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Italian influence at Vatican now waning?

July 23, 2012

A series of personnel changes in the Roman Curia—mostly at the level of second-in-command in various dicasteries—have lowered the level of Italian influence at the Vatican, writes Sandro Magister of L’Espresso.

The changes could become more noticeable, Magister says, when the Pope announces the names of the prelates who will receive red hats at the next consistory—perhaps next year. With relatively few openings in the College of Cardinals, there is a large number of non-Italian prelates occupying positions that ordinarily are held by cardinals: as heads of major curial offices or archbishops or large metropolitan sees. So few if any Italians are likely to join the ranks of papal electors.

On a related issue, Magister said that predictions of the imminent resignation of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State, appear to have been premature. By writing a letter thanking Cardinal Bertone for his service, the Italian reporter said, the Pope was signaling that no change is coming soon. (Earlier this month, the same journalist took a different perspective on this question, writing that the Pope’s letter of support for Cardinal Bertone could be interpreted as his "his affectionate accompaniment of Cardinal Bertone toward his sending into retirement.")


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