Thursday, 21 October 2010

Commentary of the list of new cardinals: Part I

Well, some I got right and some I got wrong.

But first I must apologise for a wee mistake in my last post. You will see that the last paragraph begins: “Another obvious choice which would be welcomed by the synod would be…”

Obviously, I have not given the first choice. Sadly, and stupidly, I failed to transfer what should have been the previous paragraph from my draft Word documents to my “New Post” thingy. I was working on several different pieces on the same topic at the one time and cutting and pasting them to put up in my Blog. You will see from my intermittent attempts at trying to keep the Blog going that I am not very computer-technically minded. I hope you will take my word for it, but the missing bit read:

“The most obvious choice form among the 6 Eastern-rite Patriarchs for elevation to the Sacred College would be Antonios Naguib (75), Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts who was chosen by Pope Benedict to act as recording secretary of the October 2010 Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East.”

Anyway, to business. As anticipated, the Holy Father has decided to create ten new cardinals in curia. However, two of the cardinals-elect are a bit of a surprise, Archbishops: Robert Sarah (Guinean, 65), President of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”, and; Kurt Koch(Swiss, 60), President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Both have but recently been appointed, respectively on October 7 and on July 1.

They seem to have been advanced at the expense (if I may put it that way) of Archbishops Francesco Coccopalmerio (Italian, 72), President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts (appointed on February 15, 2007) and Antonio Maria Veglio (Italian, 71), Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (appointed on February 28, 2009).

Clearly, taking into account that the Pope must have hesitated at the thought of creating so many cardinals “in curia” at the one time ― and these were not the only other Archbishop Presidents overlooked for a red hat ― the very fact that they are both Italians has counted against them. But bearing in mind that Msgr Sarah is placed so high in the list, at No 3, and that Msgr Koch at No 7 is placed ahead of the Prefect of a Congregation and a couple of Archbishop Presidents appointed before him, it is clear that their inclusion ahead of others is not simply a matter of seeking to avoid a nationality imbalance in favour of Italy.

Pope Benedict obviously has a very high opinion of Cardinal-elect Sarah and attaches great importance to the work of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Most especially does the Holy Father value the work of that dicastery in the ongoing (resumed) dialogue with the Orthodox Churches. He publicly stated at the outset of his pontificate that he did not have an agenda, a manifesto, but Benedict’s hopes for real movement towards healing with the separated brethren of the Apostolic-succession Churches of the East have been evident virtually from Day One. Day Two, in fact, for on Wednesday, April 20, 2005, the day following his election, he addressed the Sacred College of Cardinals and said:

“Fully conscious, therefore, at the beginning of his ministry in the Church of Rome, which Peter bathed with his blood, his present Successor aims, as a primary commitment, to work without sparing energies for the reconstitution of the full and visible unity of all the followers of Christ. This is his ambition, this is his imperative duty.” (Benedict XVI'S Message to Cardinals, April 20, 2005, N5)

A few days later, when Pope Benedict XVI first addressed the faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square from his study window, he said: “I greet with especial affection the Orthodox Churches and the Eastern Orthodox Churches which today celebrate the Resurrection of Christ. To these dear brothers and sisters of ours, I address the traditional announcement of joy: Christos anesti! Christ is risen!”

As with his first appointment, the first words addressed by a new Pope to the faithful on his first Sunday might be taken to have great significance. This was certainly the case here. It seemed that His Holiness had clearly placed improved relations with the Orthodox Churches at the top of his agenda. And if this were the case then his choice of a successor to himself at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith would be crucial.

A clue to that particular succession surfaced another few days later, on May 3. In that day’s Vatican News release it was recorded that Pope Benedict had received in audience the Most Reverend William J Levada, Archbishop of San Francisco, USA. Up to that point His Holiness had received in audience 11 cardinals. Of the six archbishops he had received, three were senior Vatican officials, two were members of the Presidency of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM), which had been received as a group, and one was a Sri Lankan archbishop on his ad limina visit. He had also received six other Bishops, members of the Sri Lankan hierarchy.

