Two popes, two Marinis

No, I don’t think it’s turning out to be a problem at all that we have, so to speak, two popes. But media love a sensationalist headline such as this at the LA Times: Vatican infighting: We told you two popes could be a problem.” Pray Tell readers will enjoy the disucssion around the rumor (as yet very much unconfirmed) that the first Marini might become prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship.

One has to wonder why this rumor appeared. Did traditionalists spread it about in order to provoke an outcry and prevent it from coming to be? It’s been known to happen before.

It’s hard to imagine Pope Francis making such a shocking move. But then again, not so long ago it was hard to imagine that the new pope would celebrate Holy Thursday in  a prison, as he had done down in Argentina. And when it was announced that he would, it was hard to imagine that he would wash the feet of females, including non-Christians. And he did. So… who knows?

Francis is his own man and seems not to be afraid of making his own decisions. He hasn’t been shy about tossing overboard the monarchical trappings of vesture and ceremonial that Benedict cultivated. But as I say, it’s hard to imagine Francis appointing Marini-1 to such a delicate position.

Maybe Piero could become archpriest of the basilica, a cardinalatial position. I’ve heard that rumor too.

It will be interesting to see.

awr

10 comments

  1. Hmm…. His Majesty, King Edward VIII abdicated in 1936 and became His Majesty, Edward VIII, King Emeritus ….not!

    I don’t have an opinion on Piero Marini, but I do think it was a serious mistake for Benedict to hold on to the trappings of his former office: the title “His Holiness”, the regnal name “Benedict” and the white cassock.

    Benedict’s superb example would have been even more powerful had he reverted to “Most Rev. Joseph Ratzinger, Pope emeritus” and worn black. For him to continue to use the regnal name “Benedict” and that other very visible sign of papal office, white clothing, is an anomaly and a precedent that is pregnant with confusion and potential for conflict after future resignations IMO.

    1. @Graham Wilson – comment #1:
      I suspect some choices were partly dictated by an attempt to keep as much sovereign immunity as possible (not necessarily selfishly for the current emeritus, but for emeriti down the road).

    2. @Graham Wilson – comment #1:
      Perhaps a serious mistake for people who ponder these things like you and I, but certainly not for the average citizen of the world. There have been, what, two or three entire sightings of Benedict since 2/28/2013?

    3. @Graham Wilson – comment #1:
      We did have “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother” getting two titles of Queen in one title.
      Perhaps Benedict is also indicating that a retired priest remains a priest and a retired bishop remains a bishop.
      I think that Benedict as Pope took the view that he did not always have the authority to make changes without good reason even if he had the nominal power to do so. If his presence reminds Pope Francis of the need to consider carefully and prudently his actions that may be useful. I very much doubt that Benedict will say or do anything to undermine any action of his successor.

  2. Let us consider the possibility that Benedict’s resignation, and all that surrounds it actually have empowered Francis to be himself!

    Suppose Francis had been elected in 2005 rather than Benedict to succeed JP2. Would he likely have decided to not live in the Apostolic Palace, or to embark on the reform of the Curia, or to create a group of non-Curia advisers, and begin talking about Synodal government in a serious manner?

    Well certainly not in the first hundred days! Perhaps he would have eventually over the years with Legionnaires and other sexual abuse scandals, the financial scandals and Vatican leaks. However all those would have put Francis on the spot and consumed a lot of his time.

    In a way Benedict, and his advisers have created the perfect situation for Francis! A majority group of cardinals clamoring for reform of the Curia which is really a blank check for Francis to do many things in the name of reform.

    Francis may have acquired a lot of street smarts in those slums. He told the CDF chief to continue the investigation of the nuns. Then he told the nuns via the South American religious to do whatever they had to do to get the CDF off their case, but whatever else don’t let it interfere with your vital work for the poor. If you read closely Francis bottom line appears to be that we wants bishops and religious to work out their own relationships, and fulfill their roles without much involvement from Rome, other than Francis powerful almost daily insistence on the priority of the poor, which will cause the bishops more problems than the nuns.

