Sister Helen Prejean, renowned American anti-death penalty advocate, called it “the last remaining loophole in Catholic teaching on the death penalty”: the paragraph in the Catechism of the Catholic Church which allowed the death penalty, if only when it was “the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor”. Par. 2267 continued by stating that, if there are other and bloodless means of defence against an aggressor, these should always be used instead of the death penalty.
Yesterday Pope Francis changed this paragraph, and it now states that the death penalty is inadmissable in all circumstances.
The full text of the new paragraph 2267 is as follows:
“Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.
Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.
Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”, and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.”
 Francis, Address to Participants in the Meeting organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, 11 October 2017: L’Osservatore Romano, 13 October 2017, 5.
With the press release came a letter from Cardinal Luis Ladaria, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, addressed to the world’s bishops. He explains how the changes to the Catechism are rooted in past teachings of the Magisterium, especially Pope St. John Paul II’s 1995 encyclical Evangelium vitæ, and teachings from Pope Benedict XVI and Francis himself. The cardinal therefore concludes:
“All of this shows that the new formulation of number 2267 of the Catechism expresses an authentic development of doctrine that is not in contradiction with the prior teachings of the Magisterium. These teachings, in fact, can be explained in the light of the primary responsibility of the public authority to protect the common good in a social context in which the penal sanctions were understood differently, and had developed in an environment in which it was more difficult to guarantee that the criminal could not repeat his crime.”
In his blog, canon lawyer Bishop Jan Hendriks explains why past teachings, which did allow for the death penalty to be implemented, do no invalidate this new text:
“The reason lies in a greater awareness of human dignity and the various developments in society which make it no long necessary to implement the death penalty to protect citizens. That was also the reason why Pope John Paul II could hardly imagine the death penalty to be necessary, as the Catechism has stated since 1995: the state has such good means that the cases in which the death penalty is necessary to neutralise the aggressor are very rare, if they even occur. The new text takes a further step and unequivocally states that it is no longer necessary to implement the death penalty, and that a greater awareness of human dignity makes this even more inadmissable.”
Is this change as major as some media would have us believe? Yes and no.
Yes, because it is evidence that the Church has the luxury to say that capital punishment is no longer a necessity, no matter how rare. Past reasons for a state to kill a person are no longer valid, as there are other ways in which society can be protected from dangerous people.
And no, because it is a logical consequence of the pro-life position of the Church. Every person is created and willed by God and as such has an innate dignity which we must respect. Among other things that means that we have no right to take a life. This is a position that the Church has always held, even when it allowed for certain situations in which capital punishment was the only resort. The death penalty as such is always sinful. But, being also practical, the Church knows that sometimes there are no ideal solutions.
But that no longer flies. As Catholics we are pro-life, even if that life belongs to a murderer or other criminal.
A historic development today in the fight against sexual abuse in the Church: a cardinal, albeit a retired one, resigned his title and red hat, and was ordered to cease all his public duties and lead a live of prayer and penance in a yet to be announced location.
Cardinal – now just Archbishop – Theodore McCarrick faces two allegations of sexual abuse of minors and several further claims of harassment of and misconduct with adults. The steps taken today come before his case is heard and judged in a canonical trial according to ecclesiastical law, and any legal developments which may take place in an American court of law, as the law allows (the major obstacle in such cases, which – as here – often took place many years ago, remains the statute of limitations).
The case of McCarrick brings back strong memories of that of the late Scottish Cardinal O’Brien. He too saw all his cardinal rights and duties removed on his own request, but he was allowed to remain a cardinal. Former Cardinal McCarrick is punished more severely, although it is, in some ways, a passive punishment, as it was McCarrick himself who requested it in a letter to the Pope.
The full resignation of a cardinal is a rare event, and this is the first time it has happened since 1927. In 2015, I wrote a blog post about the history of cardinal resignations, in which I gave an overview of past resignations of cardinals (although in it I erroneously claimed that the last such resignation took place in 1911 instead of 1927).
It remains to be seen if there will be a canonical trial for McCarrick, as today’s press release suggests, and if so, what its result will be. Perhaps there will be further penalties for Archbishop McCarrick. On Twitter, Dr Kurt Martens, Professor of Canon Law at the Catholic University of America, offers a detailed analysis of the possible penalties that can be levied against McCarrick according to the laws of the Church. He suggests that dismissal from the clerical state is one of the few options remaining, as McCarrick is already retired and so no longer holds any office. Martens mentions two recent examples of prelates having been laicised after allegations of abuse: Raymond Lahey, former bishop of Antigonish in Canada in 2012, and Józef Wesolowski, former Apostolic Nuncio to the Dominican Republic (and thus automatically an archbishop) in 2014.
