Friday, October 17, 2008

Possible Changes in the Roman Curia

The following article appeared in today's edition of the Italian newspaper ItaliaOggi.

Here it is in an NLM translation.

Vatican: Soon a Reshuffle

A Spate of Appointments in the Curia. Shakeup in the Italian Bishops’ Conference. Fisichella to Milan. Miglio Favourite for Turin. Sardi, Caccia and Viganò to Retire.

By Andrea Bevilacqua

Important moves pre-announce themselves over the coming weeks within the Roman Curia. In fact, the Synod of Bishop taking place these days in the Vatican has brought several prelates to Rome and so it has been easy for the Pontiff and his closest collaborators to have exchanges of opinions regarding the next provisions which will have to be made within the organisation chart of the government of the Church.

The main provision concerns the Congregation for Divine Worship. Here a double change will take place at the top: at a time both the prefect, Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze, as well as the secretary, the Ceylonese Malcolm Ranjith, will change. Replacing Arinze there will come Spanish Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, archbishop of Toledo. Whereas for the succession of Ranjith, the game is on. There are people who are talking insistently of the arrival of Salesian liturgist Manlio Sodi. But that would be difficult to actually happen, given the polemical statements that Sodi has made in the past regarding the papal motu proprio Summorum Pontificum by which the old rite revised in 1962 by John XXIII has been liberalised.

Still within the Roman Curia there is now ever more insistent talk about three important changes in the Secretariat of State, i.e. in the organ of command which today has the most power inside the Holy See. These concern the probably imminent fare-well of Monsignor Sardi, Monsignor Caccia and Monsignor Viganò. Sardi, years ago professor of moral theology at the seminary of the diocese of Acqui Terme, is the one who redacts the drafts of the speeches of the Pope. Monsignor Viganò, on the other hand, is at the helm of the office for the personnel of the Holy See: he watches hence over every recruitment. Whereas Caccia is Assessor for General Affairs, i.e basically vice minister [of the interior, NLM]. These are three appointments of the second row [i.e. level below the top, NLM], but of great importance because of the posts they occupy. So much so that despite the Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone, having long had in mind to put them into practice, he is still having trouble finding worthy substitutes to the three, and above all finding new posts which do not sound like dismissals for them.

From the Roman Curia to the Italian dioceses. Having settled the difficult case of Florence – to the post of Cardinal Ennio Antonelli the Pope has appointed archbishop Monsignor Giuseppe Betori – there remain open the knotty questions of Milan and Turin. Milan is the diocese where one could soon have the name of the successor to Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi. The followers of Tettamanzi and of the previous archbishop, Cardinal Martini, would like the arrival of a Milanese, but from various parts there is also talk about a possibility by the name of Monsignor Rino Fisichella. This, it is thought in the world of the Milanese associations, will be the appointment, and even if it is a rupture with respect to Martini and Tettamanzi, it would be of great prestige.

As for Turin, it is now little more than a year until the fare-well of Poletto [the current Cardinal archbishop, NLM]. Here, as well, the game is between those who want continuity with respect to the present administration and those who, in contrast, want a renewal. If there will be continuity, the most probable appointment is that of the bishop of Ivrea, Arrigo Miglio. Otherwise everything is possible.

I would just like to remark, regarding Fr Sodi, that he was not re-appointed as Consultor to the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff last month, cf. here and here.

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