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Friday, June 15, 2012

Major shake-up expected at the top in the Vatican

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Nearly a dozen senior leadership positions are filled with dignitaries beyond the retirement age of 75. Will the Curia become more international?

In the Vatican, a number of high ranking staff changes are awaited. Among them, it is not for certain that the Cardinal Secretary of State will remain in office, who is currently the focus of the "Vatileaks" attack. But there are currently almost a dozen senior positions with occupied by dignitaries above the pensionable age of 75. And even if no relationship between leaks scandal and retirement exists, the appointment will this time attract special attention. In addition, it will be possible to observe whether the Curia becomes more Italian or more international  For in the discussion about "Vatileaks", the influence and work of the Italians plays a significant role.

Already at the weekend, Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of the librarian and archivist of the "Holy Roman Church," Cardinal Raffaele Farina (78). It is unusual that at the same time a successor was not appointed and was due to complications. For the office, which usually goes to a deserving elderly member of the Curia, has already has been turned down more than once, it is heared.

Of course, the focus of interest is the CDF whose prefect, William Levada on Friday was 76 years old and who is known to be tired of office. It is unclear however, whether Benedict XVI will undertake the change in office prior to a decision on the SSPX, which could drag on. As a candidate for the succession to Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Canadian Marc Ouellet (68) is cited, or the Italian-American Joseph Augustine Di Noia (68), who is currently secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments . The President of the Family Council, Cardinal Ennio Antonelli (75), who has just organized with much bravado Milan's World Family Day, can reckon on an extension of office.

In contrast, Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, secretary of thePontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue , who was seventy-five in January , is expected soon soon to retire. The same applies to his fellow-countryman and Deputy Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples , Pierluigi Vacchelli. The vacant post of "Third Man" at the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples has been filled last Tuesday. In place of Massimo Cenci, who died suddenly, the Pope appointed a native of Sri Lanka, theologian Indunil Janakaratne Kodithuwakku Kankanamalage.

Long unoccupied is the post of the Under Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity . Staff changes are expected in the medium term In the management of the ecclesiastical courts. A native of Poland Antoni Stankiewicz, Dean of the Roman Rota, reached the age of seventy-five in October 2010. Gianfranco Girotti, "Regent" of the Apostolic Penitentiary reached that age limit in April.

The question remains, in the context of the upcoming appointments, how much the representation of Italians will change in the Curia. In the "small government departments," the pontifical councils, there are Italian Presidents in half (six out of twelve), in one third of the congregations (three out of nine) - more than at the beginning of the pontificate of Benedict XVI in 2005. In the College of Cardinals, there are 30 Italians in the 124 potential participants in the next conclave.

The German-speaking countries under the Bavarian Pope are represented at the top of the Curia with only one head of department (the Swiss Cardinal Kurt Koch, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity), a secretary (the German Bishop Josef Clemens,  Pontifical Council for the Laity ) and an Under-Secretary (Monsignor Udo Breitbach, Congregation for Bishops)

Therefore, the speculation about a move to Rome of the Regensburg Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller (64) is particularly persistent. Vatican experts already saw him in half a dozen different high offices from the Congregation for Bishops to the Congregation for Catholic Education, even including the archives( Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church), The Vatican expert for the magazine "L'Espresso" Sandro Magister mentioned the theologian who is competent in several languages even for the "pole position" of the CDF.

The guessing game wassparked by the recent appointment of Mueller as a member of two other Vatican agencies. He has thus four Roman tasks - and is committed to the Vatican more than some cardinals who live in Rome. The question remains whether this signals an imminent move to the Eternal City - or whether the Pope would like to bind him more closely to Rome, because he (initially) will remain in his German diocese.

Will a personal prelature protect the SSPX from modernist bishops?

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Bishop Tissier de Mallerais has expressed concern that a personal prelature will overly expose the SSPX to the arbitrary decisions of modernist bishops.  Canon law contains four canons on personal prelatures, the last of which opens the way to diocesan interference.  But ultimately the answer to this question will depend to a large degree on the interpretation of the 1982 Statutes of Opus Dei which might serve as a close model for the SSPX statutes.  Relationships with diocesan bishops are laid out in Chapter V reproduced, as it is long, at the bottom of this post.

