Cardinal Tauran, interreligious dialogue chief and the man who presented Francis to the world, dies

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.

Le-cardinal-francais-Jean-Louis-Tauran-2013_0_730_422

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.

Photo credit: P.RAZZO/CIRIC

Advertisements

On red hat day, a small but historic change in the college

cardinalsToday 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**.

Le-cardinal-Bechara-Boutros-Rai-aimerait-organiser-avec-autres-responsables-chretiens-sommet-toutes-eglises-Orient_0_1400_1345
Maronite Patriarch Béchara Boutros Raï, an eastern cardinal-bishop

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.

  1. parolinPietro 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.
  2. LeonardoSandriLeonardo 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.
  3. Marc OuelletMarc 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.
  4. cardinalefiloni-kBED-U1101609431438Nc-1024x576@LaStampa.it-R65On4HldM4ptvJ2jZdZVeM-568x320@LaStampa.itFernando 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.

Cardinal-Bishops

  1. Angelo Cardinal Sodano: Dean of the College of Cardinals, Secretary of State emeritus
  2. Giovanni Battista Cardinal Re: Vice-Dean of the College of Cardinals, Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Bishops
  3. Roger Cardinal Etchegaray: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
  4. Francis Cardinal Arinze: Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
  5. Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone: Secretary of State emeritus
  6. José Cardinal Saraiva Martins: Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
  7. Pietro Cardinal Parolin: Secretary of State
  8. Leonardo Cardinal Sandri: Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches
  9. Marc Cardinal Ouellet: Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops
  10. Fernando Cardinal Filoni: Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples
  11. Nasrallah Pierre Cardinal Sfeir: Patriarch emeritus of Antioch (Maronite Rite)
  12. Antonios Cardinal Naguib: Patriarch emeritus of Alexandria (Coptic Rite)
  13. Béchara Pierre Cardinal Raï: Patriarch of Antioch (Maronite Rite)
  14. Louis Raphaël I Cardinal Sako: Patriarch of Babylon (Chaldean Rite)