    So when it comes to appointment to the CDW, thinking in the old framework of installing someone at CDW to reform the “reform of the reform” might not be Francis way of doing things. If Synodal governance develops the CDW (and even the CDF) will no longer be where the action is. Would Francis really want Marini-1 to have a Bugnini type role at CDF??? Yes he did meet Marini-1 very quickly, but he has also said that his first ideas are often wrong.

  3. “Francis is his own man and seems not to be afraid of making his own decisions”

    Francis plans dramatic pro-immigrant outing

    http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/francis-plans-dramatic-pro-immigrant-outing

    A Vatican statement said Francis was “deeply touched” by the shipwreck, calling it “the latest in a series of analogous tragedies.” It said the pope intends “to pray for those who lost their lives at sea, to visit the survivors and refugees present, to encourage the residents of the island, and to appeal to everyone’s responsibility to take care of these brothers and sisters in extreme need.”

    Pointedly, Francis has requested that the only authorities on hand be local — no VIPs from the Italian political scene and no retinue of princes of the church.

    Writing in La Repubblica on Tuesday, Vatican-watcher Paolo Rodari reported that the trip was not discussed beforehand with the Secretariat of State, the pope’s normal gatekeeper, where officials probably would have wanted to ponder the political and diplomatic fallout of such an expedition before signing off.

    Fr. Stefano Nastasi, pastor of the local parish, was the one who initially invited Francis to come shortly after his election, reminding the new pope that he, too, is a “child of immigration.”

    Clear priorities: the poor, those who lost their lives, survivors, refugees,

    In solidarity with local pastor and those on the scene.

    To VIPs whether church or state: everyone’s responsibility to take care of these brothers and sisters.

  4. Powerful words from Francis this morning

    We encounter the Living God through His wounds

    http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2013/07/03/pope_at_mass:_we_encounter_the_living_god_through_his_wounds/en1-707069

    To meet the living God we must tenderly kiss the wounds of Jesus in our hungry, poor, sick, imprisoned brothers and sisters. Study, meditation and mortification are not enough to bring us to encounter the living Christ. Like St. Thomas, our life will only be changed when we touch Christ’s wounds present in the poor, sick and needy

    The “path to our encounter with Jesus-God – he said – are his wounds. There is no other”.

    “We find Jesus’ wounds in carrying out works of mercy, giving to our body – the body – the soul too, but – I stress – the body of your wounded brother, because he is hungry, because he is thirsty, because he is naked because it is humiliated, because he is a slave, because he’s in jail because he is in the hospital. Those are the wounds of Jesus today.

    And Jesus asks us to take a leap of faith, towards Him, but through these His wounds.

    ‘Oh, great! Let’s set up a foundation to help everyone and do so many good things to help ‘. That’s important, but if we remain on this level, we will only be philanthropic. We need to touch the wounds of Jesus, we must caress the wounds of Jesus, we need to bind the wounds of Jesus with tenderness, we have to kiss the wounds of Jesus, and this literally.

    Just think of what happened to St. Francis, when he embraced the leper? The same thing that happened to Thomas: his life changed. “

    This is the powerful integration of the incarnation, passion and resurrection that I often experience in the Byzantine tradition.

  5. A Catholic comic suggested the day is coming when a joke will begin, “Three Popes walk into a bar…”

  6. Now we will have the canonization of Two Popes!

    Just think: A Two Popes ‘ canonization by Two Popes with Two Marini’s!!

    What a circus that unlikely possibility would be!!!

    More seriously my hope is that Francis with this “joint” encyclical and the end of the year joint canonization has created a framework for putting the divisions and circuses of past behind us and focusing upon the future.

    Hopefully that future of a “more collegial and poor church for the poor” will take greater shape around the Feast of the Saint Francis with the first meeting of the “council.”

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