For the first time since its establishment in 2013, the so-called C9, or the Council of Cardinals who assist the pope in governing the Church and reforming the Curia, is on the verge of a major shakeup. Originally composed of eight cardinals and a bishop secretary, the council was expanded to nine with the addition of the Secretary of State in 2014.
^The Council of Cardinals in 2013. From left to right: Cardinal Errázuriz, Bishop Semeraro, Cardinal Gracias, Cardinal Marx, Pope Francis, Cardinal Maradiaga, Cardinal Bertello, Cardinal O’Malley, Cardinal Pell, Cardinal Monsengwo Pasinya. Cardinal Parolin was not yet a member.
In its 26th meeting, which concluded today, the members asked the pope to, among other things, consider the composition of the council, also taking into account the age of some of the members. This seems a direct reference to the three members who are over 75, the mandatory age of retirement for bishops and cardinals in the Curia (cardinals automatically retire at the age of 80, if their retirement had not been accepted before then). However, if, in his deliberations on this issue, the pope decides to look a few years ahead, all but two of the members of the Council of Cardinals could arguably be up for retirement.
The three senior members, who are almost certainly to retire from the Council, are:
Francisco Cardinal Errázuriz Ossa, archbishop emeritus of Santiago de Chile, 83
Laurent Cardinal Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, 78
George Cardinal Pell, Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, 77
Of these, Cardinals Errázuriz and Pell are also facing accusations of mismanagement of sexual abuse claims, perhaps further compromising their position in the Council – Cardinal Errázuriz as part of the overall Chilean abuse crisis, while Cardinal Pell, who maintains his innocence, is currently in the middle of court proceedings against him in his native Australia.
Of the other six members, 2 are currently 75, while two more will reach that age within the next to years. They are:
Óscar Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga, archbishop of Tegucigalpa, 75
Giuseppe Cardinal Bertello, president of the Governorate of and the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State, 75
Seán Cardinal O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, 74
Oswald Cardinal Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, 73
Of these, four, Cardinal Maradiaga stands accused of complicity in the handling of abuse cases and financial mismanagement, while, on he other side of the case, Cardinal O’Malley continues to play a significant part in the fight against abuse as president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
Rounding out the membership, and not at risk to be retired, at least for reasons of age are:
Reinhard Cardinal Marx, archbishop of München und Freising, 64
Pietro Cardinal Parolin, secretary of state, 63
Bishop Marcello Semeraro, bishop of Albano, 70
Who Pope Francis will select to replace the three senior Council members is anyone’s guess, although it would be logical if he maintains the practice of choosing one member per continent. So we may expect a new member each from South America, Africa and Oceania. But other than that, the guessing is actually harder than back in 2013. In his first year as pope, Francis will have likely picked cardinals he knew well enough (Errázuriz), or who headed a major diocese in their part of the world (Monsengwo Pasinya, Pell). Now, five years later, and as we have seen from the cardinals he has created, Francis may well have an eye for the little men, some of whom he gave a red hat. As it is actually called a Council of Cardinals, we can safely assume that he will choose cardinals, and not regular bishops or archbishops. Then again…
In the same statement about their 26th meeting, the Council of Cardinals also announced hat a formal response to the Viganò allegations would be forthcoming. A welcome announcement.
Today marks not only Pope Francis’ fifth red hat day, with the ceremonies to begin at 4 pm Roman time, but also an historical change in the composition of the College of Cardinals, albeit one with, on first glance, little effect on the day to day affairs of the Church.
The College of Cardinals is divided into three ranks: the cardinal-deacons, cardinal-priests and cardinal-bishops. Of these, the cardinal-bishops are of the highest rank and also the smallest of the three groups. Traditionally, the cardinal-bishops were the bishops of the seven* suburbicarian sees, the ancient dioceses surrounding Rome. Before 1962, these cardinals were the actual bishops of the suburbicarian sees, but in that year the position became titular and the dioceses received bishops who had the time to actual manage them.
The cardinal-bishops remained the highest order of cardinals, however, and from their ranks the dean and vice-dean of the entire College were chosen. In times of a sede vacante this becomes most visible, as the dean has the duty of calling the other cardinals to Rome and organising the conclave to elect a new pope. Today, the Dean of the College of Cardinals is the cardinal-bishop of Albano and Ostia, Cardinal Angelo Sodano**.
In 1965, the order of cardinal-bishops was expanded by the addition of those patriarchs of eastern Churches in union with Rome who were made cardinals. There are three of these today: the Coptic patriarch and the current and previous Maronite patriarchs. After today’s consistory, they will be joined by the Chaldean patriarch. These eastern cardinal-bishops, while equal in rank to the others, receive no suburbicarian see and do not participate in the election of dean and vice-dean (they are also unable to be elected themselves)***.
