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Via Media


Curial Changes in the air?

posted by awelborn

Papabile says:

The first ten days of September will leave everyone’s head spinning. There’s a major reorg coming….

Whispers concurs:

Combine those with reports from three continents that certain prelates have already been given happy news and are preparing for new assignments in Rome, and you can see — again — that something BIG is afoot. The strategy at work here is to have it done early and done quickly, lest everyone get too comfortable at their desks coming back from vacation….

What’s more, as the dicastery heads are all ex officio members of the Synod of Bishops, it just makes better sense for the New Curia to be appointed prior to the 2 October opening of the Synod on the Eucharist, so the incoming prefects and presidents can take their seats in the Hall and be able to mix it up the bishop-delegates coming to town from around the world. Encouraging good working relationships is what you do when you want your bureaucracy to be a collegial one, and the Pope has explicitly given his commitment to that.

Oh, and Vaticanisti wonders about the nominee to be the new US ambassador to the Vatican, wondering bluntly, "Who is this guy?"



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Gerard E.

posted August 23, 2005 at 10:57 am


P and W’s timetables sound accurate, now that WYD is in the EWTN tape library. Much to do on this side of the pond. Point one- the new archbishop of San Francisco, who will probably be fitted with riot helmet, face shield, and Kevlar armor to face the city’s Powers That Be. Then again, what could happen a few hundred miles to the south. As in City of Angels. As in a cardinal with a less-than-cordial relationship with the local prosecutor. Concerning alleged nocturnal activities of his proteges. Wondering here in Philly if curate veteran Cardinal Rigali is also off to Rome- again, for good. He has four auxiliary bishops at his disposal- one of whom, Mike Burbidge, is America’s youngest. No lack of bench strength in the U.S., just considering some of our personal faves- Chaput, Burke, Myers, Dolan, Sheridan. Most under 60. Should be oodles of fun to watch.



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Steve

posted August 23, 2005 at 11:10 am


Who is the boom going to be lowered on? Is there someone in particular you all are thinking of who will be fired? Is this typically a big event when a new Pope comes around?
I’m not Catholic, so I’m just trying to get a feel for what you all seem to pick up with your Catholic spidey-sense.
Steve



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hieronymus

posted August 23, 2005 at 11:22 am


Exciting…



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amy

posted August 23, 2005 at 11:27 am


It’s not spidey-sense. Papabile and Rocco both have their sources. And it’s really not “firing.” Many of these curial heads (especially those we are discussing who might be moved) are over 70. at least, and some over 75. This is a new papacy. Changes are natural.



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Quintero

posted August 23, 2005 at 11:27 am


Will Cardinal Mahony be getting a “promotion” to a desk job in Rome?



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Clayton

posted August 23, 2005 at 11:41 am


The US ambassador to the Vatican doesn’t always have a close pulse on the situation of the Church in America.
Just a week ago, I met Raymond Flynn, who was the ambassador under Clinton. He also spoke at my college graduation. I was part of a group that was reading a screenplay he has underway, based on his novel, the Accidental Pope. This accidental Pope, a widower from Boston, champions the cause of women’s ordination, among other things.
One of my notes on the screenplay was that he needed to consider his audience: his protagonist would not appeal, for instance, to the 1 million people gathered in Cologne this month. Flynn seemed shocked. As he looked around the room at a dozen of us twenty- and thirty-somethings, he flat out asked us: “You mean women’s ordination is not an issue that you feel passionate about?” And we universally shook our heads. It was like an epiphany for him. I went on to say that his protagonist might have looked like a hero in 1962, but not today. What he didn’t seem to understand is that our generation feels like survivors of the sexual revolution, not its advocates.
I’ll blog more about this soon. But I was surprised to see that a US ambassador to the Vatican could have such an insular view of ecclesial life in America. Obviously he hadn’t spent much time in a US seminary…



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RP Burke

posted August 23, 2005 at 11:43 am


Who is this guy?
Easy. Just read the article and you’ll see how he got the appointment:
He is “one of the GOP’s biggest donors during the last election ….”



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RP Burke

posted August 23, 2005 at 11:44 am


…Chaput, Burke, Myers, Dolan, Sheridan …
Radical authoritarians all. Be careful for what you wish for …



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amy

posted August 23, 2005 at 11:57 am


Clayton:
I particularly liked the part with the Pope’s son roller-skating through the Vatican hallways.
Worst. PopeFiction. Ever.



