The new college of cardinals

Source: FSSPX News


On Tuesday October 21, John Paul II created 31 new cardinals, during an extraordinary consistory. The balance of the Sacred College between the cardinals of the curia and the resident cardinals remains unchanged in relation to the preceding consistory of February 2001. No marked tendency seems to be emerging, so disparate is the composition of the College of electors of the next pope. It is noticeable that in the last few years, there has been a movement towards “re-italianization, as well as a return in strength of the nuncios, which should increase their influence.

In spite of this general uncertainty, the Italian press indicates that several personalities, likely to play an important role in the future, have made their entry into the College of Cardinals. Those in question are Cardinal Angelo Scola, patriarch of Venice, and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, archbishop of Genoa. Both would take place among the Italian papabile. The latter features in the book by Romano Libero and Christian Terras, Who will be the next pope? (March 2003, Golias) in these terms:

Tarcisio Bertone (born in 1934), a Salesian, efficient and authoritarian conservative, a man of formidable capacity.

The adjectives “conservative” and “formidable” well convey the liberal leanings of the authors along the lines of Casaroli and Silvestrini. On the other hand, this is how they judge the cardinals whom they favor:

• Francisco Marchisano (1929), archpriest of St. Peter, moderate liberal, former right hand and faithful advisor of Garrone to the Congregation of education, a sensitive and likeable man, a good choice, curiously a friend of Sodano, hated by the integrists.

• Attilio Nicora (1937), president of the administration of the patrimony of the Apostolic See, Milanese, excellent lawyer, a real ideas man of the present legal statutes of the Italian Church, shrewd politician, a remarkable man, along the lines of Casaroli / Silvestrini.

Cardinal Re, president of the Congregation of Bishops, remains the most often cited papabile (see DICI no 81). In L’Express of October 23, Jacques Duquesne goes as far as to say: “There have been murmurs in Rome lately that Karol Wojtyla, ever preparing for his succession, could well name Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, a 69 year old Italian, who has spent the whole of his career in the Curia, a senior lord who would be ranked among the favorites at the next conclave, if he had some experience – even if it were limited – of parish life, as chaplain or in a diocese.”