He had officially received not one member of the hierarchy of the United States of America, not even any of the American cardinals! Moreover, before welcoming Archbishop Levada that day, His Holiness had received the President of Italy, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, and his Foreign Minister, Gianfranco Fini, their wives and an entourage.

So to the astute observer the question was: What gives with this Californian? Cardinals, archbishops and bishops from all over the world in Rome and the new Pope receives the archbishop of San Francisco. A guy in an archiepiscopal See which doesn’t even rate a red hat!

When Cardinal Ratzinger was brought from Munich to Rome in 1981 to serve as Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and as President of both the International Theological Commission and the Pontifical Biblical Commission, the Rt Rev Mgr Dr William Joseph (Bill) Levada was a senior official of the CDF. One of his areas of expertise was, and still is, the Orthodox Churches.

Another indication of the importance the Holy Father gives to this field was his appointment on June 9, 2007, of Leonardo Cardinal Sandri as Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. For seven years Cardinal Sandri had served both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict as sostituto, Secretary of State Substitute for General Affairs, essentially the Papal Chief of Staff.

If there is any doubt as to the importance of this position of sostituto, or about the calibre of prelate appointed to it, then one need only cite two names: Pope Benedict XV and Pope Paul VI. The appointment of Leonardo Sandri was therefore highly significant.

(A little aside: during WW II, under Pope Pius XII, Msgr Battista ― as he was known to his family and friends ― Montini served as Secretary for General Affairs and Msgr Domenico Tardini as Secretary of the Sacred Congregation for the Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs of the Holy See, the position now held by Archbishop Mamberti under a different title. These were incredibly important jobs, but unlike today appointment to them did not bring the archiepiscopal dignity.

One day a member of the staff of the Secretariat of State went to see Msgr Tardini. The young Monsignor it seems was much agitated and sadly told his superior that there was a scandalous situation which threatened to become public. Apparently it was being much talked about that one of the curial cardinals was having an affair with a married lady. Tardini loftily dismissed the young Monsignor telling him to “go and see Montini. He deals with Ordinary affairs.”)

Hopefully, I’ll get back to dealing with the affairs of the Sacred College later today.

Monday, 18 October 2010




Consistory may be announced Wednesday

In 2007, Pope Benedict announced the list of new cardinals at the end of the Wednesday audience on October 17,approximately five-and-a-half weeks before the consistory. While I had expected the announcement of the third consistory of this pontificate on Sunday, it may well be that it will come on Wednesday. If it does not, then it seems likely that His Holiness will not hold a consistory before Easter when he will have 25 vacancies in the roll of cardinal electors to fill. I could only presume that financial considerations would drive such a decision.

Apart from the necessity of creating new cardinals to bring the strength of the college of cardinal electors back up to its maximum of 120, there is also the no small matter of it perhaps being thought prudent to put in place both a younger Dean and a younger vice-Dean currently and respectively Angelo Cardinal Sodano, Cardinal Bishop of Albano and Ostia, who will be 83 on November 23, just about the time the next consistory is expected, and Roger Marie Élie Etchegaray (88), Cardinal Bishop of Porto-Santa Rufina.

At present, the other members of the order of Cardinals Bishop are, excluding the Eastern rite patriarchs who do not vote for, and are not eligible to be elected, the Dean or vice-Dean: Giovanni Battista Re (77 on January 30), Sabina-Poggio Mirteto, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Bishops; Francis Arinze (78 on November 1), Velletri-Segni, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments ; Tarcisio Bertone (76 on December 2), Frascati, Cardinal Secretary of State and Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church, and; José Saraiva Martins (79 on January 6), Palestrina, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Bearing in mind all the other onerous duties the Holy Father has entrusted to the care of Cardin Bertone, it would seem most likely that he would favour the appointment of one of the other three to the Deanship and since he is known to respect Cardinal Arinze’s desire to pursue a quieter life at home in Nigeria then most likely Cardinal Re will get the papal nod for the Suburbicarian See of Ostia. But it must be emphasised that the rules state that it is free to the Cardinals Bishop to elect whomsoever it pleases them to from amongst their own number, although the Holy Father has to consent to the appointment of the elected.

