A series of seemingly minor appointments may be the forerunners of a Pope Francis “revolution” in the Roman Curia, centered on the Pope who prefers to maintain a small circle of persons around him.
“There is a transition in place, and Pope Francis has his own project, which he shares just with a few people around him,” a source who is familiar with the Vatican Secretariat of State told CNA Aug.13.
The transition can be seen, according the source, by several “side appointments” made by Pope Francis, such as those of Archbishop Guido Pozzo, Monsignor Konrad Krajewski, and Msgr. Francesco Camaldo.
These appointments presage the Bishop of Rome's major appointments, and the source maintained that “the revolution will probably start with the appointment of the Secretary of State, awaited for September.”
The current Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, was appointed seven years ago, under Benedict XVI. The position is second in the Roman Curia, lower only than the Pope.
Among the “side appointments” was the announcement on a recent Saturday – Aug. 3 – that Archbishop Pozzo would take over his previous post, as secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, the curial office charged with reconciling the ultra-traditionalist Society of St. Pius X.
At the same time, Archbishop Pozzo's post as head of the Office of Papal Charities was filled by Msgr. Krajewski, who has served as a Papal master of ceremonies and is a priest of the Lódz archdiocese in Poland.
According to a source familiar with the Society of St. Pius X who spoke to CNA Aug. 14 under conditions of anonymity, Archbishop Pozzo's re-appointment as secretary could “mean a strengthening of the role of Ecclesia Dei, and this could mean that Pope Francis is thinking about re-approaching with (the Society) after the breach of last February.”
“Anyway, much must still be understood about this appointment.”
Archbishop Pozzo had already served as secretary of the Pontifical Commission, from July 8, 2009 to Nov. 3, 2012. He was first appointed to Ecclesia Dei when Benedict XVI made efforts to kick start negotiations with the Society of St. Pius X.
Benedict XVI had rescinded the excommunication of the four bishops illicitly consecrated in 1988, and also linked the Pontifical Commission to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, noting that the problems in dialogue with the Society were “doctrinal in nature.”
And when Archbishop Pozzo was removed from Ecclesia Dei to the Office of Papal Charities, the commission had already been strengthened by the appointment of Archbishop Augustine Di Noia as vice president the preceding June.
Msgr. Krajewski's appointment as the new head of the Office of Papal Charities “leads one to think that Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz … has gained a renewed influence under Pope Francis' pontificate.”
Cardinal Dziwisz, the Archbishop of Kraków, was personal secretary to Blessed John Paul II and is a compatriot of Msgr. Krajewski.
Yet another interesting side appointment made by Pope Francis and publicized Aug. 4., is that of Msgr. Francesco Camaldo as canon of the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran, the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome.
Msgr. Camaldo has until now been a dean of Papal ceremonies. He served as secretary to Cardinal Ugo Poletti, who from 1973 to 1991 was vicar general of the Diocese of Rome. He was named a monsignor in 1984.
The appointment gives Msgr. Camaldo “the right to abode” at St. John Lateran, and has been interpreted by several observers as a measure to distance him from the Vatican.
In fact, though he works in the Vatican, Msgr. Camaldo has been in residence at St. John Lateran for some time, so his new appointment should not be interpreted as a measure to distance him from the Curia.
A prominent Vaticanista, Gianfranco Svidercoschi, noted in conversation with CNA Aug. 13 that “despite the shadows on him, Msgr. Camaldo maintained his post as dean of Papal ceremonies under three Popes, which means that he is very well networked.”
Svidercoschi also asserted that “Msgr. Camaldo's last appointment 'formally' distances Msgr. Camaldo from the Vatican walls. (But) in fact, it just states what he has always done: living at St. John Lateran.”
Msgr. Camaldo has been associated with supposed scandals twice, but has always come out clean.
Earlier this year, Patrizio Poggi, a former priest who had been laicized for committing child abuse, accused Msgr. Camaldo as being part of a “ring” of homosexuals at the Vatican.
Poggi – who has been sentenced to several years of prison – told Italian police there is a ring of homosexual priest and laymen in Rome, and that this “ring” would hire young men and boys as prostitutes.
Poggi was deemed not credible, and charged for libel. The prosecutors have officially denied Poggi’s allegations.
Despite Poggi's incredibility, the shadow on Msgr. Camaldo still stays on, as he has been involved in other investigation in the past.
He has been involved in investigations against Angelo Balducci, a former ceremonial usher in the Papal household and board member of Italy's Public Works.