Over the centuries, but especially in the last decades, the College of Cardinals has continuously grown in size. For example, about a century ago, the conclave that elected Pope Benedict XV consisted of 57 cardinals (a further 8 were unable to take part), while following today’s consistory, there will be 125 electors. This growth took part solely in the ranks of the cardinal-deacons and the cardinal-priests. The cardinal-bishops steadfastly remained limited to the holders of the suburbicarian sees. To remedy that, Pope Francis decided to select four cardinals to be elevated to the rank of cardinal-bishops. They keep their current title churches and duties, but it may be assumed that they are now first in line to be moved to a suburbicarian see when one falls vacant. The four new cardinal-bishops are full members of the highest section of the hierarchy in all respects, and can vote for and be elected as dean or vice-dean. Canons 350 and 352 of the Code of Canon Law limit this to the holders of the suburbicarian sees, but that limitation has been waived for the new cardinal-bishops.
For this honour, which is simultaneously an obligation, Pope Francis has selected four cardinals from three different countries, who all work in the Curia in Rome.
Pietro Cardinal Parolin, Secretary of State, 63. Perhaps the most important rising star in Francis’ papacy. A trained diplomat, the erstwhile Nuncio to Venezuela was called to Rome in 2013 to succeed Cardinal Bertone as Secretary of State. In 2014 he was made a cardinal with the title of Santi Simone e Giuda Taddeo a Torre Angela, and was added to the Council of Cardinals, the C9, that assists the pope in reforming the Curia, about a year after that group was established.
Leonardo Cardinal Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, 74. Argentinean like the pope, Cardinal Sandri is also a diplomat, having served as Nuncio to Venezuela and Mexico before joining the Secretariat of State as Substitute for General Affairs in 2000. He became Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches in 2007 and was made a cardinal in that same year. Last month, he was one of the cardinal-deacons who were promoted to cardinal-priests. He maintained is title of Santi Biagio e Carlo ai Catinari, as he does with his elevation to cardinal-bishop.
Marc Cardinal Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, 74. Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in 2001 and 2002, the Canadian prelate returned home as archbishop of Québec, and was made a cardinal in 2003, with Santa Maria in Traspontina as his title church. Since 2010 he serves as prefect of the congregation which controls the appointing of bishops around the world.
Fernando Cardinal Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, 72. Like two of his three classmates a diplomat, having served as Nuncio in Jordan, Iraq and the Philippines. Like Cardinal Sandri, he also served as Substitute for General Affairs in the Secretariat of State, from 2007 to 2011. In that latter year he became Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, and was made a cardinal in 2012. He holds the title of Nostra Signora do Coromoto in San Giovanni di Dio.
In paractice these changes mean that Cardinals Parolin, Sandri, Ouellet and Filoni are among the most significant collaborators of the pope, and when the time for a conclave comes, it will be Cardinal Parolin who will oversee the proceedings: he will take on those duties that Cardinal Sodano is unable to because of his age.
With these elevations and the creation of fourteen new cardinals today, the makeup of the entire College of Cardinals is listed below. In bold are those cardinals under the age of 80, who can vote in a conclave. Their duties and offices are summarised here. In many cases, especially for cardinals working in the curia, they have or had several functions. I have chosen to list only their most prominent or best-known roles.
