Thursday, February 14, 2013

Pope Benedict Resigns; Salesians in Conclave

Pope Benedict Resigns

Salesian Cardinals to Participate in Conclave
This post has already been published in at least 2 places in an earlier version, so I guess I'd better post it myself, updated.
On Feb. 11 Pope Benedict XVI surprised the world by announcing his resignation, effective Feb. 28. It was the first papal resignation since 1415, when three men claimed to be Pope during the Great Schism of Western Christianity (see and all three were compelled to resign as the way to end the schism; and the first freely chosen resignation since 1294, when Pope St. Celestine V resigned on grounds of incapacity to carry out the papal office to which he had been elected only five months earlier.

If there are no deaths before Feb. 28, there are 117 cardinals who will be under age 80 when Peter's Chair is vacated at 8:00 p.m. Rome time (2:00 p.m. EST), and thus eligible to take part in the conclave that will elect the new Pope. According to Catholic News Service (Feb. 18, 2013), 19 of these are members of religious orders, and the Salesians have the largest number of religious cardinal-electors, with four: Cardinals Tarcisio Bertone, 78, secretary of state of the Holy See and camerlengo; Raffaele Farina, 79, prefect emeritus of the Vatican Archives and Library; Angelo Amato, 74, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes; and Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, 70, archbishop of Tegucigalpa.

One of the 117 cardinal-electors, however, will not make the journey to Rome. Cardinal Julius Darmaatmadja, SJ, archbishop emeritus of Djakarta, Indonesia, has informed the world that he is too ill to make the journey and take part.

On Feb. 25 another cardinal-elector bowed out. The already-tendered resignation Cardinal Keith O'Brien, archbishop of Edinburgh, who will turn 75 shortly, was accepted by the Holy Father, and he decided not to go to the conclave because of serious accusations leveled against him (which he sort of admitted to on Mar. 3) lest his presence be a distraction from the serious business in Rome.

There are 3 Franciscan cardinal-electors, 1 Jesuit (besides Card. Darmaatmadia), and 10 other religious, including 2 of the American cardinals, Sean O'Malley (Capuchin) and Francis George (Oblate of Mary Immaculate).

Blogging for America, Fr. Thomas Reese, SJ, writes that the camerlengo “is the most important official during the interregnum. . . . On the death of the pope, the camerlengo takes charge of and administers the property and money of the Holy See, with the help of three cardinal assistants chosen by lot from among those cardinals under 80. During the interregnum he reports to the college of cardinals, which governs the church until a pope is elected. He also organizes the conclave. By appointing the cardinal secretary of state as the camerlengo, Benedict simplified the organizational structure and made sure that his secretary of state had an important role during the interregnum.”

Cardinal Bertone

Cardinal Bertone (see Salesian Bulletin Fall 2006) professed vows as a Salesian in 1950 and was ordained in 1960. A canon lawyer, he has been a professor at the Salesian Pontifical University, archbishop of Vercelli and of Genoa, and secretary of the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith under then-Cardinal Ratzinger. John Paul II made him cardinal in 2003, and Pope Benedict named him secretary of state in 2006.
Cardinal Farina

Cardinal Farina professed as a Salesian in 1949 and was ordained in 1958. A church historian, he taught at and was rector of the Salesian Pontifical University, and served in the Roman Curia prior to becoming prefect of the Vatican Library in 1997, then archivist of the Vatican Secret Archives in 2007. Pope Benedict made him cardinal in 2007. He retired in 2012.
Cardinal Amato with Mother Reungoat

Cardinal Amato professed as a Salesian and 1956 and was ordained in 1967. He was professor of dogmatic theology and dean of the school of theology of the Salesian Pontifical University, as well as a prolific writer before succeeding then-Abp. Bertone as secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2002, under then-Cardinal Ratzinger. In 2008 he became prefect of the Congregation of Saints’ Causes. Pope Benedict made him cardinal in 2010.

Cardinal Rodriguez ordaining Fr. Manny Gallo
Cardinal Rodriguez professed as a Salesian in 1961 and was ordained in 1970. He was both a high school teacher and a professor of theology before becoming bishop in 1978 and serving as general secretary of the Latin American Bishops Conference (CELAM) and other posts at CELAM and in his native Honduras. In 1993 he became archbishop of Tegucigalpa and in 2001 the first cardinal from his country. Since 2007 he has been president of Caritas International, the Church’s worldwide relief organization. He has been a prominent spokesman on social justice issues such as Third World debt. He loves to play music, can pilot a small plane, speaks seven languages, and enjoys meeting and speaking with young people. He has presided over several priestly ordinations in the U.S.

Two other Salesian cardinals are beyond the age of 80 and not eligible to take part in the conclave: Cardinals Miguel Obando Bravo, archbishop emeritus of Managua, and Joseph Zen Ze-kiun bishop emeritus of Hong Kong.

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