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Sean Gallagher

posted August 23, 2005 at 12:06 pm


Radical authoritarians all. Be careful for what you wish for …
Authoritarian or authoritative? There’s a big difference between the two.



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Clayton

posted August 23, 2005 at 12:07 pm


I haven’t read the novel, so I was spared that passage. The screenplay had almost nothing about his wife and kids.
But to be fair, the screenplay is a work in progress. And the writer Flynn hired to write the script is open to making some major revisions. We gave him nearly two hours of notes. So we’ll see how the next draft turns out.



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Damian

posted August 23, 2005 at 12:23 pm


RP Burke,
I see from your email address that you are a ND alum. Taken many McBrien classes, have we?



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Damian

posted August 23, 2005 at 12:24 pm


RP Burke,
I see from your email address that you are a ND alum. Taken many McBrien classes, have we?



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RP Burke

posted August 23, 2005 at 12:24 pm


I meant authoritarian. The crew mentioned as “our faves” mistake the one for the other.



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RP Burke

posted August 23, 2005 at 12:32 pm


Damian,
Graduate degree, not in theology. So, one fallacy you can’t use is to tar me by association.



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Tim Ferguson

posted August 23, 2005 at 12:34 pm


I don’t think Mahony will get “kicked up” to the Vatican. Benedict, as a member of the curia for twenty some years, recognizes the value of having qualified people in those offices rather than simply place-fillers. I suspect it more likely that someone with proven Roman experience – Burke, Rigali, Dolan – would end up there. Levada in the CDF, one of the most powerful positions in the Vatican, also makes it unlikely that another American, let alone another Californian, will be given a major post any time soon.
I’m expecting a good deal of “tinkering” with the apparatus of the Roman Curia over the next couple years: John Paul the Great did a major reorg in 96, but a lot of the key players remained in position, which has the effect of moderating the changes. Benedict, with a curialist’s eye, will likely look to efficiency and quality in the personnel rather than shifting job descriptions (although he’s already moved the task of dealing with laicizations from the Cong. for Sacraments to the Cong. for the Clergy).
It should be an interesting couple of months, and I’m anxious to see how the ball begins rolling.



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mark j

posted August 23, 2005 at 12:43 pm


So, is the sort of unspoken rumor that Cdl. Sodano is out at the Secretariat of State? Or am I just confused?



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Steve

posted August 23, 2005 at 1:23 pm


I was just joking about the spidey sense phrase. Thanks for the reply.



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Ronny

posted August 23, 2005 at 1:29 pm


Benedict, with a curialist’s eye, will likely look to efficiency and quality in the personnel rather than shifting job descriptions…
It will be interesting to see if this holds true. One complaint that I have heard voiced is that the current structure of the Curia has everyone else in the Curia formally reporting to the Secretariat of State rather than directly to the Pope. The Secretariat of State has two sections, the Section for General Affairs, and the Section for Relations with States. As the Secretariat of State’s page on the Vatican’s web site states, “In conformity with Arts. 41-44 of Pastor Bonus, the Section for General Affairs or the First Section is responsible for handling matters regarding the everyday service of the Supreme Pontiff, both in caring for the universal Church and in dealing with the dicasteries of the Roman Curia.”
Since the Secretariat of State allegedly is dominated at the mid-levels by Italian diplomats who are accustomed to diplomatically smoothing over problems so as to give a “good appearance” to things, so the complaint goes, making the rest of the Curia and the Church report to it as a middleman to the Pope through the Section for General Affairs has the effect of important internal Church matters being filtered through the lens of a political diplomacy whose main object is to avoid anything unpleasant. While that may be called for at times (certainly not always) in relations with foreign governments or other non-Catholic entities, using a diplomatic model for managing the day-to-day internal affairs of the Church may be detrimental to it.
If what I have been told is an accurate picture of the curial bureaucracy, Cardinal Ratzinger used to have to work under this model himself, with his interactions with the Pope and other dicasteries often being finessed through the Secretariat of State before reaching their intended intended parties. Consequently, he’s got the names and numbers of anyone at the Secretariat of State who was an obstacle to getting things done in the past and knows what limitations of the current model enabled them to be obstacles.



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Jaime

posted August 23, 2005 at 3:26 pm


The Vatican Ambassador nomination may confirm suspicions that Catholics – and Christans in general – were just being used for the last 6 years. For all the talk of how interested Rove was in Catholic matters and what excellent access Catholics had through Deal Hudson, once Hudson was disgraced, they didn’t know anyone else and had to come up with someone who is not in the Catholic loop.
I guess we can be grateful it wasn’t John Bolton, although a nonentity is almost as insulting if a bit less destructive.