Angelo Cardinal Sodano: Dean of the College of Cardinals, Secretary of State emeritus
Giovanni Battista Cardinal Re: Vice-Dean of the College of Cardinals, Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Bishops
Roger Cardinal Etchegaray: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
Francis Cardinal Arinze: Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone: Secretary of State emeritus
José Cardinal Saraiva Martins: Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
Pietro Cardinal Parolin: Secretary of State
Leonardo Cardinal Sandri: Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches
Marc Cardinal Ouellet: Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops
Fernando Cardinal Filoni: Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples
Nasrallah Pierre Cardinal Sfeir: Patriarch emeritus of Antioch (Maronite Rite)
Antonios Cardinal Naguib: Patriarch emeritus of Alexandria (Coptic Rite)
Béchara Pierre Cardinal Raï: Patriarch of Antioch (Maronite Rite)
Louis Raphaël I Cardinal Sako: Patriarch of Babylon (Chaldean Rite)
Michael Michai Cardinal Kitbunchu: Archbishop emeritus of Bangkok
Alexandre Cardinal do Nascimento: Archbishop emeritus of Luanda
Godfried Cardinal Danneels: Archbishop emeritus of Mechelen-Brussel
Thomas Stafford Cardinal Williams: Archbishop emeritus of Wellington
Henryk Roman Cardinal Gulbinowicz: Archbishop emeritus of Wroclaw
Jozef Cardinal Tomko: Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples
Paul Cardinal Poupard: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Culture, President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
Friedrich Cardinal Wetter: Archbishop emeritus of München und Freising
Adrianus Johannes Cardinal Simonis: Archbishop emeritus of Utrecht
Eduardo Cardinal Martínez Somalo: Prefect emeritus of the Consecration for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
Achille Cardinal Silvestrini: Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches
José Freire Cardinal Falcão: Archbishop emeritus of Brasília
Alexandre José María Cardinal dos Santos: Archbishop emeritus of Maputo
Christian Wiyghan Cardinal Tumi: Archbishop emeritus of Douala
Edward Idris Cardinal Cassidy: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
Nicolás de Jesús Cardinal López Rodríguez: Archbishop emeritus of Santo Domingo
Roger Michael Cardinal Mahony: Archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles
Camillo Cardinal Ruini: Vicar General emeritus for the Vicariate of Rome, Archpriest emeritus of S. John Lateran
Henri Cardinal Schwery: Bishop emeritus of Sion
Jaime Lucas Cardinal Ortega y Alamino: Archbishop emeritus of Havana
Julius Riyadi Cardinal Darmaatmadja: Archbishop emeritus of Jakarta
Emmanuel Cardinal Wamala: Archbishop emeritus of Kampala
Adam Joseph Cardinal Maida: Archbishop emeritus of Detroit
Vinko Cardinal Puljic: Archbihsop of Vrhbosna
Juan Cardinal Sandoval Íñiguez: Archbihsop emeritus of Guadalajara
Jorge Arturo Cardinal Medina Estévez: Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
James Francis Cardinal Stafford: Archbishop emeritus of Denver
Salvatore Cardinal De Giorgi: Archbishop emeritus of Palermo
Serafim Fernandes Cardinal de Araújo: Archbishop emeritus of Belo Horizonte
Antonio María Cardinal Rouco Varela: Archbishop emeritus of Madrid
Polycarp Cardinal Pengo: Archbishop of Dar-es-Salaam
Christoph Cardinal Schönborn: Archbishop of Vienna
Norberto Cardinal Rivera Carrera: Archbishop emeritus of Mexico
Marian Cardinal Jaworski: Archbishop emeritus of Lviv
Janis Cardinal Pujats: Archbishop emeritus of Riga
Agostino Cardinal Cacciavillan: President emeritus of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See
Sergio Cardinal Sebastiani: President emeritus of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See
Zenon Cardinal Grocholewski: Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education
Crescenzio Cardinal Sepe: Archbishop of Naples
Walter Cardinal Kasper: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
Geraldo Majella Cardinal Agnelo: Archbishop emeritus of São Salvador de Bahia
Pedro Cardinal Rubiano Sáenz: Archbishop emeritus of Bogotá
Theodore Edgar Cardinal McCarrick: Archbishop emeritus of Washington
Audrys Juozas Cardinal Backis: Archbishop emeritus of Vilnius
Francisco Javier Cardinal Errázuriz Ossa: Archbishop emeritus of Santiago de Chile
Wilfrid Fox Cardinal Napier: Archbishop of Durban
Óscar Andrés Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga: Archbishop of Tegucigalpa and Coordinator of the Council of Cardinals
Juan Luis Cardinal Cipriani Thorne: Archbishop of Lima
Francisco Cardinal Álvarez Martínez: Archbishop emeritus of Toledo
Cláudio Cardinal Hummes: Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Clergy
Severino Cardinal Poletto: Archbishop emeritus of Torino
Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran: President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church
Julián Cardinal Herranz Casado: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts
Javier Cardinal Lozano Barragán: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers
Angelo Cardinal Scola: Archbishop emeritus of Milan
Anthony Olubunmi Cardinal Okogie: Archbishop emeritus of Lagos
Gabriel Cardinal Zubier Wako: Archbishop emeritus of Khartoum
Carlos Cardinal Amigo Vallejo: Archbihsop emeritus of Sevilla
Justin Francis Cardinal Rigali: Archbishop emeritus of Philadelphia
Eusébio Oscar Cardinal Scheid: Archbishop emeritus of Rio de Janeiro
Ennio Cardinal Antonelli: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for the Family
Peter Kodwo Appiah Cardinal Turkson: Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development
Telesphore Placidus Cardinal Toppo: Archbishop emeritus of Ranchi
George Cardinal Pell: Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy
Josip Cardinal Bozanic: Archbishop of Zagreb
Jean-Baptise Cardinal Pham Minh Man: Archbishop emeritus of Ho Chi Minh City
Philipp Christian Igance Marie Cardinal Barbarin: Archbishop of Lyon
Péter Cardinal Erdö: Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest
William Joseph Cardinal Levada: Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Franc Cardinal Rode: Prefect emeritus of the Consecration for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
Agostino Cardinal Vallini: Pontifical Legate for the Basilicas of St. Francis and St. Mary of the Angels in Assisi
Jorge Liberato Cardinal Urosa Savino: Archbishop of Caracas
Gaudencio Borbon Cardinal Rosales: Archbishop emeritus of Manila
Jean-Pierre Bernard Cardinal Ricard: Archbishop of Bordeaux
Antonio Cardinal Cañizares Llovera: Archbishop of Valencia
Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jin-suk: Archbishop emeritus of Seoul
Seán Patrick Cardinal O’Malley: Archbishop of Boston
Stanislaw Cardinal DziwiszArchbishop emeritus of Kraków
Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun: Bishop emeritus of Hong Kong
Albert Cardinal Vanhoye: Secretary emeritus of the Pontifical Biblical Commission
Giovanni Cardinal Lajolo: President emeritus of the Governorate of the Vatican City State and President emeritus of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State
Paul Josef Cardinal Cordes: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”
Angelo Cardinal Comastri: Archpriest of St. Peter and Vicar General for the Vatican City State
Stanislaw Cardinal Rylko: Archpries of St. Mary Major
Raffaele Cardinal Farina: Librarian emeritus of the Vatican Apostolic Library and Archivist emeritus of the Vatican Secret Archives
Seán Baptist Cardinal Brady: Archbishop emeritus of Armagh
Lluís Cardinal Martinez Sistach: Archbishop emeritus of Barcelona
André Armand Cardinal Vingt-Trois: Archbishop emeritus of Paris
Angelo Cardinal Bagnasco: Archbishop of Genova
Théodore-Adrien Cardinal Sarr: Archbishop emeritus of Dakar
Oswald Cardinal Gracias: Archbishop of Bombay
Francisco Cardinal Robles Ortega: Archbishop of Guadalajara
Daniel Nicholas Cardinal DiNardo: Archbishop of Galveston-Houston
Odilo Pedro Cardinal Scherer: Archbishop of São Paulo
John Cardinal Njue: Archbishop of Nairobi
Estanislao Esteban Cardinal Karlic: Archbishop emeritus of Paraná
Raúl Eduardo Cardinal Vela Chiriboga: Archbishop emeritus of Quito
Laurent Cardinal Monsengwo Pasinya: Archbishop of Kinshasa
Paolo Cardinal Romeo: Archbishop emeritus of Palermo
Donald William Cardinal Wuerl: Archbishop of Washington
Raymundo Damasceno Cardinal Assis: Archbishop emeritus of Aparecida
Kazimierz Cardinal Nycz: Archbishop of Warszawa
Albert Malcolm Ranjith Cardinal Patabendige Don: Archbishop of Colombo
Reinhard Cardinal Marx: Archbishop of München und Freising
José Manuel Cardinal Estepa Llaurens: Military Ordinary emeritus of Spain
George Cardinal Alencherry: Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly (Syro-Malabar Rite)
Thomas Christopher Cardinal Collins: Archbishop of Toronto
Dominik Cardinal Duka: Archbishop of Prague
Willem Jacobus Cardinal Eijk: Archbishop of Utrecht
Giuseppe Cardinal Betori: Archbishop of Firenze
Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan: Archbishop of New York
Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki: Archbishop of Köln
John Cardinal Tong Hon: Bishop emeritus of Hong Kong
Lucian Cardinal Muresan: Major Archbishop of Fagaras si Alba Iulia (Romanian Rite)
Baselios Cleemis Cardinal Thottunkal: Major Archbishop of Trivandrum (Syro-Malankar Rite)
John Olorunfemi Cardinal Onaiyekan: Archbishop of Abuja
Jesús Rubén Cardinal Salazar Gómez: Archbishop of Bogotá
Luis Antonio Gokim Cardinal Tagle: Archbishop of Manila
Vincent Gerard Cardinal Nichols: Archbishop of Westminster
