Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The Cardinal Secretary of State

It is generally assumed that Pope Francis (and it isn't Pope Francis I) will soon appoint a new Cardinal Secretary of State. IF His Holiness follows the example of his predecessors, and it cannot be assumed he will, then the appointee will already be a Cardinal.

Checking back as far as to the appointment of Fabio Chigi in 1651, only four prelates were not already Cardinals upon appointment as Secretary of the Secretariat of State. From the appointment of Fabrizio Cardinal Paolucci for a second time (in 1724 under Pope Benedict XIII; he had served as Secretary of State under Pope Clement XI from December 3, 1700 until March 19, 1721) the general rule has been that the Cardinal Secretary of State has been a Cardinal upon appointment. Cardinal Paolucci himself died prematurely and had to be replaced, and his replacement was not already a Cardinal (see below).

It should also be noted that two prelates were on the same day created Cardinal AND named Secretary of State: Ercole Consalvi (August 11, 1800; first appointment) and Luigi Jacobini (December 16, 1880). Note, also, that Domenico Cardinal Ferrata was named Cardinal Secretary of State by Pope Benedict XV on September 4, 1914, but he died soon after, on October 10, of peritonitis after an illness which lasted several weeks (because of which it was considered imprudent to operate). He was replaced by Pietro Cardinal Gasparri.

The four non-Cardinals upon appointment as Secretary of the Secretariat of State were:  

(1) Fabio Chigi, Bishop of Nardò, Italy, was Apostolic Nuncio in Cologne June 11, 1639 until 1651. Pope Innocent X (1644-55) appointed him Secretary of State in early 1651 (exact date unknown). He was created Cardinal Priest in the title of Santa Maria del Popolo at Innocent X's Consistory VI on February 19, 1652. He was sent as envoy extraordinary to the conference of Münster, 1644, which culminated with the Peace of Westphalia, 1648, ending the Thirty Years’ War.

Cardinal Secretary of State Chigi was elected Pope Alexander VII on April 7, 1655. He died on May 22, 1667.

(At that same consistory of 1652, Pietro Vito Ottoboni, auditor of the Sacred Roman Rota, was created Cardinal Priest in the title of S. Salvatore in Lauro. Elected Pope Alexander VIII on October 6, 1689 (died February 1, 1691)).

(2) Giulio Rospigliosi, Titular Archbishop of Tarsus, formerly Apostolic Nuncio to Spain, was living in retirement (1653-55) when he was named Governor of Rome by the Sacred College of Cardinals during the sede vacante, January 8 until April 15, 1655. He was appointed Secretary of State by Alexander VII (1655-1667) at some point in that April of 1655 following upon Alexander VII’s election and served until May 22, 1667. He was elected pope on June 20, 1667, and took the name Clement IX.

(3) Federico Borromeo Jr, Titular Patriarch of Alexandria, Apostolic Nuncio to Spain, was named Secretary of State in May, 1670, following upon the election of Clement X on April 29. On December 22, 1670, he was created Cardinal Priest in the title of S. Agostino. He opted for the title of S. Agnese fuori le mura, August 8, 1672.

(4) Nicolò Maria Lercari, Titular Archbishop of Nazianzus, was appointed Secretary of State on June 14, 1726, by Pope Benedict XIII (1724-1730) following the death of Fabrizio Cardinal Paolucci. He was created Cardinal Priest in the title of Ss. Giovanni e Paolo on December 9, 1726. He served as Benedict XIII’s Prime minister and Secretary of State until February 21, 1730.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

New Year in Florence: March 25, Feast of the Annunciation

March 25, 2013, may have been the last Monday in March and the first working day of Holy Week, but it was also being celebrated in Florence as the traditional start of their New Year (more of which anon).

I was there!




Obviously, it being New Year...


One has to be prepared to sacrifice one's principles so as not to offend the locals! Ahem, in the local as it were.

Later in the week we spent a day in Pisa.


Of course, the resident Calvinist was in attendance. It was after all a wee treat for her **th birthday

Cardinal Sandri: Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone's replacement?

