The burden of old age ... I can actually remember the far off days of 'Good Pope John' ... and his curial reforms!
He laid it down that senior members of the Curia should be bishops; the reason he gave was that they were so intimately associated with the Roman Pontiff in the government of the Universal Church that they should possess the munus episcopale. Poor old Cardinal Ottaviani, I recall, was made to undergo episcopal Consecration. (If the same rule had existed in the days of S John Henry Newman, they would have forced him to be a bishop, too.)
Clearly, the once 'Good Pope John' has lost his cred in this Age of Bergoglianity ... PF respects his views on the Curia no more than he respects the detailed regulations he laid down in Veterum Sapientia for the reinforcement of Latin (the Vatican recently published texts for the Consecration of Russia and Ukraine in, I think, 32 languages ... which, by failing to include Latin, put it on a level with Cornish).
I do not subscribe to the view of S John XXIII that curial bosses should all be bishops, nor with that of PF that they need not be in Holy Orders at all. I suspect that the Bergoglian change is more to do with increasing the power of PF even further by sweeping away any restriction of whom he can appoint to what.
In my view, the Roman Church, like any other Particular Church, consists of a Bishop, his Presbyterate, his Diaconate, and the plebs sancta Dei. In addition, Rome historically also has the Suburbicarian bishoprics. The executive branches of the Roman Church should be the Suburbicarian Bishops, the Presbyterate and the Diaconate.
Most Curial bosses should normally be presbyters or deacons. Just as the official titles of Cardinals ("X Cardinal Y Cardinal priest of S Z") still historically recall.
It would be marvellous if we could get away from all this nonsense of Eminences and Excellencies in Rome. Even better if, at the same time, the entire un Christian concept of Career Structures could be binned.
And what about the Diplomatic Service? Why do they all have to be Archbishops? Particularly since they are Archbishops of absolutely nowhere real. PF wouldn't have needed fanfares heralding 'reforming' enactments in order to abolish this absurdity.
All the present rubbish is about status, so that even such a person Roche needs to be called an "Archbishop". We sha'n't be rid of all that stuff ... one staff officer jumping over another staff officer's back* ... until we we escape from the idea that episcopacy is a risible nonsense like the God-Calls-Me-God and the Kindly-Call-Me-God system of the British Civil Service.
*O What a Lovely War? They were only playing leapfrog.
To put this in perspective, when Mgr Montini was sostituto (under-secretary) in the secretariat of state in the early 1950s, he was a prelate of honour. He did not become a bishop until he was kicked upstairs to the see of Milan in 1954. Contrast, if you will, with the egregious Becciu, archbishop of nowhere while sostituto.
I always think that it is an absurdity that the Archbishop of Washington DC gets to be a cardinal. I think it strange that he even gets to be an Archbishop.
Absurd, strange- and undesirable.
It does nothing to elevate the Church's prestige, but it does give the politicians greater influence over the hierarchy. They should be made to travel to Darkest Baltimore to see a really first rank member of the hierarchy. Hopefully to an Archbishop who can let on that he is vaguely aware of who they are, and who knows how to palm them off on a member of his curia.
It would be far better if the various government officials had no easy access to anyone really important in the hierarchy. And that would make the position of being Bishop of Washington less desirable to the careerists who gravitate there.
Just behold how such a policy helps the Hasidim maintain such importance in American politics: "If you want to see an important rabbi, get on the receiving line, Senator!" So much better than the fawning and star struck leadership of the American hierarchy.
Dear Father. The average height of an Italian man is about 5"8" and so it only makes sense that anyone chosen for an office in the Curia be a man at least six foot tall and who is fluent in Latin.
Real men don't like short annoying modernists who hate Tradition whereas Saint Christopher was quite tall.
Is Westminster getting raised to the purple another anomaly? Ann Widdecombe thought England should get two cardinals - one acting as PM and the other for foreign affairs or some sort of minister without portfolio. I laughed at the suggestion but then the Murphy-O'Connor/Nichols paradigm emerged and I stopped laughing. Especially when it became clear Cormac was "active" at the 2013 conclave raising questions about the status of a retired Cardinal. How can a retired Archbishop of Westminster exercise more influence over the conclave process than a serving one? Prior to Nichol's own elevation after 2013, Cormac was quoted as saying (more or less) that life was tough on Vincent at the moment because he wasn't in the College. A remark as bizarre as it was telling.
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