Rorate Caeli

Motu Proprio wars in the Roman Curia
Ranjith off to Sri Lanka?

The Italian daily Italia Oggi included yesterday this interesting report:

Curie e Curiali: Ranjith goes, but he could return

by Andrea Bevilacqua

The probable, if by now not yet certain, nomination of Archbishop Angelo Amato, number two of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (that which was once headed by Cardinal Ratzinger, and today by Cardinal William Levada), as new Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments at the position of Cardinal Francis Arinze, has considerably angered the one who is today the number two of this same congregation guided by Arinze: Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith. The latter, called a couple of years ago to Divine Worship with the promise to afterwards replace Arinze at the helm of the dicastery, having been almost certainly bypassed by Amato in the prestigious position of Prefect of one of the nine Vatican Congregations (the position also foresees the Cardinalatial birretta), seems to have asked Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone to leave the Roman Curia and return to his homeland (Sri Lanka), to become Archbishop of an important diocese and thus, afterwards, a Cardinal. All [of these events], if predictions are confirmed, should take place when the Pope returns from the United States ... .

Ranjith probably pays [the price] for having exposed himself with great emphasis (interviews, declarations, publication of articles) in favor of the papal Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum", with which the Mass in Latin according to the ancient rite revised by Pope John XXIII in 1962 was liberalized. It seems that, due to his repeated interventions, part of the Roman Curia may have explicitly asked Bertone, by way of a letter, that he should not become Prefect of a Congregation with such delicate tasks.And Bertone, [after] the due calculations were made, seems to have endorsed the signers of the letter. Signers who, two years ago, when Ranjith was nominated Secretary of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, did not accept well his arrival and the subsequent removal of Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino [previous Secretary] to the diocese of Assisi. The tally, however, must still be closed by Benedict XVI.

Ranjith was one of his first nominations once he became Pope. When Ranjith, a few years before, was displaced by Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe from the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, where he was Adjunct Secretary, Ratzinger (who was then Prefect of the former Holy Office) did not take it well, so much so that, once he became the Pontiff, promptly wished to show his own affection and esteem for Ranjith by calling him back to Rome and putting him in Sorrentino's place. Today, the pressures against Ranjith in the Roman Curia are not small. Bertone seems to have surrendered. Benedict XVI is not so predictable as to do the same.

Editorial Note: The pressures against Archbishop Ranjith are extremely strong within the Roman Curia, as first reported last month. There is no doubt of the Pontiff's great love for him: Ranjith was chosen to replace Bugninist Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino (Benedict's first bold removal of a Curial name) months before Bertone himself was named. The hatred towards Ranjith is strong in Italian circles in the Curia: his immaculate honesty doomed him in Propaganda Fide during the Wojtyla pontificate; now, his bold defense of Papal prerogatives embodied in the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum increases the hatred for him. We hope and pray Pope Benedict does not surrender to the intense movement led by the wolves in the Curia against Archbishop Ranjith.

Interestingly enough, there is only one Archdiocese in Sri Lanka, the Archdiocese of Colombo - whose current Archbishop, who is not a Cardinal, turned 75 a few months ago... There has been only one Cardinal at the helm of that Archdiocese in its entire history.

Transcript: Papa Ratzinger Blog