There then follows the problem of who to appoint to Albano and to Porto-Santa Rufina. William Cardinal Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith would seem an obvious choice for one. The other might well go to His Eminence Leonardo Cardinal Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, in recognition of his years of service to the Holy See and especially for the time spent as sostituto during the last years of the pontificate of Pope John Paul II and the early ones of this present one. Moreover, such an announcement during the Special Synod for the Middle East would go down well with the delegates present in Rome.

And IF the announcement IS made on Wednesday, October 20, while the Synod for the Middle East is in session, then it might very well be that the Holy Father, to show his solidarity with the region, will name cardinal one or two prelates connected with the Church very much suffering there.

Of the three cardinal patriarchs of Eastern-rite, none is now a cardinal elector and it would be a much appreciated gesture were Pope Benedict to announce the elevation of one of the other patriarchs while they are all in Rome

Another obvious choice which would be welcomed by the synod fathers would be that of His Beatitude Fouad Twal (70 on October 23), Patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins (Coadjutor Archbishop of Jerusalem, September 8, 2005; succeeded as Patriarch, June 21, 2008) His Beatitude is a Member of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Consistory 2010: The List?

The Sacred College of Cardinals currently numbers 179 in all but only 103 are presently under 80 years of age and hence eligible to take part in a conclave as cardinal electors. If the consistory IS scheduled for Saturday, November 27, then a further two cardinals will have reached the electoral age limit: Cardinals Tumi, Cameroon, and Pujats, Latvia. This will allow for 19 nominations to the roll of cardinal electors.

In the unlikely event that the Pope should decide to leave summoning the cardinals to a consistory until the end of April, then another six places will become available, allowing for 25 nominations.

At the time of the release of the list for his second consistory (held on Saturday, November 24, 2007) Pope Benedict indicated that he was making an exception to the rule that there can be a maximum of 120 cardinal electors by nominating such a number as to temporarily, and for only a very short time, have 121.

IF he does call the consistory for November 27, it is entirely possible that he will again intimate that he is making an exception to the rule in order that he might include deserving nominees. If he then nominates 25 new cardinals it will be in the knowledge that, barring any visitations of the Grim Reaper, within a matter of only a few months the limit will honoured. (Pope John Paul II had no qualms whatsoever in exceeding the limit.)

It is possible that four Metropolitan Archbishops may well be included whose inclusion would be a notable, indeed controversial, exception to Pope Benedict’s generally applied principle that Metropolitans should only be elevated once their predecessor has ceased to be a cardinal elector. The inclusion of any, some, or all of them on the list is dependent upon whether or not the first named is included. These are Monsignori:

Cesare Nosiglia (66), Turin, Italy (October 11, 2010)

Timothy Michael Dolan (60), New York, USA (February 23, 2009)

Vincent Gerard Nichols (65 on November 8), Westminster, England (April 3, 2009)

Orani João Tempesta (60), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (February 27, 2009)

As things presently stand, and irrespective of when the third consistory of this pontificate is to be held, and no matter how many cardinals are created, nominations from within the Roman Curia will include five Archbishops who by virtue of the offices to which they have been appointed since Pope Benedict’s second consistory (November 24, 2007) MUST be created cardinal. (See the Apostolic Constitution Sapienti consilio [Pope St Pius X, June 29, 1908] and relevant subsequent papal endorsements up to and including Pastor Bonus [John Paul II, June 28, 1988]). These five are Monsignori:

Angelo Amato (Italian, 72) Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (July 9, 2008

Raymond Leo Burke (American, 62) Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura (June 27, 2008),

Fortunato Baldelli (Italian, 75), Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary (June 2, 2009)

Francesco Monterisi (Italian, 76) Archpriest of St Paul’s-Outside-the-Walls (July 3, 2009).