Cardinal-Priests

  1. Michael Michai Cardinal Kitbunchu: Archbishop emeritus of Bangkok
  2. Alexandre Cardinal do Nascimento: Archbishop emeritus of Luanda
  3. Godfried Cardinal Danneels: Archbishop emeritus of Mechelen-Brussel
  4. Thomas Stafford Cardinal Williams: Archbishop emeritus of Wellington
  5. Henryk Roman Cardinal Gulbinowicz: Archbishop emeritus of Wroclaw
  6. Jozef Cardinal Tomko: Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples
  7. Paul Cardinal Poupard: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Culture, President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
  8. Friedrich Cardinal Wetter: Archbishop emeritus of München und Freising
  9. Adrianus Johannes Cardinal Simonis: Archbishop emeritus of Utrecht
  10. Eduardo Cardinal Martínez Somalo: Prefect emeritus of the Consecration for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
  11. Achille Cardinal Silvestrini: Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches
  12. José Freire Cardinal Falcão: Archbishop emeritus of Brasília
  13. Alexandre José María Cardinal dos Santos: Archbishop emeritus of Maputo
  14. Christian Wiyghan Cardinal Tumi: Archbishop emeritus of Douala
  15. Edward Idris Cardinal Cassidy: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
  16. Nicolás de Jesús Cardinal López Rodríguez: Archbishop emeritus of Santo Domingo
  17. Roger Michael Cardinal Mahony: Archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles
  18. Camillo Cardinal Ruini: Vicar General emeritus for the Vicariate of Rome, Archpriest emeritus of S. John Lateran
  19. Henri Cardinal Schwery: Bishop emeritus of Sion
  20. Jaime Lucas Cardinal Ortega y Alamino: Archbishop emeritus of Havana
  21. Julius Riyadi Cardinal Darmaatmadja: Archbishop emeritus of Jakarta
  22. Emmanuel Cardinal Wamala: Archbishop emeritus of Kampala
  23. Adam Joseph Cardinal Maida: Archbishop emeritus of Detroit
  24. Vinko Cardinal Puljic: Archbihsop of Vrhbosna
  25. Juan Cardinal Sandoval Íñiguez: Archbihsop emeritus of Guadalajara
  26. Jorge Arturo Cardinal Medina Estévez: Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
  27. James Francis Cardinal Stafford: Archbishop emeritus of Denver
  28. Salvatore Cardinal De Giorgi: Archbishop emeritus of Palermo
  29. Serafim Fernandes Cardinal de Araújo: Archbishop emeritus of Belo Horizonte
  30. Antonio María Cardinal Rouco Varela: Archbishop emeritus of Madrid
  31. Polycarp Cardinal Pengo: Archbishop of Dar-es-Salaam
  32. Christoph Cardinal Schönborn: Archbishop of Vienna
  33. Norberto Cardinal Rivera Carrera: Archbishop emeritus of Mexico
  34. Marian Cardinal Jaworski: Archbishop emeritus of Lviv
  35. Janis Cardinal Pujats: Archbishop emeritus of Riga
  36. Agostino Cardinal Cacciavillan: President emeritus of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See
  37. Sergio Cardinal Sebastiani: President emeritus of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See
  38. Zenon Cardinal Grocholewski: Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education
  39. Crescenzio Cardinal Sepe: Archbishop of Naples
  40. Walter Cardinal Kasper: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
  41. Geraldo Majella Cardinal Agnelo: Archbishop emeritus of São Salvador de Bahia
  42. Pedro Cardinal Rubiano Sáenz: Archbishop emeritus of Bogotá
  43. Theodore Edgar Cardinal McCarrick: Archbishop emeritus of Washington
  44. Audrys Juozas Cardinal Backis: Archbishop emeritus of Vilnius
  45. Francisco Javier Cardinal Errázuriz Ossa: Archbishop emeritus of Santiago de Chile
  46. Wilfrid Fox Cardinal Napier: Archbishop of Durban
  47. Óscar Andrés Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga: Archbishop of Tegucigalpa and Coordinator of the Council of Cardinals
  48. Juan Luis Cardinal Cipriani Thorne: Archbishop of Lima
  49. Francisco Cardinal Álvarez Martínez: Archbishop emeritus of Toledo
  50. Cláudio Cardinal Hummes: Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Clergy
  51. Severino Cardinal Poletto: Archbishop emeritus of Torino
  52. Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran: President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church
  53. Julián Cardinal Herranz Casado: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts
  54. Javier Cardinal Lozano Barragán: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers
  55. Angelo Cardinal Scola: Archbishop emeritus of Milan
  56. Anthony Olubunmi Cardinal Okogie: Archbishop emeritus of Lagos
  57. Gabriel Cardinal Zubier Wako: Archbishop emeritus of Khartoum
  58. Carlos Cardinal Amigo Vallejo: Archbihsop emeritus of Sevilla
  59. Justin Francis Cardinal Rigali: Archbishop emeritus of Philadelphia
  60. Eusébio Oscar Cardinal Scheid: Archbishop emeritus of Rio de Janeiro
  61. Ennio Cardinal Antonelli: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for the Family
  62. Peter Kodwo Appiah Cardinal Turkson: Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development
  63. Telesphore Placidus Cardinal Toppo: Archbishop emeritus of Ranchi
  64. George Cardinal Pell: Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy
  65. Josip Cardinal Bozanic: Archbishop of Zagreb
  66. Jean-Baptise Cardinal Pham Minh Man: Archbishop emeritus of Ho Chi Minh City
  67. Philipp Christian Igance Marie Cardinal Barbarin: Archbishop of Lyon
  68. Péter Cardinal Erdö: Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest
  69. William Joseph Cardinal Levada: Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
  70. Franc Cardinal Rode: Prefect emeritus of the Consecration for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
  71. Agostino Cardinal Vallini: Pontifical Legate for the Basilicas of St. Francis and St. Mary of the Angels in Assisi
  72. Jorge Liberato Cardinal Urosa Savino: Archbishop of Caracas
  73. Gaudencio Borbon Cardinal Rosales: Archbishop emeritus of Manila
  74. Jean-Pierre Bernard Cardinal Ricard: Archbishop of Bordeaux
  75. Antonio Cardinal Cañizares Llovera: Archbishop of Valencia
  76. Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jin-suk: Archbishop emeritus of Seoul
  77. Seán Patrick Cardinal O’Malley: Archbishop of Boston
  78. Stanislaw Cardinal DziwiszArchbishop emeritus of Kraków
  79. Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun: Bishop emeritus of Hong Kong
  80. Albert Cardinal Vanhoye: Secretary emeritus of the Pontifical Biblical Commission
  81. 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
