The recent rumors have panned out. No, not those rumors. The other rumors that Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes would be appointed to head the Congregation for the Clergy today. Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, 77, will be stepping down as head of the Congregation, but he will continue to lead the Ecclesia Dei commission, which works with Traditionalist groups to bring them back into Communion with Rome.
Hummes is an interesting choice because he was the archbishop of the Sao Paolo archdiocese, largest in the world by population, and is the only Brazilian in a top post in the Roman Curia. Brazil has the highest Catholic population in the world or is at least close to the top, depending on who’s counting. Hummes is also known as a liberation theologian, a branch of theology that was widely discredited back in the 1990s by Cardinal Ratzinger as being too worldly, too political, and too aligned with Marxist principles. Pope John Paul had warned that freedom from what liberation theology referred to as economic slavery had to be secondary to freedom from the slavery of sin. Interesting that of the five most significant appointments that Pope Benedict has made in the Roman Curia since his election, two—Hummes and Cardinal Willliam Levada, prefect of the CDF—would be considered at least moderate, if not liberal. (Hey, I call it liberal, but I’m open to others disagreeing as to the degree.) So much for the ultra-reactionary pitbull.
Interestingly, all of the major appointments worked in one capacity or another with Cardinal Ratzinger at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.