Nov 272011

Next cardinal creating consistory with Anura GurugeRefer to the ‘Consistory‘ TAB right at the top, above the banner, for all the pertinent links, including all of Father John’s cardinalabili lists.

Dutch Cardinal Adrianus Johannes Simonis turned 80 yesterday. The College is now down to 111 electors.

So, this morning I got this from Father John: “I think the Pope is sick …. I venture to say he has …. and no one is being told. I am trying to watch the moves. I also think we are in for a Cardinal consistory by no later than April. That will be a tell tale sign of his impending …… However, by his appearance, which does not look good, we will have a much better idea as time progresses.

Clement V (#196) consistory in Avignon.

For now, I did not want to be more than a day a late with our new Cardinalabili lists!!!

Adrianus Johannes Simonis, November 26, 1931. Another one bits the dusts!!!

Also, I was fond of you stories on Law. I was so happy, it made my day!

Peace, John”

For those that want the full, detailed, 5-page document — click here for the pdf.

Here is the very short list of just the TOP 8. The 4th column denotes the year they were appointed to their current post, while the next column denotes the year their predecessor turns 80.
The ‘n/m‘ in the last column indicates, ‘n‘ — Ranking within this list with ‘1’ the highest rated, while ‘m‘ — attempts to predict the order in which the pope will name them in the consistory announcement thus giving them respective seniority.

Click to ENLARGE.

Here is the longer list:

Click to ENLARGE.

Nov 272011

by Darien N Clark
Past Grand Knight, Knights of Columbus, Mother Marianne Cope Council 14260 at Syracuse University

Darien’s prior post — October 4, 2011.

Also refer to today’s post that refers to the opening remarks made by the pope at this meeting.

The link at the bottom is to a YouTube video I was sent by my friend Fr. ********, Vicar of the Syracuse Diocese, covering the Pope’s remarks to the NYS Bishops who were on their Ad-Limina visit.

Bishop Robert Cunningham of Syracuse is seated second from right, next to him at third from right is Bishop Terry LaValley of Ogdensburg and fourth from right is Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany (close up of those three upstate bishops comes at the 1 min mark). A clarification: The list of who is who is based off the screenshot from the 1 min mark. In the screenshot BELOW, only Cunningham (4th from the Right) is visible. And then, only just barely in front of the Pope. Card. Egan is 1st in line at far right of that row, Abp. Dolan 2nd from right and an unknown to me Bishop 3rd. (He must be either retired or auxiliary. I don’t know who he is, but I know he is not a sitting Bishop of any NYS Diocese).

Click image to play YouTube video.

Nov 272011

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

by Anura Guruge

Last night, by accident (since there was nothing serendipitous about it), I came across this disturbing headline on a social networking site, with a spooky juxtapositioning:

This shocked me to the core. Our family has a long, distinguished history with orphanages in Ceylon. During all the time I can remember, when living in Ceylon, my mother was the Secretary (and I think sometime Treasurer) of a large girls orphanage in Colombo. I remember going there at least once a week. It was a large two-story building with the customary full-length ‘verandahs’, at the front, on both floors. I remember the girls, all dressed in white. They knew my mother and my mother knew them. From what I could see, they were happy. Then, sometime later, after I had left, my uncle, who was a doctor, Director of Health in Ceylon for decades, private physician to prime-ministers and presidents, fire walker of distinction and overall bon vivant par extraordinaire set up and ran a very successful private orphanage. I used to be so proud of that. He was quite a guy. I now realize that he volunteered all of us kids (including his 4 sons), as a nation, as guinea pigs for the sugar-cube polio vaccine. It was a big deal though (at least the kids) didn’t know that we were being experimented on. We had to wear our best whites and stand in line. There was media coverage. We lucked out. I have seen more cases of polio in this country than I have in Sri Lanka. Right now I have a 5-year old relative, a beautiful young girl, who was adopted from a Sri Lankan orphanage 4 years ago. So, when I see ‘Sri Lanka’, ‘orphanage’ and ‘police raid’, I sit up and take notice.

