Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Appointment Train Hits Holland

This morning, the Pope accepted the age-induced resignation of Cardinal Adrianus Simonis as archbishop of Utrecht.

The senior prelate of the Netherlands -- where the trend toward ecclesial and political liberalism has been a cause of Vatican concern over recent decades -- turned 75 last November. No successor was immediately named, placing Utrecht alongside the archdiocese of Munich and Freising as the second major European posting awaiting a new archbishop; the Bavarian capital, where Benedict served from 1977-81, remains vacant following the February retirement of Cardinal Frederich Wetter.

Notably, Simonis has been relieved of office in the run-up to his golden jubilee as a priest this June. A bishop since 1970, he was named archbishop of Utrecht in 1983 and elevated to the college of cardinals in 1985.

Also this morning, the Pope presided at another summit meeting of the dicastery heads of the Roman Curia, the fourth of his pontificate. No agenda was released; prior meetings of the "papal cabinet" have focused on topics ranging from priestly celibacy and the "disobedience" of Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo to the reorganization of the Roman Curia and, of course, open discussion on a motu proprio allowing the wider celebration of the Tridentine Mass.