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Dudley

posted August 23, 2005 at 3:39 pm


I wonder if they asked or even thought of Mary Ann Glendon for ambassador.
That might have been an inspired choice, guaranteeing Catholic points of view would get lots of press and giving a boast to pro-life and embryonic issues. Aside from being brilliant and articulate, she’s photogenic.
If they are really pro-life, why didn’t they nominate someone who can effectively make that argument?



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Tom

posted August 23, 2005 at 3:51 pm


One wonders if New York may be in for a change with a move to Rome and possibly Newark to across the river and maybe Lincoln. We shall wait and see.



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Tom

posted August 23, 2005 at 3:52 pm


One wonders if New York may be in for a change with a move to Rome and possibly Newark to across the river and maybe Lincoln. We shall wait and see.



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John J. Simmins

posted August 23, 2005 at 4:24 pm


Dear Mr. Rove,
I am available for the position of ambassador to the Vatican. I look forward to hearing from you.
John



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John J. Simmins

posted August 23, 2005 at 4:26 pm


Dear Mr. Rove,
I am available for the position of ambassador to the Vatican. I look forward to hearing from you.
John



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Sean Gallagher

posted August 23, 2005 at 4:30 pm


I think that’s it better for Glendon to represent the Holy See at world events (as she did at the Beijing Women’s Conference) than for her to represent the United States at the Holy See.
RP, incidentally, I too was a grad student at Notre Dame (not in theology), and since it would appear that we have different view points on ecclesial matters, this fact shows that there’s no one blue print for a Domer.
More the point, how do you distinguish ‘authoritative’ from ‘authoritarian’?
For many Christians and some Catholics, it appears that there is no difference between a bishop being authoritative in teaching the faith and applying it to contemporary moral problems and being authoritarian.



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Sean Gallagher

posted August 23, 2005 at 4:34 pm


I think that’s it better for Glendon to represent the Holy See at world events (as she did at the Beijing Women’s Conference) than for her to represent the United States at the Holy See.
RP, incidentally, I too was a grad student at Notre Dame (not in theology), and since it would appear that we have different view points on ecclesial matters, this fact shows that there’s no one blue print for a Domer.
More the point, how do you distinguish ‘authoritative’ from ‘authoritarian’?
For many Christians and some Catholics, it appears that there is no difference between a bishop being authoritative in teaching the faith and applying it to contemporary moral problems and being authoritarian.



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Ronny

posted August 23, 2005 at 4:44 pm


Is there an echo in here?



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TT

posted August 23, 2005 at 4:57 pm


RP,
There are plenty of “liberal” bishops that have been authoritarian by any definition when some of their priests didn’t join them in worshiping the “Spirit of Vat II” zeitgeist. It is truly amazing just how “unwelcoming” and “judgmental” when *their* orthodoxy is threatened.



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TT

posted August 23, 2005 at 4:59 pm


…how “unwelcoming” and “judgmental” they can be when *their* orthodoxy is threatened.



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Art Deco

posted August 23, 2005 at 5:23 pm


Radical authoritarians all. Be careful for what you wish for …
Principles of apostolic succession are inherently incongruent with principles of popular sovereignty. There is no diocesan conciliar body that binds either Bp. Howard Hubbard or Bp. Burke any more than either cares to be bound.



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Anonymous Teacher Person

posted August 23, 2005 at 8:44 pm


There’s a genre classified as “PopeFiction?”
And they say blogs are a time suck.



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michigancatholic

posted August 23, 2005 at 8:47 pm


Quintero, I think Cdl Mahoney would make a great napkin folder–that is–if they can keep him down in the kitchen out of sight.



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Donna

posted August 23, 2005 at 9:00 pm


Please, please, please, Lord, leave Dolan where he is! O.K., my reasons are partly selfish (since attending the 9 a.m. Archbishop’s Mass at the Cathedral always brightens my Sundays), but the truth of the matter is that Dolan still has a lot of cleaning up to do around here after all those years under the Rule of Rembert.
“Radical authoritarian?” Dolan is a kindly, jovial, charming man who believes in the CCC and he is being fought tooth and nail by the aging “spirit of Vatican II” types this Archdiocese has in such abundance.