  82. Paul Josef Cardinal Cordes: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”
  83. Angelo Cardinal Comastri: Archpriest of St. Peter and Vicar General for the Vatican City State
  84. Stanislaw Cardinal Rylko: Archpries of St. Mary Major
  85. Raffaele Cardinal Farina: Librarian emeritus of the Vatican Apostolic Library and Archivist emeritus of the Vatican Secret Archives
  86. Seán Baptist Cardinal Brady: Archbishop emeritus of Armagh
  87. Lluís Cardinal Martinez Sistach: Archbishop emeritus of Barcelona
  88. André Armand Cardinal Vingt-Trois: Archbishop emeritus of Paris
  89. Angelo Cardinal Bagnasco: Archbishop of Genova
  90. Théodore-Adrien Cardinal Sarr: Archbishop emeritus of Dakar
  91. Oswald Cardinal Gracias: Archbishop of Bombay
  92. Francisco Cardinal Robles Ortega: Archbishop of Guadalajara
  93. Daniel Nicholas Cardinal DiNardo: Archbishop of Galveston-Houston
  94. Odilo Pedro Cardinal Scherer: Archbishop of São Paulo
  95. John Cardinal Njue: Archbishop of Nairobi
  96. Estanislao Esteban Cardinal Karlic: Archbishop emeritus of Paraná
  97. Raúl Eduardo Cardinal Vela Chiriboga: Archbishop emeritus of Quito
  98. Laurent Cardinal Monsengwo Pasinya: Archbishop of Kinshasa
  99. Paolo Cardinal Romeo: Archbishop emeritus of Palermo
  100. Donald William Cardinal Wuerl: Archbishop of Washington
  101. Raymundo Damasceno Cardinal Assis: Archbishop emeritus of Aparecida
  102. Kazimierz Cardinal Nycz: Archbishop of Warszawa
  103. Albert Malcolm Ranjith Cardinal Patabendige Don: Archbishop of Colombo
  104. Reinhard Cardinal Marx: Archbishop of München und Freising
  105. José Manuel Cardinal Estepa Llaurens: Military Ordinary emeritus of Spain
  106. George Cardinal Alencherry: Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly (Syro-Malabar Rite)
  107. Thomas Christopher Cardinal Collins: Archbishop of Toronto
  108. Dominik Cardinal Duka: Archbishop of Prague
  109. Willem Jacobus Cardinal Eijk: Archbishop of Utrecht
  110. Giuseppe Cardinal Betori: Archbishop of Firenze
  111. Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan: Archbishop of New York
  112. Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki: Archbishop of Köln
  113. John Cardinal Tong Hon: Bishop emeritus of Hong Kong
  114. Lucian Cardinal Muresan: Major Archbishop of Fagaras si Alba Iulia (Romanian Rite)
  115. Baselios Cleemis Cardinal Thottunkal: Major Archbishop of Trivandrum (Syro-Malankar Rite)
  116. John Olorunfemi Cardinal Onaiyekan: Archbishop of Abuja
  117. Jesús Rubén Cardinal Salazar Gómez: Archbishop of Bogotá
  118. Luis Antonio Gokim Cardinal Tagle: Archbishop of Manila
  119. Vincent Gerard Cardinal Nichols: Archbishop of Westminster
  120. Leopoldo José Cardinal Brenes Solórzano: Archbishop of Managua
  121. Gérald Cyprien Cardinal Lacroix: Archbishop of Québec
  122. Jean-Pierre Cardinal Kutwa: Archbishop of Abidjan
  123. Orani João Cardinal Tempesta: Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro
  124. Gualtiero Cardinal Bassetti: Archbishop of Perugia-Città della Pieve
  125. Mario Aurelio Cardinal Poli: Archbishop of Buenos Aires
  126. Andrew Cardinal Yeom Soo-jung: Archbishop of Seoul
  127. Ricardo Cardinal Ezzati Andrello: Archbishop of Santiago de Chile
  128. Philippe Nakellentuba Cardinal Ouédraogo: Archbishop of Ouagadougou
  129. Orlando Beltran Cardinal Quevedo: Archbishop of Cotabato
  130. Chibly Cardinal Langlois: Bishop of Les Cayes
  131. Fernando Cardinal Sebastián Aguilar: Archbishop emeritus of Pamplona y Tudela
  132. Kelvin Edward Cardinal Felix: Archbishop emeritus of Castries
  133. Manuel José Cardinal Macário do Nascimento Clemente: Patriarch of Lissabon
  134. Berhaneyesus Demerew Cardinal Souraphiel: Metropolitan of Addis Abeba (Ethiopic Rite)
  135. John Atcherley Cardinal Dew: Archbishop of Wellington
  136. Edoardo Cardinal Menichelli: Archbishop emeritus of Ancona-Osimo
  137. Pierre Cardinal Nguyen Van Nhon: Archbishop of Hanoi
  138. Alberto Cardinal Suárez Inda: Archbishop emeritus of Morelia
  139. Charles Maung Cardinal Bo: Archbishop of Yangon
  140. Francis Xavier Kriengsak Cardinal Kovithavanij: Archbishop of Bangkok
  141. Francesco Cardinal Montenegro: Archbishop of Agrigento
  142. Daniel Fernando Cardinal Sturla Berhouet: Archbishop of Montevideo
  143. Ricardo Cardinal Blázquez Pérez: Archbishop of Valladolid
  144. José Luis Cardinal Lacunza Maestrojuán: Bishop of David
  145. Arlindo Cardinal Gomes Furtado: Bishop of Santiago de Cabo Verde
  146. Soane Patita Cardinal Mafi: Bishop of Tonga
  147. José de Jesús Cardinal Pimiento Rodriguez: Archbishop emeritus of Manizales
  148. Luis Héctor Cardinal Villalba: Archbishop emeritus of Tucumán
  149. Júlio Duarte Cardinal Langa: Bishop emeritus of Xai-Xai
  150. Dieudonné Cardinal Nzapalainga: Archbishop of Bangui
  151. Carlos Cardinal Osoro Sierra: Archbishop of Madrid
  152. Sérgio Cardinal da Rocha: Archbishop of Brasília
  153. Blase Joseph Cardinal Cupich: Archbishop of Chicago
  154. Patrick Cardinal D’Rozario: Archbishop of Dhaka
  155. Baltazar Enrique Cardinal Porras Cardozo: Archbishop of Mérida
  156. Jozef Cardinal De Kesel: Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussel
  157. Maurice Cardinal Piat: Bishop of Port-Louis
  158. Carlos Cardinal Aguiar Retes: Archbishop of Mexico
  159. John Cardinal Ribat: Archbishop of Port Moresby
  160. Joseph William Cardinal Tobin: Archbishop of Newark
  161. Anthony Soter Cardinal Fernandez: Archbishop emeritus of Kuala Lumpur
  162. Renato Cardinal Corti: Bishop emeritus of Novara
  163. Sebastian Koto Cardinal Khoarai: Bishop emeritus of Mohale’s Hoek
  164. Jean Cardinal Zerbo: Archbishop of Bamako
  165. Juan José Cardinal Omella Omella: Archbishop of Barcelona
  166. Anders Cardinal Arborelius: Bishop of Stockholm
  167. Lousi-Marie Cardinal Ling Mangkhanekhoun: Vicar Apostolic of Vientiane
  168. Gregorio Cardinal Rosa Chávez: Auxiliary Bishop of San Salvador
  169. Joseph Cardinal Coutts: Archbishop of Karachi
  170. António Augusto Cardinal dos Santos Marto: Bishop of Leiria-Fátima
  171. Pedro Ricardo Cardinal Barreto Jimeno: Archbishop of Huancayo
  172. Désiré Cardinal Tsarahazana: Archbishop of Toamasina
  173. Giuseppe Cardinal Petrocchi: Archbishop of L’Aquila
  174. Thomas Aquino Manyo Cardinal Maeda: Archbishop of Osaka
  175. Sergio Cardinal Obeso Rivera: Archbishop emeritus of Jalapa
  176. Toribio Cardinal Ticona Porco: Prelate emeritus of Corocoro

