Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Fleeing from the wolves

Benedict's "Pray for me, that I will not flee from the wolves" is worth a little pondering  at the end of the year of his resignation: did he flee, did the wolves win, did his papacy end in abject failure?
It is worth asking what was the life work of Joseph Ratzinger, to man who regarded sign and symbol as important, it is worth considering his motto on his coat of arms: Cooperatores Veritatis, Co-workers with the Truth. It is the search for Truth, belief in its ultimate triumph, and the need for man's co-operation with it that has been Benedict's obsession.
When others were trying to deny the child abuse scandals, dismissing it is 'media chatter', he chose to tackle it head on, amongst his first acts as Pope was to instigate an inquiry into the founder of the Legion of Christ, Marcial Maciel Degollado. This was the motif behind his papacy, the search for Truth and the desire to demythologise. This is what lay behind his search for the 'authentic' Vatican II, and interestingly here, he was brave enough to use the SSPX as 'co-workers', recognising in them something authentically Catholic but rejecting the the mythology that had  built up in the rest of the Church over the Council, which after all purported to teach nothing new. With the Ordinariates there was a similar recognition of 'co-workers with the Truth' within the Anglican Communion.
As a young theologian at Vatican II he was instrumental in drafting the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum, perhaps the most important document of all. It really is a work of sheer genius, carefully avoiding, the excesses of biblical scholarship without neglecting its verity, it is a synthesis of tradition and modernity, maintaining ancient Truth in the light of what many at the time would have regarded as a denial of that Truth. His subsequent work, the Jesus of Nazareth trilogy, was nothing other than a continuation of Dei Verbum.
For Ratzinger as we saw most clearly in his 2000 document Dominus Jesus, Jesus is Truth and is to be found within the Catholic Church.
Many people have expressed surprise at Pope Francis' restyling of Papacy, and fail to recognise the radical changes Benedict introduced, possibly with more gentleness. He abandoned not only the tri-regno on his coat of arms but also the theologically ambiguous title of 'Patriarch of the West'. His Papacy was a careful balancing of being a bishop with bishops but also being a bishop for bishops, the Papacy had a distinctive Christ given role within the Church. A reader asked me to explain what I meant by the phrase 'new Ultramontanism'. Leading up to Vatican One there were various factions, mainly French and Italian Jesuits, trying to present an almost deified model of the Papacy, the position that Council took was actually a very moderate balanced doctrine, entirely in agreement with ancient doctrines. The leaven however of Ultramontanism was still at work in popular piety, and as reaction to Modernism, and also as a response to modern media radio and film by the time we come to Pius XII we have a maximalist Papacy, which results in a Papam vult attitude to Vatican II, where 20th centuries Popes can make changes to the life of the universal Church which their 19th century predecessors could not even imagine possible. Pius IX, for example, was asked to change the 'perfidious Jews' Good Friday prayer, he seems to have had sympathy for the idea but said he didn't have the authority to change something so so ancient. The liturgy for him was a given, not something even a Pope could change. It seems as if this is the type of vision that Ratzinger had of the Papacy, within not over the Church and carefully defined by tradition. New Ultramontanism is the return to a Papacy where the Pope and his collaborators feel he can impose or do whatever he wants.

