Saturday, March 09, 2013

Georg Gänswein to succeed Cardinal Meisner in Cologne?

Benedict's private secretary could follow Cardinal Joachim Meisner,
Which tasks could Georg Gänswein, the private secretary of Benedict XVI soon take over? At 56 years, he is undoubtedly too young for the retirement, into which the Pope himself has passed last week. Initially, Gänswein remains at the side of his former boss and moved with him to Castel Gandolfo. But for how long?

In recent weeks, there has been speculation that the native of South Baden either will remain in the Vatican, where in view of his many contacts he is more likely to have a major impact, or that he will return to Germany to be a iocesan bishop. Maybe in Hamburg or in his home Archbishopric of Freiburg? The Archbishops Werner Thissen and Robert Zollitsch are 75 this year and therefore must offer their resignation to the pope.

On the other hand, these two dioceses are probably not the first choice of someone who has come to be known by the global Church as the closest collaborator of the Pope. Likely different from these, the Archdiocese of Cologne. Even here in the not too distant future, the post of Chief Pastor is free. Cardinal Joachim Meisner is 80 years old at Christmas and celebrates in February next year his 25th Anniversary as Archbishop in Cologne. By then he will probably resign.

The "Bild" newspaper reported yesterday that Meisner in these days had already prepared in Rome Gänswein's leap to the top of the Cologne Church and only had to obtain the agreement of the future Pope. Behind closed doors, part of the scenario was confirmed in the circles of the Cologne Archdiocese- but personnel around Gänswein dismissed it as speculation. It was assumed that Meisner will take care of the succession, while he was in office, was reported from Cologne.

That would mean that the cathedral chapter in the election of a new archbishop is irrelevant. In Cologne, the procedure is laid down that out of the various proposals sent to Rome, the Pope compiles a list of three from which the 15-member cathedral chapter, consisting of auxiliary bishops and other high-ranking priests in the archdiocese, selects a candidate.

The head of the Diocesan Council, the highest body of the laity in the Archdiocese, Thomas Nickel, does not believe that Meisner still cares about the succession plan. The Cathedral Chapter will be responsible for the election. And Gänswein? "I got to know him as a very likeable person and party," Nickel said yesterday. But there are also still other possible contenders for the archbishopric in Cologne.

By the way: The relationship between Meisner and Gänswein has apparently not been tension free recently. A few weeks ago,on the question of whether the change of position of Meisner's on the matter of the "morning after pill" had been agreed with the Vatican, Gänswein accused Meisner of having told a lie.


Three secret Kingmakers in the Conclave and also a call to re-elect Pope Benedict.

The conclave will be on 12 Begin March. 115 cardinals from around the world will then begin to choose the successor of Benedict XVI. Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman had promised the message only for Friday night at 19 clock, but due to a leak, it came out earlier.

On Thursday, the last cardinal had arrived from Vietnam. The rest of the international college had intensively discussed in the days before in regular plenary sessions in the Nervi Hall and in numerous meetings in the palaces and in the corridors of the Vatican, as well as in many places around St. Peter's, the profile of a successor - and the tasks that are coming towards the poor man.

The cardinals themselves cannot speak a word, since they had to swear all individually before the Plenary strict secrecy. No wonder that the rumor mill since then has been working as has not seen for years.
What is known before the imposition of the information embargo was this: all the guests from the five continents will find in Rome finally precisely what has happened in the last few months at the Vatican.

The secret kingmakers
The Cardinal Julián Herranz (82) from Spain, Jozef Tomko (89) from Slovakia and southern Italian Salvatore De Giorgi (82) who last year on behalf of Benedict XVI scrupulously researched the background of the document leak from the table of the Pope, are therefore now already considered as the secret kingmakers.
Certainly, the three in any case more remove more than one cardinal from the race. Because they have made in individual meetings with their brothers certainly no secret of their findings. The 300-page dossier, in which they have recorded the findings and results of their investigations is destined only for the next Pope.

However, many details of their investigations have obviously spread anyway a long way in the corridors of the Vatican long ago - wherein many initiates did not need their own investigations to be in the picture, which normally does not penetrate through the walls of the Vatican to the outside.

"The Curia finished off Benedict XVI"
"The Curia finished off Benedict XVI", is therefore not an unusual assessment in the alleys and streets around Saint Peters. The future Pope must "clean up" the Vatican bureaucracy "from the ground up", the American Archbishop Charles Chaput told the Roman newspaper "Il Messaggero" on Thursday.

These "punishing tasks" requires an energy that Benedict XVI. obviously could not any more bring and therefore it was logical to abdicated his office. He also had thwarted several consequences and plans by this last step of his official resignation, although this was a personal option for himself, not just a possibility, which he for a long time saw joined in principle with this office .

"If the Pope can see that he can absolutely not continue, then surely he would resign," Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger already told on the 11 March 2002John Schießl,  the chief editor  of the Munich diocesan newspaper. His decision of 11 February sprang not only from his own personal well-being, but his understanding of the Petrine ministry as a whole. With this understanding of office still not all in the Catholic Church agree, not even among the cardinals.