Cardinal-Deacons

  1. 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
  2. Angelo Cardinal Amato: Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
  3. Robert Cardinal Sarah: Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
  4. Francesco Cardinal Monterisi: Archpriest emeritus of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls
  5. Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke: Patron of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta
  6. Kurt Cardinal Koch: President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
  7. Paolo Cardinal Sardi: Patron emeritus of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta
  8. Mauro Cardinal Piacenza: Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary
  9. Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi: President of the Pontifical Council for Culture
  10. Elio Cardinal Sgreccia: President emeritus of the Pontifical Academy for Life
  11. Walter Cardinal Brandmüller: President emeritus of the Pontifical Committee of Historical Sciences
  12. Manuel Cardinal Monteiro de Castro: Major Penitentiary emeritus of the Apostolic Penitentiary
  13. Santos Cardinal Abril y Castelló: Archpriest emeritus of St. Mary Major
  14. Antonio Maria Cardinal Vegliò: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People
  15. Giuseppe Cardinal Bertello: President of the Governorate of the Vatican City State and President of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State
  16. Francesco Cardinal Coccopalmerio: President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts
  17. João Cardinal Bráz de Aviz: Prefect of the Consecration for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
  18. Edwin Frederick Cardinal O’Brien: Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepuclhre of Jerusalem
  19. Domenico Cardinal Calcagno: President emeritus of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See
  20. Giuseppe Cardinal Versaldi: Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education
  21. Prosper Cardinal Grech: Priest of the Archdiocese of Malta
  22. James Michael Cardinal Harvey: Archpriest of St. Paul-Outside-the-Walls
  23. Lorenzo Cardinal Baldisseri: Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops
  24. Gerhard Ludwig Cardinal Müller: Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
  25. Beniamino Cardinal Stella: Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy
  26. Dominique Francois Joseph Cardinal Mamberti: Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura
  27. Luigi Cardinal De Magistris: Major Pro-Penitentiary emeritus
  28. Karl-Josef Cardinal Rauber: Apostolic Nuncio emeritus to Belgium and Luxembourg
  29. Mario Cardinal Zenari: Apostolic Nuncio to Syria
  30. Kevin Joseph Cardinal Farrell: Prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life
  31. Ernest Cardinal Simoni: Priest of the Diocese of Shkodrë-Pult
  32. Luis Francisco Cardinal Ladaria Ferrer: Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
  33. Angelo Cardinal De Donatis: Archpriest of St. John Lateran and Vicar General for the Vicariate of Rome
  34. Giovanni Angelo Cardinal Becciu: Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
  35. Konrad Cardinal Krajewski: Almoner of His Holiness
  36. 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.

Photo credit: [2] Alessia GIULIANI/CPP/CIRIC, [4] CNS/Paul Haring, [5] AP Photo/Andrew Medichini

 

For when the Pope is gone… Two new chamberlains

 

belarusYesterday Pope Francis made two appointments which are largely dormant at the moment, but which are nonetheless interesting and a reflection of the Pope’s confidence in the men concerned. The Chamberlain and the Vice-Chamberlain of the Holy Roman Church have great responsibility when a Pope dies or retires, as they make sure the daily affairs of the Holy See, as well as the preparations for the conclave, the papal funeral (if there is one) and the protection of the personal and professional assets of the deceased or retired pontiff, occur as needed.

The Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus, published in 1998 by Pope St. John Paul II, describes the duties of the chamberlain as follows:

“When the Apostolic See falls vacant, it is the right and the duty of the cardinal camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church, personally or through his delegate, to request reports from all the administrations dependent on the Holy See on their patrimonial and economic status as well as information on any extraordinary business that may at that time be under way, and, from the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See he shall request a financial statement on income and expenditures of the previous year and the budgetary estimates for the following year. He is obliged to submit these reports and estimates to the College of Cardinals (Art. 171, § 2).”

Until yesterday these positions were held by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the retired secretary of state, and Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, retired secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. Both performed their duties between the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the election of Pope Francis.

The choice of the chamberlains involves not only the suitability of the persons involved, but also the personal confidence the Pope has in time. After all, they take over from him once he dies or retires, and are therefore tasked with protecting their heritage as heads of state and spiritual leaders until a new Pope takes over.

giampietro%20gloder%20Pope Francis chose Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran (who, as Protodeacon, also announced the name of the new Pope following the conclave) as chamberlain, and Archbishop Giampiero Gloder as Vice-Chamberlain.

Cardinal Tauran (above, at right) remains the President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and is also a member of two commissions overseeing the Vatican Bank. Aged 71, he may be expected to continue as such until his 75th, while the office of chamberlain will possibly be his until his 80th birthday.

Archbishop Gloder (above, at left) was appointed as President of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, the diplomacy school of the Holy See, in September of 2013, when he was also made a bishop. Before that he worked in the Secretary of State as Head of office for special affairs.

The rollercoaster of 2013

Even without digging into the details, I can comfortably say that 2013 has been the strangest, most unexpected, most challenging and most rollercoaster-like year in recent memory. From the historical retirement of Pope Benedict XVI to the long-awaited ad limina visit of the Dutch bishops, a Catholic blogger with his eye on current Church events had plenty of things to write about. A look back on the past twelve months.

January

“Dear fathers, dear mothers, let God be great amid your family, so that your children can grow up in the security of His love.”

Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer, shortly after his consecration as Bishop of Regensburg, 26 January 2013

gänsweinJanuary was a month of ongoing affairs, although some new issues also appeared. One example of this was the question of the ad limina visit of the Dutch bishops. Otherwise, things went on as usual as Pope Benedict XVI continued much as he had done in earlier years: he consecrated Archbishop Gänswein (pictured), baptised children, created a diocese for the Ukrainian Catholics in western Europe, performed some damage control on the issue of marriage, gender and sacraments, released his Message for World Communications Day, and tweeted his support for life. Little did we expect how much that would soon change…

Locally, things were not too much out of the ordinary. In the abuse crisis, Cardinal Simonis was not prosecuted, Bishop van Burgsteden was announced to be offering a Mass in the Extraordinary Form, the bishops made it easier to leave the Church, and Cardinal Eijk spoke on palliative care,

As a blogger, I shared my thoughts about the .catholic domain name, upcoming German bishop retirements, a Protestant leader disregarding ecumenism, baby hatches, and a new and Catholic queen.