On the afternoon of Thursday, March 21, Pope Francis received in audience His Eminence Leonardo Cardinal Sandri (69) (above), Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. This was the first audience granted a dicastery head after the inauguration of the pontificate. Of course, this may simply have been a courtesy as Cardinal Sandri is both an Argentinian national and, like the Holy Father himself, of Italian parentage.

However, there is another possible interpretation. In the days following the inauguration of the late Benedictine pontificate, Pope Benedict’s first audience with an American prelate was not with any of the Cardinal Archbishops but with the Archbishop of San Francisco, not a Red Hat See. A short while later it was announced that that prelate, the then Most Rev Archbishop William (Bill), later Cardinal, Levada, was to replace Cardinal, by then Papa, Ratzinger as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Cardinal Sandri is a product of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, Class of ’71. As is the case with most, indeed, nearly all, alumni of the Academia he holds a doctorate in Canon Law. And as is the case with ALL alumni, he is fluent in several languages: besides his native Spanish and, obviously, Italian, he has also mastered French, English and German. As a canonist Latin is a given. Perhaps academic/classical Greek as well.

One of Cardinal Sandri’s classmates was Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, currently Apostolic Nuncio to the USA and formerly Secretary-General of the Governatorate of Vatican City State (July 16, 2009 to September 3, 2011). Mgr Viganò was removed from that post under somewhat controversial circumstances. Another was Lorenzo Baldisseri, the current Secretary of the Congregation for Bishops (appointed January 11, 2012) who was Secretary of the Conclave (and who can therefore expect to be created cardinal in early course).

(NB: I originally drafted this post, but did not then publish it for various reasons, on March 23 before leaving for a short break in Florence. It has subsequently emerged that Pope Francis placed his then un-needed red zucchetto on Mgr Baldisseri's head when the latter made his obeisance after the cardinals at the conclusion of the Conclave, signifying his intention to name him cardinal at his first consistory.) 

Cardinal Sandri entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1974 and served in the nunciatures in Madagascar and Mauritius before being recalled to Rome in 1977 to work in the Secretariat of State. In 1989 he was sent to the nunciature in Washington. While there he also served as Permanent Observer of the Holy See before the Organization of American States. On August 22, 1991 he was appointed Regent of the prefecture of the Pontifical Household. Eight months later, on April 2, 1992, he was appointed Assessor of the Secretariat of State for General Affairs.

Elected titular Archbishop of Cittanova and named nuncio in Venezuela on July 22, 1997, His Eminence was consecrated bishop on October 11, 1997, in St Peter’s at the hands of then Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano assisted by Cardinal Juan Carlos Aramburu, archbishop emeritus of Buenos Aires, and by Giovanni Battista Re, then titular archbishop of Vescovio, Substitute of the Secretariat of State for General Affairs (who, as the senior Cardinal Bishop still an elector, was acting dean of the recent Conclave).

On March 1, 2000, Archbishop Sandri was transferred to Mexico. However, a mere six months later, on September 16, 2000, he was recalled to Rome and appointed Secretary of State Substitute for General Affairs, sostituto (in effect the papal Chief of Staff). When Blessed Pope John Paul II was unable to read his speeches, it was Mgr Sandri, and NOT as the popular press had it the papal Secretary Archbishop, now Cardinal, Dziwisz, who read them for him. It was also Cardinal Sandri who, in what may have been a breach of protocol, announced the Pope’s death to the world from St Peter’s Square.

Appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches on June 9, 2007, he was raised to the cardinalatial dignity at the consistory of November 24, 2007. He enjoyed the honour and privilege of being No 1 on the list of new cardinals.

Prior to the recent Conclave, Cardinal Sandri was regarded as papabile. It is now entirely possible that the granting of this audience on March 21 may indicate that he is soon to be appointed Cardinal Secretary of State in succession to Cardinal Bertone. Some would argue, persuasively it must be said, that a non-Italian Pope would have to have an Italian Secretary of State. However, one of Cardinal Bertone’s great failings was his involvement, meddling, in both Italian civil and ecclesiastical politics. Cadinal Sandri is an ethnic Italian but has clean hands in this regards.