Friday, June 23, 2006

So it happened

I was talking to my friend last night on AIM about curial reform and the tendencies of the Holy Father in his appointments so far. The friend noted that for good or bad, Benedict was making choices based on personal holiness, etc. and not much else.

Bertone will be the Secretary of State and there is a new governor of the Vatican City State as well. The former is a long-time collaborator of the Grand Inquisitor and the latter is a long-time curialist who previously headed up the foreign ministry. From foreign affairs to the interior...

Looking at this, what can be inferred? Answer: not much.

At the most basic level, Benedict is merely changing out old officials with younger ones. In the two key posts so far, he has installed close associates, Levada at CDF and now Bertone as SecState. The massive curial reform project still has yet to truly materialize aside from those councils being switched around in the spring.

In the period of the late Roman Republic, Cicero the great orator and statesman was of the belief that the constitutional footing of the Roman Republic was just fine and that the only problem was that the Republic's officials were simply not virtuous enough. Thus Cicero spent all his time trying to get the 'right' men into office while not conceiving the basic structural flaws of the Republican system. It took Caesar and then Augustus to realize that it wasn't people, it was the system that needed fixing.

I bring up this arcane piece of history only to serve as an example of what Benedict might be thinking... Is there really going to be any curial reform or does Benedict think that if he can put the right men in the right places, everything will be just grand? We'll have to find out.

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