Beyond McCarrick, there is a chance that there will be consequences for other bishops in the United States and Rome, as the question of who knew what and when about McCarrick’s abuse remains unanswered.
Theodore Edgar McCarrick was a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, and became auxiliary bishop of that archdiocese in 1977. In 1981, he was appointed as bishop of Metuchen in New Jersey, and then as archbishop of Newark in 1986. From 2011 to 2006 he served as archbishop of Washington. He was created a cardinal in the giant consistory of 21 February 2001 (making him a cardinal class mate of Pope Francis). He held the title of Santi Nereo ed Achilleo. The two allegations of sexual abuse of a minor, which were deemed credible and substantiated by the Archdiocese of New York in June, took place in the early 1970s and involved a then 16-year-old boy. McCarrick was then serving as a priest in New York, and today claims to have no memory of the alleged abuse. At the same time last month, the chanceries of the Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Metuchen, where McCarrick served as bishop, announced that they had received three further allegations of misconduct involving adults, and that two of these allegations had resulted in settlements.
As this autumn’s Synod of Bishops on youth and vocations draws nearer, Pope Francis has taken the next step when it comes to appointing the essential personnel. He selected four presidents delegate, who will, in turn, chair the daily deliberations of the Synod. The pope’s choices highlight that the Synod assembly’s focus is not in the first place on the west, where the Church struggles to reach, let alone engage the youth.
Pope Francis’ focus is a global one, and the world’s cultures where the youth are an integral part of the life of the Church, as they are of society, have taken a step into the limelight with the appointment of these presidents delegate. Furthermore, the choices are also entirely Franciscan: all four presidents are cardinals created by Pope Francis.
Louis Cardinal Sako, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldean Church of Iraq.
Désiré Cardinal Tsarahazana, Archbishop of Toamasina, Madagascar
Charles Maung Cardinal Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar
John Cardinal Ribat, Archbishop of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
Obviously, not a westerner among them, the four presidents delegate represent four different countries from three continents, and as such bring experiences with them which will colour the Synod deliberations. The presidents are, as the Ordo Synodi Episcoporumdictates, “to guide the workings of the Synod according to the faculties entrusted to [them]”, “to assign to certain Members, when deemed opportune, particular tasks, so that the Assembly might better proceed with its work” and “to sign the Acts of the Assembly” (Art. 3). Rather than just chairing meetings, they have some influence over their proceedings, and as such it matters who they are and what they bring to the table.
His body may not have cooperated always, but it never stopped Jean-Louis Tauran from working ceaselessly, travelling the world in the name of cooperation and goodwill between the world’s religions. The 75-year-old prelate, who earlier this month became the highest ranking Catholic cardinal to meet with the Saudi king on his home turf, raising hopes that the Arab kingdom would become more open to other faiths in the future, died unexpectedly last night. He had recently been undergoing treatment for Parkinson’s disease in the United States.
To the world, Cardinal Tauran became best known in 2013 when he announced, With a shaky voice due to his condition, the election of Pope Francis from the balcony of St. Peter’s.
A priest of the French Archdiocese of Bordeaux, Cardinal Tauran entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1975, working in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Lebanon and Syria. He was called to Rome in 1989 as undersecretary for Relations with States in the Secretariat of State, being promoted to full secretary in 1990. In 2003 he was one of St. John Paul II’s last 30 cardinals to be created, and at the same time he was appointed as librarian and archivist. Since 2007 until his death he held the offices which characterised his final years: president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and prefect of the Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims. In 2011, Cardinal Tauran became the senior cardinal-deacon, which bestowed upon him the duty of announcing the name of a newly-elected pontiff, which he did in 2013. In 2014 he was elevated to the rank of cardinal-priests and in the same year Pope Francis chose him as his camerlengo, the prelate to manage the affairs of the Holy See upon the death of the pope. Cardinal Tauran was the Cardinal-Priest of Sant’Apollinare alle Terme Nerionane-Alessandrine.
Although Cardinal Tauran reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 in April, there was no sign of it being accepted anytime soon. The new head of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue needs to be an experienced diplomat, able to walk the tightrope between different systems of belief and morality without losing sight of his own roots. Whoever his successor will turn out to be, he will have large shoes to fill.
In the meantime, those who met him mourn a humble man of dialogue and truth and a tireless servant of the Gospel.
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.
