Radical shake up to Vatican Curia


The Vatican Curia looks likely to soon get a radical shake-up, comments Robert Mickens, in La Croix International.

According to his sources, the Rome-based editor for La Croix International, says that

  • Pope Francis has signed off Praedicate Evangelium, the upcoming apostolic constitution that will reform the Roman Curia.
  • Francis will receive the resignation of around 20 top Vatican officials, and
  • several new cardinals are likely to be appointed.

Mickens’ says that Praedicate Evangelium is currently being translated into the major languages and once translated it will be published.

He acknowledges that in the middle of the Roman summer, the timing for this is out of the ordinary, however, notes that regardless of when it happens the effects will likely be historic.

Mickens says the re-shaped Roman Curia will need new leadership and as an example of that Francis recently brought the 63-year-old Filipino Cardinal Luis Tagle to Rome to head up the renewed Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples and promoted him to be a Cardinal Bishop.

To make way for new energy and the new structure Francis Francis will likely accept the resignations of many of those over 75 or who have completed five years in their posts.

Among those the positions looking for new energy includes controversial conservative Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, 75, has also exceeded his five-year term as head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments.

According to Mickens it is also likely a new prefect at the Congregation for Bishops will be needed to replace Cardinal Marc Ouellet (76) who has held this post for ten years – five years longer than the usual tenure.

A significant position, the Congregation for Bishops oversees the selection of most new bishops.

Five or six of the eight cardinals that make up the Council for the Economy are also expected to be replaced, namely because they are over 75 and already retired from their primary jobs as diocesan bishops.

They include Cardinals

  • John Tong Hon, former Bishop of Hong Kong, soon to be 81;
  • Agostino Vallini, 80, former Vicar of Rome;
  • Wilfrid Napier OFM, 79, soon to retire as Archbishop of Durban;
  • Norberto Rivera Carrera, 78, former Archbishop of Mexico City;
  • Juan Luis Cipriani, 76, former Archbishop of Lima; and
  • Jean-Pierre Ricard,75, former Archbishop of Bordeaux.

Besides farewelling some long-serving Curia leaders, Mickens reports the Vatican has ordered 15 new cardinal’s rings suggesting a number of new cardinals are likely.

Just who the new cardinals will be and who will lead the various departments under the new Curia setup has not yet been announced.

Mickens notes that in recent times ‘red hat ceremonies’ have become “elaborate galas”, but need not be, particularly during a time when churchgoers in Rome need to respect social distancing and wear facemasks.

“Making new cardinals in a small, more sober setting, at a time one least expects?

“Unusual, yes. But not beyond Pope Francis”, Mickens concludes.


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