Mauro Piacenza (Italian, 66), Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy ( October 7, 2010)

In addition, there are five further cardinals in curia who are more or less confidently expected to be honoured:

Francesco Coccopalmerio (Italian, 72), President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts (February 15, 2007)

Gianfranco Ravasi (Italian, 68 on Monday, October 18), Prefect of the Pontifical Council for Culture and President of both the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church and that for Sacred Archaeology (all as of September 3, 2007)

Velasio de Paolis (Italian, 75), President of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See (April 12, 2008)

Antonio Maria Veglio (Italian, 71), President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (February 28, 2009

Paolo Sardi (Italian, 76), Vice-Camerlengo (or, Chamberlain), Pro-Patron of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and Malta (June 7, 2009)

It is just possible, and no more than that, that the Holy Father might also honour the founding President of the newest dicastery of the Roman Curia, which he himself has erected, Monsignor:

Salvatore Fisichella (Italian, 59), President of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization (June 30, 2010)

Nominations from the Metropolitan Archbishops will definitely include Monsignori:

Donald William Wuerl (70 on November 12), Washington DC, USA (May 16, 2006)

Paolo Romeo (72), Palermo, Sicily, Italy (December 19, 2006)

Reinhard Marx (57), Munich, Germany (November 30, 2007)

Giuseppe Betori (63), Florence, Italy (September 8, 2008)

Braulio Rodriguez Plaza (66), Toledo, Spain (April 16, 2009)

Msgri Józef Kowalczyk (72), Gniezno, Poland (Primate, May 8, 2010)

Kazimierz Nycz (60), Warsaw, Poland (March 3, 2007)

It is virtually certain that other nominations will include Monsignor:

(Albert) Malcolm Ranjith (Patabendige Don) (63 on November 12), Colombo, Sri Lanka(June 16, 2009)
Other possibilities are Monsignori

Pierre Nguyên Van Nhon (72), Hanoi, Vietnam (Coadjutor, April 22, 2010; May 13, 2010).

Thomas Christopher Cillins (63), Toronto, Canada (December 16, 2006) (Cardinal Ambrozic was 80 in January of this year).

John Atcherley Dew (62), Wellington, New Zealand (April 1, 2005) (Cardinal Williams was 80 in March of this year).

Allen Henry Vigneron (62 on October 21), Detroit, USA (January 5, 2009) (Cardinal Maida was 80 in March of this year).

Mieczysław Mokrzycki (49), Lviv, Ukraine (Coadjutor, September 29, 2007; October21, 2008)

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Consistory 2010: Announcement expected Sunday, October 17

The announcement on Thursday, October 7, that Pope Benedict had accepted the resignation of His Eminence Cláudio Cardinal Hummes, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, came as a surprise and is taken as a sign that the Holy Father intends to hold a third consistory for the naming of new cardinals at an early date, probably Saturday, 27 November.

If this IS the case, then the list of new cardinals should be issued this coming Sunday, October 17.

A Franciscan, Cardinal Hummes was Archbishop of São Paolo, Brazil, before being called to Rome in 2006 as Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy. Although at 76 years of age already past the age limit, His Eminence is neither ill nor infirm and, indeed, still has a little over a year of his tenure to run.

It seems clear that the Pope must have had a good reason for acting now. And the best of reasons would be a desire to avoid having yet another head of a ranking dicastery, tribunal or other institute of the Holy See entitled by canon law, or by long custom and usage, to the cardinalatial dignity serving for some considerable time before being created cardinal.

This has already happened with Archbishops Raymond Leo Burke (American, 62) Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura (June 27, 2008), Angelo Amato (Italian, 72) Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (July 9, 2008), Fortunato Baldelli (Italian, 75), Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary (June 2, 2009), and Francesco Monterisi (Italian, 76) Archpriest of St Paul’s-Outside-the-Walls (July 3, 2009).

