Guessing at the future – what the new Curia may look like

cardinals curiaThere are persistent rumours that the reforms of the Roman Curia will soon enter a new phase as several councils will be merged into two congregations. And the preliminary steps for the new phase have already been taken in recent months.

Rumours are rumours, and we should be careful with them. We don’t know when and if changes will take place,nor do we know what they will look like. But we can guess…

Two recent personnel changes shed some light on possible future changes in the Curia. Cardinal Robert Sarah was moved from the presidency of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” to become Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, and Bishop Mario Toso left his position as Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace to become bishop of Faenza-Modigliana. Neither prelate has yet been succeeded in their previous positions, and it may be that there will not be a successor. Both “Cor Unum” and Justice and Peace are rumoured to be merged into a larger Congregation for Justice and Peace, together with the Pontifical Councils for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers.

turksonCardinal Sarah and Bishop Toso have been reassigned, but that leaves several other prelates without a clear place to go. For now at least. Candidates for the position of Prefect of the new congregation would, in my opinion, be Cardinal Peter Turkson (pictured), who now heads the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, or possibly Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, who is now the president of the Health Care council. Both are about the same age (Turkson is 66, Zimowski 65) and about the same number of years in the Curia behind them. The other option for both of them is a return to their native country, something that Pope Francis seems to prefer. In Ghana, Cardinal Turkson’s native country, the only vaguely likely option is a return to the Archdiocese of Cape Coast, where he was archbishop from 1992 to 2009. Cape Coast’s current Archbishop, Matthias Nketsiah, turns 75 in 2017. Not a very likely prospect, in my opinion.

zygmunt_zimowskiIn Poland, where Archbishop Zimowski (pictured) comes from, there is the enticing option of Kraków, which should become vacant very soon. Cardinal Dziwisz, the current archbishop there, turns 76 in April. Solely judging from these options, Cardinal Turkson would seem to be more likely to remain in Rome and head a new Congregation for Justice and Peace.

The third cardinal involved, Antonio Maria Vegliò, president of the Council for Migrants, is already 75, and should retire fairly soon. The various secretaries and undersecretaries of the Councils that are set to merge into the new Congregation will either continue their work or be given new assignments in Rome or in the countries they are from. The most senior of these is Bishop Joseph Kalathiparambil, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care for Migrants. His dicastery serves a role that is close to Pope Francis’ heart, so perhaps we can see him as secretary under Cardinal Turkson?

A second new Congregation that is said to be created is that of Laity and Family, composed of the current Pontifical Councils of the Laity and of the Family, and the Pontifical Academy for Life.

rylkoAgain, there are two most likely candidates to head this new congregation: Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko (pictured), President of the Council for the Laity for the past twelve years; and Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Family Council. Again both are the same age (69), but Cardinal Rylko has far more Curia experience (12 as opposed to 3 years). Should Cardinal Rylko be appointed to his native Poland, there really is no other place for him to go than Kraków, and we already have the option of Archbishop Zimowski going there. Two other Polish archdiocese which will fall vacant within the next few years, Warmia and Przemysl, really don’t have the stature and history for an experienced Curial cardinal. Then again, nothing is set in stone in these matters.

The rumoured merger of the Pontifical Council for the Laity into a Congregation for Laity and Family opens another interesting possibility: that the current secretary of the Laity Council, Bishop Josef Clemens, returns to his native Germany, to one of the vacant dioceses there. As we know, Limburg, Hamburg and Berlin are still vacant, and we don’t know who’s on the list for any of them.

The president of the Academy for Life, lastly, Bishop Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, is 77 and will likely be allowed to retire without playing a role in a new Congregation.

Just some educated guesses. Reality, as ever, may well turn out radically different.

Advertisements

38 pallia on 29 June

The papal pallium, in the design introduced in 2008

On 28 June, the feast day of Saints Peter and Paul, 38 metropolitan archbishops will receive the pallium from Pope Benedict XVI. The 38 are archbishops which have been appointed in the past year, and the pallium is the symbol of their jurisdiction as bestowed upon them by the pope. It is therefore also a sign of the bond between the archbishops and Rome, and thus between the Church on the local level and the worldwide level.

A pallium bestowed signifies the pastoral power of an archbishop in an archdiocese and Church province, and is tied to that jurisdiction. If an archbishop is installed in another archdiocese (as happened in the past year to Archbishop Peter Smith, who moved from Cardiff to Southwark), he will receive a new pallium.

A metropolitan archbishop has supervisory rights in the so-called suffragan dioceses outside his own archdiocese. For example, in the Netherlands, Utrecht is the archdiocese and the other dioceses are are suffragans. Archbishop Wim Eijk of Utrecht can, for example, intervene in legal matters in the other Dutch dioceses

The Vatican Information Service has the complete list new metropolitans:

– Archbishop Luis Gerardo Herrera O.F.M. of Cuenca, Ecuador
– Archbishop Alex Thomas Kaliyanil S.V.D. of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
– Archbishop Gerard Tlali Lerotholi O.M.I. of Maseru, Lesotho
– Archbishop Antonio Fernando Saburido O.S.B. of Olinda and Recife, Brazil
– Archbishop Albert Legatt of Saint-Boniface, Canada
– Archbishop Gualtiero Bassetti of Perugia – Citta della Pieve, Italy
– Archbishop Andrea Bruno Mazzocato of Udine, Italy

Archbishop Mazzocato

– Archbishop Gabriel Mblinghi C.S.Sp. of Lubango, Angola
– Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, Philippines
– Archbishop Constancio Miranda Weckmann of Chihuahua, Mexico
– Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, England
– Archbishop Juan Jose Asenjo Pelegrina of Seville, Spain.
– Archbishop Jerome Edward Lisecki of Milwaukee, U.S.A
– Archbishop Samuel Kleda of Douala, Cameroon

Archbishop Kleda

– Archbishop Jesus Sanz Montes O.F.M. of Oviedo, Spain
– Archbishop Anton Stres C.M. of Ljubljana, Slovenia
– Archbishop Joseph Atanga S.J. of Bertoua, Cameroon
– Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town, South Africa
– Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr of Cincinnati, U.S.A
– Archbishop Alberto Taveira Correa of Belem do Para, Brazil
– Archbishop Andre-Mutien [sic] Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium

Archbishop Léonard

– Archbishop Antonio Lanfranchi of Modena – Nonantola, Italy
– Archbishop Dominik Duka O.P. of Prague, Czech Republic
– Archbishop Ricardo Antonio Tobon Restrepo of Medellin, Colombia
– Archbishop Jose Domingo Ulloa Mendieta O.S.A. of Panama, Panama
– Archbishop Francis Kallarakal of Verapoly, India
– Archbishop Desire Tsarahazana of Toamasina, Madagascar
– Archbishop Ricardo Blazquez Perez of Valladolid, Spain

Archbishop Ricardo Blazquez Perez

– Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong of Kwangju, Korea
– Archbishop Luis Madrid Merlano of Nueva Pamplona, Colombia
– Archbishop Thomas Gerard Wenski of Miami, U.S.A
– Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark, England
– Archbishop Jozef Kowalczyk of Gniezno, Poland
– Archbishop Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon of Hanoi, Vietnam

Archbishop Nguyen Van Nhon

– Archbishop Matthias Kobena Nketsiah of Cape Coast, Ghana
– Archbishop Bernard Bober of Kosice, Slovakia
– Archbishop Carlos Garfias Merlos of Acapulco, Mexico
– Archbishop Luigi Moretti of Salerno – Campagna – Acerno, Italy