February

“…well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant…”

Pope Benedict XVI, 11 February 2013

The year really started on 11 February, with the shock announcement of Pope Benedict XVI that he would retire by the month’s end. So much of what would characterise the rest of 2013 has its roots in that decision and announcement. With it we started to wrap up a pontificate, with a lot of final things. The faithful were certainly loath to see Papa Benedetto go, as both his final general audiences and his last Angelus show. And then that last farewell came, for me the one moment which stands out in this year.

But before all that took place, there were also other developments. Pope Benedict released his Message for Lent and begin his Lenten retreat, this time led by the tweeting Cardinal Ravasi. In Germany, the bishops made some iffy decisions regarding contraception, and in Scotland, Cardinal O’Brien fell from grace.

Locally the Dutch bishops decided to limit their tv appearances (a decision later corrected by Pope Francis), and they also responded to the Pope’s retirement, collectively and individually. There were also some changes to the Eucharistic Prayer, triggered by the sede vacante.

I spoke some thoughts on a  few topics as well, among them the teaching authority of bishops, communication, vacancies in the College of Cardinals, and some more about communication.

March

“Bueno sera.”

Pope Francis, first words to the world after his election, 13 March

Pope-FrancisIn March a new chapter was opened. Whereas Pope Benedict XVI had educated us about the faith, Pope Francis would show us how to put it into practice. The tone was set from that first shy “good evening”. But before all that took place, we had to wait while the cardinal electors met and sketched a profile of the new pontiff. As the conclave opened, all eyes were on a humble chimney, about as humble as the Pope it announced after five ballots.

Of course, there were many reactions to the election of Pope Francis, such as the one by Archbishop Léonard. But live in the Church also went on. Cardinal Dolan reminded us of what really mattered, the Vatican guarded communication to the outside, the second Deetman report on excessive physical abuse in the Church came out, Bishop Jos Punt returned from three weeks living as a hermit in Spain, Pope Francis directed our attention to what it’s all about and he met with his predecessor, and it was also Easter.

April

“Christ is everything for me, the centre of my life, from Baptism to death. He is the personification of God, showing us how to live in intimate union with God, how to literally embody that great and incomprehensible God. Or, as the Gospel of John tells us, “Anyone who has seen Me, has seen the Father”. When you become the Body of Christ together, you experience in a fundamental way that you belong together and support one another.”

Words from Bishop Tiny Muskens, quoted by Bishop Liesen in the eulogy for the late bishop of Breda.

A month of settling into the new papacy and all the impressions that brings. Things returned to normal, and an overview of April is basically a list of events, with no major overarching themes.

muskensThe Dutch Church got a 25th basilica, 300 young Dutch Catholics signed up for the World Youth Days in Rio, the Diocese of ‘s Hertogenbosch plays it hard regarding rebellious priests, Pope Francis established a group of eight cardinals to advice in the reform of the Curia, Bishop Tiny Muskens (pictured) passes away, with Bishop Jan Liesen offering his funeral Mass, a group of Dutch professors published a strange manifesto against the bishops, Archbishop Léonard was attacked and taught us a lesson by his reaction, Pope Francis met with the future King and Queen of the Netherlands, and I wrote my first post on the upcoming Sacra Liturgia conference.

May

“I am very thankful that you have taken the effort to send me some words of support and solidarity after the protest action of the Femen group. Your words have been very comforting for me.”

Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard, in a letter sent to those who wrote to him in support after the attack on him by leftwing protesters in April

benedict francisA quiet month which nonetheless closed the the events of the first few months, as the Pope emeritus came home (pictured). In other events, we celebrated the Ascension of the Lord, Michael Voris commented on the state of the Church in the Netherlands, the bishops of Belgium offered a status report of the sexual abuse crisis in their country, Bishop de Korte responded to last month’s professors’ manifesto, The Pope did not perform an exorcism, nine new priests were to be ordained, and Archbishop Léonard sent a gracious letter to all those who supported him after the Femen attack.

In addition to all that, I offered some thoughts on reform proposals from the German bishops, abortion and the right to life, the fact that the Church does not condone violence against homosexuals, and Pope Francis’ comment that Christ redeemed everyone.

June

“He was a bishop with a vision, not conservative in the sense that he wanted to return to the time before the Second Vatican Council. On the contrary, with heart and soul he wanted to be a bishop who stood in and for that council and wanted to put it into practice.”

Bishop Jan Hendriks remembers  Bishop Jo Gijsen, who passed away on 24 June

gijsenAt the start of June the world gathered around the Blessed Sacrament, a new bishop was appointed to Liège, a successful Europe-wide pro-life initiative got underway, auxiliary bishops were appointed to Freiburg im Breisgau, Cologne and Osnabrück, one of the last Dutch missionary bishops (and host to a group of Dutch World Youth Day pilgrims) retires, and Bishop Jo Gijsen (pictured), emeritus of both Roermond and Reykjavík, passes away.

I also made the first Dutch translation (as far as I was able to find) of Pope Benedict XV’s encyclical In Hac Tanta, on St. Boniface, and I wrote about the issue of same-sex marriage from the viewpoints of two seeming opposites.