These will all be on the list whenever it is released and it is confidently expected that Msgr Angelo Amato, who served under the Holy Father at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will have the position of honour, No 1 on the list. To him will go the signal honour of addressing the Pope on behalf of all the new cardinals at the public consistory on the Saturday morning.

The above named will be joined by the prelate chosen to succeed Cardinal Hummes as Secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy. This is the man largely responsible for ensuring the success of the Year of Priests, Msgr Mauro Piacenza, titular Archbishop of Victoriana (Victorian England, apparently; and, no, I don’t have a clue either).

These five are guaranteed to be on the list since the Apostolic Constitution Sapienti consilio (Pope St Pius X, June 29, 1908) and relevant subsequent papal endorsements up to and including Pastor Bonus (John Paul II, June 28, 1988) stipulate that the Prefects of all nine Congregations of the Roman Curia must either be a cardinal upon appointment or be created a cardinal at the earliest opportunity thereafter. The same applies to the Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, and has until now applied to those appointed Archpriest of the three Major Basilicas which have always in modern times had such a prelate. It has only been since 2005 and the motu proprio “The Ancient and Venerable Basilica” (May 31) that St Paul’s-Outside-the-Walls has had an Archpriest nominated by the Supreme Pontiff but it can be assumed that that practice will also apply now in that case.

Other nominations from within the Roman Curia are also expected, Archbishops:

• Francesco Coccopalmerio (Italian, 72), Legislative Texts (February 15, 2007)
• Gianfranco Ravasi (Italian, 68 on Monday, October 18), Culture, who is also President of both the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church and that for Sacred Archaeology (all as of September 3, 2007)
• Velasio de Paolis (Italian, 75), Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See (April 12, 2008)
• Antonio Maria Veglio (Italian, 71), Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (February 28, 2009)
• Paolo Sardi (Italian, 76), Vice-Camerlengo (or, Chamberlain), Pro-Patron of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and Malta (June 7, 2009).

The first two will be honoured because of the historic importance of their positions, their intellectual brilliance, their priestly reputations, the esteem in which they are held by Pope Benedict and their value to this pontificate.

Msgr De Paolis would be made cardinal because of the singular importance of his office. The Prefecture was erected in 1967 and of Msgr De Paolis’s five predecessors, four were cardinals on appointment and the other, his immediate predecessor, was elevated at the second consistory after his appointment. However, Cardinal Sebastini was appointed on November 3, 1997, and the list of 22 new cardinals to be elevated at the consistory of February 21, 1978, was announced on January 18. It is likely that his appointment came just too late to accommodate him.

Msgr Veglio would be honoured not because of his current position but because of his long and devoted service to the Holy See, firstly, in its diplomatic service and then, secondly, in the Roman Curia where he served as Secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. Of course, if the list of new cardinals IS announced this Sunday while the Special Synod for the Middle East is in progress, Msgr Veglio’s elevation will be received with especial delight by the Synod Fathers.

Msgr Sardi, was and remains a very senior curialist and his appointment to succeed the late Pio Cardinal Laghi emphasises this. That style – “Pro-Patron” – means that for the time being the Holy Father has reserved the patronage to himself. A similar thing happened before the last consistory. Cardinal Foley was appointed Pro-Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem on June 27, 2007 and was raised to the cardinalatial dignity five months later.

(The Vice-Chamberlain of the Apostolic Camera was until 1870 Governor of the City of Rome. He is the prelate whose authority during a sede vacante is next only to that of the Camerlengo and the Dean of the Sacred College. To him is entrusted responsibility for the security of the conclave, to which no one can be admitted without his permission.)

While this might seem to be rather more than enough cardinals in curia, since the Holy Father chose to officially launch the new dicastery, the Pontifical Council for promoting the New Evangelization on Tuesday, October 12, ahead of the expected announcement of the list of new cardinals on October 17, this may indicate that he intends to create cardinal its founding President, Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella. (In this regard it should be noted that the constitution of the new dicastery includes “Art. 4. Paragraph 1. The Council is headed by an Archbishop President…” but this is in conformity with the constitutions of the other dicasteries which have at their head Archbishops President who are also cardinals.)

