Monday, January 9, 2012

Comment on John Allen's 5 Considerations: Pt 2

John Allen is a highly responsible master of  his journalistic craft and a 'vaticanista' of long experience and deservedly high repute. I may not always agree with the angles he takes but I have great respect for him  and thought I'd bettter say so before going on with this post.  Allen's book 'The Rise of Benedict XVI' was published very soon after the conclave that elected our present Holy Father. I was impressed by it on first reading and decided to revisit it today, particularly its last four chapters in which the author answers the self-imposed challenge of predicting   the nature and possible events of the new pontificate.  Unfortunately for my blogging schedule I became re-engrossed in this second reading, and so apologise that the present post comes later in the day than intended.

In relation to my  yesterday's statement regarding Mr Allen's puzzlement that ++ Fisichella had been omitted from the list of new Cardinals, I was interested to find THIS in the section of Allen's book that offers predictions as to how Benedict might go about the matter of curial reform: (from Ch 7)
"..he (Pope Benedict) will expect those (curial) aides to be prudent in choosing the time and place for those expressions (of private views), and to avoid provocative comments that will create confusion about what the Holy See is trying to express, especially on matters of faith and morals. The expectation, in other words, is that there will be greater discipline within the Roman Curia, with fewer impressions of disarray or working at cross-purposes."

Well John, I think your own prediction might answer your perplexity about ++Fisichella.

The snub to Africa?
I contest, not.
Yet again, Pope Benedict knows as well as John Allen about the inexorable demographic shift of Catholicism from the northern to southern hemisphere. But for NOW, and that is what matters, the Pope must prioritise, given that this holy man has to judge every consistory as maybe his last. It is possible that within two years we will have another Pope who could elevate as many African Cardinals as he likes. It is even possible that if our dear Holy Father survives to another Consistory, that he too will elevate at least one African prelate. Africa surely knows how much Benedict loves it and concerns himself about it., but that the Pope is fighting for the Catholic soul of Europe. He will not give up that fight as long as he has breath in his body. (I don't think John Allen, as an American, understands in his heart and blood what is at work here.) In any case of the two African bishops mentioned by Allen as having been passed over, one is of Lusaka in Zambia. - a place of a dreadfully unsettled history from the catholic episcopal point of view, what with Milingo having been in charge there for so long., it has not been exactly stable. Pope Benedict may well have judged that it was better to leave that diocese with a fairly secure pastor and not to upset the apple cart by any suggestion that Archbishop Mpundu might be moved to Rome.

Dolan and Nichols
I don't think one would win any prizes for itemising the vast difference between these two men. Let me just say that while it is easy to agree with Allen about the rise of the former and the obvious favour he has deservedly found in the eyes of the Pope, I suggest that the biggest weakness in John Allen's article is that he seems satisfied to fall back on acceptance of the fact that the only reason for the non-elevation of the latter this time, is the custom of not giving the red hat to Archbishops of Sees where an emeritus Cardinal survives.. I find it difficult to believe that a man, normally as well informed as Allen, is ignorant of other and glaringly obvious reasons.

I am bound to think of other points after I sign off, but sufficient unto the day and all that.................

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