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Italian journalist predicts key appointments in top Church leadership posts

April 15, 2011

Journalists covering the Holy See expect that Pope Benedict will soon name a new prefect of the Congregation for Evangelization, to replace Cardinal Ivan Dias, who passed his 75th birthday this week. Also expected is the appointment of a new Archbishop of Milan--Europe's largest see--where Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi is 77 years old and overdue for retirement.

Vatican-watcher Paolo Rodari of Il Foglio hazards a few predictions. For the Congregation for Evangelization, he names Archbishop Fernando Filoni as the front-runner. A seasoned Vatican diplomat, Archbishop Filoni now serves as the sustituto, or deputy secretary of state, coordinating the paper flow for the Roman Curia. The occupant of that powerful office usually moves on to become prefect of a Roman congregation, and the Congregation for Evangelization looks to be a suitable opening.

For the appointment to Milan, Rodari sees the most likely candidate as Cardinal Angelo Scola, currently serving as Patriarch of Venice. But he concedes that Cardinal Scola--who is already 69, and already heads a historic major see--may remain where he is.

A bit further in the future, Rodari notes, another major appointment looms. Cardinal William Levada, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will turn 75 in June, and will have spent 6 years in the post once occupied by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.


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