Benedict XVI’s open Curia

Benedict XVI's speech to the CuriaThe Pope has reshuffled the cards in a less conservative way with his new appointments.

With yesterday’s nominations, including the imminent appointment of the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Benedict XVI has shown he is steering the Roman Curia in a different direction.
As is known, the Pope promoted the French Archbishop Jean Louis Brugues, formerly Secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, to the post of Archivist and Librarian of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.
He then called Bishop Vincenzo Paglia from the Italian Diocese of Terni, appointing him as President of the Pontifical Council for the Family. Paglia was previously spiritual assistant of the Community of Sant’Egidio.
He also moved the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Augustine Di Noia, to the Ecclesia Dei commission, appointing him as deputy president. Di Noia’s previous role in the dicastery will now be covered by the Englishman, Arthur Roche who up until now has been Bishop of Leeds (Britain).
Finally, the Pope chose the Bishop of Kigoma (Tanzania), Protase Rugambwa as Secretary of Propaganda Fide and the Pole Krzysztof Jozef Nykiel as Regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary.
It is interesting to note that whilst three Italians leaving their post (Cardinals Raffaele Farina and Ennio Antonelli and Bishop Gianfranco Girotti), only one Italian has been appointed (Paglia). It is also important to highlight that these changes do not follow along a traditionalist or conservative route.

Paglia has a great deal of experience in the field of ecumenical dialogue and initiatives in favour of the poor; Brugues is considered to be open and a competent mediator in controversies over Catholic universities in recent years; Roche is a modern bishop (not a modernist), who is faithful to the Council, an expert on the liturgy – he chaired the ICEL (International commission on English in the Liturgy) for ten years – and certainly does not have a traditionalist agenda. He was already a candidate for this post in 2009 and was auxiliary for Cardinal Murphy O’Connor.

The batch of nominations as a whole marks a standstill for the Curia’s more conservative wing and shows a willingness on the part of the Pope to keep dialogue open on all fronts. Benedict XVI’s increased openness will be confirmed over the coming days when he will appoint the Bishop of Regensburg, Gerhard Ludwig Müller, as the new Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Müller is a German theologian whom the Pope knows well. In recent months his candidacy was threatened by ecclesiastical circles who considered him to be too open.
Yesterday’s promotions and transferrals offer no indication that the Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone, will be leaving his post any time soon. A change has been considered but it will not take place in the immediate future, with the Pope’s “prime minister” having become one of the main targets of the tensions caused by the Vatileaks scandal.
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