The most significant act of demythologising of the Papacy by Benedict was of course resigning, which some might have argued, until he did it, was impossible, as if there were some new indelible mark on the soul given with papal election, which makes the Pope distinct from every other Bishops. For a man of sign and symbol the strange veneration of his predecessor Celestine V, he placed his (old Pierro Marini-style) palium on the reliquary of the Pope, should have given us a clue. He did this in 2009 and returned again to the venerate the relics in the following year, quite sometime before the Vatileaks scandal broke. Therefore it would seem the decision to go was not directly linked to that scandal. or the wolves associated with it. I suspect the 'wolves' therefore are not really individuals but those who would destroy or mangle the Truth Ratzinger stood up for. However one should not underestimate the damage done to his Papacy by his betrayal by his butler, it meant no-one could trust communicating with the Pope by any means other than direct verbal communication, it gave the impression even the phone could be bugged, which for 86 year old becomes a serious strain. Others have intimated that one of the sources of leaks was the present Pope's second secretary Fr Fabiàn Pedacchio Leaniz who apparently kept the runner-up of the 2005 Conclave, Cardinal Bergoglio informed about what was happening in the Congregation for Bishops. Is perhaps legitimate to keep informed the runner up in the previous Conclave? It be would ironic indeed if that dossier prepared by by the three retired Cardinals actually contained a section 'leaks to Cardinal Bergoglio', I must say I can't understand why the box containing the dossier sat on the table between the two of them at their first meeting - another sign and symbol - and why no reference has been made to it subsequently.


Deacon Augustine said...

"Pray for me, that I will not flee from the wolves"

Is it just coincidence that the Commissar destroying the FFI is named Volpi?

Pelerin said...

I am surprised to read in one of the links given that a cardinal has written a diary of the 2005 conclave giving the number of votes received by each cardinal. I seem to remember reading somewhere that the cardinals had to swear to keep everything secret in the conclave.

One piece of good news to end the year with is that the young French Priest who was kidnapped in the Cameroun in mid November has just been released.

Matthew Roth said...

Pelerin, I believe it was the diary of a retired cardinal over the age of 80. They could take notes and such as they sat in meetings and in conclave, but without voting and being subject to the stringent (rightfully so) rules followed by the cardinal-electors.

Fr. Blake, it's fascinating that there are new Ultramontanists everywhere. George Weigel seems to advocate for Church teaching without Tradition, based on a very puffed up notion of the papacy. Then there's the dissidents who need an Ultramontane pope for it to be remotely possible for doctrine to change.

Unknown said...

A quite fascinating insight into these recent events Father Blake and oh what food for thought! What will follow? Our only prayer can be 'thy will be done'

Sadie Vacantist said...

The white box business went very quiet which is odd. As for the rest of this piece, I have no idea if any of it is true.

What F1 has done is to silence the bloggers and other alternative media sources. I see a parallel therefore between the "hermeneutic" project and the attempts to start a Second American revolution i.e. Tea Party Movement and Occupy Wall St. etc. have all been quashed.
The conclusion is one of failure and news reaches us from Birmingham that one of the last bastions of resistance is being destroyed as in Maryvale with many walking before they were to be pushed.

Curiously (and perhaps not coincidentally), the future of the present program of modernisation may well be linked to the Western economies especially that of the USA. If the most indebted economy in the history of the World hits another crisis where will that leave the Western World and the Catholic Church? What we do know is that the morbidly obese nation of America will blame everyone other than themselves for their dilemma and I suspect Cardinal Dolan understands this better than most. Even he though, must be surprised at the speed with which New York and Milan (the two most important sees in Christendom) have both been side lined by recent developments. The rout has been total.

Francis said...

I think Benedict, by abdicating, was partly motivated by a desire to usher in a new upper age limit for popes based on the existing system of age limits for clergy:

70 – diocesan clergy retire
75 – bishops must submit their resignation to Rome
80 – cardinals lose the right to vote in a conclave
85 – popes must abdicate – if they haven’t already stepped down.

Cardinal Ratzinger witnessed the slow decline of John Paul II and thought that the Church was losing much more than it was gaining – for Benedict, the governance failures and Vatican intrigues that accompanied John Paul II’s slide into incapacitation outweighed the Polish pope’s heroic determination not to “come down from the cross”.

Bottom line: Benedict wanted to nudge the papacy in the direction of age limits and term limits and I agree with you, Father Ray, that his visits to the tomb of Pope Celestine were hints of this long before Vatileaks.