There are two further indicators of the future path of the personal prelature.   While there are differences between the Anglican Ordinariate and a Personal Prelature, the continued lack of statutes cannot be described as confidence building either within the SSPX or for the former Anglicans.  See is Archbishop Nichols hostile to the Ordinariate?   However, what does exist are the complementary norms for the Ordinariate which state,


Relations with Episcopal Conferences and Diocesan Bishops
Article 2
§1. The Ordinary follows the directives of the national Episcopal Conference insofar as this is consistent with the norms contained in the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus.
§2. The Ordinary is a member of the respective Episcopal Conference.

Article 3
The Ordinary, in the exercise of this office, must maintain close ties of communion with the Bishop of the Diocese in which the Ordinariate is present in order to coordinate its pastoral activity with the pastoral program of the Diocese.


The second indicator are the Military Ordinariates that are established throughout the world-  the relationship between the Bishops and the national episcopal conferences here are clearly less problematic, as illustrated by this document relating to the establishment of the Lithuanian Military Ordinariate.

It is probably the case that a personal prelature will be an advance even on the presently existing arrangements for traditionalists in the Church in terms of offering greater protection, once the initial questions of establishment are resolved.  Cathcon guesses that the Vatican will publish a document narrowing the grounds on which a diocesan could reject the services of the SSPX Prelature to almost nothing.

It would be rather more advisable for Bishop Tissier de Mallerais to be using the language of the service of the Church rather than of perpetual warfare.  Not much longer and the arch-modernists who graduated from seminary in that fateful year 1968 will be all retired. 


Opus Dei Statutes

Chapter 5 -- Concerning Relations with Diocesan Bishops

171 Praelatura Operis Dei immediate et directe subjicitur Sanctae Sedi, quae ejus spiritum et finem probavit et ejus quoque regimen ac disciplinam tuetur et promovet in bonum Ecclesiae universae.

The Prelature of Opus Dei is immediately and directly subject to the Holy See, which has tested its spirit and objective and protects its government and discipline and promotes it for the universal good of the Church.

172S1 Cuncti Praelaturae christifideles tenentur humiliter Romano Pontifici in omnibus oboedire: haec oboediendi obligatio fideles omnes forti ac dulci vinculo obstringit.

All the Christian faithful of the Prelature are obliged to humbly obey the Roman Pontiff in everything, this obligation of obedience binds all the faithful with a strong and sweet bond.

172S2 Ordinariis quoque locorum subjiciuntur ad normam juris universalis, eadem ratione ac ceteri catholici in propria dioecesi, juxta praescripta huius Codicis.

They are subject also to the local ordinary by the norm of general law, by the same reason as are other Catholics in his own diocese, according to the prescriptions of this Code.

173S1 Praelati est sollicite exsecutioni mandare omnia decreta, rescripta aliasque dispositione Sanctae Sedis quae Praelaturam respiciant, itemque eidem Sanctae Sedi opportunas relationes praebere, ad normam juris, de statu Praelaturae deque ejusdem apostolica activitate.

It is for the Prelate to solicitously command execution of all decrees, rescripts and other dispositions of the Holy See which concern the Prelature, and also to provide to the Holy See the opportune reports, according to the norm of law, about the Prelature's state and its apostolic activity.

173S2 Ipse Praelatus curabit, etiam quia spiritus Operis Dei maximo amore filialem unionem cum Romano Pontifice, Christi Vicario, colit, ut ejusdem Magisterii documenta et acta universam Ecclesiam respicientia ab omnibus Praelaturae fidelibus accurate cognoscantur, utque eorum doctrinam ipsi diffundant.

Because the spirit of Opus Dei promotes with the greatest love, filial union with the Roman Pontiff, Vicar of Christ, the Prelate, himself, will care that the Magisterium's documents and acts concerning the universal Church should be thoroughly known by all the faithful of the Prelature and that they will spread their doctrine.

