By Paul Collins | posted October 28, 2012 | Catholics for Ministry |
As I write this news report the Synod of Bishops is meeting in Rome. The Synod’s discussions are focusing on evangelization and from press reports so far little or nothing of significance has been said by anyone. However, on 24 October Pope Benedict XVI suddenly announced that he would appoint (the technical word is ‘create’) six new cardinals at a Consistory to be held on 24 November. Five of the six come from the non-Western world.
The new cardinals are Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines; Archbishop Rubin Salazar Gomez of Bogata, Colombia; His Beatitude Bechara Boutros Rai, Patriarch of the Maronite Church in Lebanon; His Beatitude Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church in India; Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onauyekan of Abuja, Nigeria; and Bishop James Harvey, an American who was Prefect of the Papal Household, that is the apartment in which the pope lives.
The most impressive of the new cardinals is Archbishop Tagle of Manila. He is a moderately progressive theologian (he contributed the article on the crisis week at Vatican II (14-21 November 1964) in volume IV of Giuseppe Alberego’s History of Vatican II), he is a fine communicator who speaks simply, honestly and directly to people, and is only 55. He might well be a candidate for the papacy if the next consistory looked for someone from the developing world.
What is significant about the new appointments is that only one (Harvey) is from the developed West. There has been widespread and justifiable criticism of the Euro-centric bias in the appointments that Benedict XVI has so far made to the college of cardinals. The new appointments look like an attempt to counter this.