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John Allen today:

Focus on the Salesians (Cardinal Bertone’s order)

At the moment, the Salesians have more bishops than any other order in the church — a total of 116, while their nearest competitor, the Order of Friars Minor, have 104, and the Jesuits 74. There are also seven Salesian cardinals, the second-highest total after the Jesuits, with 10.

Bertone is emblematic of the trend. His last Vatican job was as deputy to then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s doctrinal agency. When Bertone moved to Genoa in 2003, Ratzinger turned to another Salesian, Archbishop Angelo Amato, to fill Bertone’s slot.

The only Nobel Prize winner in the Catholic episcopacy is a Salesian — Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo of East Timor, who won the Peace Prize in 1996 along with José Ramos-Horta for their work for reconciliation.

On one of the causes approved for further movement on the canonization road:

On Monday, 155 years after Rosmini’s death, Benedict XVI signed a "decree of heroic virtue," clearing the first hurdle towards Rosmini’s beatification. In fact, Benedict approved 19 decrees on Monday, moving forward the causes of 162 candidates.

In his famous 1848 work The Five Wounds of the Church, Rosmini identified the most grave challenges facing the church of his day as he saw them:

      • The division of the people from the clergy in worship (due to ignorance and the use of Latin),
      • The defective education of the clergy,
      • The disunion of bishops (due to territorialism, nationalism and wealth),
      • The nomination of bishops by the secular power (rather than by election), and
      • The enslavement of the church by riches (due to the long shadow of feudalism).

These positions may seem unremarkable today, but at the time they generated enormous controversy, and left Rosmini under a cloud. In 1887, 22 years after Rosmini’s death, the Holy Office issued a decree Post obitum in which 40 "propositions" lifted from Rosmini’s work were condemned. For example, Rosmini was accused of favoring "ontologism," a sort of philosophical form of pantheism. While the "propositions" largely had to do with the mystery of God and creation, the politics of the 19th century hovered in the background, especially Rosmini’s openness to Italian unification over against defenders of the temporal power of the papacy.

For more than a century, Rosmini’s supporters, including the Institute of Charity which he founded, pushed for a reevaluation.

Plus notes on yesterday’s liturgy, the Synod for Africa, and Cardinal Lopez-Trujillo’s statement on embryo-destructive research.

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