Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Curia: What's To Come?

When a pope dies (or in this case abdicates), most all the curial officials who hold office at his pleasure go out of office along with him (except for a few prominent exceptions).  When a new pope is elected, though he may have ideas of his own regarding whom he wants in key positions, it's usual for him to confirm his predecessor's men to continue their terms (at least until the new pope is ready to get going on his own agenda).

For instance, back in 2005, newly-elected Pope Benedict cinfirmed Cardinal Sodano as secretary of state, the job the cardinal had under John Paul II.

VATICAN CITY, APR 25, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Confirmed members of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia in their current posts until the end of the five-year period for which they were appointed by the late lamented Pope John Paul II.

I disagreed with this.  Sodano and Ratzinger were in opposing camps on a lot of issues, the most visible being Maciel and the Legion of Christ.  Sodano shielded Maciel when Ratzinger attempted to proceed against him.  Then Ratzinger was elected and he kept on his enemy in one of the chief offices of the Roman Curia for another year.  I think that had a fundamental impact on Benedict's pontificate as the Holy Father never gained any true momentum in dealing with the filth and the filth's enablers.

Cardinal Ratzinger was elected on April 19 and he didn't confirm the members of the dicasteries until six days later.  Pope Bergoglio was elected Wednesday night and it is now Saturday, so he has time yet to spare before people are expecting to get back to work.  Will things start to happen Monday (Francis has the Vatileaks report in hand now) or will the Holy Father wait for his lunch with his predecessor a week from today

UPDATE: I posted too soon.  But note that it is only provisional.

VaticanCity, 16 March 2013(VIS) – Holy Father Francis has expressed the desire that the Heads and members of the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, as well as their Secretaries, and also the President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, continue "donec aliter provideatur", that is, provisionally, in their respective positions.

The Holy Father wishes to reserve time for reflection, prayer, and dialogue before any final appointment or confirmation is made.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Chinese Regards to Pope Francis

New York Times
Hua Chunying, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said that Beijing hoped the pope, who was elected on Wednesday, would work with Chinese officials on improving relations. But, she said, the Vatican “must stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, including in the name of religion."

She also said the Vatican must sever diplomatic relations with Taiwan before ties with Beijing improve. China considers Taiwan a renegade province that is part of its territory.
Sadly, with the current regime of China, I don't see much room to improve relations.  Can the Holy See do much of anything besides either take a hard line or capitulate to Chinese demands?

But perhaps there is hope for improvement on horizon.  China has only just recently installed its Fith Generation of leadership.  And I've read there is hope for real political change with the Sixth Generation.  That is still at least a decade away, though.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

It's the Argentine

The Associated Press
VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Francis put his humility on display during his first day as pontiff Thursday, stopping by his hotel to pick up his luggage and pay the bill himself in a decidedly different style of papacy than his tradition-minded predecessor, who tended to stay ensconced in the frescoed halls of the Vatican.
The former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio began his first day as pope making an early morning visit in a simple Vatican car to a Roman basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary and prayed before an icon of the Madonna.

Reminds me of Pope Kiril from the film The Shoes of the Fisherman.

Tradition is important.  It brings meaning and structure to the past, our present lives, and the future.  But I think also we must remember there was time when we had no traditions, that our present traditions have accumulated over the course of two thousand years of history.  To survive, I think the Church must not be afraid as long as it remains true to Christ.

A personal note: I went to confession yesterday.  Confession is always a trial, not just because I am ashamed of my sins, but also because of my disability.  While I was waiting my turn, I wrote Francis in block letters on the palm of my hand.  And I was comforted by it.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Few More Thoughts

Reaction is coming out now.  Rorate Caeli has a series of reaction posts that should be read for a close look at the Holy Father.  As one person there commented, the first homily, being in the last two pontificates a sort of blueprint for the pontificate to come, will most likely tell the tale of where Francis is going.  In the meantime, the Rosary is a powerful weapon!  Pray for our Holy Father.

A Few Thoughts On Days Gone By

Pope Bergoglio has been elected and it is now the middle of the night in Rome.  I can't help feeling a sense of letdown now that it's all over.  This is my second conclave and as I compare this experience to 2005, the differences are making themselves known as I think back.