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Boniface McInnes

posted August 23, 2005 at 9:40 pm


“”Radical authoritarian?” Dolan is a kindly, jovial, charming man who believes in the CCC and he is being fought tooth and nail by the aging “spirit of Vatican II” types this Archdiocese has in such abundance.”
Pretty much jibes with what we have seen demonstrated on this blog.



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julian

posted August 23, 2005 at 9:53 pm


Perhaps Benedict will realize Archbishop Marini’s true value and honor him accordingly. I say that the red hat and the nunciature to Saudi Arabia would be an appropriate award for Msgr. Marini’s “service.”



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Samuel J. Howard

posted August 23, 2005 at 10:55 pm


“someone who is not in the Catholic loop.”
The guys a Knight of Malta and helping build a Latin Mass Monastery? What more do you want?



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Calculon

posted August 24, 2005 at 12:20 am


Will Cardinal Mahony be getting a “promotion” to a desk job in Rome?
I told you guys before — papal nuncio to Guatemala!



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amt

posted August 24, 2005 at 7:38 am


I can no longer hear the phrase “spirit of Vatican II” without remembering Fr Groeschel in a talk last fall:
“Spirit of Vatican II? I think there was more than one spirit of Vatican II. And one of ‘em was a poltergeist. (And another one a werewolf)!”



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bruce cole

posted August 24, 2005 at 10:58 am


At least Rove (oh, I mean Bush the Younger) didn’t think of Michael Novak for the post…Novak spends part of his time fantasizing about being the Maritain of our time (when he’s not being Lord Acton, or Adam Smith, or James Madison) and Maritain WAS French ambassador to the Holy See 1944-47. Glendon would have been good, though. That’s why they never thought of her.



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-ed-

posted August 24, 2005 at 12:27 pm


Authoritarian or authoritative?
My “authoritarian” mother would not let me hang around with a certain group of kids when I was a teen.
Years later, I learned that one died of an overdose and another in a DUI. Most of the rest are either in drug rehab or jail.
I put myself through college (we were to poor for my parents to pay for it) and now earn 6 figures.
Thanks “authoritative” mom.



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Joseph D'Hippolito

posted August 24, 2005 at 1:20 pm


Calculon, papal nuncio to Guatemala is too good a job for Roger “The Truth Dodger” Mahony. May I suggest nuncio to Mongolia? Azerbajan? The Central African Republic?
Then again, maybe he’ll stay where he is so the authorities can deal with him? That would be truly delicious to watch.
As Lee Penn said on another thread on this blog, “think liturgical orange.” Right on, Lee!
All kidding aside, the only thing that will impress me about these changes will be if:
1. Episcopal enablers of sexual predators in the clergy get punished.
2. Anti-Israeli, anti-Western, pro-Muslim elements in the Vatican are deprived of influence (and, yes, they do exist).



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JonathanR.

posted August 24, 2005 at 3:06 pm


Don’t inflict Mahoney on those countries…Mongolia, Ajerbaijan, et al need evangelizing bishops, not bishops who think cardboard boxes make for inspiring cathedrals.



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Dave Mueller

posted August 24, 2005 at 5:01 pm


I think we should make Cardinal Mahony the first bishop of an entire CONTINENT!!!! (Antarctica)



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julian

posted August 24, 2005 at 5:37 pm


Mahony? Antarctica? I love it!
He could be Archbishop of McMurdo Sound and Primate of Antarctica. He could rebuild his dreadful cathedral with ice. The penguins with any architectural sense would be outraged.



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Samuel J. Howard

posted August 24, 2005 at 10:47 pm


“At least Rove (oh, I mean Bush the Younger) didn’t think of Michael Novak for the post…Novak spends part of his time fantasizing about being the Maritain of our time (when he’s not being Lord Acton, or Adam Smith, or James Madison) and Maritain WAS French ambassador to the Holy See 1944-47. Glendon would have been good, though. That’s why they never thought of her.”
I’m wondering if people understand the job of an Ambassador. It’s important that they be aware of the issues surrounding the entity (I’d say country, but our Embassy is to the Holy See, not the State) they represent the US to, but their job is to speak and act for the Chief Executive of the United States. If anything, all these “great lights” being proposed would be restricted in their roles as such by being Ambassador.
For instance, Glendon would I think have to resign her Vatican post(s?).



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Meg Q

posted August 25, 2005 at 5:30 pm


I propose HE Cdl Mahony as the new nuncio to Tonga.



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Victor Morton

posted August 28, 2005 at 11:39 pm


I’ve a better idea for Mahony … Church envoy to the Soviet Union.



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