Rorate Caeli

Hummes named to replace Castrillón
Castrillón remains at Ecclesia Dei

The Holy Father has accepted the resignation presented by Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos of his position as Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, and has named Cardinal Hummes, Archbishop of São Paulo, Brazil, to the position.

Cardinal Castrillón remains in charge of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", a position which is not linked to that of Prefect of Clergy.


  1. Another of the Holy Father's cryptic appointments. I can only think he would prefer to have his Eminence where he can see him and where every major thing that he does will require specific approval. Or perhaps he would just like to name a new Archbishop of Sao Paulo.

  2. Cardinal Castrillon was punished, and there should be no doubt about it. For weeks now, rumors in Europe have been saying that the Pope was upset about the way the Institute of the Good Shepherd came about.

    The last few days the Pope has been visited by Cardinals Martini, Lustiger, Ricard and Archbishop Vingt-Trois, and now this firing at such a critical moment.

    That, and the tidbit about the last letter signed by an Archbishop and 9 other Bishops, show that the document is coming undone in a big way.

    Wecome to the real world.


    Levada named Niederauer, what makes you think that Hummes will not appoint his own successor? I am sure he will.

  3. I am not sure I would refer to it as a "firing".

  4. al trovato: you seem to be indicating that the Holy Father is not his own man. I doubt that very much. The Institute of the Good Shepherd was, I understand, set up under the authority of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos in his capacity as head of Ecclesia Dei (a capacity he has retained). If that is so, then other Cardinals are members of that Commission, including Cardinal Ricard. Why would their actions upset the Pope? And why assume he is going to listen to these various visitors if his mind is made up about sorting out the liturgy? It certainly won;t get sorted out by the likes of the French bishops.

    The whole blogosphere is full of rumour and counter-rumour at the moment. I think we would all do well to pray and await whatever it is that the Holy Father determines.

  5. Legion,

    would you call it a promotion?

  6. Cardinal Hoyos is 77. I am sure the Pope is simply letting him cut back on his duties and focus solely on Ecclesia Dei. It's simply a reassignment of duties and neither a promotion nor demotion. You are reading way too much into it.

  7. Legion of Mary-I believe you are correct.What happened to Cardinal Hoyos is called retirement not demotion or punishment.Benedict approved the erection of the Institute of the Good Shepherd,

  8. Also, remember that Pope Benedict is due to visit Brazil in 2007. He wants a more fertile mission field there than exists now. Al Trovato, you are being too suspicious in your view. I think there is something afoot with his audiences with the cardinals you named, but Joseph Ratzinger is someone with princples and I think he is about to "discipline" these men. Cardinal Martini has been very "out there" recently with statements contrary to Church teaching and the French cardinals need some backbone with the TLM indult.

  9. There is no way the Cardinal was punished for the Institute of the Good Shepherd. If that were the case, he would be removed from the Ecclesia Dei Commission.

    Or, the Holy Father could have simply left him where he was and let the #2 run it, like he pretty much been doing with Amato and Ranjith at CDF and CDW.

    That's a story waiting to be told. Disagreement at CDF with consultors and Leveda and a work around on other regularly scheduled things.

  10. I'd like rorate caeli's take on this.

  11. I understood that Benedict XVI was in part responsible for the Good Shepherd Institute.

  12. Mr. Trovato,

    Cardinal Levada did not appoint his successor; the Pope did, for whatever reasons. It is hardly as though there is a glut of pugnaciously orthodox clergy with all the qualifications required to be bishops and metropolitans. Cardinal Levada may well have suggested the name, but if so, the Pope evidently agreed that it was the best appointment in all the circumstances. We shall see whom he finds for Sao Paulo.

    He can only operate with the resources that are available. We have seen him moving a number of very senior prelates away from the power bases they have built up, both at Roman dicasteries and in major metropolitan sees around the world. Obviously, he judges that he can't simply dismiss them all, but he can find ways to control them more closely.

    As to the erection of the Good Shepherd Institute, the Pope approved it in specific form. He would hardly "punish" Cardinal Castrillon for doing something that he did himself. The Pope must have known what fury it would provoke among the modernists. He has, after all, been dealing directly with traditionalist matters on behalf of the Holy See for the past twenty years. Now at last, he is working towards imposing his own solution. Again, we shall see what it is as it unfolds.