July

“It is impossible to serve God without going to the human brother, met on the path of our lives. But it is also impossible to substantially love the neighbor without understanding that this is the Son of God himself who first became the neighbour of every man.”

Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard, in the homily at the consecration of Bishop Jean-Pierre Delville of Liège, 14 July

cardijnThe summer months saw the stream of blog posts shrink to a trickle, and a mere 10 posts were made in July. Among those things that I did write about were the first encyclical of Pope Francis, the United Nations launching a rather one-sided demand to the Holy See about sexual abuse, the launch of the cause for the beatification of Belgian Cardinal Cardijn (pictured), Dutch pilgrims departing for Rio, the consecration of Bishop Delville of Liège, and a young Dutch woman’s encounter with the Pope.

August

“As John took Mary into his home, you took Bishop Bluyssen into your home. There is of course a great difference between giving someone a space to live and giving someone a home. You have done the latter.”

Bishop Antoon Hurkmans to the sisters of the Mariënburg monastery, 13 August

parolinStill summer, and I visited a foreign cathedral, in Slovenia the effects of Pope Francis’ reforms are first felt, Bishop Johannes Bluyssen passes away, Namur gains  a new basilica, and the Church a new Secretary of State (pictured). Another quiet month, but the things that did happen were sometimes quite momentous. A sign of more to come.

September

“I have decided to proclaim for the  whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of  Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and  throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow  Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to  participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.”

Pope Francis, 1 September

Tebartz-van ElstIn Germany, the biggest story of the year erupted in Limburg (Bishop Tebartz-van Elst pictured), and Cardinal Lajolo was sent to settle things, for now. Pope Francis called for prayer for Syria (and armed interventions were averted). In Osnabrück, Freiburg and Cologne, bishops were consecrated, and Freiburg’s Archbishop Zollitsch retired soon afterwards. The pro-life “One of Us” initiative collected 1 million signatures, and the Dutch bishops appointed a new spokeswoman (who would soon undergo her baptism by fire in the ad limina visit). And then, Pope Francis was interviewed.

October

 “The Eucharist (which refers to the Last Supper of Jesus Christ) is the most important sacrament, in which the faithful celebrate their unity with God and each other.”

Wim Cardinal Eijk, responding to liturgical abuse by an overly creative priest, 7 October

eijkIn this very busy month, the Council of Cardinals got to work, and the first fruits of Pope Francis’ reforms became visible in the Synod of Bishops, which sent a questionnaire to the world’s Catholics at the end of the month. Rumours surfaced that the Dutch bishops would be going on their ad limina visit soon, rumours which would soon be confirmed. One of the most notable efforts to spring up in relation to this was the so-called Pauspetitie. Back home, Cardinal Eijk (pictured) made a stand against excessive liturgical abuse, which revealed how rotten some parts of the Church are. Later that month, the cardinal also wrote a letter to the faithful about church closings. In other news, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications’ Msgr. Paul Tighe spoke at the CNMC in Boston about the Holy See’s work in social media, and a solution was found for the Limburg situation. The Holy See announced a consistory for February, in which Pope Francis will be creating his first class of cardinals.

With the help of Fr. Roderick’s more faithful translation of last month’s papal interview, I drafted an improved English translation. All this before later developments would seriously invalidate the level of accuracy, as the interviewer admitted to not having recorded the interview or taking notes.

November

“Due to the aforementioned discrepancies, the draft text is to be withdrawn and revised, so that no pastoral directions are sanctioned which are in opposition to Church teaching. Because the text has raised questions not only in Germany, but in many parts of the world as well, and has led to uncertainties in a delicate pastoral issue, I felt obliged to inform Pope Francis about it.”

Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, in a letter to the bishops of Germany, 11 November

A bit a weird month, mostly devoted to looking ahead to the upcoming ad limina, but there were also some other topics which needed discussion or correction.

MüllerFirst of all, there was good news as we learned that annual television spectacle The Passion would be visiting my home town in 2014. The Dutch bishops decided on the fastest and most efficient means to deal with the Synod of Bishops’ questionnaire. On 19 November, Bishop Joseph Lescrauwaet passed away. Most attention internationally, however, was for Archbishop Müller’s letter to the German bishops, informing them that their pastoral initiative on marriage and the sacraments needed revising. In Germany, things remained rebellious. On the ad limina visit, Bishop de Korte looked ahead, and I took a closer look at the general report that the bishops published.

Oh, and then there was a little Apostolic Exhortation called Evangelii Gaudium

Of the latter category, things that needed correction or further explanation, we can mention the visit of politician Boris Dittrich to the Holy See, much confusion on Christmas hymns in the liturgy.

December

“Finally, the Pope also asked us a sort of question of conscience. Where do you yourself, as bishops, find the strength, your hope and joy amid all the concerns and problems? The Gospel must always be visible as the Good News of forgiveness, salvation and redemption. He urged us to always quench our thirst from that and communicate it to others. The Church, the Pope indicated, grows from an authentically experienced faith and through honest attraction. She is being sent to awaken and plant faith, hope and love in people.”

Bishop Jos Punt, looking back on the ad limina visit, 14 December

bishops st. peter's  squareAnd so, after nine years, the bishops returned to Rome and we launched into the 2013 ad limina visit. Opening with the audience with Pope Francis, the ad limina was a hopeful occasion, for both bishops and faithful back home. Although a fair few had expected otherwise, the bishops received encouraging scenes to continue on the path they were on, especially regarding how they dealt with the sexual abuse crisis. Very helpful and enjoyable was the daily reporting by various bishops as events unfolded. After returning home, several bishops felt called to write down their experiences once more.

