morning's announcement that the prefect of the CDF (now on the ground in Rome) has been appointed a member of the Congregation for Bishops.

This is no surprise as the Grand Inquisitor is virtually an ex officio member of Bishops. But now, the twice-monthly meetings of those members in Rome (the meetings that decide which name for a given opening will be sent upstairs to the Pope) will include a record five Americans: Cardinals Baum, Law, Szoka, Stafford and, now, the soon-to-be Cardinal Levada.

Will such a high-octane national presence mean that the process of filling vacancies will be quicker than it's been of late? As Sioux City enters its 20th month of vacancy, it's a pertinent question.



Blogger Rocco Palmo said...

Cardinal Baum is already retired -- it was his departure from the Penitentiary in late '03 that cleared the deck for Stafford to take over there.

Regardless of their activity in their primary positions, cardinals aren't relieved of their dicastery memberships until they reach the age of 80. Baum will turn 80 next year.

24/8/05 21:09  

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