Monday, April 22, 2013

Reform Is Coming: Italian Bishops Need Not Apply

Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras said he was backing more posts for women after the Pope named him this month to lead a task force of eight cardinals from around the world to reform the Roman Curia, an alleged hotbed of intrigue, infighting and corruption.
The cardinal's comments, made to The Sunday Times, were backed by Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi on Sunday.
"It is a natural step – there is a move towards putting more women in key roles where they are qualified," he said....

.....In his general audience on April 3, the Pope noted how women were the first witnesses of the Resurrection, adding that, "The Apostles and disciples find it harder to believe in the Risen Christ, not the women however!" 

This was a message about the importance of the role of women in the Church," said Carlo Marroni, a Vatican expert at Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore. "That said, the question still gets handled cautiously as it touches on the issue of ordination for women."

Women have taken on a number of key roles at the Vatican, including Sister Nicla Spezzati, the undersecretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Flaminia Giovanelli, the undersecretary, at the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

St Peter's is run by a woman, Maria Cristina Carlo-Stella, who is the head of the Fabbrica di San Pietro, the Vatican office in charge of the basilica. (Wonder if the theologian of Benedict's papal household was aware of this.  Why she could be fixing the roof or something.)

"But that is still very few," said Marco Politi, a Vatican watcher at Italian daily Il Fatto Quotidiano. "Look at Germany and the US, where women have many key positions in the dioceses." (Three barely qualifies for tokenism.)

Cardinal Maradiaga, the head of the group, who speaks six languages, plays the saxophone and trained as a pilot, said he would be scrutinising the controversial Vatican Bank, which has been linked to scandals.
Pope Francis formed the task force after complaints that the Vatican was unresponsive to the needs and requests of cardinals outside Italy and Europe.

Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, the retired archbishop of Santiago, Chile, and one of group, has warned that the Vatican was overpopulated with Europeans.
"Forty European bishops working for the Holy Father and for the government of the Church are too many," he said.  (40 is not tokenism. It's excessivism.  Maybe by the time this group of Cardinals is done the numbers of bishops vs women will be reversed.)


Pope Francis' gang of eight cardinals certainly seem to have a different perspective on management than I had first thought. The above article contains some interesting and potentially reform inducing thoughts.  The addition of more women certainly would raise the level of input from women and coupled with downsizing the quotient of bishops would more than likely enhance their voices--and the voices of laity in general.  I would also think reducing the number of bishops would put real breaks on careerism amongst the clergy.

I would love to be present when Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga starts in on the IOR or Vatican Bank.  As it stands right now, there are no longer any Italians involved with the IOR Board of Directors and the bank's president is a German. Board members are German, Swiss, or American.  Credit card transactions are being handled by a Swiss financial services group.  All this is no doubt due to the Bank's troubles with the Italian banking system which has in the past frozen substantial transactions, accused the Bank of money laundering, complained of the lack of transparency in regard to account holders and others could use those accounts, and stopped credit card transactions through Duetsche Bank--again because of money laundering concerns. It certainly looks as if the Vatican, under Bertone, has switched to non Italians and non Italian financial services to put some distance between itself and Italian banking regulators.  Perhaps Cardinal Maradiaga might want to start his investigation with the previous bank president, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, who was summarily fired, complete with character assassination by the Bertone led board and specifically under the signature of the American KofC CEO Carl Anderson.  Tedeschi complained about lack of transparency at the bank, but was also implicated in IOR money laundering as well as questioned about the same issue at another bank.

There were Italian reports that Cardinal Bertone received a two million euro 'charitable donation' at the last IOR Board meeting in 2012.  It may be that this was a method of helping the Salesians pay off their legal and settlement fees from multiple abuse cases, but it's fishy none the less.  I have not been able to find an article about this in English, but this would be relevant with regards to Cardinal Maradiaga as he is also a Salesian. I'd appreciate it if anyone finds any links verifying this story about Cardinal Bertone.  In any case, Pope Francis has already cancelled bonuses for the four other Cardinals who are tasked with supervising the lay Board and the over all management of the IOR. 

Any way one looks at it, these cardinals seem very serious about changing the culture in the Vatican.  I can easily believe this last conclave was a referendum on the Italian curia and their method of doing business by non Italian cardinals.  The truth is the Church is no longer an Italian or European enterprise and it's better for all concerned the Vatican reflect that fact.  This is not to say the Church is doing swell in Latin America because it isn't, but continuing along the same path was not going to fix anything anywhere and fresh eyes do sometimes come up with fresh solutions.  Besides, it will be nice to have some female faces, and truth is, there isn't any real canonical reason some of them couldn't wear cardinal red.

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