Well here are three links. Read about it, without me interjecting. Link 1 & Link 2. Yes, I know, many of you are already thinking religious persecution in yet another banana republic. Since most have never even heard of the country you can’t expect them to know about our famed democracy, the world’s FIRST female prime minister and enviable record for religious tolerance. In Sri Lanka, when it comes to religion, ‘pluralism’ isn’t a word that you just hear the pope intoning, it is an accepted, taken for granted, way of life. You will notice that the Cardinal from Sri Lanka, the Tanned Ratzinger, the bishop of the archdiocese question, has not uttered a word in protest.

Our poor children. Please help.

The fire that my uncle, a western doctor, used to walk. Click to learn more.

Then we had the pope, Benedict XVI (#266), yesterday, Saturday, November 26, 2011, addressing, in Rome, bishops from New York state, led by Archbishop Dolan of New York (president of the U.S. bishops’ conference), who were in Rome for their ‘ad limina‘ visits.

After the initial greeting, this is what he had to say: ‘Our meetings are the first since my 2008 Pastoral Visit to your country, which was intended to encourage the Catholics of America in the wake of the scandal and disorientation caused by the sexual abuse crisis of recent decades. I wished to acknowledge personally the suffering inflicted on the victims and the honest efforts made both to ensure the safety of our children and to deal appropriately and transparently with allegations as they arise. It is my hope that the Church’s conscientious efforts to confront this reality will help the broader community to recognize the causes, true extent and devastating consequences of sexual abuse, and to respond effectively to this scourge which affects every level of society. By the same token, just as the Church is rightly held to exacting standards in this regard, all other institutions, without exception, should be held to the same standards.


Then, immediately, he drops the subject, like the hot potato it is, and starts to talk about the need for ‘new evangelization‘. Again, as with his speech, two days earlier, a non sequitur. No acknowledgement that the sex abuse crisis might have a lot to do with why folks are shying away from the church.

I had an e-mail from Fr. John this morning with his latest cardinalabili updates (which I will publish shortly). He thinks the pope is quite ill! I would tend to agree. Too many senior moments since this summer. But, I could, as ever, be wrong.

Nov 262011

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

by Anura Guruge

The current Vice-Camerlengo, 76-year, Spainish Archbishop Santos Abril y Castelló.

On Monday of this week, November 21, 2011, we had the ‘jump for joynews that, Thank God, the Blessed Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore had a new and worthy Archpriest, 76-year old, Spanish Archbishop Santos Abril y Castelló (dob: Sep. 21, 1935), a past nuncio and now Vice-Chamberlain of the Apostolic Chamber. The Vatican announcement of Nov. 21 (which astutely did not name who he was replacing), with characteristic penchant for bland, pedantic accuracy, just specified ‘Vice-Chamberlain of the Apostolic Chamber‘.

Most would not recognize this title, given that they will also not be conversant as to who is the Chamberlain of the Apostolic Chamber. The Chamberlain of the Apostolic Chamber is the The Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church, theCamerlengo‘, the maestro of the sede vacante — currently, and as of April 4, 2007, the most eminent, 76-year old, #2 papabile Lord Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B. (dob: Dec. 2, 1934), Cardinal Bishop of Frascati and Secretary of State.

Thus, the Vice-Chamberlain of the Apostolic Chamber is the non-cardinal Vice-Camerlengo. Archbishop Abril y Castelló’s appointment to this post, for an atypically disclosed 3-year term, on January 22, 2011, as the replacement for the newly created Cardinal Paolo Sardi, was discussed here.

#2 papabile, soon to be 77, Lord Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B.

Archbishop Abril y Castelló’s new appointment, as the head of Rome’s largest and most beloved Marian papal basilica, makes him a marginal cardinalabili. That is not really a problem. If created a cardinal, as was the case with Paolo Sardi, they will have to find a non-elector cardinal to replace him BECAUSE the Vice-Camerlengo has to stay outside of the conclave to monitor external, perimeter security.

Yes, in theory, he could be created once he has turned 80 and he could then continue as Vice-Camerlengo — but that atypical 3-year term gets in the way (though, of course, the pope can extend that at will).

Talk about the Vice-Camerlengo led to a discussion as to what would happen to the current Camerlengo given the chances that Benedict XVI (#266) will be around for quite a few more years.

Cardinal Bertone will turn 77 next week.

