Pope Francis Has Seriously Curtailed Cardinal Pell's Competency
Pope Francis with Cardinal George Pell
(Rome) In the last months there were rumors circulating, now they are substantiated: the responsibilities of the Australian Cardinal George Pell in the Roman Curia are to be seriously curtailed with a new motu proprio.
As on March 13, 2013, the name of the new Pope was announced and the name "Georgium" was called, many had guessed: The Cardinals had elected not George Pell, but Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the leader of the Catholic Church.
As the only oceanic Cardinal, the then Archbishop of Sydney, a month after the conclave, he slipped into the C8 Council of cardinal advisers (today C9) established by Pope Francis, to advise the Pope in the reform of the Curia and the guidance of the universal Church.
The unexpected appeal to Rome
On February 24, 2014, Francis even brought him into the Roman Curia and appointed him first Cardinal Prefect of the new Secretariat on the Economy. The appointment provoked some surprise, since it was known that the traditional friendly Australian was not exactly on the same wavelength with the reigning Pope. When the double Synod against the Family took place, the Cardinal was in the front row of the defenders of Catholic moral teaching and Sacraments against the "new Mercy" by Cardinal Walter Kasper preferred by Pope Francis.
Cardinal Pell has indeed risen with his appointment to Rome as head of a dicastry but the decree has meant little more in the Roman Curia than a nice title.
Meanwhile, Francis has begun with the reorganization of the Australian and Oceanic episcopate.
Cardinal Pell, a man of action, was not one for withdrawing to his office in Rome wait up his retirement. Known as a good steward he began to actively undertake what he had been called to do: to build good governance, coordinating in all economic and financial areas. And if it nobody helped, he did it himself.
The other dicasteries did not find this funny. They feared a loss of competence. Especially since some really didn't wanted someone looking at their cards (financial).
Pell's reputation as "Ratzingerian" did not serve him well in modified Rome.
Before the Cardinal could really get started, intrigues already translated against him , which in intensity with time increased so much so that in the spring of 2016, dismissal wasn't even excluded by Pell's circle. The rumors got new sustenance on 8th June, as the cardinal reached the age of 75 and in accordance with canon law had to offer the Pope his resignation. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi SJ answered that day to journalists who asked the question whether the cardinal will continue to work in the Vatican, with the words: "I assume that we would have congratulated him."
Read Tornielli to understand the purpose of the new Motu Proprio
A month later, the Pope issued a motu proprio on July 4, I beni Temporali (temporal things) on certain economic and financial responsibilities. If you read the daily bulletin of the Vatican press office, one learns nothing, apparently because nothing would be said. To understand what Pope Francis intended in the new Motu Proprio, had to be read in a product of the papal house vaticanist. Andrea Tornielli in Vatican Insider.
Tornielli wrote on Saturday: "The Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) will reorganize all the assets."
In 2014, when Pope Francis created the new Vatican Secretariat for the Economy, he meant it to exercise a "super-ministry" of management and control of the entire economic and financial area. With the new motu proprio, Cardinal Pell only remains in a supervisory office. Pope Francis had made, says Tornielli, a "clear and unequivocal separation" between asset management and the exercise of control over the administration. In other words, Cardinal Pell's dicastery is again little more than an office.
The most important statement is to be found in the very last sentence of Tornielli's article: "At the same time, power over the goods of the Holy See has been made more collegial and focused less in the hands of a single person."
Cardinal Pell had wanted no "concentration of power," but merely wanted to implement the papal motu proprio verbatim, establishing the Economic Secretariat of 2014. Other Curia staff have more weight for Pope Francis than Cardinal Pell. Apparently those who specularated in 2014 were right that Cardinal Pell was only summoned to Rome to be left in the cold.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: MiL / Vatican.va / OR (Screenshot)
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