Thursday, 30 August 2012

A Fifth Benedictine Consistory

Bearing in mind that Pope’s, just like other men, even if they are not German, are likely to do things in a similar way in similar circumstances — that is they tend to be predictable — then the most likely date for a fifth consistory of this Benedictine pontificate is Saturday, November 23, 2013, eve of the Feast of Christ the King.

The corresponding Saturday has twice before been chosen by Pope Benedict for consistories, in 2007 and 2010. Moreover, as things currently stand this date would allow him to create a number of cardinals in conformity with his previous consistories (12, 18, 20 and 18).

On the prospective date, save the intervention of the Grim Reaper, there will be 16 vacancies in the College of Cardinal Electors. However, if the Holy Father allows himself the same latitude that he did at the last consistory, when he took into account those cardinals attaining their 80th birthday during the five months following upon the month in which the consistory was held, then he will have a further 5 red birettas to allocate, giving a total of 21. Should he choose to extend that leeway to a sixth month, then he would have a further biretta at his disposal, making 22 in all.

Of the 16 vacancies as of the prospective date of the consistory, 6 are occasioned by cardinals in curia, all now retired, attaining their 80th birthdays since the last consistory and 10 by Cardinal Archbishops from throughout the Catholic world, again all now retired. Of the cardinals in curia, 4 were heads of curial departments whose heads are required to be of cardinalatial rank at appointment or who must be deemed worthy of the Sacred Roman Purple as soon as possible thereafter. The successor of only one has been appointed since the 2012 consistory and therefore still awaits the red biretta (Cardinal Farina of the Vatican Secret Archives and Library retired on June 26, 2012, and was replaced by the Frenchman Archbishop Jean-Louis Bruguès, O.P., formerly Secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education; see below).

The ten Cardinals Archbishop Emeriti were all in Red Hat Sees, but one was succeeded by an archbishop already a cardinal (Juan Cardinal Sandoval Íñiguez was succeeded as Archbishop of Guadalajara, Jalisco, México, by José Francisco Cardinal Robles Ortega who had been Archbishop of Monterrey, Nuevo León).

Of the 5 cardinals who will reach the cardinalatial age limit in the five months following the prospective date of the consistory, 4 are Cardinal Archbishops from throughout the Catholic world, three of whom are in Red Hat Sees, and 1 is a retired cardinal in curia long since replaced (Giovanni Battista Cardinal Re, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Bishops). One of the Cardinals Archbishop Emeriti has been replaced by a prelate already a Cardinal (Dionigi Cardinal Tettamanzi of Milan was succeeded by Angelo Cardinal Scola, papabile) and one, Joachim Cardinal Meisner, is still in charge at Cologne (next February 2 His Eminence will have been a cardinal elector for 30 years). (The prelate not in a Red Hat See is Jean-Baptiste Cardinal Pham Minh Mân of Hô Chí Minh City, Viêt Nam.)

If the Holy Father extends the leeway to six months then another cardinal in curia attains the age limit, Francesco Cardinal Monterisi, Archpriest of the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls Basilica. (His Eminence, a former distinguished diplomat in the service of the Holy See at the Vatican and abroad, was Secretary of the Conclave in 2005 which elected Pope Benedict.)

In summary, then, if a consistory is held as proposed on November 23, 2013, the Holy Father would have 16, or 21, or 22, red birettas to distribute. But who would receive them?

It is relatively easy to predict with a fair degree of accuracy which prelates of the Roman Curia will be elevated at the next consistory, although that part of any list may change as the date of the consistory approaches if new appointments to front rank dicasteries are made. It should also be noted that since 2001 it is now settled policy that any new cardinals in curia come at the top of the list. Venerably aged priests appointed as non-electing cardinals come at the bottom. It hasn’t happened so far this century, but one would assume that if an Apostolic Nuncio is to be elevated (and that would almost certainly only be the retiring Nuncio to Italy, France or Spain) then he would be in the top group.

As things currently stand, No 1 on the list at the next consistory, the new cardinal who will have the signal honour at the public consistory on the Saturday of delivering an address to the Holy Father in behalf of his confreres, will be Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, appointed on July 2 this year as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (and therefore also President of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”, of the International Theological Commission and of the Pontifical Biblical Commission).

[At all previous Benedictine consistories this honour has been given to someone who has either been a former colleague or close collaborator of His Holiness. In order, they have been: William Joseph Levada, had worked with His Holiness at the CDF; Leonardo Sandri, Secretary of State Substitute for General Affairs, that is sostituto (a position that has been likened to the Chief of Staff of a United States President; it was the then Msgr Sandri who announced the death of Blessed John Paul II); Angelo Amato, Secretary of the CDF, and; Fernando Filoni, sostituto. If a sostituto or Prefect of the Papal Household were in any list, then they would have precedence over all other curia appointees (this is unlikely next time around).]

At the moment, the only other curial prelate who MUST be elevated next time is Archbishop Jean-Louis Bruguès, O.P. who, as indicated above, has been appointed Archivist of the Vatican Secret Archives and Librarian of the Vatican Library (which it now seems to have been settled will be treated as a joint appointment; it has not always been so).