Pope Francis has again given an interview on the current affairs in his pontificate. It is good to see he chose a proper journalist this time: Reuters’ Philip Pullella. The interview is available here, and will be added to over the course of today, as the final line says. The Holy Father covers various issues, the most noteworthy of which is his support for the American bishops’ condemnation of the zero-tolerance policies of the Trump administration towards immigrants. The pope also discusses Vatican relations with China, the abuse crisis in Chile, the curia reforms and speculations about a possible early retirement (“Right now, I am not even thinking about it”, he said).
Among the topics addressed is the criticism against him from within the Church. The pope make a rather puzzling comment about the questions from Cardinal Burke and Brandmüller, together with the late Cardinals Caffarra and Meisner, the so-called dubia, which they formulated in 2016. Pope Francis claims he learned about these from the newspaper and calls it “a way of doing things that is, let’s say, not ecclesial”. These comments do not agree with what the four cardinals said and did.
The letter detailing the dubia is dated to 19 September 2016, and it wasn’t made public until November of that year. The publication was made because of a lack of an official response to what was initially a private correspondence, as dubia are supposed to be. This means that Pope Francis should have learned about them from that letter, and not from some newspaper. It is hard to figure out what this means. Maybe someone in the Vatican’s higher circles prevented the pope from seeing the dubia? Perhaps Pope Francis honestly failed to recall the exact details (something which is perhaps understandable considering the fact that he undoubtedly does learn much of the criticism against him from the newspaper)?
Agree or disagree with Cardinal Raymond Burke, one thing is certain: he is a by-the-book prelate with a profound knowledge of the rules and regulations regarding the dubia. And so are or were the other three cardinals involved. There is no conceivable way that they did things differently from what they claim.
The two surviving dubia cardinals have also spoken up about the apparent papal slip-up over the past two days. Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, asked about the issue by OnePeterFive, commented: “The Dubia were first published after – I think it was two months – after the Pope did not even confirm their reception. It is very clear that we wrote directly to the Pope and at the same time to the Congregation for the Faith. What should be left that is unclear here?”
Cardinal Raymond Burke offers some more details about how the cardinals went about presenting their dubia to the Pope: “The late Cardinal Carlo Caffarra personally delivered the letter containing the dubia to the Papal Residence, and at the same time to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on September 19, 2016,” and “During the entire time since the presentation of the dubia, there has never been a question about the fact that they were presented to the Holy Father, according to the practice of the Church and with full respect for his office.”
Cardinal Burke, however, also allows for the pope having misunderstood the question. This is confirmed by Edward Pentin here, and adds that Philip Pullella informed the National Catholic Register that while Pope Francis was indeed responding to a question about the dubia, and not some other initiative, more details from the interview will be published soon.
As canon law dictates that a bishop is to offer his resignation when he reaches the age of 75, new bishops rarely get consecrated beyond the age of, say, 65. A look at the past month, just to get a sampling, shows that this is generally true: the youngest four of the most recently consecrated bishops were 51, while the oldest was 69. All the others fall in between those ages.
Today, however, will see the consecration of an 80-year-old bishop. But he is not set to lead a diocese or take on some important office in the curia or a diplomatic post somewhere. No, Archbishop Aquilino Bocos Merino is being made a bishop so that he can receive the cardinal’s red hat in 12 days’ time.
Canon 351 § 1 describes who can be chosen to be made cardinals, adding that “those who are not yet bishops must receive episcopal consecration.” Cardinal-elect Bocos Merino is a priest of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, generally known as the Claretians, and served as that order’s superior general from 1991 to 2003. That office, however, does not entail that the holder being made a bishop. But a cardinal must be one. Hence today’s consecration of an 80-year-old.
The consecration of Archbishop Bocos Merino will take place in Madrid, Spain, with Fernando Cardinal Sebastián Aguilar, archbishop emeritus of Pamplona y Tudela, as principal consecrator, and Carlos Cardinal Osoro Sierra, archbishop of Madrid, and Ricardo Cardinal Blázquez Pérez, archbishop of Valladolid, as co-consecrators. All three cardinals were also created by Pope Francis.
Archbishop Bocos Merino has been appointed the titular archbishop of Urusi (because a bishop has to be a bishop of a place), a title he will hold for a mere twelve days. In the consistory of 28 June he will be given a deaconry title to go with his cardinal’s red hat. There are currently twelve of these vacant, but Pope Francis may decide to elevate another Roman church to the dignity of cardinal deaconry. He has done so before.
But, despite all of the above, a newly chosen cardinal who is not yet a bishop can simply ask the pope to dispense him from the obligation of being made a bishop first. Such a request is usually granted. Most recently, Cardinal Ernest Simoni, created in the consistory of 19 November 2016, did so.