Roman Curia: Two Heavyweights at Work

Source: FSSPX News

Cardinals Pietro Parolin and Matteo Zuppi

For several months, the Sovereign Pontiff has shown that he has his hands firmly on the rudder of the Barque of St. Peter, making it difficult for the cardinals to break with the habits of the Roman Curia.

Given that the majority of electors for Pope Francis's successor, by their own admission, know each other rather poorly, the temptation could be great for one or other of the cardinals to overcome this disadvantage by placing themselves in the spotlight at the appropriate moment.

In this area, it is difficult not to recognize the efforts made by two Curial heavyweights: Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, Archbishop of Bologna, president of the Conference of Bishops of Italy (CEI) and special envoy of the Pope for peace in Ukraine; and Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See, the equivalent of the prime minister in the Vatican.

According to Vatican News, Cardinal Zuppi is working hard. On April 30 he called Andriy Yermak, chief of staff of the Ukrainian president, to discuss the question of the return of Ukrainian children taken to Russian soil, and to consider the organization of a peace summit in June. It must be acknowledged that the efforts made by the president of the CEI have had little effect so far.

On May 6, in his episcopal city of Bologna, Cardinal Zuppi participated in a television program on a key theme of the mainstream media, “feminicide,” in the company of Gino Ceccehettin, father of a young girl murdered by her current boyfriend. It was an opportunity for the cardinal to clarify that “the offense against women is always an offense against life,” according to the Resto del Carlino.

This is a way of putting a foot in the door, a Vatican observer notes with a touch of cynicism. And more particularly, it is a way to cultivate, to imitate, the metaphor of a Church-field hospital, which was used by Pope Francis at the start of his pontificate.

Seeking a change of scenery, it was under the paneling of the palace of the Roman College, headquarters of the Italian Ministry of Culture, that Cardinal Parolin decided, in front of an audience of journalists, to launch Ignazio Ingrao's latest book: Cinque domande che agitano la Chiesa (Five demands that torment the Church).

It is a work published last October. It could be summed up in two ideas that have become commonplaces of the current pontificate: “no to living room theology,” and “yes to openness to the laity and women.” But the public interest lies less in the personality of the writer than in the presence of Cardinal Parolin.

According to Omnes, commenting on the 5 chapters, Cardinal Parolin projected himself into the post-Francis era thanks to the title of the fifth: “What will become of the reforms?” And he added “Is there a risk of a U-turn”? He notes that these reforms are “undertaken” or “on the way.” This is why, he explains, “discernment is not a simple intuition, but the fruit of continuous prayer.”

And he concludes “the Spirit will indicate, in the time of those who know how to be patient, what must continue and what must be made institutional. It is precisely because it is the action of the Spirit that there can be no turning back.” Does the speaker really believe in this irreversibility? Probably not, but the important thing is to pose as guardian of the heritage of the the current Pontiff.

La Croix International whispers that “Francis, who regularly says that he does not intend to give up his office, is well aware” of this situation. And explaining further, a cardinal close to the Pope confides with a smile: “Parolin is campaigning a bit and the Pope knows it. Sometimes he slips in little remarks to him, in public, to let him know.”