Friday, February 24, 2006


The Pope got to see one of his red hats-to-be this morning, receiving Cardinal-designate William Levada for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's standing Friday audience.

Of course, however, no reference was made to Levada's impending status by the Vatican, he was called "S.E. Mons. William Joseph Levada" as if nothing had happened.... Somebody told you about this the other day: the Vatican rule is no "Eminenza," no "cardinal-designate," no give-aways whatsoever until the Consistory.

As the first-ranking designee on the list -- thanks to the seniority of the dicastery he heads -- Levada will render the "indirizzo d'omaggio," or the customary address of homage and gratitude to the Pope in the name of the class of new cardinals, at the public consistory.

While the homage has been given by non-Italians before -- the Frenchman Jean-Louis Tauran in 2003, the Chilean Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez in 1998, the Spaniard Eduardo Martinez Somalo in 1988 -- 24 March will mark the first time that the address has been given by an American.

Also received today by the Pope: Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, the former nuncio to the United States, now settling into his Roman retirement.