December was also the month of Cologne’s Cardinal Meisner, who looked ahead to his upcoming retirement, spoke frankly about some current affairs and saw Christmas day – and his 80th birthday – marked by desecration.

In other news, Michael Voris put the spotlight on a Dutch bishop, Archbishop Müller clarified what clear minds had logically assumed from the start, Archbishop Zollitsch made some worrisome comments,, the Pope marked his 1st birthday on Twitter and his 77th real birthday, Pope Francis released his Message for the World Day of Peace, Cardinal Koch expressed some concern about papal popularity, Cardinal Burke was demoted (but only in the minds of some) and there was some excitement when a papal visit to the Netherlands was discussed. And it was Christmas.

Who we lost:

deceasedprelates

  • Jozéf Cardinal Glemp, Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria in Trastevere, passed away on 23 January, aged 83
  • Giovanni Cardinal Cheli, Cardinal-Deacon of Santi Cosma e Damiano, passed away on 8 February, aged 94
  • Julien Cardinal Ries, Cardinal-Deacon of Sant’Antonio di Padova a Circonvallazione Appia, passed away on 23 February, aged 92
  • Jean Cardinal Honoré, Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria della Salute a Primavalle, passed away on 28 February, aged 92
  • Bishop Bernard Rieger, auxiliary bishop emeritus of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, passed away on 10 April, aged 90
  • Lorenzo Cardinal Antonetti, Cardinal-Deacon of Sant’Agnese in Agone, passed away on 10 April, aged 90
  • Bishop Reinard Lettmann, bishop emeritus of Münster, passed away on 16 April, aged 80
  • Bishop Martinus Petrus Maria Muskens, bishop emeritus of Breda, passed away on 16 April, aged 77
  • Stanislaw Cardinal Nagy, Cardinal-Deacon of Santa Maria della Scala, passed away on 5 June, aged 91
  • Bishop Franz Xaver Eder, bishop emeritus of Passau, passed away on 20 June, aged 87
  • Bishop Joannes Baptist Matthijs Gijsen, bishop emeritus of Reykjavík, passed away on 24 June, aged 80
  • Simon Ignatius Cardinal Pimenta, Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria «Regina Mundi» a Torre Spaccata, passed away on 19 July, aged 93
  • Ersilio Cardinal Tonini, Cardinal-Priest of Santissimo Redentore a Valmelaina, passed away on 28 July, aged 99
  • Archbishop Ludwig Averkamp, archbishop emeritus of Hamburg, passed away on 29 July, aged 86
  • Bishop Johannes Willem Maria Bluyssen, bishop emeritus of ‘s Hertogenbosch, passed away on 8 August, aged 87
  • Medardo Joseph Cardinal Mazombwe, Cardinal-Priest of Sant’Emerenziana a Tor Fiorenza, passed away on 29 August, aged 81
  • Bishop Ernst Gutting, auxiliary bishop emeritus Speyer, passed away on 27 September, aged 94
  • Bishop Georg Weinhold, auxiliary bishop emeritus of Dresden-Meiβen, passed away on 10 October, aged 78
  • Domenica Cardinal Bartolucci, Cardinal-Deacon of Santissimi Nomi di Gesù e Maria in Via Lata, passed away on 11 November, aged 96
  • Bishop Joseph Frans Lescrauwaet, auxiliary bishop emeritus of Haarlem, passed away on 19 November, aged 90
  • Bishop Max Georg von Twickel, auxiliary bishop emeritus of Münster, passed away on 28 November, aged 87
  • Ricardo María Cardinal Carles Gordó, Cardinal-Priest of Santa Marie Consolatrice al Tiburtino, passed away on 17 December, aged 86

New appointments and consecrations in the dioceses of northwestern Europe:

  • Bishop Heiner Koch, auxiliary bishop of Köln, was appointed as bishop of Dresden-Meiβen on 18 January and installed on 18 March
  • Fr. Rudolf Voderholzer was consecrated as bishop of Regensburg on 26 January
  • Fr. Jean-Pierre Delville was appointed as bishop of Liège on 31 May and consecrated on 14 July.
  • Bishop Aloys Jousten retired as bishop of Liège on 31 May
  • Fr. Michael Gerber was appointed as auxiliary bishop of Freiburg im Freisgau on 12 June and consecrated on 8 September
  • Fr. Ansgar Puff was appointed as auxiliary bishop of Köln on 14 June and consecrated on 21 September
  • Fr. Johannes Wübbe was appointed as auxiliary bishop of Osnabrück on 18 June and consecrated on 1 September
  • Bishop Werner Radspieler retired as auxiliary bishop of Bamberg on 9 September
  • Archbishop Robert Zollitsch retired as archbishop of Freiburg im Breisgau on 17 September
  • Archbishop Nikola Eterovic was appointed as Apostolic Nuncio to Germany on 21 September; Archbishop Jean-Claude Périsset retired as such on the same day
  • Bishop Rainer Klug retired as auxiliary bishop of Freiburg im Breisgau on 21 November

evangelii gaudiumIn the past year, my blog enjoyed 113,702 visits, some 26,000 more than in 2012. The retirement of Pope Benedict XVI, the following conclave and the election of Pope Francis, the Scalfari interview and the corrected English translation I provided, the letter of Archbishop Müller to the German bishops and the upcoming election of the successor of Cardinal Meisner, Evangelii Gaudium and Cardinal Eijk’s sanction against the Dominican priest who was excessively creative are among the topics and events that drew most readers. A good year. Much gratitude and encouragement to continue merrily onwards into 2014.

May your new year be blessed and joyful!