Eight years ago we had the moving experience of the last days of John Paul II taking place on the stage of Holy Week and Easter.  There was the sorrowful period of mourning with the procession of the body and the funeral Mass celebrated by Cardinal Ratzinger.  Then a time of waiting as the cardinals met before the conclave finally arrived.  Cardinal Ratzinger was elected Pope Ratzinger, Benedict XVI, and the rest is now history.

This time around though feels much different as I think back.  It seems like Benedict announced his stepping down only the other day.  There was his final public Mass, his final audiences, the flight over Rome, and his final words at Castel Gandolfo before the Swiss Guards marched away.  That was it.  Then the conclave began and boom, "Habemus Papum!"

We'll see what happens with our new Holy Father.

We have a pope!

Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio, SJ is now His Holiness Pope Francis!

We have a pope!

Conclave '13 - Day Two

Yesterday the cardinals entered the conclave.  There was black smoke at the end of the first day.

Today after the morning session, there was black smoke.

Morning - after 2 ballots - 11 to12 noon Rome time - 6 to 7 am EDT
Afternoon - after 2 ballots - 6 to 7 pm Rome time - 1 to 2 pm EDT

There are two ballots in each session.  If a pope is chosen on the first ballot of the session, the white smoke will be seen at either 6 am or 1 pm.

UPDATED to reflect earlier possible times for smoke to be seen.  VIS: "The “fumata”, again black, issued forth at 11:40 this morning, around 20 minutes earlier then expected."

Monday, March 11, 2013

On the Eve of the Conclave

Be sure to keep handy this calendar created by the people at Rorate Caeli.  Remember, Rome is five hours ahead of US Eastern Daylight Time.

I had a post set to go last week with a list of the most commonly mentioned papabili and my comments, but it didn't seem worth it.  A lot of them (Scherer of Brazil, the Americans, Turkson) are either putting themselves forward via subtle and not so subtle means or are being sold by the media.  Some of the other names being mentioned are simply warmed-over leftovers from 2005.  As the saying goes, he who goes in as pope comes out as a cardinal, so I will be surprised if any of the names getting press actually gets elected.

There will be more to come as events progress.  Godspeed, cardinals.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Conclave '13 - Date

There are reports the Conclave is set for 12 March.  More information when I can find it.

Update: CNN
Rome (CNN) -- The Catholic cardinals gathered in Rome voted Friday to begin the secret election, or conclave, to elect a new pope next Tuesday afternoon, the Vatican said.

The 115 cardinal-electors taking part in the conclave will enter the closed-door process after a morning Mass, the Vatican said. Only those younger than 80 are eligible to vote.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Conclave '13 - Clues

The last of the 115 cardinals who will chose the new Pope has arrived in Rome.

Vietnamese Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man joined his colleagues in closed-door discussions at the Vatican.

His presence means a date can now be set for the conclave to choose a successor to Benedict XVI as head of the Roman Catholic Church.
Since Monday the elector cardinals have been holding preparatory meetings and prayers known as "general congregations" before the conclave begins.

The discussions are held under an oath of secrecy, but Italian newspapers have published what they say are leaked details of the debate on problems faced by the church.

Reform of the Vatican's bureaucracy - known as the Curia - and the Vatican bank have both been on the agenda, the reports say.

Last year European regulators said the bank was not doing enough to combat money laundering, while intrigue in the Vatican was revealed by documents leaked by Pope Benedict's butler.
A reformer?  An outsider?  Someone young?  Someone with great personal charisma?

Monday, March 04, 2013

Conclave '13 - Preliminaries

Roman Catholic cardinals from around the world have gathered in Rome to begin the process of electing the next Pope.

Cardinals held prayers and swore oaths of secrecy at their first meeting, held by the College of Cardinals.

There will be a series of daily meetings leading up to a conclave, expected to begin next week, in which a new Pope will be chosen.
The first pre-conclave meeting on Monday morning was headed by the dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano.

The Vatican said 101 of the 115 cardinals involved in the conclave have arrived in Rome. A further 12 are due to arrive either today or tomorrow, while two are not attending.

They are the UK's Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who is standing down amid allegations of improper behaviour, and Indonesia's Julius Darmaatmadja, who is ill.

At the pre-conclave meetings, cardinals - known as the "princes" of the Church - will discuss future challenges and discreetly weigh up possible papal candidates.

The conclave - to be held in the Sistine Chapel - is expected to take place next week, though the exact date will be agreed on in the coming days.
Just some good information from our friends at the BBC, getting us up to speed on the program leading up to the Conclave.