(Madrid / Rome) The Spanish Catholic Church Historian and well-known blogger, Francisco de la Cigoña has published his interpretation of the new cardinals to be appointed by Pope Francis, according to the motto: Let us be glad it could all have been worse.
Very Franciscan and therefore very surprising he has created 20 new cardinals, fifteen voting and five over 80 years of age.
It is thought that only the voters are important, but this is not so. The appointment of cardinals who have reached the age of 80, also has its importance. It reflects primarily whom the Church recognizes and provides information about the weights or the whims of a pope. A cardinal comes in rank before any bishop or bishop emeritus of whatever diocese. If one were to speak of the retired Bishop of Xai Xai, the vast majority do not even know where that is. But a Cardinal Langa has weight.
Next Cardinal Consistory by 2017 - Lehmann's Departure Will be a "Great Day for the Church"
Pope Francis has appointed five electors more than Paul VI. which was determined with the maximum limit of 120. By March 2016, except given a sudden death, no seat will therefore be vacant in the electoral college of the Catholic Church.The Cardinals Naguib (18 March 2015), Rigali (April 19), De Paolis (September 19), Abril (September 21) and Mahony (27 February 2016) will be the next to complete 80 years of age and depart as voters. Their vacant seats are already occupied now by Pope Francis' appointments. It was not until the 80th birthday of Cardinal Terrazas on March 7, 2016 that a chair will be vacant in the conclave again. It will take some time before the appointment of new cardinals is possible, probably in February 2017. Until then, besides Cardinal Terrazas more cardinals will have lost their right to vote: Dias on 14 April, and on May 16, 2016, Lehmann. What a great day it will be for the Church, Levada on June 15, Okogie on June 16, Turkotte on June 26, Ortega on October 18, Lopez Rodriguez on October 31, Antonelli on 18 November and Sarr on 28 November. By the end of 2016, eleven seats will be thus vacant. Unless the Pope changes Pope Paul VI's. fixed number of voters.
The Good News: No Cardinals Forte, Paglia, Hans Küng, Gutierrez or Casaldàliga
The good news is the announcement of the new cardinals followed by a reaction of relief. Some Church leaders believe Pope Francis has clearly made the worst appointments. Worrying names for the Italians, Forte and Paglia, the papal ghostwriter Fernandez, or even unthinkable names such as Hans Küng, Gustavo Gutiérrez or Casaldàliga went by.
However, it must be said that the worst members of the College of Cardinals come from Pope Francis. This is also true for the now newly appointed cardinals. The worst among the new, so I am told, is the New Zealander, Dew, the Portuguese Clemente and the Uruguayan Sturla. The Patriarch of Lisbon is said to be the best representative of the Portuguese episcopate, which is mediocre overall. His predecessor, Patriarch Policarpo was just a solemn booby and one can only hope that the new Cardinal does not behave the same way. Sturla of Montevideo seems to always be just a Salesian without education, as there are several of them that seem to have come to their posts as if by a win at gambling.
It also tells me that one of the two newly appointed Italian diocesan bishops is bad, while others are said to be excellent. As a very good and also surprising appointment, I can cite those of retired Italian Curia Representative, De Magistris.
Poor is the appointment of the Cardinal nepotist from Vietnam, who will sit in the near future in the electoral college. But we do not speak here of the Pope being in the right mood to honor a friend.
Outstanding on the other hand is Mexican Suarez and good and surprising is the Spaniard Blazquez, who is a man of solid grounding in the Doctrine of the Faith. I rejoice with the Archdiocese of Valladolid. The last date archbishop, whose last created cardinal was born in 1838, Justo José Maria Cos y Macho. His cardinal appointment was in 1911 by Pope Saint Pius X.
Peripherism and Insularism - In the United States Probably Only The Bishop of Honolulu Had a Chance
The Peripherism and Insularism of the Pope is what's surprising. The elevation of the Archbishop of Addis Ababa is understandable, as are those of Rangoon and Bangkok. But the Cape Verde Islands, Tonga and Xai Xai can only be ascribed to mood. But that's what it is. The appointees are so obscure that I at once had to look at the Pontifical Yearbook. Pope Francis likes islands. On this occasion three. Two of them must be sought with the magnifying glass on the map. In his first consistory there were two such islands: Haiti and the Antilles.
I would imagine that there were not a few archbishops who were not considered, who will now ask: Why not me? To be honest, I was wondering that, and find no other answer than the one I have already mentioned. I suppose it is not issued to the archbishops. Mini-dioceses, such as Tonga and the Cape Verde islands will receive disproportionate weight in the Catholic Church. The Diocese of Tonga is three times as large as Liechtenstein and numbers 15,000 Catholics. Does the appointment belong to the diocese, or - as it should be in principle - the reigning bishop? Anyway, no one has ever heard of him.
In addition to non-Roman Europe, especially in the United States there will be the great absentee in this consistory. There will be no cardinal Cupich (Chicago), but neither a Cardinal Chaput (Philadelphia) or Gomez (Los Angeles). It would probably have most likely been the Bishop of Honolulu, also unknown to me, who had a chance because he comes from an island.
Clearly, however, it seems the papacy will deduct the dignity of Cardinal of Venice and Turin. The appointment of the bishops of Perugia, Ancona-Osimo and Agrigento speak loud and clear.
Seven out of 20 new cardinals come from Europe. This is still a third. And yet only the Romanesque Southern Italy, Spain and Portugal have been considered as diocesan bishops actually. France got a curial official and the German-speaking area a 80-year old out of service diplomat.
Some Candidates Are to "Hopeless Cases"
It seems to me that the archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, with regard to the dignity of Cardinal, has become a "hopeless case." The same is probably true for Moraglia, Patriarch of Venice, Archbishop Nosiglia of Turin. Cape Verde Islands, Tonga and Xai Xai are now above Brussels, Venice and Turin.
Latin America gets Cardinals from Mexico, Panama and Uruguay as well as a consolation for Colombia and Argentina. The privileged continent seems to be Asia with Vietnam, Thailand and Burma. By contrast, the Japanese Catholicism is pending, which it is likely to remain. But the real climbers are Oceania with the awarding of two cardinals to New Zealand and Tonga. Three purple Birettas go to Africa: Ethiopia, Cape Verde and Mozambique.
The religious communities receive four surveys a fifth of the new Cardinal dignities. Two Salesians, a missionary and an Augustinian, with me the favor of the Salesians seems unjustified.
Another oddity is revealed in the Cardinal appointments by Pope Francis. The age of the appointees is driven to new heights. In February 2014, he created the 99 year old Loris Capovilla Cardinal because he was the secretary of John XXIII. In February 2015, he will charge a 95-year-old cardinal with the Archbishop Emeritus of Manizales in Colombia. After all, behind Capovilla and Canestri, he became immediately the third oldest member of the College of Cardinals.
It is also remarkable that there are several under the newly called, appointed just before their retirements, which would preclude their voting in fact, while they are still able to vote in a conclave for at least five years. Among them are the archbishop of Hanoi (76), Archbishop of Ancona-Osimo (75) and the Archbishop of Morelia (75).
In sum: Let us be glad it could have been worse.
Translation: Giuseppe Nardi
image: La Cigueña de la Torre
image: La Cigueña de la Torre
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org