Leopoldo José Cardinal Brenes Solórzano: Archbishop of Managua
Gérald Cyprien Cardinal Lacroix: Archbishop of Québec
Jean-Pierre Cardinal Kutwa: Archbishop of Abidjan
Orani João Cardinal Tempesta: Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro
Gualtiero Cardinal Bassetti: Archbishop of Perugia-Città della Pieve
Mario Aurelio Cardinal Poli: Archbishop of Buenos Aires
Andrew Cardinal Yeom Soo-jung: Archbishop of Seoul
Ricardo Cardinal Ezzati Andrello: Archbishop of Santiago de Chile
Philippe Nakellentuba Cardinal Ouédraogo: Archbishop of Ouagadougou
Orlando Beltran Cardinal Quevedo: Archbishop of Cotabato
Chibly Cardinal Langlois: Bishop of Les Cayes
Fernando Cardinal Sebastián Aguilar: Archbishop emeritus of Pamplona y Tudela
Kelvin Edward Cardinal Felix: Archbishop emeritus of Castries
Manuel José Cardinal Macário do Nascimento Clemente: Patriarch of Lissabon
Berhaneyesus Demerew Cardinal Souraphiel: Metropolitan of Addis Abeba (Ethiopic Rite)
John Atcherley Cardinal Dew: Archbishop of Wellington
Edoardo Cardinal Menichelli: Archbishop emeritus of Ancona-Osimo
Pierre Cardinal Nguyen Van Nhon: Archbishop of Hanoi
Alberto Cardinal Suárez Inda: Archbishop emeritus of Morelia
Charles Maung Cardinal Bo: Archbishop of Yangon
Francis Xavier Kriengsak Cardinal Kovithavanij: Archbishop of Bangkok
Francesco Cardinal Montenegro: Archbishop of Agrigento
Daniel Fernando Cardinal Sturla Berhouet: Archbishop of Montevideo
Ricardo Cardinal Blázquez Pérez: Archbishop of Valladolid
José Luis Cardinal Lacunza Maestrojuán: Bishop of David
Arlindo Cardinal Gomes Furtado: Bishop of Santiago de Cabo Verde
Soane Patita Cardinal Mafi: Bishop of Tonga
José de Jesús Cardinal Pimiento Rodriguez: Archbishop emeritus of Manizales
Luis Héctor Cardinal Villalba: Archbishop emeritus of Tucumán
Júlio Duarte Cardinal Langa: Bishop emeritus of Xai-Xai
Dieudonné Cardinal Nzapalainga: Archbishop of Bangui
Carlos Cardinal Osoro Sierra: Archbishop of Madrid
Sérgio Cardinal da Rocha: Archbishop of Brasília
Blase Joseph Cardinal Cupich: Archbishop of Chicago
Patrick Cardinal D’Rozario: Archbishop of Dhaka
Baltazar Enrique Cardinal Porras Cardozo: Archbishop of Mérida
Jozef Cardinal De Kesel: Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussel
Maurice Cardinal Piat: Bishop of Port-Louis
Carlos Cardinal Aguiar Retes: Archbishop of Mexico
John Cardinal Ribat: Archbishop of Port Moresby
Joseph William Cardinal Tobin: Archbishop of Newark
Anthony Soter Cardinal Fernandez: Archbishop emeritus of Kuala Lumpur
Renato Cardinal Corti: Bishop emeritus of Novara
Sebastian Koto Cardinal Khoarai: Bishop emeritus of Mohale’s Hoek
Jean Cardinal Zerbo: Archbishop of Bamako
Juan José Cardinal Omella Omella: Archbishop of Barcelona
Anders Cardinal Arborelius: Bishop of Stockholm
Lousi-Marie Cardinal Ling Mangkhanekhoun: Vicar Apostolic of Vientiane
Gregorio Cardinal Rosa Chávez: Auxiliary Bishop of San Salvador
Joseph Cardinal Coutts: Archbishop of Karachi
António Augusto Cardinal dos Santos Marto: Bishop of Leiria-Fátima
Pedro Ricardo Cardinal Barreto Jimeno: Archbishop of Huancayo
Désiré Cardinal Tsarahazana: Archbishop of Toamasina
Giuseppe Cardinal Petrocchi: Archbishop of L’Aquila
Thomas Aquino Manyo Cardinal Maeda: Archbishop of Osaka
Sergio Cardinal Obeso Rivera: Archbishop emeritus of Jalapa
Toribio Cardinal Ticona Porco: Prelate emeritus of Corocoro
Renato Cardinal Martino: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People
Angelo Cardinal Amato: Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
Robert Cardinal Sarah: Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
Francesco Cardinal Monterisi: Archpriest emeritus of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls
Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke: Patron of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta
Kurt Cardinal Koch: President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
Paolo Cardinal Sardi: Patron emeritus of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta
Mauro Cardinal Piacenza: Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary
Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi: President of the Pontifical Council for Culture
Elio Cardinal Sgreccia: President emeritus of the Pontifical Academy for Life
Walter Cardinal Brandmüller: President emeritus of the Pontifical Committee of Historical Sciences
Manuel Cardinal Monteiro de Castro: Major Penitentiary emeritus of the Apostolic Penitentiary
Santos Cardinal Abril y Castelló: Archpriest emeritus of St. Mary Major
Antonio Maria Cardinal Vegliò: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People
Giuseppe Cardinal Bertello: President of the Governorate of the Vatican City State and President of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State
Francesco Cardinal Coccopalmerio: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts
João Cardinal Bráz de Aviz: Prefect of the Consecration for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
Edwin Frederick Cardinal O’Brien: Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepuclhre of Jerusalem
Domenico Cardinal Calcagno: President emeritus of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See
Giuseppe Cardinal Versaldi: Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education
Prosper Cardinal Grech: Priest of the Archdiocese of Malta
James Michael Cardinal Harvey: Archpriest of St. Paul-Outside-the-Walls
Lorenzo Cardinal Baldisseri: Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops
Gerhard Ludwig Cardinal Müller: Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Beniamino Cardinal Stella: Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy
Dominique Francois Joseph Cardinal Mamberti: Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura
Luigi Cardinal De Magistris: Major Pro-Penitentiary emeritus
Karl-Josef Cardinal Rauber: Apostolic Nuncio emeritus to Belgium and Luxembourg
Mario Cardinal Zenari: Apostolic Nuncio to Syria
Kevin Joseph Cardinal Farrell: Prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life
Ernest Cardinal Simoni: Priest of the Diocese of Shkodrë-Pult
Luis Francisco Cardinal Ladaria Ferrer: Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Angelo Cardinal De Donatis: Archpriest of St. John Lateran and Vicar General for the Vicariate of Rome
Giovanni Angelo Cardinal Becciu: Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
Konrad Cardinal Krajewski: Almoner of His Holiness
Aquilino Cardinal Bocos Merino: Superior General emeritus of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
*Over time, there have been some mergers and splits among these seven sees, but today they are: Albano, Frascati, Ostia, Palestrina, Porto-Santa Rufina, Sabina-Poggio Mirteto and Velletri-Segni.
*The title of Ostia is given to the Dean in addition to his own titular diocese. It has no bishop of its own and it is governed by the vicar-general for the Vicariate of Rome, currently Archbishop Angelo De Donatis, who himself will be made a cardinal today.
***This may be one of the reasons for today’s changes. If a conclave were to be held now, its proceedings would be overseen by Maronite Patriarch Béchara Cardinal Raï, himself not a Roman prelate. This would be so because the dean, at 90, is too old to participate in a conclave and his duties would then automatically fall to the senior cardinal-bishop who is also an elector. Cardinal Raï is the sole elector among the cardinal-bishops today.
As a follow-up on my blog post of 15 September, Bishop Lode Aerts, appointed to the Diocese of Bruges in October of last year, looks back with enthusiasm on his participation in the “baby bishops’ school”.
“A colourful company
They were eight busy days in Rome for the 120 new bishops. And what colourful company! Imagine: the new bishop of Gibraltar [Carmelo Zammit] works for 25,000 Catholics, the new auxiliary bishop of Toronto [Robert Kasun] for 2 million. In Peru, the new bishop of Caravelí [Reinhold Nann] works with 15 generally young priests. In German Munich his new colleague [auxiliary Rupert Graf zu Stolberg] has more than 400 in active service. Some bishops have been sent to very rural dioceses. The expansive French Diocese of Limoges [Pierre-Antoine Bozo], for example, has not a single urban centre. Elsewhere, the bishops reside in great cities such a New York or the Mexican industrial city of Monterrey, [auxiliaries Heriberto Pérez and Oscar Tamez Villareal] with 4 million inhabitants. There are also worlds of difference in the area of caritas. The Polish [Arch]diocese of Czestochowa [auxiliary Andrzej Przybylski] receives throngs of pilgrims, but has no immigrants at all. The Latin bishop of Beirut [Cesar Essayan], with his small community of Catholics, tries to do something for the two million Syrian refugees and the one million Palestinians in the camps, while the population of Lebanon numbers barely 4 million!
Regardless of how different the situations are, the challenges seems to be the same everywhere: how to become Christians in our modern culture?\
Among the many conferences, this was best expressed by the witness of Cardinal Cardozo from Venezuela [the archbishop of Mérida]. He quoted abundantly from the homilies and writings of his former colleague and friend, the then-Bishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio. How to be a Christian? How to be a good bishop? Long before he became Pope Francis, the answer often resounded in his homilies; “This is how you become a Christian or bishop: through the joy of the Gospel.” Or: “By descending into the needs of yourself and of the other. By being touched by the other.” And… “through the authenticity of your way of life.”
