Friday, May 7, 2010

Impact on the Future Church

Conventional political wisdom is that every U.S. President wishes to make at least one appointment to the Supreme Court, or at best, several appointments; because he (or she) will then continue to have an impact on the country long after he has left office. The same could be said about the appointment of bishops in the Catholic Church.

Because of his long reign, Pope John Paul II could be said to have the most impact on the life of the Church, for good or ill, than most recent pontificates. And that influence is still being felt. Pope Benedict XVI has made some episcopal appointments, but he now has made a curial appointment that could definitely shape the future of the Church, and will be a part of his legacy. As reported by Rocco Palmo in his blog, “Whispers in the Loggia,” Cardinal Archbishop George Pell of Sydney, Australia, is rumored to soon be appointed Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. This is a sort of good news, bad news story; depending, of course, on your ecclesial point of view. Good news, if the rumor is true, observations have been made that this is another instance where the Pope has looked outside the Curia for someone to head a very crucial Vatican post. He is looking for bishops who have been out in the field, with real life experience in leading the local Church. The bad news is that Cardinal Pell is about as conservative as you can get, and is not shy about getting in people’s faces when it comes to certain issues, like the Church’s teachings on sexual relationships, women’s ordination, and the liturgy. Cardinal Pell, with the Holy Father, is on the verge of having an impact on the life of the Church that could be felt long after they both have left the Church’s stage. Heaven help us!

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