I also seriously wonder whether Benedict privately thought that Cardinal Bergoglio would have been the best direct successor to John Paul II, and that his (Ratzinger’s) elevation to the papacy was somewhat of an aberration.

The question that needs to be asked is this: who did Cardinal Ratzinger vote for in the 2005 conclave?

Liam Ronan said...

I am always fascinated at how Peter's profession of Faith that Christ was the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16: 15-16) was immediately followed by a savage rebuke of Peter, i.e.:

"From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.

But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. (Matthew 16: 21 - 23)

Peter's faith and Peter's program for the Church of Christ can be mutually exclusive and it bears remembering these days.

Liam Ronan said...

Difficult times indeed are upon us when one has to discern and possibly choose between 'Papam vult' and 'Deus vult'. Especially should these categories prove to be mutually exclusive on occasion.

gemoftheocean said...

Sadie, I'm not quite sure what you are running on about. The Tea Party is far from dead, and the Occupy WS people were always ginned up astroturf. As for Pope Frank, this too shall pass. Quomodo sedet sola civitas. Eventually the city gets repopulated. As for the US, the millstone of Obama will eventually be gone too. In the meantime Pope Frankie can sweat out and see if those "morbidly obese" Americans keep chipping in to the Vatican pot. Benefactors don't especially liked to be called names, especially when they have been picking up most of the tab. Kind of serves him right. Hope someone got him an "Economics for Dummies 101" book for Christmas.

Unknown said...

no, cardinals older than 80 do not enter the conclave. The attend the pre-conclave meetings. And yes, all participants: the cardinal electors, plus the (archbishop) secretary of the conclave, plus some helping staff members all swear to complete silence.

Gungarius said...

Francis, I think you have hit the nail on the head. If Benedict had remained as Pope getting more and more infirm over several years he would de facto be abdicating to the curia and giving them free reign for intrigue and plot. By doing what he did he shot the Curia's Fox.

Sadie Vacantist said...

The last conclave was a victory for the over 80's. They got their man.

What I sense, in response to Gem, is that the B16 years were driven by the internet. There was an explosion of blogs in support of his projects. A veritable renaissance of Catholic thought was emerging. In the same way, much of the resistance to the bankers and financial corruption was driven by the web and alternative media.

For the moment, these resistance projects have collapsed. F1 has declared a truce in the culture war and Cardinal Dolan (who relished the challenge of battle) looks lost and side lined.

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

I guess Pope Benedict was using the language of 'sign and symbol' "Why [has] no reference been made to it subsequently?"

It seems Catholics are losing or most have lost the mother tongue of sign and symbol. How many signs of the sacred are left in the Mass? And how many care? Everything can only now be ratified if it's vulgar prose; no prayerful gestures unless it's a handshake with a lot of noise and misdirection away from the Sacred moment.

much like this papacy.

Unknown said...

I am mistrustful of someone who proclaims themselves humble.

Hughie said...

Sede Vacantist refers to "F1". This is incorrect. Cardinal Bergoglio chose as his regnal name "Francis" NOT "Francis I". Any subsequent papal electee has th option to choose the name Francis and at that point would ad "II", "III" etc.

Anita Moore said...

Benedict XVI, upon his accession, asked us to pray for him, lest he flee from the wolves.

When I first saw the news of his abdication, and had ascertained that it was true and no joke, my first thought was: I did not pray for him enough. I do not believe he abdicated in order to flee from the wolves; rather, I think he thought that was the only thing left that he could do to thwart the wolves. As age and possible infirmity increased, he must have looked around and realized that, unlike his predecessor, he had no Cardinal Ratzinger to back him up. And perhaps that was because we did not pray for him enough.

Incidentally, I like gemoftheocean's characterization of the Occupy people as ginned-up astroturf. It is not only funny, but has the merit of being true.

gemoftheocean said...