174S1 Universus labor apostolicus quem Praelatura, juxta propriam naturam propriumque finem, exsequitur, ad bonum singularum Ecclesiarum localium confert, atque Praelatura debitas cum Auctoritate ecclesiastica territoriali relationes semper colit.

The whole apostolic labor which the Prelature pursues according to its nature and proper objective contributes to the good of each local Church, and the Prelature always cultivates the necessary relations with the territorial ecclesial authority .

174S2 Curet praeterea Praelatus ut, singulis in circumscriptionibus, Vicarius competens, per se vel per alios ejusdem Vicarii nomine, habituales relationes servet cum Episcopis in quorum dioecesibus Praelaturae christifideles resideant, et praesertim ut frequenter colloquatur cum illis Episcopis locorum in quibus Opus Dei Centra erecta habet, necnon cum iis qui muneribus directivis funguntur in respectiva Conferentia Episcopali, ad illas indicationes ab iisdem Episcopis suscipiendas, quas Praelaturae fideles filiorum animo in praxim deducant (cfr. N. 176)

Besides, the Prelature cares that in each territory, the competent Vicar, by himself, or through another in his name, should maintain habitual relations with the Bishops in whose dioceses the Christian faithful of the Prelature reside, and especially that he communicates frequently with those Bishops of the places in which Opus Dei posesses erected Centers, and also with those who hold leadership positions in the respective Episcopal Conference, to support the indications from those Bishops, which the faithful of the Prelature put into practice in a spirit of sonship.

175 Praeter orationes quas pro Romano Pontifice et Episcopo dioecesano eorumque intentionibus quotidie Praelaturae fideles recitare tenentur, maximam eis reverentiam et amorem demonstrabunt, quae etiam impense apud omnes fovere contendant.

Besides prayers which they are obliged to recite daily for the Roman Pontiff, the diocesan Bishop and their intentions, the faithful of the Prelature will demonstrate the greatest reverence and love to them, which they earnestly strive to foster in everyone.

176 Singulis in circumscriptionibus, auctoritates Praelaturae curent ut ejusdem fideles bene cognoscant normas directivas pastorales a competenti ecclesiastica Auctoritate territoriali, nempe a Conferentia Episcopali, ab Episcopo dioecesano, etc., statutas, ut unusquisque, juxta propria adjuncta personalia, familiaria et professionalia, eas ad effectum deducere et in ipsis cooperari valeat.

In each territory, the authorities of the Prelature take care that their faithful know well the directive pastoral norms established by the competent territorial ecclesiatical Authority, whether the Episcopal Conference, the diocesan Bishop, etc.; so that everyone according to his own personal, family and professional circumstances, may cooperate in them and bring them into effect.

177S1 Ut labor apostolicus Praelaturae in aliqua dioecesi incipiat, mediante canonica erectione primi Centri, ex quo exerceri possit apostolatus collectivus, debet prius informari loci Ordinarius, cujus venia requiritur, melius scripto data.

For the apostolic labor of the Prelature to begin in any diocese through the canonical erection of the first Center from which collective apostolate can be exercised, the local Ordinary, whose permission is required, preferably given in writing should first be informed.

177S2 Quoties laboris progressus aliorum Centrorum erectionem in dioecesi suadeat, procedendum semper est ad normam paragraphi praecedentis.

As often as the progess of the work requires erection of other Centers in a diocese, it ought to preceed always according to the norms in the preceding paragraph.

177S3 Simplex mutatio domicilii alicuius Centri Praelaturae, intra terminos ejusdem civitatis, si Centrum non habeat adnexam ecclesiam, communicari debet in scriptis loci Ordinario, etsi novam veniam non requirat.

Simple changes of domicile of some Center of the Prelature, within the limits of the same city, if the Center does not have a church annexed, ought to be communicated in writing to the local Ordinary, even though new permission is not required.

178S1 Erectio Centri secum fert potestatem erigendi aliud Centrum pro mulieribus fidelibus Praelaturae Administrationi prioris Centri addictis, ita ut de jure et de facto duo sint Centra in unoquoque Operis Dei domicilio (cfr. N. 8 S 2).

Erection of a Center carries with it the power of erecting another Center for women faithful of the Prelature adjoined to the first Center for Administration, thus in law and in fact, there will be two Centers in every domicile of Opus Dei.