Cordial and relaxed
That idea about way of living was not limited to words. It was tangible during the course. The atmosphere was especially cordial and relaxed, even though the program was often very full. We started at 7:30 in the morning and did not stop until 10:30 in the evening. The participation of Secretary of State Parolin and many other cardinals did not detract from the simplicity and fraternity. On the contrary, there was always a great sense of solidarity in the conference hall and in the refectory, in the chapel and in the garden, in the transfers by bus and the discussions in language groups. Some called it a Francis effect. All the same, the cordial reception by the pope on the final day was in that line.
Completely himself and with a joke, Pope Francis bade us farewell:
“God was already present in your dioceses when you arrived and will still be there when you are gone.”
While previous visits of Dutch royals to the Pope (and, once, vice versa) were usually perfectly cordial, yesterday saw the first official state visit of the King and Queen to the Pope. Perhaps the time of Dutch political unease with full-blooded Catholicism is now finally completely behind us.
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima spoke with Pope Francis for 35 minutes about, according to the Holy See press release, “certain issues of shared interest, such as the protection of the environment and the fight against poverty, as well as […] the specific contribution of the Holy See and the Catholic Church in these fields.” Migration, peace and security were also discussed. The Holy Father also enquered after the couple’s three daughters. As a family, they had already visited him in April of last year.
Another topic, which may have been discussed in the subsequent meeting with Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, was the ongoing kidnapping of Dutch television presenter Derk Bolt and his driver in Colombia. Foreign Secretary Bert Koenders, who also takes part in the state visit to Italy and the Holy See, has been in constant communication with his staff in The Hague and the Colombian government, and the local Catholic Church has also been involved in negotiations to free the two men from rebel movement ELN. Bolt was working to find the biological parents of a woman who was adopted by a Dutch couple, and was kidnapped earlier this week near the border with Venezuela.*
Back in Rome, meanwhile, the meeting between the Pope and the royal couple was noted for its cordiality. Like Pope Francis, Queen Máxima hails from Argentina and thus the three conversed in Spanish. It was noted how the conversation continued for a few more minutes at the doors of the audience chamber, after the official conclusion of the meeting. Pope Francis gifted the king and queen with a medal depicting Saint Martin of Tours and copies of Laudato si’, Evangelii gaudium and Amoris laetitia, and his 2017 Message for the World Day of Peace, while he received white and yellow tulips for the Vatican gardens.
Before their private audience with the Pope, the king and queen visited the Church of the Frisians near St. Peter’s Square. There, they were received by Bishop Antoon Hurkmans, rector of the Dutch national church in Rome.
Concluding the one-day state visit, the king and queen received a commander’s baton which is claimed to have belonged to William of Orange. Won by the Spanish in the Battle of Mookerheide in 1574, it now belongs to a Jesuit monastery in Spain. It is now on loan to the National Military Museum, where it will be displayed next year. Jesuit Superiro General, Fr. Arturo Sosa officially handed the baton to King Willem-Alexander in the Apostolic Library.
Photo credit: ANP
Mr. Bolt and his driver were released on Friday the 23rd of June.
Pope Francis has sent a letter and apostolic blessing to Bishop Patrick Hoogmartens of Hasselt on the occasion of the 18th Coronation Feasts in Tongres, which are to be held from 3 to 10 July. The feasts include Belgium’s largest processions and has been recognised as an immaterial world heritage.
Bishop Hoogmartens personally asked the Holy Father for his blessing:
“Our Lady, Cause of Our Joy, is after all the patron saint of the Diocese of Hasselt, which celebrated its 50th anniversary next year. The runup to this anniversary starts with the Coronation Feasts and ends in the summer of 2017, after the Virga Jesse feasts in Hasselt. In my meeting with the Pope I told him this and asked for his blessing. I then repeated my request in writing to the nunciature. I am very happy that, through the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, he has granted his papal blessing to all of the 3,000 participants, the parishes of Tongres and, in extension, the faithful of the Diocese of Hasselt. But also to the people who will come to watch the Coronation Feasts, and who will participate in the celebrations surrounding Mary, Cause of Our Joy.”
The tradition of the Coronation Feasts goes back to 1890 when the statue of the Blessed Virgin in Tongres was crowned. Georges Willemaers, chairman of the organising committee, explains, “The entire Gospel is made manifest through the life of Mary. This takes place in four processions through the centre of the city, and a similar number of evening plays before the tower of the basilica.”
In his letter, Pope Francis asks the Blessed Virgin “to guide all towards the mildness of her face, so that everyone may redisover the joy of God’s tenderness.” The letter will be read out in all parishes of the diocese in this weekend.
^A Passion play depicting the birth of Christ and the visit of the Magi, during an earlier edition of the Coronation Feasts. More photos may be viewed here.
