Thursday, December 01, 2011

New Thinking

Sandro Magister refers to some recent episcopal appointments to illustrate some comments in a recent interview with Cardinal Marc Ouelliet, the Prefect for the Congregation of Bishops. Ouelliet says:
"Today, especially in the context of our secularized societies, we need bishops who are the first evangelizers, and not mere administrators of dioceses. Who are capable of proclaiming the Gospel. Who are not only theologically faithful to the magisterium and the pope, but are also capable of expounding and, if need be, of defending the faith publicly."
I wonder if there really is a trend to appoint defenders and proclaimers of the Gospel instead of the nuanced political diplomats that seem to have been appointed since the Secretariat of State replaced the old Holy Office under its newer incarnation of the CDF as the final arbiter of episcopal appointments.

Cardinal Levada wishes to retire this month, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone turned 75 at the end of 2009, replacing both the head of the CDF and the Secretary of State could offer a real change gear in 2112. Perhaps the strange appoint of Msgr Charles Brown, from the CDF rather than the Secretariat of State, as Nuncio to Ireland could be an indication of some new Vatican thinking.

What is evident is that the Council for the New Evangelisation is being increasingly highlighted and yet quite what its purpose is still seems very vague, it seems to be a bit of a dark horse. The Church is supposed to be "evangelical by its very nature", how the Secretariate of State quite fits into this vision obviously needs further development. The Ostpolitik of Cardinal Casaroli or even relationship with States in the glory days of JPII and Cardinal Sodano are rapidly waning. The weakening of the Church at grass roots level diminishes the Church's political clout internationally.

Under Cardinal Levada the CDF has been responsible for some quite remarkable moves, the setting up of the Anglican Ordinariate, the negotiations with the SSPX are but two examples, it is now much more than the Papal watch dog. The CDF since Dominus Jesus (2000) has become much more about teaching, rather simply bashing heretics.


shane said...

"The CDF since Dominus Jesus (2000) has become much more about teaching, rather simply bashing heretics."

And that is precisely the problem - though it goes back far longer than the year 2000.

Fr Ray Blake said...

That is a subject I do not understand nor do I address, here at any rate.

Hughie said...

Dear Fr Ray

You refer to “the strange appointment of Msgr Charles Brown, from the CDF rather than the Secretariat of State, as Nuncio to Ireland”.

I would have to say that I didn’t find it strange at all. There were some legitimate, serious criticisms of the way the Nunciature in Dublin responded at various times to the problems that unfolded in relation to child abuse and the various emanations of the Catholic Church in Ireland, and most notably her priests.

Specifically, the responses were characterised as bureaucratic, legalistic, defensive, dictated by diplomatic punctilio and hampered by the fact that the incumbent Nuncios over the relevant time frame were not native English speakers and were out of tune with the Irish temperament.

It was obvious that whoever was going to be appointed was not simply going to be sent in the name of the Holy Father, he was going to be the Holy Father’s personal choice. Clearly, while it was likely that the appointee would be a native English speaker, he could not be English. American, and preferably Irish-American, was the obvious ethnic background to look for.

There are currently five serving Nuncios who hail from the USA. Of these, three have been given new assignments this year and hence were unlikely to be transferred again so soon. These are: Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams (67) appointed Nuncio to Greece on February 22; Thomas Edward Gullickson (61) appointed Nuncio to the Ukraine on May 21; James Patrick Green (61) appointed Nuncio to Peru on October 15. Neither of the other two serving American Nuncios are of an Irish-American background and both were relative latecomers to the archiepiscopal-nuncio ranks and whose current appointment is their first: Joseph Salvador Marino (58) was appointed Nuncio to Bangladesh on Jan 12, 2008; and, Charles Daniel Balvo (60) was appointed Nuncio to New Zealand on April 1, 2005.

Of these, Archbishop Green, a former head of the English Language Section of the Secretariat of State, would have been the most obvious choice.

Since each of these was ruled out, where else would one expect Pope Benedict to look other than the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith or the International Theological Commission? And once his eyes were cast in that direction, Msgr Charlie Brown was an obvious choice.

I know this has got far too long, but one final point if I may? Since Msgr Brown is not an alumnus of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, in the weeks since he accepted the Holy Father’s request that he accept nomination as the new Nuncio to Ireland, and throughout the weeks still to come before he can take up residence in Dublin, he will undergo a crash course in papal diplomacy and the modern history of papal diplomatic activity in Ireland since independence and the advent of the first modern-day Nuncio, Archbishop Paschal Robinson OFM.

That crash course will be being supervised by the current head of the English Language Section, Msgr Leo Cushley, priest of the Diocese of Motherwell.

B. said...

Both Cardinal Levada and Cardinal Bertone have been appointed by Pope Benedict. So why would he now all of a sudden change his way of appointments? The hand-picked Salesian buddies of Cardinal Bertone have been put in place in almost every influential position since his appointment (the Italian media is full of this), so why should we expect the modus operandi to change all of a sudden? People have been waiting for a change in appointments since Benedict became pope, they are still waiting and they will keep on waiting.
I think it's a combination of over-analyzing and wishful thinking.

The Rev. M. Forbes said...

Completely without seriousness view photo.


Mike Forbes+
Rochester, MN