The Church’s new princes
In five weeks’ time, Pope Benedict XVI will create 22 new cardinals in the fourth consistory of his pontificate, 18 of whom will be eligible to vote in the next conclave to choose a new Pope. So who are those swelling the elite ranks of the Church?
If there were any doubts before last week, it is now clear to many that Pope Benedict XVI wants to keep the papacy firmly in the hands of the Europeans. The Vatican’s announcement last week that Pope is to create 22 new cardinals in a consistory on 18 February revealed that nearly three-quarters of those receiving a red hat are from Europe (seven alone from Italy). The remainder of the appointments in this the fourth consistory of the Ratzinger pontificate include three new cardinals from North America, two from Asia and one from Brazil. Four of those appointed are beyond the age of 80 and so ineligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new Pope.
Ten of the new cardinals are currently in charge of Roman Curia or Rome-based offices that, by long-standing custom, are almost always headed by a cardinal. Several in this year’s group were named to their posts as a reward for a lifetime of service to the Holy See. Others are in a position, such as head of a congregation, where it is considered essential that he be of the highest ecclesiastical rank. The remainder are those who are residential bishops heading major archdioceses that are traditionally headed by cardinals.
As of 18 February there will be 125 cardinal-electors, five beyond the ceiling of 120 set by Pope Paul VI. And for the first time, now standing at 63 those created by Benedict XVI will outnumber by one those created by Blessed John Paul II. In the course of nearly seven years as Bishop of Rome, Pope Benedict will have created a total of 68 cardinal-electors, although three of these have already lost their vote by turning 80 and two others have died. He will have named 39 of the current 67 European electors (and 21 of the 30 Italians), but only six of the 22 voters from Latin America.
Significantly, 43 of the 125 electors are heads or retired heads of Roman offices, while another 14 residential cardinals once worked for the Vatican as priests. This puts the Curia voting bloc at 57 members. It is not apparent that this group, the Italian bloc or the European coalition as a whole is united enough to ensure the election of one of its members. But these distinct interest groups will all be determinant in choosing a compromise candidate who becomes the next pope.
These are the men the Pope will create cardinals next month at the Vatican in the order he announced them on 6 January:
1. Fernando Filoni, 65 (Italy); Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples (Propaganda Fide) since May 2011. This lifelong Vatican diplomat served for a decade in Hong Kong and, as nuncio to Iraq, he was the only foreign ambassador to remain in the country after the United States-led invasion in 2003. Most recently he spent four years as sostituto or Deputy Secretary of State for Internal Affairs. An alumnus of the prestigious Accademia Ecclesiastica for papal diplomats.
2. Manuel Monteiro de Castro, 73 (Portugal); Major Penitentiary since January 2012. This papal diplomat was nuncio in several countries in the Caribbean, Latin America and South Africa. After serving as the Pope’s man in Madrid, he spent four years as archbishop-secretary of the Congregation for Bishops. An Accademia Ecclesiastica alumnus.
3. Santos Abril y Castelló, 76 (Spain); Archpriest of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore since November 2011. He was recently named vice Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church after a long career as a papal nuncio in several countries in the Balkans, Latin America and Africa. He, too, has an Accademia pedigree.
4. Antonio Maria Vegliò, 74 (Italy); President of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People since February
2009. This career diplomat was nuncio to several countries in Africa and the Middle East, before spending eight years as archbishop-secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. Another graduate of Rome’s Accademia Ecclesiastica.
5. Giuseppe Bertello, 69 (Italy); Governor of Vatican City State since October 2011. Finished a long and illustrious diplomatic career as nuncio to Italy before being appointed to his current post. He, too, was groomed at the Accademia.
6. Francesco Coccopalmerio, 73 (Italy); President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts since February 2007. This top-notch, Rome-trained canon lawyer and professor served as an auxiliary in Milan from 1996
until his current Vatican post.
7. João Braz de Aviz, 64 (Brazil); Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life since January 2011. The only Latin American of the consistory, he was named an auxiliary bishop in 1994 after 20 years of parish and seminary work. A member of the Focolare Movement with degrees from the Gregorian and Lateran Universities, he headed the Archdiocese of Brasilia for seven years prior to his Vatican appointment.
8. Edwin O’Brien, 72 (US); Pro-Grand Master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre since August 2011. A former rector of the seminary in his native Archdiocese of New York and the North American College in Rome, he was head of the US Military Archdiocese for 10 years. In 2007 he was named Archbishop of Baltimore, distinguishing himself by banning the Legionaries of Christ.
4 | THE TABLET | 14 January 2012 9. Domenico Calcagno, 69 (Italy); after four years as second in command, he was appointed President of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See in July 2011. A priest from Genoa, this Rome-educated theology professor was an Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) official when he was named Bishop of Savona-Noli in 2002.
10. Giuseppe Versaldi, 68 (Italy); President of Prefecture of Economic Affairs of the Holy See since September 2011. A priest of Vercelli, he was the right-hand man to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone SDB when the Secretary of State was archbishop there. With doctorates in psychology and canon law from the Gregorian University, he was Bishop of Alessandria della Paglia from 2007 until his current appointment.
11. George Alencherry, 66 (India); Major Archbishop of the S y r o - M a l a b a r Church since May 2011. A Paris-educated theologian specialising in catechetics, he taught pastoral counselling for many years at the Pontifical Institute of Theology in Alwaye. He was elected bishop in 1997 and head of India’s Syro-Malabar Church last May.
12. Thomas Collins, 65 (Canada); Archbishop of Toronto since December 2006. With a licentiate in Scripture from Rome’s Pontifical Biblical Institute and doctorate in theology from the Gregorian University, he spent nearly 20 years as seminary professor and rector. Appointed bishop at age 50, this is his third diocese. A great promoter of lectio divina.
13. Dominik Duka OP, 68 (Czech Republic); Archbishop of Prague since February 2010. Shortly after his ordination as a Dominican priest, the Communist authorities tried to impede his ministry by forcing him to work for nearly 15 years in a Skoda car factory. He was also imprisoned for a year. Later he became provincial superior of the Dominicans in Bohemia and Moravia, and taught theology before being made a bishop in 1989. Has been criticised for being too close to ultra-conservative Czech President Vaclav Klaus.
14.Willem Eijk, 58 (Netherlands); Archbishop of Utrecht since December 2007. A medical doctor who was ordained priest at age 32, he has a degree in moral philosophy from Rome’s “Angelicum” University. After 10 years teaching in seminary and a two-year membership on the CDF-sponsored International Theological Commission, this noted theological conservative was appointed bishop in 1999.
15. Giuseppe Betori, 65 (Italy); Archbishop of Florence since September 2008. A Rometrained scripture scholar, he was a seminary
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