Stats for March 2013

What a month it has been. Beginning with the farewell of Pope Benedict XVI, we rode the waves of the sede vacante, the conclave and the election of Pope Francis, and various other events that added some lines to this blog. All in all, it took quite some work to keep these pages filled as things developed, so I hope that a few days of less communication is forgiven. But all the effort brought its own reward, as there was interest from across the globe in my writings. In total, I could chalk up 15,933 visits to these pages. That’s triple the number of a regular quiet month. Thank you!

On to the top 10 of most popular blog posts of March:

1: Countdown to papal Twitter launch 745
2: Meeting of the Popes 431
3: Enter the electors 329
4: The fall of Cardinal Piacenza 318
5: Continuity – Pope Francis’ coat of arms 214
6: Church teachings – the clash between authority and respect 147
7: ‘Bel Giorgio’ takes over the household 82
8: First Sunday – the Dutch cardinals in Rome 80
9: Holy Week 2013, an overview of cathedral celebrations 79
10: The seagull vigil 77

March has been crazy as far as the blog was concerned. I write these words in my free time, which is not always available in abundance. If you like what you read here, and appreciate the information I try to provide and keep as up to date as possible, think of making a donation to this blog’s upkeep. You will find a PayPal donation button in the left sidebar, and also below. Any donor can count on prayers and much appreciation from my part, and will contribute to a continued Catholic voice in new media.

Habemus Papam! – Simplicity hiding toughness

Pope-Francis

A new face, definitely a new name, and plenty of memories of both Popes John Paul (in appearance and in the way he was received). From what little we have seen of him, it is clear that Pope Francis (no “the first”!) is not like his immediate predecessors. And yet, there is much that is familiar.

My first glimpse of him, in footage showing him walking towards the balcony, immediately reminded me of the stature of a Pope Paul VI, or perhaps John Paul I. On the balcony… well, what else could we feel but sympathy mixed with joy. What an undertaking he faces! Poor Pope Francis… But then he addressed the crowd, asked them to pray for and with him, as Benedict XVI was wont to do as well. And that smile that eventually broke through on his face: a second smiling Pope?

Yesterday, it would seem, we received a Pope who is truly a servants of the servants of God as the world best knows it: a man who is not afraid to approach the weak, the sick and the poor, who shuns pomposity and vanity and, as we soon learned, chose to take the bus with the other cardinals back to the Domus Sanctae Marthae, instead of taking the limousine that was waiting.

But that humility should not be taken for weakness or even simplicity. As his chosen papal name indicates, underneath the simplicity of his appearance and actions, not unlike his two immediate predecessors, lies a person of great strength and faith. Whereas Benedict XVI was the professor who taught us about the faith, Francis will be the older brother who walks with us and shows us the way in love and charity.

The new papal face and name will take some getting used. I will miss Benedict XVI, but I am also certain that I will soon come to love Pope Francis.

As an aside, you’ll notice some changes in the blog. In the left sidebar I have added the photo of then Pope in place of the seal of the sede vacante, and on the College of Cardinals page, which you can find via the tab above, I have made Cardinal Kasper a  non-elector and removed the man who was once Cardinal Bergoglio.

Cardinal watch: Cardinal Kasper turns 80

kasperWhereas a cardinal’s 80th birthday usually represent a pretty definite point beyond which he can no longer vote in a conclave, this is not so for Walter Cardinal Kasper. His 80th birthday, yesterday, fell in the sede vacante, and that means that he can still vote in the upcoming conclave. Only cardinals who mark their 80th before the See of Peter falls vacant lose that right.

Born in the heart of southern Germany, Walter Kasper became a priest of the Diocese of Rottenburg in 1957. He started his priestly ministry as a parish priest in Stuttgart, but soon returned to studying. In 1958 he earned a doctorate in dogmatic theology at the University of Tübbingen, where he also became a faculty member until 1961. Among other things, he was an assistant to Hans Küng. His academic career soon took flight, and included  a teaching post in dogmatic theology in Münster and the job of dean of the theological faculty both there and in Tübbingen. In 1983, Father Kasper was a visiting professor at the Catholic University of America.

In 1989, returned to his native diocese, which by that time had been renamed as Rottenburg-Stuttgart, and he did as bishop. He would helm that diocese for ten years, and in 1994 he became co-chair of the International Commission for Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue, an appointment paving the way for his future.

Bishop Kasper was called to Rome in 1999 to become the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. He became an archbishop then and in 2001 he was created a cardinal, with Ognissanti in Via Appia Nuova as his deanery. Today that church is his title church, as he was elevated to the ranks of the cardinal-priests in 2011. Upon his creation, Cardinal Kasper took over the presidency of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. In 2010, Cardinal Kasper laid down his duties as president and retired, although he remained a member of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts and the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura until the sede vacante began last week.

Over the years, Cardinal Kasper has been one of the more visible curial cardinals, not least because of his critical approach to certain events and development, both within and without the Church. In 1993 he was one of the bishops who signed a letter allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive the sacraments. He also criticised the 2000 document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Dominus Iesus, claiming it was offensive to the Jews. In both cases, he was in an opposite position to Cardinal Ratzinger. On the other hand, his role in ecumenism also led to criticism from the more conservative wings of the Church. His ecumenical efforts were mainly aimed at the Orthodox Churches, and he led multiple Catholic delegations eastward. He also worked much towards mutual understanding between Catholic and Jews.

Most recently, he frankly spoke of miscommunications and mismanagement within the Curia, concerning the lifting of the excommunication of four St. Pius X Society bishops. Leading up to the papal visit to the United Kingdom in 2010, Cardinal Kasper perhaps too frankly about the secularism in that country, and in the end did not join the Pope on his visit.

With Cardinal Kasper’s 80th birthday the number of electors remains at 117. Only after the conclave does he become a non-elector.