(Rome) Once initiated, the rumor mill on personnel changes in the Roman Curia will not fall silent so quickly. The first wave of rumors rolled in a few days ago, citing an "exotic" source, the Catholic weekly Herald of the Archdiocese Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia or its online edition Herald Malaysia Online. Usually it's the Italian media, who report the first rumors of personal curiosities. This also applies to what was disseminated by the new gossip Fanpage.it. They concern the successor of the Cardinal Vicar of Rome, a post which Cardinal Agostino Vallini has held since 2008.
Vallini, a renowned lawyer, the previous Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura was by 2004, assigned to the suburbicarian diocese of Albano, where he lead the Roman Province, and was from 1989 to 1999 also Auxiliary Bishop of Naples.
Vallini was born in Poli in the Diocese of Tivoli and thus comes from Lazio, the area of the old Papal States. In 2006 Benedict XVI. created Vallini, born in 1940, Cardinal.
Since the Pope can not perform his duties directly as Bishop of Rome, he shall appoint a vicar of the diocese of Rome to represent him in all matters concerned.
Cardinal Vicar Vallini completed his 75 year in June 2015 and offered Pope Francis his resignation. Speculations assume that the Cardinal will remain in office until the end of the Holy Year of Mercy. On his retirement, so Fanpage, Vallini has appointed his personal secretary in addition, to the pastor of the Roman parish of San Roberto Belarmino, which incidentally was the Roman titular church of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio before his election as Pope.
Archbishop Bruno Forte
According to Fanpage the Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto, Msgr. Bruno Forte, stands "in pole position" as successor to Cardinal Vicar Vallini, Archbishop Forte became known recently as Special Secretary twice, during the Synod of Bishops on the Family and thereby took a controversial role. Forte was already known under Benedict XVI. for a "moderately progressive" position that erupted far more clearly under Pope Francis. The heavily criticized passages on homosexuality in the interim report of the Synod of Bishops, 2014, originated from him.
Last May 2 , the Archbishop revealed some details about the background of the controversial post-synodal letter Amoris laetitia in the Municipal Theatre of Vasto . Pope Francis had supposedly given him direction as Special Secretary for the drafting of the Synod document following statement:
"If we explicitly speak of communion for remarried divorcees, who knows what a casino [fuss] will be made. We therefore do not talk directly about it. Make it so that the premises are given, then I draw the conclusions I prefer. "
Bishop Giancarlo Bregantini
The second place of the "three candidates" called by Fanpage is Msgr.Giancarlo Bregantini, the Bishop of Campobasso-Bojano. He had made a name throughout Italy as bishop of Locri-Gerace in Calabria because of his harsh condemnation of the 'Ndrangheta, the Calabrian Mafia. Pope Benedict XVI. relieved the bishop from the Order of the Stigmata in 2007 for safety reasons to Molise. Pope Francis entrusted him with the meditations for the Way of the Cross in 2014 in the Colosseum. Unlike Archbishop Forte, Bishop Bregantini is counted among the "most conservative" among Italy's bishops.
Bishop Marcello Semeraro
In third place we find the name of Msgr. Marcello Semeraro, who is bishop of Albano, as was Cardinal Vallini. Semeraro has become known only under the current Pope. He appointed him secretary of the C9-Cardinal Council to support the him in the reform of the Curia and the guidance of the universal Church. Semeraro is deemed the Pope's confidant. In fact, he has since tried defending vigorously in in public the real or perceived positions of Francis. He was particularly aggressive in a sharp attack against the thirteen cardinals among the Synod, who wrote a letter to Pope Francis at the beginning of the Synod of Bishops in 2015. The Cardinals brought serious concerns and expressed the suspicion of being only extras, while the decisions had already been made. As diocesan bishop, Bishop Semeraro has also interacted with the Society of St. Pius X , whose Italian district headquarters is located in Albano Laziale, Semeraro's diocese.