    However, I have no doubt that the Pope will do what he judges best, and that this will not simply reflect whatever threats the last crypto-modernist prelate made to him. In the end, he understands his authority and its purposes, and he will use it.

  13. Anonymous8:41 PM

    First, Mr. Trovato, I appreciate all the work that you put into your website that provides us with so much good, solid information.

    I love our Holy Father and he is our Holy Father; however, saying that I don't understand the moves he makes unless there is some plan like what Al Pacino said in the Godfather about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer.

    I believe he is well-meaning but he is a modernist and he has that mindset of the liberal that cannot be discounted. Again, saying that, I imagine if I saw Peter at the beginning when our Lord selected him, I would have been disappointed in him but by the Holy Ghost and his suffering he became the Peter that was crucified upside down.

    In a roundabout way, I am saying that I believe the Holy Father is a liberal in mindset with good intentions. I don't have real high hopes for him, but I pray for him. One never knows though, the Holy Ghost does work miracles.

  14. Anonymous8:42 PM

    I am sorry I don't like to post anonymous and I am not a regular blogger. I meant to leave my name:
    Michael Yoder

  15. Anonymous9:09 PM

    If I recall correctly, Cardinal Hoyos was considered by many to be a "communist" at the time of his appointment. Perhaps we should be concerned about this new appointment. On the other hand, perhaps our view is somewhat shaded by distorted news and the dynamic of polemics...

  16. That is not at all accurate: Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos (and I am no "Castrillonista"!) was a tough opponent of Liberation Theology in Colombia, LT being the most wicked virus to have infested and destroyed the Church in Latin America in the post-Conciliar age.

    The same applies to the other Colombian Cardinal in the Curia, López Trujillo.

  17. Anonymous10:51 PM

    Yes, I should have said "leftist" rather than "communist". This was a term applied to Cardinal Hoyos when he was a Bishop in Columbia. This point was mentioned by Fr. Schmidberger (SSPX) in a conference:

  18. Anonymous2:28 AM

    This was a term applied to Cardinal Hoyos when he was a Bishop in Columbia. This point was mentioned by Fr. Schmidberger (SSPX) in a conference

    Referring to His Eminence as "Cardinal Hoyos" is wrong and sounds disrespectful (I'm sure you didn't mean it that way, however). His surname is Castrillón; "Hoyos" is his mother's maiden name and he appends it to his own name as is common in Latin America.

    I know Bp. Fellay refers to His Eminence in this way; does Fr. Schmidberger do the same?

    Whatever his flaws I like Cardinal Castrillón. At the very least he takes traditionalists into account.

  19. Michael Yoder,

    I believe the Holy Father is a liberal in mindset with good intentions. I don't have real high hopes for him, but I pray for him

    I believe you are wrong. Have you been reading his weekly audiences, have you read his Dec 22/2005 address to the Curia? His speech the week prior to his election regarding the idea of a smaller, purer Church? Have you read his compendium to the Catechism, and noted the corrections it makes to the issues with the CCC? Have you noted his refusal to extend indults on liturgical novelties? Perhaps not. But perhaps if you are to be informed when making such an accusation you might become aquainted with the work of Pope Benedict XVI, rather than the speculations of Fr. Ratzinger.

    God Bless,


  20. Under Cardinal Castrillon, the Congregation for the Clergy produced the General Directory for Catechesis, which was extremely well received about as universally as any Magisterial document in the past 40 years. He is an extremely well-liked and well-respected man.

    I find the notion that the 77 year old prelate was fired a bit far fetched. No, I think he is being freed from other responsibilities in order to focus on the traditionalist question, which is peaking right now. It's "make or brake" time as far as the Holy See is concerned and they want nothing to distract or take away from Castrillon's Ecclesia Dei duties.

    As for Hummes, I think some prelates are sounder and more orthodox when they are removed from the fire of running an archdiocese and given more universal responsibilities. It's worth praying for anyway, isn't it?

  21. Matt,

    So you're back on the speculations of "Fr. Ratzinger." Did you ever read "The Open Circle." That should put your mind at rest, if you're willing.

