Religion & Public Life With Mark Silk

Religion & Public Life With Mark Silk

Cardinals v. Reform

cardinal.jpgThe new collection of cardinals named by Pope Benedict yesterday is heavy with officials of the Roman curia. According to Tom Reese (in an emailed piece not yet posted now posted here), the curial component of the College of Cardinals has increased from 24 percent to 28 during Benedict’s papacy, and relatedly, the percentage of Italians from 16.5 percent to 20.7 percent. This reflects a notable shift from John Paul II’s policy of decreasing the number of Italians in favor of Eastern Europeans.


It’s been clear for some time (at least to me and the editors of America) that major responsibility for the abuse crisis rests with the Curia. Here, for example, is a bit of America‘s May 17, 2010 editorial:

Beyond taking responsibility for the crisis of sexual abuse of minors by
clerics, the renewal of the church must include the reform of the Roman
Curia proposed by the Second Vatican Council and begun by Pope Paul VI.
The interpersonal and institutional practices that blocked proper
handling of abuse cases must be rooted out. Many American bishops can
testify to their frustration in their attempts to get support from
Vatican offices for disciplining offenders. Along with the victims, many
bishops have suffered because of this. Favoritism and personal
influence can never be wholly eliminated, but they can be held in check.
Institutional reform is not the most elevated religious activity, but
it is religiously necessary; and it is precisely the kind of endeavor
for which God blesses us with the gift of wisdom.


Let’s just say that bulking up the place of the Curia in the College does not exactly send a signal of imminent reform. Nor does it bode well for the selection of a pope with the wherewithal to undertake it. Whatever else he is, Benedict is a man of the Curia. It’s where he’s spent most of his career. It’s where he feels at home. I suppose this was to be expected.

Comments read comments(3)
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Eugene Pagano

posted October 21, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Where will Father Reese be posting?

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posted October 21, 2010 at 10:24 pm

You have to give them credit. These old zebras don’t change their stripes. Abuse problem? What problem? Haven’t you heard, it was all solely the fault of a few renegade priests, gay culture and a liberal media in America. And besides, the PR department has given the pope an empty apology to read on all his trips. Nothing to see here, folks….

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Kenjiro M. Shoda

posted October 25, 2010 at 8:56 am

I am generally pleased with the new intake of members to the Sacred College of Cardinals….though there are afew (Wurl, Ravasi, Romeo) who can be considered the aged members of the “Vatican II Cheerleader Squad”…those who run the Church like Vatican II was the best thing that ever happened to the Church, and there is no spiritual, moral, or disiplinary crisis in the Church whatsoever.
Everything is rosy, and the old Catholic tradition is a thing of the past.
Fortunatly, these represent a dying breed, as seen by the intake of new Cardinals Burke,Piacenza, Ranjith, DePaolis, Bartolucci(despite his age), and afew others. Naming these traditionalists who are openly supporters of the Tridentine Latin Mass and see much of what came from Vatican II liturgically at least as a gross mistake would have been unthiunkable under John Paul II. Ranjith and Bartolucci were both banished by the regime of John Paul II. Now they are being elevated to the highest rank of honor (except the papacy).
The liberal National Catholic Reporter heralded the new Cardinal Ravasi,68 (a liberal), as the most papabile of the new crop of Cardinals.
Many don’t think so. He represents the dying “Vatican II” cabal in the Church.
Many would ppoint more to people like Piacenza (66), Ranjith (62), or even Burke (62) as more likely candidates.
If Pope Benedict XVI lives to create yet another round of Cardinals in 2-3 years (hopefully he does), his model of a Church returning to Catholic tradition will be re-inforced not only by the good men he picks, but aslo because the liberal or wimpish moderates picked by John Paul II will by then be too old to vote. In three years, less than 30 John Paul II cardinals will still be able to vote and all will be aged men. By then, Pope Benedict XVI will more firmly create a traditionalist Church…and the men selected as Cardinals will reflect this change even more.
Who knows, in the next conclave, we might get a Pope more in the mold of Pius XII than another John Paul II.
Than sends shudders down the liberal Catholic spine!

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