Sadie, I'm doing my best to ignore the pope at the moment. Because as far as I can tell, he is persecuting, or tolerating the persecution of the wrong people. When he stops persecuting the Franciscans who have chosen the EF form, I might give him a listen. When he starts cleaning house of dead wood who have under minded the church, instead of promoting them, I will give a listen. When he stops babbling border line, at best, liberation theology, and lending credence to Marxists, I will give a listen. When he starts preaching THE FULL gospel, and not giving quarter to jackels seeking to destroy it, I will give a listen. I will pray for him, but he is not good for my blood pressure. Kumbaya redux, at this stage of my life, is not something I need. Been there, done that, have the t-shirt. Enough with the felt banner people. They did enough damage the first time around. Someone please wake me when the last hippy is dead, so I can rejoice.

George said...

"When he starts preaching THE FULL gospel..."

I agree, Gem, we all want the Gospel preached again, in its fullness. The tricky question is will we recognize it when it's preached?

Christ has a transforming mission for each of us. We all have obstacles in our hearts and minds to Christ. Cultural, political, even religious!

I ask the same question to my full-throated Traditionalist friends (those who will keep me). When the Church is "restored" will we recognize it as such? Sometimes, I think many in the Traditionalist camp will miss it. We've built up our own imagine of the Church. The way things were. The way things are meant to me. I just think too many on the extremes will miss the boat permanently.

Likewise, many earnest American and European Catholics are lost in their Americanism.

To suggest that the Pope, the Vicar of Christ, God's final authority on Earth, needs American wealth is outlandish. The Church needs nothing. Christ has left her wanting nothing. The World needs the Church. America needs the Church. The Pope needs nothing from Uncle Sam. Uncle Sam needs to come into the Church.

Our dear country was established in opposition to popery. The American Revolution was primarily a religious war: an extension of the English Civil War, which was not finalized until the American Civil War where East Anglian Whigism achieved its final victory. Economics, taxation, politics, these things did not inspire the revolutionary. The rank-and-file were inspired through religious imagery: anti-Catholic and anti-Anglo-Catholic imagery.

So many of us "devout" American Catholics are in actuality cafeteria Catholics ourselves. Living among so many sodomites and baby-killers may soften our own sense of guilt, but we have our own sins to address. So many of us bemoan the lack of Gospel fullness being preached. Yet, if and when the Gospel is preached -- the same Gospel that calls all nations to Christ-- we recoil when we hear selected parts.

You've seen so much in the reactions to evangelii gaudium. If we are going to critique the Supreme Pontiff's criticism of Capitalism, let us at least first recognize the significant pedigree or genealogy within these social teachings. This isn't new stuff. If our response to God's ambassador on Earth is Rush Limbaugh's talk radio arguments, we are not being faithful Catholics, to say the least.

I don't agree with 100% of this sermon, but I'd invite you to have a listen. This type of peaching helped me immensely spiritually of the last few months...


Francis said...

"He had no Cardinal Ratzinger to back him up."

Very true. But Benedict was never going to have one. First, he is a loner at heart, not the sort of person who relishes being captain of a school sports team. Secondly, he always disliked being seen as John Paul II's "deputy pontiff", which is why one of his first significant acts as pope was to appoint the low-profile Cardinal Levada as prefect at the CDF.

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

George said: 'Our dear country was established in opposition to popery.'

That pretty much includes the entire fallen British Empire now cosily known as the Commonwealth without the common or the wealth.

Unfortunately for most of us the Popes remain remote...so who brings them close? The random worldly media?

Pope Emeritus Benedict can be reached through his encyclicals and his books, and the way he conducted himself as the Vicar of Christ, not to mention years of being the wind beneath the wings of at least one of the longest reigning popes.

Someone mentioned on a blog, maybe not Fr Ray's, that Francis is out there, open, honest.

I prefer the consider, pray, meditate, consider, educate oneself, penance, consider, meditate, and pray again before deciding one can call one's honesty truth.

Sadie Vacantist said...

