All the Pope’s men: who sits at Fran­cis’s top ta­ble?

The pon­tiff ’s clos­est aides on pol­icy are the Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil of car­di­nals, writes SARAH MAC DON­ALD

Irish Independent - Weekend Review - - POPE FRANCIS VISITS -

When the pa­pal en­tourage de­scends on Dublin this week­end, few if any of the faces in the 100-plus party will be known to the Ir­ish faith­ful. It will in­clude mem­bers of the pa­pal house­hold, such as the Pope’s valet and the Pope’s physi­cian. The Pope’s trusted Masters of cer­e­monies, Mon­signor Guido Marini, will also fig­ure, as well as se­cu­rity from the Vat­i­can po­lice and the Pon­tif­i­cal Swiss Guard. The Vat­i­can’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions team is led by the Vat­i­can spokesman, Greg Burke.

Though the pa­pal en­tourage is es­sen­tial to en­sur­ing that ev­ery pa­pal visit runs smoothly, mem­bers are not part of Pope Fran­cis’ in­ner cir­cle of clos­est ad­vi­sors on pol­icy and re­form — that role falls to his Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil of car­di­nals. The Coun­cil of Nine (C9) was for­mally es­tab­lished in September 2013 which sig­nalled the Ar­gen­tine’s adop­tion of a more col­le­gial ap­proach to gover­nance. The co­or­di­na­tor of the C9 is the Arch­bishop of Tegu­ci­galpa in Hon­duras, Car­di­nal Ós­car An­drés Ro­dríguez Mara­di­aga. Bos­ton’s Car­di­nal Seán O’Mal­ley is an­other mem­ber, as is Aus­tralian George Pell, Pre­fect of the Sec­re­tar­iat for the Econ­omy.

The C9 is em­blem­atic of just how deep the sex­ual abuse cri­sis in the church reaches. Car­di­nal Pell has been un­avail­able to the coun­cil since June 2017 as he de­fends him­self against al­le­ga­tions of his­tor­i­cal abuse.

Mean­while, Car­di­nal Mara­di­aga’s aux­il­iary and close col­lab­o­ra­tor, Bishop Juan

José Pineda Fasquelle of the Arch­dio­cese of Tegu­ci­galpa, re­cently re­signed from of­fice af­ter al­le­ga­tions emerged that he had sex­u­ally abused sem­i­nar­i­ans. And Car­di­nal O’Mal­ley of Bos­ton was forced to with­draw from the World Meet­ing of Fam­i­lies over a cri­sis con­cern­ing in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour at a sem­i­nary in his dio­cese.

Then there is Chilean

Car­di­nal Francisco Javier Er­rázuriz Ossa, Arch­bishop Emer­i­tus of San­ti­ago de Chile, who re­fused to meet with vic­tims of cler­i­cal abuse. He also turned a deaf ear to calls for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Fr Fer­nando Karadima, one of Chile’s most no­to­ri­ous preda­tor priests, whom the Vat­i­can in 2011 found guilty, forc­ing him out of min­istry.

While the Ir­ish in the Vat­i­can may not have a place at the top ta­ble of the Pope’s ad­vis­ers, there are a num­ber who are in strate­gi­cally sig­nif­i­cant po­si­tions. Dublin­born Car­di­nal Kevin Far­rell is Pre­fect of the Di­cas­t­ery for the Laity, Fam­ily and Life. He is oversee­ing the World Meet­ing of Fam­i­lies and will have closely ad­vised Pope Fran­cis ahead of his ar­rival in Ire­land.

The for­mer Bishop of Dal­las also served in the arch­dio­cese of Wash­ing­ton un­der the now dis­cred­ited Car­di­nal Theodore McCar­rick. Car­di­nal Far­rell is a for­mer mem­ber of the hugely con­tro­ver­sial and arch­con­ser­va­tive Le­gion of Christ or­der, whose founder, Fr Mar­cial Ma­ciel, sex­u­ally abused ju­nior sem­i­nar­i­ans and fa­thered six chil­dren with dif­fer­ent women, some of whom he abused. His brother, Bishop Brian Far­rell, is Sec­re­tary to the Pon­tif­i­cal Coun­cil for Pro­mot­ing Chris­tian Unity Mon­signor John Kennedy with Fran­cis

and vice-pres­i­dent of its Com­mis­sion for Re­li­gious Re­la­tions with the Jews. He re­mains a mem­ber of the Le­gion of Christ.

Dublin priest Fr Colin Roth­ery is cur­rently work­ing in the Di­cas­t­ery for Laity, Fam­ily and Life and has been part of the prepa­ra­tions and plan­ning for the World Meet­ing of Fam­i­lies in Dublin. An­other high-pro­file Irish­man in the Vat­i­can is Bishop Paul Tighe, who is Sec­re­tary to the Pon­tif­i­cal Coun­cil for Cul­ture, who is some­times touted as a fu­ture suc­ces­sor to Arch­bishop Diar­muid Martin.

Cloyne priest Mon­signor Joseph Mur­phy is cur­rently work­ing at the Sec­re­tar­iat of State. He was an as­sis­tant to Car­di­nal An­gelo So­dano, the Vat­i­can’s then sec­re­tary of state in 2003, when a pri­vate meet­ing took place with the then-pres­i­dent of Ire­land, Mary McAleese. The Ital­ian prelate mooted with Dr McAleese the pos­si­bil­ity of an agree­ment to block the Ir­ish State from ac­cess­ing Church doc­u­ments in its in­ves­ti­ga­tions into cler­i­cal sex­ual abuse.

Mary McAleese re­cently re­vealed that she asked the Vat­i­can car­di­nal why he was propos­ing the deal and re­called, “it was very clear it was be­cause he wanted to pro­tect Vat­i­can and dioce­san ar­chives. I have to say that I im­me­di­ately said the con­ver­sa­tion had to stop. I told him I thought it ex­traor­di­nar­ily in­ap­pro­pri­ate and very, very danger­ous to the Church, if it was pur­sued,” she said.

Other Ir­ish cler­ics mak­ing waves in the Vat­i­can in­clude Fr Ea­mon McLough­lin (Raphoe) work­ing at the Con­gre­ga­tion for the Clergy, and Fr Enda Mur­phy (Kil­more) work­ing at the Con­gre­ga­tion for Divine Wor­ship and the Dis­ci­pline of the Sacra­ments.

But one to watch in the fu­ture is Dublin priest Mon­signor John Kennedy, who is head of the dis­ci­plinary of­fice of the Con­gre­ga­tion for the Doc­trine of the Faith. For a num­ber of years, he worked along­side the then Car­di­nal Joseph Ratzinger, who was CDF pre­fect be­fore be­ing elected to the pa­pacy.

Or­dained for the Arch­dio­cese of Dublin 25 years ago this year, in July 1993, Mon­signor Kennedy was ap­pointed as a cu­rate in the sprawl­ing parish of Crum­lin for three years be­fore he took up an ap­point­ment in the in­ner city parish of St Nicholas of Myra on Fran­cis Street for two years. For­mer parish­ioners still con­tinue to visit him in Rome, and he is known as a wel­com­ing host, with in­ter­ests which vary from sports to cook­ing.

Car­di­nal Kevin Far­rell Fr Colin Roth­ery Bishop Paul Tighe

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.