This Post from 2011 was repeated in 2016, but the recent "quick as a flash"   acceptance of Cardinal Scola's resignation, automatically tendered on his 75th Birthday, by Pope Francis, tells us a little - maybe a lot - about preparations for the next Conclave. A retired Cardinal Scola may be perceived to carry less weight, to have less chance of election, than if he had been left in place like liberal Cardinal  Wuerl in Washington now  One year and 8 months past his Retirement date.

We Australians sometimes need to pause for breath as we race ahead in pursuit of "progress" or even "reform"( have you noticed how Left inclined Governments always speak of reform when giving birth to mere change?) . A little more circumspection, might lead us to more careful reflection on where we have come from and what should be the way ahead, and how we might consolidate what we have.

Cardinal Moran - Statue outside St. Mary's Basilica

Archbishop Kelly - Statue outside St. Mary's Basilica


Think of the Church in Australia. In 1842 Archbishop John Bede Polding became the first Archbishop of Sydney. He was succeeded by Archbishop Roger Bede Vaughan both men  were English Benedictines. Next came two Irishmen, Cardinal Patrick Francis Moran, who was succeeded by Archbishop Michael Kelly; then came the Australians Cardinal Norman Thomas Gilroy, Cardinal James Darcy Freeman, Cardinal Edward Bede Clancy and now Cardinal George Pell. This short paragraph outlines the history.

But now let us consider Cardinal Angel Scola, recently appointed Archbishop of Milan in Northern Italy, whom the Holy Father called to Castel Gandolfo  the Popes' Summer Residence to confer on him individually the Pallium - a special distinction - for this is normally done annually for the group of  Metropolitan Archbishops appointed during the preceding year. But the Archdiocese of Milan is hugely important, and, it just might be that Cardinal Scola himself  may in time be even more hugely important - even the successor to Benedict XVI.

The Cathedral of Santa Maria Nascente , Milan, Italy

With 4,860,000 Catholics the Archdiocese of Milan is only 300,000 short of the entire Catholic population of Australia.

But, according to my addition of a very fine print list, there is a remarkable difference in the number of Archbishops and Bishops. For Cardinal Angelo Scola is the 150th Archbishop/Bishop of Milan ( which has been an Archbishopric since about A.D.400) and numerous of his predecessors have been Saints including the great Saint Ambrose ( who baptised Saint Augustine) and the great Saint Charles Borromeo. Milan preseves its own Rite of the Mass - the Ambrosian Rite- and its own distinctive Chant - a place of formidable antiquity in the Faith, achievement and privilege.

Cardinal Scola is himself a man of truly notable achievement. Born in 1941, the son of a truck driver, he was ordained Priest at age 28yrs and Bishop of Grosseto 21 yrs later. He became Rector of the Lateran University and held a number of offices in the Roman Curia before being made Patriarch of Venice by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 2002. He had a long period of association with Catholic Youth Movements in his younger life and has gained a reputation not only for academic brilliance and achievement, but also for pastoral activity and accessibility.

Pope Benedict and Cardinal Scola at the Imposition of the Pallium
In appointing him to this great See, is Pope Benedict hoping not only to deliver a strong antidote to the liberal tendencies of his predecessors Tettamanzi and Martini and their remaining influence, but also hoping to elevate Cardinal Scola in the eyes of members of the next Conclave?


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