(American?) George has nailed it. The problem with the recent bout of ‘Catholic conservatism’ was that it was co-opted into the neo-liberal economic agenda which is antithetical to Catholicism. Throw in a half a dozen Godless and illegal military incursions and we have the present cocktail of perpetual war and debt peonage organised for the sole purpose of funding the American budget deficit.

Gungarius said...

Sadie, I think you are correct. Some traditional catholics have an unbalanced focus on sins that impact personal morality while skating over warmongering and forms of unfettered neo liberal corporatism (not capitalism) that enrich a tiny minority of rent seekers at the expense of the majority who work for a pittance to pay the rent, something brought sharply into focus in the slums of South America and the direction in which UK and USA are fast heading. If you want to stop contraception abortion, start with the economic oppression that drives otherwise good people to do this in dispair.

Anita Moore said...

Gungarius said... If you want to stop contraception abortion, start with the economic oppression that drives otherwise good people to do this in dispair.

No, we must start with personal morality. It is the primary business of each one of us to save our souls; when we do not work on that, everyone suffers. Society is comprised of individuals; disordered individuals make for a disordered society. On the other hand, if individuals practice virtue and avoid vice, society and its institutions will reflect virtue. Therefore, it is personal holiness that must come first.

Unlike the huge macro-issues, the pursuit of personal holiness is accessible to everyone who has the use of reason. Also, staying in the state of grace is our main bulwark against being driven by external circumstances to commit evil acts. To make the macro-issues our first priority is to distract ourselves from the setting of our own houses in order, without which the macro-issues will never be solved.

Frederick Jones said...

Pius IX is recorded as saying "I am Tradition" Was not that the high watermark of ultramontanism? It was said to counter the idea of bishops at the council of 1870 being witnesses to tradition. Bishop Butler in his account of the Council taken from Bishop Ullathorne's diary opines that the Pope was, as a private theologian, heretical on that subject.

Fr Ray Blake said...


It depends what Pius meant. I suspect he did not mean, "I am the Master of Tradition", as we might understand a 20th century Pope to mean it but rather, "I am bound by Tradition, I am its servant, its slave, I can do nothing but as Tradition dictates. The Papacy serves the Church by passing on what has been received. It is not the role of the Bp of Rome to innovate but to personify Tradition".

George said...

Anita, you'd make a very fine Calvinist.

Sadie Vacantist said...

The reality is, short of a second American revolution, I see no way back from the present collapse of the Catholic Church and Western civilization as a whole. Whether we like it or not, people turn to religion only when everything else has failed.

Pelerin said...

Regarding the large white box - there have been a few guesses elsewhere as to what was in it the most sensible being that it contained letters and emails sent to Pope Benedict following his retirement.

I enjoyed one comment which said 'That's a lot of pizza for only two people!'

Supertradmum said...

The Pope Emeritus is the best gift to the Church in years. His writings and judgements have been fantastic. He will be a Doctor of the Church someday, even if he will be declared so from the ruins of the Basilica of St. Peter and Paul.

As to Anita's comment, spot on.

The wolves are all around us, and Benedict is fair game to the uglies-those seen and those unseen.

I do not know about anyone else, but spiritual warfare has jacked up several notches in just the last 24 hours. Our dear Ratzinger is now on the lines in his daily prayer, like all good prayer warriors.

We DID NOT pray for him enough and took him for granted, imo.

Anita Moore said...

George said... Anita, you'd make a very fine Calvinist.

"You keep on using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Sadie Vacantist said...

Nobody embodies corruption more than Tony Blair. That the priest who received him into the Church (a former aide to Cormac) has just been appointed a bishop, smacks of cronyism. This papacy will end in failure just like all the others.

Lynda said...

Well said.

Lynda said...

Yes, the basic truths. We are saved as persons, not "societies". This false theology of the materialists, the relativists has done terrible damage in parishes across the world, driven by the eviscerated, subverted liturgy.

Nicolas Bellord said...

