Moves in the Vatican curia

Moves in the Vatican curia

Was the appointment of Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald as nuncio to Egypt from his former post as head of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue a demotion? It certainly wasn’t a promotion or a lateral move. Had he stayed at the council he would certainly be considered for a cardinal’s hat, but now… cardinals aren’t nuncios.

Some see this as the beginning of the great curial restructuring being talked about but Rorate Caeli also sees a motive for this move in Fitzgerald’s history with Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict.

Korazym offers this set of opinions:

“‘The Pope’—says the Vaticanist [of Italian news agency AGI]—has not shown himself as able to compromise on aspects regarding the personal life of the members of the Curia.’ The same concept is also published by ANSA [another Italian news agency], according to which ‘among [Vatican] watchers it is asked if other considerations may not have weighed down on Ratzinger’s decision, regarding, particularly, personal lifestyles.’ It is impossible to understand to what those allusions refer: the agencies do not say it and turn a gossip into news presumed [as widely known].”

Both Korazym and Andrea Tornielli in today’s edition of Il Giornale remind their readers that Fitzgerald was the highest authority in that scandalous interreligious meeting in Fatima, in 2003, whose star was none other than Jacques Dupuis, SJ, highly praised by Fitzgerald at the time as the man who had provided the “theological basis” for interreligious dialogue. Dupuis, as is well remembered, was condemned by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (2001) and was the most important individual theologian who forced the same Congregation to issue one of the most important documents of the previous pontificate, the declaration Dominus Iesus (2000). Il Foglio also regards this as the overwhelming motive for the promotion of Fitzgerald.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • I’m not so convinced that this is a demotion.

    In any other age, yes, it is. It’s a career-ender for sure.

    But we’re talking about the post-9/11 world, where radical Islam is now a critical problem facing the west in general and the Catholic Church in particular. Benedict XVI surely wants an ear to the ground in the midst of this turmoil.

    Now if he’d been sent to Myanmar or Thailand………….

  • Maybe the Holy Father will be sending heretical bishops into Islamic countries, into the . . . uh . . . “line of fire” . . . to do the dirty work for him?


    I’m lovin’ it!

  • Dom and everyone,

    First of all, Dom, thanks so much for this blog.  I have learned a lot. 

    You bring up a point on which I would like some clarification:

    I have struggled for years with that abomination at Assisi.  I can honestly say that it lead to a personal “crisis of Faith”, and was very painful for me.  Not the least because when I tried to talk to people about it, including some very well known Catholic experts, they all seemed to “nuance” it, testing the limits theological song and dance. 

    I always came away unconvinced and yet, because the Church never “fessed up” to what happened there, what was I to infer, but that the Church was cool with it?  And, of course, there are plenty of SSPX like folks out there that will put everything in the worst possible light.

    Your comments above are the first I have heard to indicate anything other than that the Assisi meetings have gone off with Vatican approval.  I was pretty shocked (happily) when I read Dominus Jesus, but have been confused how to reconcile the two things.

    If I read you right, there is actually something being done about the chaotic messages being sent to the flock.  Do you have a sense of what the Vatican’s view is of those meetings?  I understant that Cdl. Ratzinger didn’t attend in 1986, and wasn’t thrilled.  But the hagiography of PJPII didn’t seem to allow for anyone to question his orthodoxy. 

    Can you give me your thoughts on this, please?
    One more question:  In Roy Schoeman’s book, “Salvation is From the Jews”, he goes through the old and new testament explaining how biblical Jews looked at pagan gods.  Unlike contemporary Catholic teaching, they fully acknowlege other gods, but identify GOD, as the God of all, the uncreated God.  That is the distinction.  The other gods, are considered fallen angels, or more specifically demons. This is, also, the position of my protestant buddies. 

    It seems to me that the Church is now saying that these “other gods” are just misinterpretations of our God.  Am I wrong?

    What is the story with Catholics praying with people that worship demons?  Or am I way off base here?

    Please set me straight.  Thanks.

  • I’m no theologian, so I won’t be much help on your last question. You should ask Jimmy Akin, he’s very good at answering questions like that.

    As for your first question, it’s important to note that the “Vatican” is not a monolith. There are hundreds of people, all of them with different agendas and interests. Nearly all of them want to work for the good of the Church, but naturally there are different opinions on the best way to accomplish that.

    It’s not that no one at the Vatican would “fess up” about Assisi. Many people, including Cardinal Ratzinger, were dubious about the meetings, and I have heard that Pope John Paul was upset when he heard about the worst excesses, including allowing pagan worship in some Catholic churches.

    John Paul may have gone too far himself in a few ways. Kissing the Koran was nearly universally seen as ill advised. But papal infallibility doesn’t extend to such displays. He would have been the first to admit he wasn’t perfect.

    The fiasco at Assisi was neither the Church’s best moment, nor it’s worst. There have been far worse scandals in the past 2,000 years. The thing to keep in mind is not the failings of human beings, but the miracle that the Church survives despite such her people. If that isn’t an argument for her protection by the Holy Spirit, I don’t know what is.

  • Thanks, Dom.

    After reading your post last night, I looked up Cdl. Ratzinger’s reaction to the Assisi situation, and can now see the connection with Dominus Iesus.  I remember when it came out. What clarity. What a relief! 

    As a father of three, homeschooling, etc., it is difficult sometimes to figure out what to tell my kids in the midst of this confusion. 

    I have to say THANK GOD for EWTN, though.  Other than blogs and sites like yours (and I’m kinda new to the whole blog thing), EWTN was the only source of Catholic instruction and news that countered the craziness I was getting from the pulpit.  I was living in the San Franciso Bay area.  Whew!

    And a lot of Catholic sites go off in the weeds, one way or the other, so you have to be careful where you go for answers to stuff like this. 

    Again, thanks for your answer and your blog. 

    Keep up the good work!  God Bless!

  • DaVinci, can you help me out here?  I, too, have always been troubled by Assisi, and so have found the comments in this thread really helpful.  Can you tell me where you found Cardinal Ratzinger’s reaction to the Assisi situation?  I would be interested in the particular item you found that connects with Dominus Iesus.  Thank you in advance.

    In the High Weeds in San Francisco

  • Yikes!  I lived there for three years.  I left one Church and got kicked out of another when I asked why a female parish manager was reading the Gospel and giving the Homily.

    I’m in San Luis Obispo now, and love it.  Keep the Faith up there!

  • Thank you, DaVinci, for sharing the results of your diligent homework.  Look forward to going through the articles.  Also appreciate having my attention re-directed to the Ratzinger Fan Club and spin-offs.