Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Vatican News: Changes afoot at the Secretariat of State

At the same time as it was officially reported that Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of Cardinal Secretary of State Bertone, but putting its execution on hold to October 15, and appointing Mgr Parolin to succeed him, with the same condition applied, he was also reported to have confirmed in their offices the other superiors of the Secretariat of State. These were listed as: Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, sostituto, that is Secretariat of State Substitute for General Affairs; Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States; Archbishop Georg Ganswein, prefect of the Papal Household; Msgr. Peter B. Wells, assessor for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State (and President of the Financial Security Committee); and, Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for Relations with States (and a Member of the Financial Security Committee).

Although they were not mentioned in the announcement as their positions, although senior, do not strictly qualify as “superiors”, it may be assumed that Archbishop Luciano Suriani (a classmate of Mgr Pater Magee, President of our Scottish Catholic National (Marriage) Tribunal at the Pontifical Eccesiastcal Academy), Delegate for Pontifical Representations, and, Msgr. José Avelino Bettencourt, Head of Protocol, have also been confirmed in position.

The important point here is that he has included in this group Archbishop Ganswein as if the Papal Household were part of the Secretariat of State. IT ISN’T. At least not yet. This may well indicate that in any rearrangement to come of the Secretariat, the Papal Household will be formally incorporated into the Secretariat, or rather into its remnant based on the First Section. Incorporating the Papal Household into the First Section does not make any sense other than in the context of the First and Second Sections being formally separated.

Visitors to Fr Ray Blake's excellent Blog will be aware that I had reached this conclusion very shortly after the announcements were made. Subsequent to that it was announced that Pope Francis had issued a summons to all the dicastery heads to meet with him. The letter was sent by Archbishop Ganswein, not Cardinal Bertone or Archbishop Becciu.

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