So, he still has 3 years, i.e., until Dec. 3, 2014, as a cardinal elector. He can continue as Camerlengo till then — without nary an issue. Period. He does not have to continue as Secretary of State to be the Camerlengo. He just needs to reside in Rome. I covered much of this in this July 3, 2011 post, some of this material from the new Appendix F of ‘The Next Pope 2011‘.

You will notice we have only had five (5) Camerlengos (or to be precise Camerlenghi) since the 80-year cut-off for conclaves kicked in on January 1, 1971. [Interestingly the Camerlengo when Paul VI (#263) instituted the new law in 1970 died in September of 1970, aged 91, 3 months prior to the cut-off!]

Of these five only one the prior Camerlengo, Cardinal Martínez Somalo, retired upon turning 80. Actually be retired 4 days after he turned 80. That brings up the issue of what would have happened if a sede vacante had occurred two days after he turned 80. I am convinced that it would not have been an issue.

Universi Dominici Gregis is very specific about the need to have a Camerlengo who is cardinal elector — so that he can be at the conclave, if nothing else to preside over the Particular Congregations. Since the Camerlengo is a head of a dicastery, the Apostolic Chamber, you could argue that per Paul VI’s 1970 edict he automatically loses his office even if he hasn’t resigned. We have already seen over 80 Deans not attending the conclave. So I do not see an issue. Yes, you could have the scenario that the over-80 Camerlengo certifies the popes death and attends the first few General Congregations. He will then be replaced seamlessly and without issue.

This, with luck, will be the start of a regular series on Camerlenghi. Yesterday I started creating  Anu-special Excel spreadsheets for Camerlenghi. I intend to collect a fair chunk of data. I already know the longest serving Camerlenghi. So stay tuned. All the best.

Nov 252011

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

by Anura Guruge

One of the ancient Hindu cum Jain temples in Khajuraho

The Pontifical Council for the Laity, headed by Poland’s Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko as of 2003, is in the midst of celebrating its 25th plenary assembly along the motif of: ‘The Question of God in Today’s World‘.

This morning Benedict XVI (#266) met with those attending the assembly and delivered a short, prepared statement. In his remarks the pope opted to focus on two recent major initiatives handled by this Pontifical Council, viz. the Congress for Lay People in Asia and World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain.

Obviously since I am Asian, I paid particular attention to what the pope had to say about my sun-burnt neck of the world.

He started by saying (and the emphasis is all mine): ‘The great continent of Asia is home to many different peoples, cultures and religions of ancient origin, but the Christian message has so far reached only a small minority who often live their faith in difficult circumstances, sometimes even suffering real persecution. The congress was an opportunity … to reinforce our missionary commitment and courage. These our brothers and sisters bear admirable witness to their adherence to Christ, enabling us to see how, thanks to their faith, vast fields of evangelisation are opening for the Church in Asia in the third millennium’.

So, as ever, I stopped and mulled those words. I am so glad he acknowledged the ‘religions of ancient origin‘ because I think about those and what they connote on a daily basis.

Then as ever we get the non sequitur.

Dear Holy Father, Vicar of Christ, can YOU please stop and explain HOW these ‘religions of ancient origin‘ came to be and why they still persists. You immediately, WITHIN THE SAME sentence no less, start talking about the ‘Christian message’. Stop. You are confusing me. ‘Only a small minority has heard the Christian message‘. Whose fault is that? I have asked this many times before. Is this a RESULT of man’s free will? There is also that crack about ‘often living in difficult conditions‘. Why do you generalize SO? Are the good Catholics in the Philippines living in difficult circumstances? I can’t really attest to what is happening in India but I suspect that most of the Catholics there are not living in difficult circumstances. I sure do know about the situation in Sri Lanka. Have you, of late, had a chat with the Tanned Cardinal from there. The Catholics in Sri Lanka are not living their faith in difficult circumstances. I hate it when we get tarred with the same brush. So, I am stymied yet again. I still am no wiser as to how and why these religions of ancient origins came to be and WHY the pope just talks about these, three times a year, without taking decisive action.

I need to go and think more about this ancient religion thing. Something just does not add up.

