In his weekly column, Sandro Magister looks at the makeup of the list of new cardinals and mulls what the inclusions and omissions mean.
Three of the new cardinals belong to religious orders: O’Malley is a Capuchin Franciscan, Zen is a Salesian, and Vanhoye is a Jesuit.
Many of those predicted to be made cardinals were passed by. In all of Latin America, the only new red hat will go to a cardinal of Venezuela, a country where the Church is being sorely tested by the authoritarian government of Hugo Chávez. In Asia, it is another bishop on the front lines who will be made a cardinal, the very energetic bishop of Hong Kong, who is most definitely feared by the Chinese authorities.
Only four have been selected within the Roman curia, and one of them is over 80 years old. So those remaining without the purple are Stanislaw Rylko of Poland, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity; Paul Josef Cordes of Germany, president of “Cor Unum”; and Angelo Comastri of Italy, archpriest of the basilica of Saint Peter and vicar general of Vatican City. It can be gathered from this that being the head of a Vatican office does not automatically clear the way to becoming a cardinal. It seems likely that with Benedict XVI, the purple will be associated, in the curia, with a few important dicasteries. And that some offices will be scaled down, or even suppressed.
He discusses the removal of Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald from consideration by his move from Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue to nuncio in Egypt as well as the implications for Secretariat of State.
Regarding the geographical distribution, I would note that only one African was chosen and he was a retired archbishop. I don’t think this was necessarily a snub to Africa, since there is no bishop serving in a traditional cardinalatial see who isn’t already a cardinal.