Cardinal-elect Arthur Roche, who met the pope last week, was described on the audience sheet as the prefect of the newly named Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who met the pope on June 11, was referred to as prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops.
On the official website of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal Kurt Koch is presented as the prefect of the newly titled dicastery.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, meanwhile, had no title on the sheet on June 9. Archbishop Rino Fisichella, until now president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, was described simply as “titular archbishop of Voghenza,” even at the press conference presenting the message for the World Day of the Poor.
A possible explanation is that the leaders of the dicasteries that have simply changed their names are still in office. Nevertheless, a new appointment is needed to define the heads of the dicasteries that have changed not only their names but also their competencies.
The impression given is of a Curia “sede vacante.” In this situation, with no formalization of new roles, no curial employee can feel entirely secure. Everything will remain suspended until the new appointments arrive or the pope publishes transitory norms. Time is crucial: at the moment, there is only the pope in command, with a Curia devoid of reference points.
How will the new Curia be designed?
There are various rumors about how Pope Francis will design the new Curia.
The latest hypotheses suggest that the leaders of the Secretariat of State will be confirmed in place, and so will the following:
Cardinal Mario Grech, general secretary of the Synod (formerly the Synod of Bishops);
Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life;
Cardinal Michael Czerny, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development;
Cardinal-elect Arthur Roche, prefect of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments;
Cardinal-elect Lazarus You Heung-sik, prefect of the Dicastery for the Clergy;
Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life;
Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints;
Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, prefect of the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue;
Cardinal Kurt Koch, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity;
Paolo Ruffini, lay prefect of the Dicastery for Communication.
There are also expected to be some temporary confirmations. So, for example, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Dicastery for the Eastern Churches, could stay until September. And perhaps Ouellet will also remain in charge of the Dicastery for Bishops for a while.
Who will replace Ladaria? Some speculate that it will be Tagle, but others think he will instead succeed Ouellet at the Dicastery for Bishops.
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Since 2019, the Filipino cardinal has served as the prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, which under the new constitution is absorbed into the flagship Dicastery for Evangelization. But it seems that Tagle will not be pro-prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization for the Propaganda Fide section. Fisichella, however, is expected to be pro-prefect of the new evangelization section.
When Sandri retires, his place could be taken by Cardinal Dominique Mamberti, currently prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. Archbishop Filippo Iannone, head of the Dicastery for Legislative Texts, should therefore go to the Signatura. His place would be taken by Bishop Marco Mellino, secretary of the Council of Cardinals and editor of Praedicate evangelium. It would therefore be Mellino who was responsible for resolving the various disputes concerning the new constitution’s interpretation.
If De Donatis does not go to the Apostolic Penitentiary, another Major Penitentiary will have to be appointed, as well as a pro-prefect for evangelization in place of Tagle.
Cardinal Konrad Krajewski should remain prefect of the Dicastery of Charity, which has taken the place of the Office of Papal Charities (Elemosineria Apostolica). As there is no continuity between the two offices, a formal appointment will be needed.
The pope will also have to appoint the new prefect of the Dicastery for Culture and Education, which replaces the Congregation for Catholic Education, led by Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, and the Pontifical Council for Culture, led by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi. Both men are over 75 years old. Indeed, Ravasi is almost over 80, so he will also lose all positions in the Curia.
The new prefect is expected to be Cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça, the Archivist and Librarian of the Holy Roman Church, who will also manage the Apostolic Library.