Nov 242011

  by Father Anthony, STL
  Sussex, UK

The two latest Father Anthony related posts. Do a search for all the others (or follow some of the links):
1/ Nov. 18, 2011 — Pictures of Pope Benedict XVI, Last Week, From Father Anthony, STL.
2/ Oct. 26, 2011 — Father Anthony Visiting Rome Again; and A Few Thoughts On The Pope’s Health.

Papal apartment, at the Papal Palace, by Fr. Anthony from this trip. (Copyright protected)

Dear Anura,
It is very obvious that the Pope has slowed up somewhat.  I had not seen him except on TV since he was with us in London at Westminster Cathedral in September last year. He seems to have aged during these last months and seems rather more frail than he was. They say that he is suffering from a form of arthrosis which involves the degeneration of the joints. I would imagine that it  must be quite painful. On the other hand he is clearly on good form mentally. The talks that he writes himself are thoughtful and show that his mind is as sharp as ever. I heard no talk about the succession. There was no sense of things coming to an end.

At the same time people are realistic about the prospects for a man of 84 who has never been in robust health. Plans are still being made for journeys outside Italy including Mexico and Cuba.

While I was in Rome the focus of the media was on the downfall of Berlusconi. It will be interesting to see how this impacts on the Church and the Vatican. It would be fair to say that under Cardinal Bertone the Curia has become more heavily Italian, and that Italian politics have an effect on what happens at the Vatican. There is certainly no one Italian view among the senior Italian  Cardinals on the role of the Church in Italy and the proper role of the Vatican. I do not think that in the event of a conclave it would be easy to unite the Italian Cardinals around one Italian candidate. Again many outside Italy think that this pontificate has been too “Eurocentric”, and this could lead to a different direction in the next pontificate. However I am better as an observer than a prophet, so we shall have to wait and see.

God bless,
Father Tony

Nov 232011

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

St. Eugene's Cathedral, the 'Mother Church' for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Derry


 by Anura Guruge

On November 4, 2011, Ireland, nominally 85% Catholic, surprised the world and stunned the Vatican by announcing that it was closing its embassy to the Holy See. The roots of this rift, as is to be expected, has to do with the child abuse coverup crimes. Here is a summary of some of what had taken place over the summer, with rogue bishop John Magee, secretary to three popes, responsible for quite a bit of the unbecoming shenanigans.

Today, November 23, 2011, the Vatican announced that the pope had accepted the resignation of the 71-year old Bishop of Derry, Seamus Hegarty — Hegarty having tendered his resignation two weeks prior, citing an unspecified, but drastic, illness. The nominal retirement age for diocesan bishops, per Canon Law, is 75.

At first sight, at face value, this would appear to be an innocuous, regretful retirement of, alas, another ailing bishop. But there appears to be more to this, and again, regretfully, it has to do with the child abuse coverup crimes. Here are some of the other facts that make you realize that this was no ordinary poor health-related retirement:

 †  Magee’s downfall was the infamous Cloyne Report, produced by an Irish government appointed panel,
that found fault with ‘white lies’ Magee. Well there is a similar Child-Abuse Raphoe Report, this time authorized by the church coming out very shortly, and guess what, Raphoe was Hegarty’s previous seat. The current bishop of Raphoe already has the report but as yet to publish it! So, Hegarty’s retirement seems to be timed to occur prior
to the publication of this report. The expectations are that Hegarty will feature prominently, but not favorably, in this report. Not good.

 †  With Hegarty’s departure (albeit with a good pension), 7 of Ireland’s 26 Catholic dioceses, i.e., 27%, are without bishops (per AP)!


  Of the other 6 Irish bishops to ‘retire’ since 2009, only 3 had reached the 75-year retirement age.

 †  Three of the Irish bishops that have ‘retired’ since 2009, Magee being one of these, have been involved in the sex abuse crime spree!

 †  The Vatican, in this case under the curial leadership of my #1 papabile, His Eminence, Lord Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., appears to be Grandstanding the fact that they are in no hurry to fill the vacant bishoprics.

 †  11 of Ireland’s 26 Catholic dioceses, i.e., 42%, have, on paper, less than 100,000 Catholics. Church attendance is at an all time low. A growing belief is that the Vatican plans to reduce the number of Catholic dioceses in Ireland — thus reducing the number of Irish bishops that will have to be closely supervised for transgression! The rift widens and gets deeper.