That all comes to ten or eleven new cardinals; but, how many will there, or can there, be?

The Sacred College of Cardinals currently numbers 179 in all but only 103 are presently under 80 years of age and hence eligible to take part in a conclave as cardinal electors. If the consistory IS scheduled for Saturday, November 27, then a further two cardinals will have reached the electoral age limit: Cardinals Tumi, Cameroon, and Pujats, Latvia. This will allow for 19 nominations to the roll of cardinal electors. (In the unlikely event that the Pope should decide to leave summoning the cardinals to a consistory until the end of April, then another six places would be available, allowing for 25 nominations.)

The non-curial cardinals to be created will be chosen from the ranks of the Metropolitan Archbishops from throughout the Universal Church. In Rome, the three regarded as the most important outside of Italy are Munich, New York and London, that is Westminster.

In the week following the last consistory, on November 30, 2007, it was announced that Msgr Reinhard Marx had been nominated Archbishop of Munich in succession to Friedrich Cardinal Wetter. Unquestionably, the choice of Msgr Marx was known in advance of the consistory. So why was the announcement delayed until after it?

There are two possibilities. Firstly, the Archbishop of Munich is always created cardinal at the earliest opportunity after appointment. It may well have been that Msgr Marx had emerged as the preferred candidate just too late to be included in the consistory and so the announcement had to be delayed in order that the impression was not given that Munich had been snubbed. Or, secondly, at the time of the consistory Cardinal Wetter was still a cardinal elector and would remain so until February 20 in the following year, 2008. What did that matter?

Msgr Marx will definitely be on the list of new cardinals and so, too, will Msgr Paolo Romeo (Italian, 72) Archbishop of Palermo (December 19, 2006). Prior to his nomination to Palermo, Msgr Romeo was Apostolic Nuncio to Italy. In modern times those prelates who have risen to the summit of the diplomatic service of the Holy See with appointment as Nuncio to either Italy or France have at the end of their tenure then retired from the diplomatic service and have been given a red hat (see Pope John XXIII).

The problem for Msgr Romeo was that the man he was replacing, His Eminence Salvatore Cardinal de Giorgi, was only 76 years old and hence still a cardinal elector. Moreover, at the time of the last consistory, in November 2007, he was still only 77. This is a problem that has only really surfaced in relatively recent times: cardinal metropolitan archbishops retiring while they are still cardinal electors.

There is no law which says that their successors cannot be created cardinal until either they have turned their toes up or celebrated their 80th birthdays. But clearly Pope Benedict has decided that it is in general a bad idea, risking an undue bias, or weighting, should a conclave become necessary. It would be like a Tesco sale: two votes for the price of one!

This begs the question: Will the recently appointed Metropolitan Archbishops of New York, Westminster, and, and just as importantly, Rio de Janeiro be honoured at the forthcoming consistory?

Rio is in fact the greater problem for the Holy Father to decide on. The Cistercian Archbishop Orani João Tempesta (60, appointed February 27, 2009) has in his See not one but two Cardinal Archbishops Emeritus: Cardinals de Araújo Sales, who will be 90 in November, and; Cardinal Scheid, who will be 78 in December and who is, therefore, still a cardinal elector.

In New York, Cardinal Ed Egan is 78 and will be 79 next April 2. In London, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor is 78 and will be 79 next August 24. It may well be, then, that, along with Archbishop Tempesta, one or other or both of their successors ― Archbishops Tim Dolan (60; appointed February 23, 2009) and Vincent Nichols (65 on November 8; April 3, 2009) ― may well be disappointed this time round.

But then again maybe not.

Rio is a huge diocese and Latin America is statistically under-represented in the Sacred College; New York’s Catholics and their generosity are essential to the Church’s finances, and; England (and NOT Westminster) is the Mother of Parliaments and the Anglophone Catholic Churches throughout the developing world do look to her (and to Ireland and to Scotland) for direction and leadership.

