Catholic World News reports that the first steps in the promised massive reorganization of the Roman Curia have been taken. It was announced this morning that Pontifical Council for Migrants would merge with the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, with the latter’s prefect, Cardinal Renato Martino, remaining in charge.
Also, the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue will merge with the Pontifical Council for Culture, again with the latter’s prefect, Cardinal Paul Poupard, remaining at the head.
Cardinal Stephen Hamao, head of the Pontifical Council for Migrants, will be retiring at 76 years old. Inter-religious Dialogue has been without a leader since last month when Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald was transferred to be papal nuncio in Egypt. That move signaled to some people that Inter-religious Dialogue was going to be a casualty of the reorganization.
The native Japanese Hamao has been controversial with calls in recent years for greater independence for local churches and for more inculturation of the Church’s teachings and liturgy to make them appeal to Asian Catholics, particularly noting “an excessively severe moral law.” Fitzgerald, too, was controversial, having a leading role in the infamous inter-religious meetings in Fatima.
Not only is Pope Benedict streamlining the Roman Curia’s bureaucracy, he’s apparently cleaning house too. However, it is interesting that Inter-religious Dialogue ended up at Culture and not at Promotion of Christian Unity. What message is that sending?
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