Monday, March 25, 2013

Cardinal Piacenza in Intensive Care -- Iron Defender of True Priesthood

(Vatican) Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy tipped yesterday during the Palm Sunday liturgy in St. Peter's Square from his chair and was immediately taken to the intensive care unit of the Gemelli Hospital. According to initial information, his health was "stable." His whereabouts remain under medical supervision in the Department was merely a "precautionary measure, in order to perform further checks.”

It was not bad luck that the Cardinal yesterday along with his chair tipped over. His health is obviously serious if it was a heart attack has not been confirmed. A papal master of ceremonies helped him yesterday immediately. But the same ambulance was called immediately and ordered the transport.

Cardinal Piacenza downed during papal Mass on chair

Cardinal Piacenza, 69 years old, comes from Liguria and is a student of Giuseppe Cardinal Siri. The head of the Congregation for Clergy is one of the most esteemed and influential Dicasteries of the Roman Curia.

Born on 15 September 1944 in Genoa, he joined the Archbishop's Seminary of the Ligurian capital in 1964. On the 21st of December 1969 he was ordained by the then Archbishop of Genoa, Giuseppe Cardinal Siri, as a priest. Till 1975 he worked in the parish ministry, he was until 1978 the archdiocesan seminary as chaplain. In 1976 he received his doctorate summa cum laude from the Pontifical Lateran University in canon law.

This then decided him upon his academic career. Until 1990, he taught dogmatic theology at Didascaleion, the Theological Institute for laity of the Archdiocese of Genoa. In the last five years, he was its rector, while he also taught at the Higher Institute of Religious Sciences in Liguria. From 1978 to 1990 he was also a professor of canon law at the Theological Faculty of Northern Italy.

A man a man whose reputation became speedily that of one who worked efficiently

Piacenza has the reputation of working extremely efficiently. In the archdiocese of Genoa he was soon responsible for a range of tasks, from media representatives to a judge of the ecclesiastical court. In 1986, he also taught religion at a Humanistic Gymnasium in the city and was chaplain of its convent.

For the Archbishop, he took care of the formation of the spiritual life and led several times led visitations of religious congregations, held all kinds of spiritual recollections and retreats for priests, seminarians, and religious congregations and wrote also several books on the necessity of a permanent spiritual formation of the clergy, or to issues of relations between Church and state.

In 1990 he was appointed to the Roman Curia, and was on duty at the Congregation for Clergy. In 1997 he became Head of Department and in 2000 its Undersecretary. On the 13th of October 2003, Pope John Paul II appointed him President of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, and raised him to the rank of bishop. On the 15th of November he was received by the then Archbishop of Genoa and now Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone of Genoa, and consecrate bishop in the cathedral.

On the 28th of August 2004, he was appointed President of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology. During the three-year term at the helm of the two commissions he proposed a number of new initiatives. For public attention, especially the performance of an opera composed by him, in two acts on the Beatitudes, which was ran mainly in eastern Central Europe and Eastern Europe.

John Paul II summoned him to Rome, he was above all a man of Benedict XVI.

He was called by John Paul II to Rome, but it was to Pope Benedict XVI. to whom Piacenza was particularly connected. The formed in the school of priests Cardinal Siri was never modernist tendencies. He clung to the traditional vision of the priesthood and defended Catholic orthodoxy. He was therefore the right man for Pope Benedict XVI. He had previously appointed the Archbishop of Sao Paulo, Claudio Cardinal Hummes, to the new Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy. One of those appointments that are in Rome considered to belong to the category of “promotions out of the way”.

The domesticated Liberation Theologian Hummes came from a diocese with a strong pastoral, but less than dogmatic zeal. Before Hummes boarded the plane, to take up his appointment as chief of the Dicastery for the Clergy, he told the press that celibacy was "not a dogma." Even before his plane landed in Rome, he had him sign a prescribed denial. He has screwed up his debut, so that there was almost no room for own his initiatives remaining. So that would also was safe, so in return on Pope Benedict XVI.’s sideCuria Bishop Piacenza rose to the Archbishop.

The Priest is a "witness of the Absolute”, and attacks against celibacy come from thinking alien to the Faith

In the year of the priest, which took place from 19 June 2009 to 11th in June 2010, was organized by the Congregation for the International event "Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of Priests" who then bore the signature of the Secretary and not the Prefect. On 19 June 2009, the then Archbishop Piacenza Curia said in an interview with L'Osservatore Romano, the priest is a "witness of the Absolute." The attacks on priestly celibacy were for Monsignor Piacenza the product "of contexts and mentalities that are completely alien to the Faith, which often in time and form come from most hidden forces lead to a progressive weakening" and seeks one of the most central effective witnesses of Christian discipleship.

Cardinal Hummes was strong enough with the help of some curial positions and some Bishops' Conferences and papal initiatives to slow it or even prevent it. This includes the conclusion of the Year for Priests planned appointment of the Curé of Ars, St. John Mary Vianney, the patron saint of priests. The idea was to get a pre-Vatican II priest as a model, which went too far for a number of bishops, who  tolerated in some dioceses the almost endemic phenomenon of priests engaged in liturgical abuse, living in concubinage and preaching heresies.

Cardinal Hummes replaced by Piacenza, when trying to prevent Cure of Ars patron of priests

Less than two months after midway point before the completion of the Year for Priests, Pope Benedict XVI intimated quite unequivocally that Cardinal Hummes 75 that he expects his resignation on time because he had reached the age limit.

On the 7th of October 2010 Curia Archbishop Piacenza succeeded Hummes as Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy. Benedict XVI. created him in summary proceedings on 20 November 2010 a Cardinal. His titular church in Rome is San Paolo of the Three Fountains.

Last year, Cardinal Piacenza was suggested as a possible new Secretary of State, should replace Cardinal Bertone.

Text: Giuseppe Nardi
 Image: Vatican Insider

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