Tongres, located roughly halfway between Liège and Hasselt, is one of western Europe’s oldest Catholic centres. It became the seat of a bishop in 344, although it soon had to share this honour with Maastricht, which then became the sole residence of the bishop in the 6th century. Today, Tongres’ history is reflected in it being a titular diocese, which has been held by Bishop Pierre Warin, auxiliary bishop of Namur, since 2004. The Diocese of Hasselt, of which Tongres is a part, was established in 1967 out of the Dutch-speaking part of the Diocese of Líège. It corresponds with the Belgian province of Limburg. Bishop Hoogmartens, in office since 2004, is its third bishop.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte had a private audience with Pope Francis today. The 20-minute meeting took place not in the Apostolic Palace, as such meetings normally do, but in a small backroom of the Paul VI Hall. Things always have to be different with the Dutch, I suppose.
While the timing of the meeting, relatively soon after a personal meeting of the Dutch royal family with the Holy Father in late April, had led to some speculation about a papal visit to the Netherlands, it was fairly standard. The two men discussed youth unemployment in Europe, the wars in the Middle East and the refugee crisis. The prime minister said he was impressed by Pope Francis’ simplicity, and called him “a man with authority”.
The Pope gave the prime minister a tablet with peace symbols and copies of three papal documents (one would imagine including Amoris laetitia and Laudato si’).
Mr. Rutte also met with the Secretary of State, Cardinal Parolin and the Secretary for relations with states, Archbishop Gallagher.
And the papal visit? “That’s up to the bishops,” Mr. Rutte commented.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, has commented on the Irish referendum which resulted in a major vote in favour of same-sex marriage, and called it a “defeat for humanity”. Was that the wise thing to say?
The Irish vote was certainly a defeat for the Christian argument, if such simplistic wording can be properly used in this context. Seen from the Catholic position, the very nature of marriage is being redefined, changing its essential role in building healthy societies. It is being downgraded to a mere legal acknowledgement that two people love each other and want to be together, with no eye for their duties towards society and future generations (duties that are also increasingly being forgotten in marriages in general, it must be said). The complementarity of man and woman, which finds its ultimate expression in marriage, is deemed unimportant enough to deny it its defining place within the concept of marriage. In essence, it is being said that marriage need not have all the defining characteristics in order to be marriage.
As hinted above, same-sex marriages can have worthy elements that we also find in true marriage, such as love and responsibility, but it lacks other elements: the openness to new life as a product of the (physical and emotional) love of the spouses, and the ability for full complementary love which flows forth from their identities as man and woman (more than just a physical characteristic).
Many critics will say that many heterosexual marriages are equally closed to life and fullfilment, and they are right. Married partners have an obligation to love and take care of each other and raise their children in that same love and care, and when they refuse that, for whatever reason, marriage becomes a mockery of itself, denied to be what it is called to be.
The wisdom of the phrase “a defeat for humanity” can be debated. I am not too keen on getting overly dramatic about every setback, but as humanity consists of men and women who are called to find fullfillment in each other and so contribute to humanity as a whole (marriage, after all, is not only for the spouses), I can understand the sentiment expressed by the cardinal.
Is it wise, then, to use these words in the public debate? I don’t think so. While Cardinal Parolin can’t be faulted for being clear, his words are so easily distorted, misunderstood, taken out of context and presented as nothing but a blunt attack. Cardinal Parolin is right in disagreeing with the vote, but I have already seen his words being used to contrast the cardinal with Pope Francis, who has also been quoted and understood out of context on this subject more than once. The cardinal also stated that the result of the referendum must be an invitation for the Church to do more in the field of evangelisation, and that is certainly necessary. In order for the Church to be understood, she must make herself understood. Headlines have their use, but not when they don’t invite to further reading. Any discussion about marriage must either presume knowledge about Catholic doctrine, or explain it.
In this debate, I think that one element is being forgotten: holding on to the traditional definition of marriage is not in any way an invitation to discriminate. When it comes to equal rights in work, income, finances, housing and other opporunities, sexual orientation can be no reason to deny people anything. Even when two people of the same sex decide to share their lives, we should support their equality. We may not agree with it, but it’s really not our place to refuse basic social rights and opportunities. But society as a whole, as well as children, also have their rights and opportunties. Marriage, however, is more than rights and opportunities. It is the God-given way in which men and women find each other and themselves and in which children receive the home and basis they need to be raised in.
In the end, any debate on topics like this must be based on reason, as it has strong emotional connotations for many. We must acknowledge and understand the emotion, but also know that emotion alone won’t lead to an understanding, a solution or willingness to learn and grow.