Nov 222011

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

by Anura Guruge

Thanks to our research here, it is now well known (even reported by Vatican Radio), that on July 19, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI (#266) became the 7th oldest pope since 1400.

We have also pointed out that Pope Benedict XVI was the 5th oldest to be elected pope — again as of 1400.

And our trusty countdown clock (—> see sidebar) tells us that he will be the 6th oldest, overtaking his predecessor John Paul II (#265), in 98 days [i.e., February 29, 2012 — yes, Leap Year Day, a very appropriate day to leap over a still bestriding pope].

But the other morning, on my run, I realized that the pope now has another longevity record — one that he can further improve upon over the next three years.

ten oldest pope by Anura Guruge

This table, of the oldest, since 1400, when elected will make it even clearer.

oldest popes when elected by Anura Guruge

Of those elected pope post their 78th birthday (as of 1400) only Clement XII (#247) has reigned for longer.

Of those elected pope post their 78th birthday (as of 1400), only the two Clements, XII (#247) and X (#240), have lived to be older.

This pope can eclipse the Clements over the next 3 years!

Yes, I will start adding the countdown clocks post February 29, 2012.

Nov 222011

by Anura Guruge

St. Mary Major post Bernard Law with Santos Abril y Castello by Anura Guruge

If you need help, please refer to

Putting all the other horrendously disturbing facets of this ugly issue aside, it had always bothered me as to why the pope picked THIS, the largest and most dear of the Roman Marian churches, as signified by ‘Maggiore’ — given that St. Mary is BEST known as A MOTHER and a VIRGIN.

We know that the pope, before his incapacitated by his ailments, had an impish sense of humor. Was he having a joke on all of us?

Nov 212011

Rejoice: Russian Orthodox Icon "All of Creation Rejoices in Thee"

Refers to today’s post on the unmentionable. The announcement he refers to is the Vatican Information Service (VIS)Other Pontifical ActsIMAGE (with white background) that appears towards the end. The AP article is the link at the very end.

Louis Epstein:

I knew you’d be jumping for joy over the Basilica of St. Mary Major becoming a Law-less place.

Since you reproduce the whole announcement, it’s worth noting that Bishop Pop of the Romanian Church becomes the world’s youngest bishop. (Younger than B XVI by more than any bishop ever appointed by JP II was younger than JP II).

The new Archpriest might be thought to take his place behind those who have been waiting longer for red hats in appropriate positions, or be allowed to move ahead because of his age … he retains the position of Vice-Camerlengo which is as a rule NOT held by a Cardinal, though his predecessor Cardinal Sardi did not give it up until January after being elevated in November 2010. During the next conclave, the Vice-Camerlengo will be administering the temporal affairs of the Church while the Camerlengo is locked away, just as the Vicegerent (if that vacancy were filled) will adminster the Diocese of Rome while the Cardinal Vicar-General is locked away. There is no retirement age for the Vice-Camerlengo, and Ettore Cunial (coincidentally a former Vicegerent) retired as Vice-Camerlengo only the month before his 99th birthday.

Nicole Winfield’s AP article, which you link to, errs in saying Cardinal Law retains his dicastery memberships after his 80th birthday,unless canon law has changed. I’ll drop her a line.

Louis’ interaction with AP:

Date: Mon, 21 Nov 2011 20:47:47 -0000

From: “Winfield, Nicole”

To: Louis Epstein

Subject: RE: Cardinal Law’s Retirement

Dear Mr. Epstein,

Thanks for your note.

That paragraph was based on incorrect information provided by the Vatican press office. It was removed in a subsequent update to the story.



Nicole Winfield
Associated Press
Piazza Grazioli 5
00186 Rome, Italy

 From: Louis Epstein

Sent: Mon 11/21/2011 8:14 PM

To: Winfield, Nicole

Subject: Cardinal Law’s Retirement

What’s your source on Cardinal Law retaining his dicastery memberships?

Pope Paul VI’s decree instituting retirement at age 80 also provided that Curial appointments automatically lapsed on a Cardinal’s 80th birthday unless the Pope explicitly extended them,regardless of whatever other office he might retain…has this changed?

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