178S2 Secum fert pariter facultatem oratorium pro usu fidelium Praelaturae aliorumque in unoquoque Centro ad normam juris habendi, ibique SS.mum Sacramentum asservandi atque functiones pro labore apostolico opportunas peragendi. In oratoriis sollemnis Sanctissimi Sacramenti expositio nocte primam feriam sextam uniuscujusque mensis praecendenti fieri saltem debet.

Likewise, it carries with it the faculty of having an oratory for the use of the faithful of the Prelature and others in each Center, according to the norm of law, and of reserving there the most Blessed Eucharist and performing functions relevant to the apostolic work. In oratories, solemn exposition of the most Blessed Sacrament ought to be held, at least, on the night before the first Friday of each month.

178S3 Concedere potest Ordinarius Praelaturae ut sacerdotes, justa de cause, bis in die, immo, necessitate pastorali id postulante, etiam ter in diebus dominicis et festis de praecepto Sanctam Missam celebrent, ita ut non solum fidelium Praelaturae necessitatibus, sed etiam aliorum dioecesis fidelium, dum possibile sit, satis faciant.

The Ordinary of the Prelature is able to grant that priests, for just cause, may celebrate Holy Mass twice a day, and three times on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, when required by pastoral necessity; thus they satisfy the needs not only of the faithful of the Prelature, but also those of the other faithful of the diocese, when it is possible.

179 Episcopus dioecesanus jus habet visitandi singula Centra Praelaturae canonice erecta (cfr. N. 177) in iis quae ad ecclesiam, sacrarium et sedem ad sacramentum Paenitentiae pertinent.

The diocesan Bishop has the right of visiting each canonically erected Center of the Prelature (cfr. N. 177) in those things which pertain to the church, sacristry and place for the sacrament of Penance.

180 Ad erigendas ecclesias Praelaturae vel, si res ferat, ad eidem committendas ecclesias in dioecesi iam exsistentes, fiat singulis in casibus opportuna conventio, ad normam juris, inter Episcopum dioecesanum et Praelatum vel competentem Vicarium Regionalem. Iis in ecclesiis, una cum normis in unaquaque conventione statutis, servabuntur dispositiones generales dioecesis ecclesias saeculares respicientes.

Whenever the Prelature erects churches, or as the case may be, a church already exisiting in the diocese, is committed to it, there should be in each case, an agreement, according to the norm of law between the diocesan Bishop and the Prelate or competent Regional Vicar. The general diocesan dispositions respecting the secular church will be carried out in these churches, besides the norms stipulated in each agreement.

Canon law on Personal Prelatures

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Code of Canon Law - IntraText

Can. 294 After the conferences of bishops involved have been heard, the Apostolic See can erect personal prelatures, which consist of presbyters and deacons of the secular clergy, to promote a suitable distribution of presbyters or to accomplish particular pastoral or missionary works for various regions or for different social groups.

Can. 295 §1. The statutes established by the Apostolic See govern a personal prelature, and a prelate presides offer it as the proper ordinary; he has the right to erect a national or international seminary and even to incardinate students and promote them to orders under title of service to the prelature.

§2. The prelate must see to both the spiritual formation and decent support of those whom he has promoted under the above-mentioned title.

Can. 296 Lay persons can dedicate themselves to the apostolic works of a personal prelature by agreements entered into with the prelature. The statutes, however, are to determine suitably the manner of this organic cooperation and the principal duties and rights connected to it.

Can. 297 The statutes likewise are to define the relations of the personal prelature with the local ordinaries in whose particular churches the prelature itself exercises or desires to exercise its pastoral or missionary works, with the previous consent of the diocesan bishop.

Cathcon- it is this last canon that has raised the concern of Bishop Tissier de Mallerais- it potentially raise all sorts of difficulties in France where there is an SSPX presence in every diocese, if the Conference of Bishops wished to give battle in an organised manner. No wonder the Bishop thinks he is in perpetual war given his previous experience in France.  More than anything else French ecclesiastical politics were responsible for the breakdown on the 1988 deal.