So it would be no great surprise if all three were included in the list.

And it should also be remembered that even for Pope Benedict it is not written in stone that a new Archbishop cannot be made a cardinal while his predecessor remains a cardinal elector.

Giacomo Cardinal Biffi, then aged 75½, retired as Archbishop of Bologna on December 16, 2003, and on that same day Msgr Carlo Caffarra was named as his successor. On March 24, 2006, at the first Benedictine consistory Archbishop Caffarra was created cardinal DESPITE the fact that Cardinal Biffi was, aged 78 years, still a cardinal elector. And still very much on the go.

The Archbishops of Italy’s major Sees have always been rewarded with the Sacred Roman Purple at the next consistory after their appointment. These are the Archbishops of Venice (Patriarch), Bologna, Florence, Genoa, Milan, Naples, Palermo and Turin, and the Pope’s Vicar General for the Diocese of Rome. One only has to call to mind the furore caused when Pope Pius XII named Msgr Battista Montini Archbishop of Milan but failed to give him a cardinal’s hat. (That he never held a subsequent third consistory to fill a number of vacancies in the Sacred College is irrelevant. On July 15, 1929, Pius XI held a consistory at which only ONE cardinal was created: Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster OSB, Archbishop of Milan!)

It might well be highly significant that Msgr Cesare Nosiglia (66) was appointed Archbishop of Turin this very week, on Monday, October 11. As with Archbishop Tempesta in Rio de Janeiro, Msgr Nosiglia has two Cardinal Archbishops Emeritus to cope with and, as in Rio, one of them is still a cardinal elector, His Eminence Severino Cardinal Poletto, aged 77.

It might well be that the timing of the announcement of Msgr Nosiglia has a significance similar to that of Archbishop Piacenza’s. Perhaps it has been announced now precisely so that he CAN be created cardinal at this consistory. This would then act as a justification for the inclusion in the list of new cardinals of Archbishops Dolan, Nichols and Tempesta. After all, would it not be highly unfair to include an Italian whose predecessor remains a cardinal elector while excluding on that ground an American, a European and a Latin American?

Another Italian Metropolitan Archbishop, Msgr Giuseppe Betori (63), will also be named cardinal. He was appointed Archbishop of Florence (September 8, 2008) in succession to Ennio Cardinal Antonelli when the latter was appointed President of the Pontifical Council for the Family. (When Cardinal Antonelli was created cardinal in 2003 he received as his titular church San Andrea della Fratte, which had been Cardinal Winning’s church in Rome.)

In the same way that Msgr Betori was appointed because his predecessor had been tapped for service in the Roman Curia, Msgr Braulio Rodriguez Plaza was translated to Toledo when Antonio Cardinal Cañizares Llovera was appointed Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. And so Msgr Rodriguez Plaza will be now be named cardinal.

Poland will likely see two of her prelates honoured: Msgri Józef Kowalczyk, Gniezno, the Primate, and Kazimierz Nycz (60), Warsaw.

Four years after his nomination as Archbishop of Washington DC, Msgr Donald William Wuerl, who will be 70 on November 12, will now receive his red hat, Cardinal McCarrick having turned 80 in July.

Out of Africa, it is expected that Msgr Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya (71), Archbishop of Kinshasa (formerly Leopoldville) Democratic Republic of the Congo, will be elevated. From 1964 to 1970, Monsengwo Pasinya was a student at Rome’s Pontifical Biblical Institute from which he graduated with a doctorate in Biblical Sciences, the first black African ever to do so. He is reputed to be fluent in 14 languages. An indication of his stature within the Church in Africa is the fact that in August of 2008, following the death of the Holy Father’s friend, Bishop Wilhelm Egger of Belzano-Bressanone, Msgr Monsengwo Pasinya was selected to replace him as special secretary to the Synod for Africa held in October of that year.