I agree with Anita. It is personal morality or the lack of it that ends in economic structures oppressive or otherwise. To talk of structural sin seems to me to be a cop out - i.e. you are saying that it is somebody else's fault and only through politics can the situation be changed which is beyond the power of each of us as individuals. We pass the buck instead of looking at what each of us can do personally to make the world a fairer and better place. For example in the financial world if everyone stopped lying, stopped gambling, stopped defrauding, stopped being greedy, stopped being usurious it would be a great start.

Fr Ray Blake said...

The things that make us suffer are other peoples sins. Think of a child growing up in abusive situation.
Structural sin begins with personal sin but personal sin flows out, it is a contagion, an infection.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Father: When I hear of "structural sin" is it usually somebody saying that the capitalist system is the problem and we should adopt some other system such as socialism. There are defects in unrestricted capitalism which arise from the personal sins which I mention. Regulation of capitalism is so often a failure because people think that so long as they can get round the regulations or the regulators anything is okay.

George said...

Nicholas, Socialism is a false alternative to Capitalism. In fact, Socialism and Capitalism are brother and sister Materialist visions. The Pope (i.e. The Church) is not condemning private property nor is he advocating the public ownership of the means of production. He is advocating subjecting economic decisions, public and private, to the moral law. Capitalism is expressly designed in opposition to this. Capitalism is the application of Newtonian science to economics. Allow the natural economic universe (or in this case, economy) to go through its actions and reactions and counteractions and the best outcomes for all will occurr. The problem with this is that Man is taken out of the center of the equation. God created everything for Man. Man is at the center of the created universe (something Newtonian physics, and by extension Smithian Capitalism, totally rejects). "Be fruitful and multiply" is written into creation and should be the basis for economies. Capitalism perverts this. Money becomes the means of "being fruitful and multiplying". Money is no longer a sterile instrument to serve man. Sterile man now serves money. When human labor stops being the center of the economy, when it loses its value so dramatically, can you not see how this leads to the Culture of Death?

For some evidence - take some time and read through this study conducted by a very prominent historian at Ohio State University. What he found related to American capitalism and birth rates is astoundingly clear:


Gungarius said...

I think people are falling into the trap of thinking that we live under a capitalist system. We don't. We live under a corporatist system where high unaccountable corporations lobby themselves laws that favour them and under tax them and use the advantage to crush smaller rivals and milk the public to the benefit of a tiny elite, in the process becoming more and more like the state monoliths of communism.

You only have to look at the High Street to see this. Things are now rigged such that large chains can be very profitable wheras a small shop will struggle to survive.

What we actually need is far more capitalism and the destruction of corporatism.

Lynda said...

My "well said" was for Anita Moore at 5.20 pm on 2.01.14

Sadie Vacantist said...

George is on the money yet again. For Catholics, economics is a branch of philosophy and no more. What we have at the moment is state facilitated usuary.

Nicolas Bellord said...

George: I am not sure what point you are making to me! It seems to me it rather depends upon how you define capitalism. Further it seems to be the label attached to our economic system insofar as it is not socialist. I have never quite understood in what way I am a capitalist. I left money in my firm each year which was described as capital. When I retired I took it out and it was worth probably about a quarter of what I had put in in real terms. Now that I have invested it in National Savings the return is so minuscule as to be hardly noticeable. Am I a capitalist?

What worries me is our regulatory system, of which I have more experience than most. It seems quite hopeless and what we should be concentrating on is personal morality in controlling the vices of lying, fraud, gambling and usury. Only a strong religious faith can do that!

George said...

Nicholas, the Catholic critique of Capitalism probably has little to do with you and how you manage your business. The standard definition of Capitalism revolves around private ownership. This is not the definition that the Catholic Church has a problem with. Private property is written into the Natural Law and is something the Church has always defended.

Just read up on what the Church teaches.

This interview on youtube seems to present a good modern overview of the problem:


Sadie Vacantist said...

