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October 29, 2006


mark j

Is Cdl. Castrillon's role as president of Ecclesia Dei tied to being the prefect of the Congregation of Clergy? I'm confused, will the new prefect automatically become the new president of Ecclesia Dei?

John B

The presidency of the PCED is independent of the office of Conregation of Clergy. The office itself is not one of the more powerful positions in the curia, and most of the publicity Cdl. Hoyos has had was due to his connections to Traditional Catholics, not what he did in regaurds to the office itself.

Cdl. Hummes may appear leftist on economic issues by anyone who views politics though American talk radio, but at a closer look, his views appear no more radical than what Pope Leo XIII encyclical Rerum Novarum advocated. On the other hand, in terms of liturgy, at least based on what I have read, the Cardinal appears a bit out in left feild.


I was confirmed by Dom Claudio, but although he helped to hide Lula when he was an union boss, he hasn't been much of a supporter of Lula when he became the president of the Workers Party or of Brazil. At least not more than of previous presidents: highlighting the good done, etc. And I certainly hope that he distances himself even further from Lula who's trying reelection today with the promise to legalize abortion in Brazil.

I was very young when he was the bishop of my birth diocese, but he never quite stroke me as a Liberation Theology supporter. Yes, under him the Base Ecclesiastic Communities came into being, which soon turned into communist indoctrination strongholds. But also under him they were slowly shut down.

As little as I know him, my impression is that he gave such "progressive" movements the benefit of the doubt, but learned to be realistic about them and to treat them with the due suspicion.

Please, pray for Brazil on this election day.


Is this just a political move? Or is BXVI playing good cop/bad cop with the traditionalists? Is the 'rumored document' the carrot and Cardinal Hummes the stick?


Maybe the Pope wants him out of Brazil.Allen is usually a very reliable and astute and correct analyst but he has a weak spot when it comes to the traditional Latin mass.He makes it seem that the indult is mere rumor and the traditionalists' wish,whereas the indult has been confirmed by the Italian Bishops'Conference and the Archbishop of Winnepeg (who heard it from Hoyos).Cardinal Hoyos is in charge of clergy (which is influential because it oversees the priest of the world and also catechetics) and Ecclesia Dei.Pope JPII in an effort to give the Ecclesia Dei more clout with the bishops appointed Hoyos also to that job.Rumor has it that if Hoyos leaves Clergy he will remain at Ecclesia Dei to oversee the implementation of the indult.


May it's an example of the old adage: kept your friends close and your enemies closer. Perhaps Benedict XVI will them appoint a real conservative to the post in Brazil, with Hummes under close scrutiny in Rome.

Deacon John M. Bresnahan

Maybe the pope is giving him a role to share with Bernard Cardinal Law--the disgraced Boston Cardinal. Rome is a place where men on the way up wind up and men on the express elevator down get to see Church basements.

John Heavrin

Perhaps the Ecclesia Dei commission itself is to be literally or at least effectively supplanted by whatever liberating motu proprio is about to be released...and perhaps the new supervising body won't be under Hummes...or perhaps the Holy Father would rather liberate the TLM through the agency of a Cardinal that is a) new to the issue, and b) not especially friendly to it; to send the message that the liberation of the TLM (and perhaps the reconciliation of the SSPX) isn't just a further sop to the TLM types, but a move made for the entire Church universal.

I'm also curious as to what sort of relations and dealings Hummes, a Brazilian, has had with the Diocese of Campos and its Bishop Rifan, also of course in Brazil. Just wondering if perhaps there is a connection there. Who can say?

The Congregation for the Clergy is far bigger than Ecclesia Dei, of course, and the Holy Father may have many other issues in mind. I also wonder if perhaps this speculation belongs to a JPII mindset, when it really mattered who the dicastery heads were. I'm not so sure it matters nearly as much now, for this Pope seems much more hands on in bureaucratic matters. Remember how conservative and traditionalist hands were wringing when Levada was brought to Rome to succeed Ratzinger? But far from possessing the kind of influence and prominence Ratzinger did, Levada's basically become milk-carton material.

Let's not forget: the Holy Father has been ringside for all of the intrigues surrounding the TLM and related issues for the last 25 years...if he wants to liberate the Mass and other tridentine practices, he will and he won't be derailed by his own appointee. And I do think the TLM paradigm will change from "generous allowance to those who beg for it" to "aggressive promotion to those who don't yet know they need it." Just a hunch, I certainly don't "know" anything, as I suspect Mr. Allen really doesn't; call it a discernment of the signs of the times.


Mr. Heavrin,

You're right. It really doesn't matter who's heading the dicasteries now. Levada's just a messenger boy, as you said. And that goes for the rest of them. They're there to take orders. That's comforting, though. No more "creativity."


Hummus? What, were Mahoney, Lynch and Law not available?


I agree with Janice and John. This is more of a bureaucratic move than anything else. Perhaps under BXVI, many of the big decisions will not occur in the various offices of the curia, but by the Pope himself.

under the dome

I would tend to agree with John as well. I don't know much about Hummes, but it could simply be that he is a capable administrator, and the Holy Father can make best use of his particular gifts by bringing him to Rome. I also see shades of politics on the fringe of this: give the largest Catholic country in the world (Brazil) representation in the Curia and get in return a more direct line of sight to happenings across Latin America.

My impression is that, as someone said above, Hoyos will be kept on as president of PCED to implement whatever indult does (or does not) come about. Hoyos is a capable curial player himself (and one close to the Pope). It would not surprise me in the least if he were ready to retire but struck a deal with the Holy Father whereby he would be able to reap the fruits of his decades of work toward restoring TLM.

under the dome

One more thing; an interesting quote from Allen's article:

At last year’s Synod on the Eucharist, took up the issue of the impact of the Protestant “sects” in the developing world, noting that 83 percent of Brazilians called themselves Catholic in 1991, while today the number is 67 percent. Roughly one percent of Brazilian Catholics a year, Hummes said, are leaving the Catholic church, many to enter charismatic and Pentecostal groups.

“How long will Latin America be a Catholic continent?” Hummes asked.

In response, he called for a new level of missionary energy in the Catholic church, fueled by deep Eucharistic faith.

Maybe that is what resonanted with the Holy Father when he was considering who to appoint.

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