No clear favorite to succeed
As opposed to the conclave of 2005, when Joseph Ratzinger was by far the best-known face, there are no clear favorites for the succession and also no clear clash between conservatives and progressives.
This time, Cardinals from around the world are united and divided, especially by the question of how much they agree with the spectacular last step of Benedict XVI- or how much they reject it. Only after the election of a successor, can therefore the complex meaning of his resignation be assessed.

In this game, the daring step of the last Pope was a gamble with the Holy Spirit. For his successor could again thwart all decrees, which he has taken for his future - or else he could be associated with a never before experienced double pontificate, as long as "Benedictus XVI emeritus." still lives.

Understanders of the Papacy quoted
Before this election but now especially, the pundits and understanders of the Papacy such as David Berger have the floor, who is currently a sought after interviewee about "gay cliques and networks pink" in the Vatican.

The network and server to Saint Peter therefore also breaks down these days every few minutes, with the incredible amounts of data that are spread in these days from Rome into all the world. Meanwhile, there are already more journalists than the death of John Paul II . A separate media center has had to be established because the Sala Stampa emergency provisions are nowhere enough.

The Sistine Chapel was already closed on Tuesday to begin the technical preparation for the conclave- providing seats, setting up the furnace in which the ballots are burned, searching carefully for possible bugs and the like.

Space must be secured
The room must also be electronically secured so that a Cardinal does not tweet the news about the new Pope before the rise of white smoke outside.

A high prelate from Lebanon has these days proposed in all seriousness, that the best thing would be for the Cardinals sin this conclave to simply choose again Benedict XVI again. He pointed out that such a procedure would be possible canoncially without any further ramifications. Then there would be in the church once again a few less problems. This choice, Benedict would necessarily accept and return immediately from Castel Gandolfo to Rome.

After his return, Benedict XVI would immediately govern like never before. With such a election mandate, the frail old man would now really be the most powerful Pope in the history of the church.


Cardinal O'Brien lost control of the priestly morals of the Scottish Catholic Church

Alan Draper has accused the Church leadership, of being “unwilling” to expose supposedly celibate priests who were leading “double lives” in the 1980s and 1990s.

Mr Draper, a lecturer in ethics from Dundee University, was brought in to advise Scottish bishops on abuse allegations but was removed after a disagreement.

He has disclosed that bishops were aware of 20 separate cases in the Church between 1985 and 1995 but he alleges that they were “reluctant” to take matters further and rejected his call for independent experts to be brought in.

Full story

Cardinal Meisner defends his support of the "morning-after" pill

The Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Joachim Meisner has decided to answer critics. A protest-mail campaign criticised the controversial decision, to approve the "morning after pill" subject to the condition that it was without abortifacient action, and allow it at Catholic hospitals in North Rhine-Westphalia and the Rhineland-Palatinate. Pro-life organizations and Catholic doctors call it a "phantom-pill" because with every known "morning after pill" an abortifacient effect could not be excluded.

Meisner, who was followed by the German Bishops' Conference on the 21st February, justifies his decision on a study the chairman of an international abortion lobby. First, it was claimed in the media,with the Cardinal as a source, that Pope Benedict XVI. had been informed of the step and had endorsed it. A claim that Cardinal Meisner had to deny a few hours later after the intervention of Rome.

Unfortunately Cardinal Meissner has still not answered some basic questions, first, why the scientific arguments and concerns of the Catholic doctors are ignored? Why did he take the decision so swiftly (rumours that the Green Party Health Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia had threatened to abolishing state subsidies to the Catholic health care facilities)? Why did he not wait for a neutral scientific testing of "new knowledge", as now the Swiss bishops have decided? (contrary to initial reports that they had followed the German bishops)

Thus, we reproduce the Cardinal's answer that is not an answer.

We document the response of the Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Joachim Meisner to his critics:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Normally chain emails are not answered. But in this case, an exception is therefore appropriate because the sender obviously has fallen victim to a misunderstanding.

First Cardinal Meisner has not "justified" the "morning after pill" . He has not talen a position on specific preparations , but clarified the unchanged ecclesiastical principles for the protection of life and transferred the responsibility for the application of these principles to the doctors.

Second The "morning after pill" was not "introduced" in Catholic hospitals but was even in cases of rape rejected for an abortion and for abortion equaling nidation. Only in the case of delay in ovulation was it declared justifiable.
Third In the declaration, the Cardinal does not speak of a pill that produces an early abortion. No specific pill is featured.

Third, In der Erklärung des Kardinals wird nicht von einer Pille geredet, die nicht frühabtreibend sei. Es kommt überhaupt kein Pillenname vor.

Fourth, The Archdiocese of Cologne has not relied on a study of the FIAPAC-President, but pointed to better information for those interested in explanations of German scientific societies.

Fifth, The contention of the anonymous operator of the internet campaign in which you have participated that there is no preparation that does not also work to produce an early abortion is not supported by any evidence.

Sixth, The Cardinal has already met your request to clarify the situation, namely with the accompanying statement that allows you to come to your own conclusion.

Sincerely yours
Vicar Monsignor Oliver Boss
Archbishop's Private Secretary
Archbishop's House
Cardinal Frings Str. 10
50668 Cologne