There are 21 dicasteries of the Roman Curia which must have as their heads a Cardinal or an Archbishop who will be raised to the cardinalatial dignity at the next consistory. Three are currently headed by prelates over the official retiral age of 75 years: Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone will be 78 on December 2; Santos Cardinal Abril y Castelló, Vice-Chamberlain Emeritus of the Apostolic Chamber, Archpriest of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major will be 77 in September (21st), and; Francesco Cardinal Monterisi, Archpriest of the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls was 78 in May (28th).

However, even if the Holy Father were to decide to replace Cardinal Bertone (and that at the moment seems unlikely) I would regard it as virtually unthinkable that he would appoint a Secretary of State who was not already a Cardinal. In modern times, on only one occasion has a mere Archbishop been appointed to this most important position as the Pope’s principal adviser. That was in 1903 when Pope Saint Pius X almost immediately after the conclave appointed Archbishop, later Cardinal, Rafael Merry del Val Cardinal.

Cardinal Merry del Val, an Anglo-Spaniard priest of the Archdiocese of Westminster, was at the time President of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy (the Academia) and had been selected by vote of the cardinals in a General Congregation to act as Secretary of the Conclave. This had become necessary as Msgr Alessandro Volpini, Secretary of the Consistorial Congregation, who should, ex officio, have been Secretary of the Conclave, had suddeny collapsed and died in the Vatican Palace as they awaited the death of Pope Leo XIII. (The other candidate presented to the Cardinals was Archbishop, later Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Gasparri. Both Gasparri and Merry del Val were appointed by Pope Leo XIII as members of the papal commission to study the question of the validity of Anglican ordinations which gave rise to the Papal Bull Apostolicae Curae of 1896.)

As for the other two curial prelates already past the official retirement age, it should be noted that, with the exception of the Archpriest of the Archbasilica of St John Lateran, who is the Pope’s Cardinal Vicar General for the Diocese of Rome, Archpriests of the patriarchal basilicas often go on well after the normal retiral age of 75, sometimes even beyond 80 years. For example, Cardinal Monterisi’s predecessor, Andrea Cardinal Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, who will celebrate his 87th birthday next month (August 27) only retired as Archpriest of St John’s Outside-the-Walls a fortnight before his 84th birthday.

So in considering the possibilities for the next list of new cardinals it need not be assumed that these three posts will have to be taken into account.

Moreover, of the other better known “Red Hat” dicasteries, the Prefects of only two Congregations and one Tribunal are anywhere near the official retirement age: Angelo Cardinal Amato, Causes of Saints, will be 75 on June 8, 2013; Manuel Cardinal Monteiro de Castro, Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary, will be 75 on March 29, 2013, and; Zenon Cardinal Grocholewski, Catholic Education, will be 75 on October 11, 2014. (Note that Cardinal Monteiro de Castro was an Academia classmate, Class of 1965, of Msgr Basil Loftus, retired priest of the Diocese of Leeds, now a contributor to the Scottish Catholic Observer.)

Thus, as far as the Roman Curia is concerned, 2 of the Voting Cardinals’ Red Hats at the next consistory are already spoken for and, at least at the moment, anything up to another six may have to be earmarked, although it could quite feasibly be none.

Of the Archbishops from around the Catholic world, we can be fairly certain of at least some, although please note that this list is not offered as the order in which these prelates would appear, merely in the order of their predecessors attaining the age limit.

Msgri (with age at prospective date of Benedictine Consitory V):

Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle (56), Archbishop of Manila;
Vincent Gerard Nichols (68), Archbishop of Westminster;
Jesús Rubén Salazar Gómez (71), Archbishop of Bogotá;
Orani João Tempesta, O. Cist. (63), Archbishop of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro;
Cesare Nosiglia (69), Archbishop of Turin;
André-Joseph (Mutien) Léonard (73), Archbishop of Malines-Brussels;
Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, S.D.B. (71), Archbishop of Santiago de Chile;
Murilo Sebastião Ramos Krieger, S.C.I. (70), Archbishop of São Salvador da Bahia.

It should be noted that a further nominee SHOULD be:

Sviatoslav Shevchuk (43), Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halyč {Kiev} (Greek Catholic Church of the Ukraine).

However, aged just 43 years at the prospective time he MAY be considered too young. The youngest current cardinal is Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki, Archbishop of Berlin, who was 55½ when named cardinal earlier this year. (Cardinal Merry del Val was one month past his 38th birthday when he was created cardinal.)

If the Holy Father gives himself that five months leeway, then the following should be added to the list, Msgr:

Fausto Gabriel Trávez Trávez, O.F.M. (72), Archbishop of Quito.

In addition to these, Francesco Moraglia (59), Bishop of La Spezia-Sarzana-Brugnato, was appointed Patriarch of Venice on January 31, 2012, in succession to Angelo Cardinal Scola when the latter was translated to Milan. The Patriarch’s appointment came after the list of cardinals for the February consistory had been issued. It is almost inconceivable that he will not be on the next list.

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