  22. Although cardinal Castrillon Hoyos remains, for the moment, president of PCED, his replacement is occuring at a curious time. It is hard not to connect this move with the red-hatted and mitred visitors who were bitterly complaining in the pope's office, not forgetting the public outcry and defiance of several French bishops. The orientations of cardinal Hoyos have been opposed not only on TLM and trad matters but mainly on the priesthood matters : most French bishops are campaigning for baby-stepping into woman priesthood, several have spoken loud for "viri probati" ordinations which is the code word for married priests, many French bishops (and German bps and... and...) would be very happy with a priestless Church full of lay "responsibles" at every level. The idea is to "save" the Catholic Church from a programmed death in Western Europe in using what is left with ageing "conciliar" lay militants in the parishes. This "cure" is naturally lethal for the Church but many European bishops have been suffering from severe sight troubles for years now. The 2005 Synod of bishops was speaking volume on the complete blindness of the majority of them.
    We can remember cardinal Sodano, already kept after the 75yo by John-Paul II, stayed a year and a half under Benedict XVI. Superficially and at first sight, the new prefect, cardinal Hummes, looks like a "Montinian" appointment : one on the right side (Bertone if we can say so), one on the left side, and the Brazilian cardinal was considered a very good alternative candidate in the papal election for the Martinian militant liberal "party".
    Immediately the rumor of the motu proprio to free TLM is postponed is on the net. Is this a coincidence ? Hasty conjectures from vaticanists ?

    I would like to know what the clergy in cardinal Hummes' diocese look like : are there many vocations ? what is the reputation of his seminary ? are there many clown priests ? is he known to be "tough" on clown priests or on the contrary closing his eyes on anything weird, or encouraging the loonies ? In short, is he doing his "job", performing his ministry of bishop in accordance with the Canon law, his consecration oath ?
    Or is he behaving like some French - and alas others - bishops, letting full freedom to "creativity" among their priests ?
    So will he continue the very positive actions of cardinal Castrillon Hoyos as prefect, or will he lead the clergy into deaconesses and desacration, more so-called "inculturation" blurring entirely laity and priesthood, as his (present or former ?) friends the Liberation theologians are asking for ?

    If bloggers have informations on His Em. episcopacy, it would be very interesting and helping us to see what this - at first sight - stunning and devastating choice is meaning for B. XVI.
    Is this a remake of 2005 : 30 minutes of Fellay, several hours of Küng ?

    nb. if the pope is intending to improve the episcopate by calling the "less good" bishops in Rome, the consequences could be far more disastrous than having a not-so-good bishop in one diocese. By the way, as al trovato reminded us, the replacement of abp Levada was as worse as any trad or ordinary Catholic's nightmare could have been. I guess John-Paul II won't have done such a move.

  23. I too would be interested in finding out not just what Hummes tolerates, but what he actually says and does. A curial post is very, very different from being the head of an archdiocese. What does Hummes teach when he is on the pulpit? What sort of programs did he most actively promote?

    Did he tolerate abuses because he thought that taking them on would only give credibility? Did he tolerate them because he is a liberal? Is he like Donald Wherl or like McCarrick?

    Donald Wherl - the new archbishop of Washington DC - is a pushover when correcting abuses, but he is a fine teacher and preacher. Is Hummes like him or is he like his predecessor, Cardinal McCarrick (who needs no description)? Although both men are tolerant of abuses, Wherl would make an infinitely better Conciliar prefect than McCarrick...

  24. At this stage, I don't think we can know why the Holy Father has chosen this moment to accept Cardinal Castrillon's resignation from the Congregation of the Clergy.

    I am not familiar with the Cardinal's actions in that capacity, and what Alsaticus says about his unpopularity with modernist prelates on general clerical issues could well be true. In the light of what we have read of Cardinal Hummes on this site over the past few days, I can certainly see that he might be more popular with such people.

    However, I do doubt a connection between the timing of the retirement and the vocal opposition to the Motu Proprio and the Good Shepherd Institute. This is purely a personal impression (from a great distance!), but I don't think the Pope is that infirm of purpose or easy to browbeat.

    Further, I attribute some significance to the fact that he is remaining in his more relevant, and surely more controversial capacity at Ecclesia Dei. No-one expects that the Pope will introduce married priests, however much they want him to do so, and irrespective of who is Prefect at Clergy. However, they obviously are very afraid that he is about to do something decisive about the traditional liturgy...


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