Gungarius is correct. The key is to brainwash folks into thinking our system is 'capitalist' and that any criticism of the present model renders the critic a socialist or communist or whatever. It's proving to be so effective that the Americans are already being prepared for war with China in order to defend their right to a morbidly obese lifestyle. That's freedom for you!

Arun said...

I have just read this piece and am somewhat concerned especially in view of Pope Francis' comments re gossip in the Church, especially in the Vatican.
No one, I repeat no one, can be certain or even make an assertion that the pope's present second sec may have been some type of informant to Bergoglio when he was in Buenos Aires. There is no proof whatsoever for such an assertion.
Two: No one can definitively state that Bergoglio was the runner up in the 2005 conclave. Cardinals are forbidden under pain of excommunication from revealing the voting in a conclave. There is no proof whatsoever of the runner up at any stage and if there is, then it is conjecture. If not and is true, then from runner up to winner in two conclaves, shows that the cardinals indeed were on the right path 9 years ago.
Three: The matter of the white box. This is a matter for the two popes and only them. What was inside the box is for Francis to know and follow up on and no one else. Here again, we have people gossiping and suggesting, but only Benedict and Francis know what was there and how it will eventuate. Let's give Francis the opportunity to clean up the mess of the leaks that began under Benedict and not under his successor.

There is still too much gossip about what goes on in the Vatican. Having worked in Rome I can say that much of it is false and abhorrent and misleading.
But I end this by stating that I believe Papa Francesco will create more than 14 cardinals this month and increase the number of cardinal electors - it is total prerogative just as John Paul II did once when it went up to 135. So expect the unexpected this month.
Of course I could be wring as it is total speculation on my part, but not gossip, informed or uninformed !!

Fr Ray Blake said...

Gossip? You could be right but all of these issues are discussed by Italian 'Vaticanisti' both on-line and in print, even my such eminents as Magister and Tornelli, they are not 'hidden'. They are certainly discussed by those who work in the Vatican.

I don't think it is wrong to report what is already to the fore elsewhere in the world.

Arun said...

Yes you are right on that matter. These things are discussed widely across the media and of course in Rome. My point is that gossip or rumours may be very harmful if they are totally unsourced and very erroneous.

Be that as it may I am going to speculate on the imminent announcement of a new batch of cardinals, possibly this weekend or in the next few days:
1. The new pope will create up to 30 new cardinals from across the Catholic world. This will enlarge the electoral college beyond the 120 limit set by Paul VI but which John Paul broke once making it 135.
But a pope can break the 'limit' and I believe Francis has just cause to do so, given the Catholic numbers in the third world. The Philippines has one voting cardinal for 80 million catholics. That needs to be corrected.
2. There will only by up to 4 at the most new Italian cardinals. The Sec of State, Turin and Venice and thats it.
3. Expect some surprises and perhaps a former Head of major religious order among them.

This is just speculation. It could be completely wrong. Its not a rumour or gossip. Just a weekend speculative thought.

Semper fidelis....

Arun said...

well I was wrong in my speculation on the new cardinals, but not far wrong.
Surprises though for this first Franciscan batch.
Haiti and Perugia are new ones, and obviously the personal element there. And no red hat for Sees of Turin and Venice which is unusual. They will have to wait.
But an extra one for the 80 million catholics in the Philippines but none for Tokyo or Bangkok or Wellington. Malta still has no cardinal even though it is a very Catholic state.
But pleasing indeed is the red hat for the 98yr old former sec to Bl John XXIII who hopefully will be present for his boss's canonisation in April.An extraordinary life for Capovilla.

Well, more speculation for next batch.
Oh, and not a single American received a re hat this time round.
And interestingly, Arch Nichols' name was the first one read out after those in the Curia were named.

The Lord’s descent into the underworld

At Matins/the Office of Readings on Holy Saturday the Church gives us this 'ancient homily', I find it incredibly moving, it is abou...