Apostolic Visitation to the Congregation for Clergy. Stella is Leaving; Will Osoro Replace Him?
9 Giugno 2021
Dear friends and enemies of Stilum Curiae, after the Congregation for the Divine Worship, the Congregation for Clergy is now going to receive an Apostolic Visitation. The bishop charged with making the visitation, Egidio Miragoli of Mondovi, announced it in an email to his priests:
“I want to personally share with you some news that will be announced this morning that involves me,” Bishop Egidio Miragoli wrote in an email to all of the priests of his diocese on Monday morning, June 7. “On the occasion of the recent Assembly of the CEI [Italian Bishops’ Conference], Pope Francis asked to meet with me ‘to ask a favor of me’ – to undertake a visitation, in his name, of the Congregation for the Clergy. In a meeting at Santa Marta on June 3, he further specified his expectations to me. Needless to say, this request took me by surprise. Of course, I told him I was ready to do whatever he asked. This task, which involves above all meeting with the staff of the Congregation in Rome, will require a bit of time that I am at present unable to precisely estimate, but presumably it will take up at least the month of June, albeit not continuously. The first meetings will begin this coming Wednesday [June 9]. “With this communication, however, I wanted to reassure you,” Bishop Egidio Miragoli concluded, “that I will keep my commitments that are already on my calendar (beginning with the Confirmation schedule), which will remain unchanged. For the rest, I am asking you for a bit of patience and understanding, in the certainty that we will be able to harmonize our common needs and continue our journey as planned.”
It is not known what the expectations of the reigning Pontiff are, who for the second time now is making this gesture – which is definitely an unusual one – of sending an Apostolic Visitator to a Roman Dicastery. According to some sources in the Vatican, the Pope actually wants to institute an Apostolic Visitation as a regular practice in every Congregation when it undergoes a change of leadership.
The Congregation for Divine Worship was headed by Cardinal Sarah; who certainly has a very precise vision that is apparently different on many points from that of Pope Bergoglio. Thus, even if standard bearers of the sensibility opposed to Sarah (Roche, Maggioni) are not lacking, perhaps the Apostolic Visitation could be interpreted as a slap in the face to the outgoing cardinal.
But the Congregation for Clergy has been headed by Cardinal Beniamino Stella since September 2013, a few months after the election [of Francis]. Stella has undertaken a radical purge of the Congregation directed against anyone suspected of having sympathies for tradition, of fidelity to the previous management, led by Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, who moved to the Sacred Penitentiary. Stella will be 80 in August. In reality he should have left his post five years ago, but he was one of the key men of Bergoglio’s reign – his Lavrentiy Beria, according to many – it is no coincidence that he was placed on all of the most important Congregations, and due to his position he had access to a wealth of information he could share with the Pontiff. What could Pope Bergoglio ever want to learn from the good Bishop Miragoli that he doesn’t already know? Perhaps an answer can be found in the curriculum vitae of Bishop Miragoli, a professor of Canon Law, and since 2019 a member of the college for the examination of appeals in matters of reserved delicts, instituted at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Reserved, or grave, delicts are delicts committed against faith, morals, and the celebration of the Sacraments.
The announcement of the Visitation suggests that the resignation of the current Prefect, Cardinal Stella, is imminent. As we have said, he will turn 80 in August. And perhaps, as in the case of the Congregation for Divine Worship, this consultation wants to be preparatory for the appointment of Stella’s successor. Some websites are saying that it will be Cardinal Osoro of Madrid, one of the Pope’s trusted men.
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