Who will be the next Archbishop of Milan?

Pay attention to what happens in Italian Church politics and developments.

The intrepid Andrea Tornielli today reports that Angelo Card. Scola (Patriarch of Venice), and not Gianfranco Card. Ravasi, (Pres. Pont. Council for Culture) is on the short list to be the next Archbishop of Milan, along with a few others.  Apparently, the Congregation for Bishops will soon be meeting to look over the list of possible prelates and then make recommendations to the Holy Father.

Tornielli adds:

It is the first time in about a century that the naming of the Archbishop of Milan, the largest and most important diocese in Europe and one of the most important in the world, will come about according to the usual process as for other dioceses: for many decades the naming of the pastor of the Ambrosian Church has been decided directly by the Pope, without a process in the Congregation.

Even if there is the usual process, the Pope decides who goes to Milan.

One of the reasons why Milan is important to the non-Italian world is that whomever is appointed receives a huge injection of prestige and influence in the Italian Church, and therefore on the course of things for the larger Catholic Church.  Couple this with the fact that in the last consistory, Pope Benedict increased the number of Italian cardinals of voting age.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. UncleBlobb says:

    St Ambrose and St Charles Borromeo pray for us!

  2. Eric says:

    I was going to say Bobby Plump. Then I saw you were talking about Italy.

  3. PghCath says:

    I don’t know much about Cardinal Scola, so I ran a quick Google search on him. I discovered a 2005 article from the Times of London noting that at the XIth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, “he gave his address entirely in Latin.” I like him already!

  4. antipodeantony says:

    hmmm, I’ll ponder the possible candidates over a martini.

  5. Pledger says:

    I had read an article that Cardinal Scola had declined the appointment….but this could very-well have been a rumor.

  6. Prof. Basto says:

    I find the possibility of the Patriarch of Venice being transferred to Milan strange.

    Although Milan is a larger city than Venice, and more of a business hub, and although Milan has its own rite (the Ambrosian Rite), the archbishop of the See of Venice has the status of Patriarch. Although in the Latin Church titles of patriarch are purely honorific (Jerusalem, Venice, Lisbon), still, they do carry a primacy of honour. So, to be transferred from the Patriarchal see of venice to the archiepiscopal see of Milan is a still technically a demotion; would Scola be allowed to retain the status of Patriarch “ad personam”, as Patriarch-Archbishop, by analogy with the situation of an Archbishop-Bishop (who heads a simple diocese but retains ad personam the archiepiscopal dignity)?

    Also, in the 20th century, two Archbishops of Milan were elected Pope (Pius XI and Paul VI), whereas three Patriarch of Venice were raised to the Supreme Pontificate (St. Pius X, Bl. John XXIII and John Paul I).

    Benedict XV was Archbishop of Bologna; Ven. Pius XII was Secretary of State and Camerlengo; Bl. John Paul II was Archbishop of Kraków; and Leo XIII, who was elected in the 19th century but also reigned during the 20th century, dying in 1903, was Camerlengo and Archbishop-Bishop of Perugia when elected Pope. So, one can see that, historically, the Sees of Milan and Venice have an impressive record.

    And, although Milan is more of a business centre, airport hub, etc, Venice still got one Pope more than Milan in the 20th century.

    Plus, if the Pope were to transfer Scola to Milan, he would only be changing his problem. The Patriarchate of Venice is as much high profile as Milan, so the Pope would still have a very wheighty decision to make when choosing Venice’s next patriarch. A decision as much as important as the selection of Milan’s next archbishop.

  7. Dr. Eric says:

    I thought at first that the post was about Manila- perhaps I’m a little dyslexic.

    I thought maybe that a traditional Archbishop was going to be named and that the Filipino people were going to get a liberalization of the TLM in their country.

  8. Andy Milam says:

    Couple this with the fact that in the last consistory, Pope Benedict increased the number of Italian cardinals of voting age.

    Now if he would reduce the number of German, American and French Cardinals, we’d be in much better shape…

    just kidding…we really need all those French Cardinals…

    seriously, just kidding…the Holy Father has a plan for the Cardinals…I just wish he’d let us in on it…

  9. Tim Ferguson says:

    not knowing Italian ecclesiastical politics personally, I am enclined to share the opinions of Prof. Basto – this would seem to me to be quite an odd move. I would be curious to know of any other moves of a Cardinal from one see to another – offhand, I can’t think of any in recent memory.

  10. trespinos says:

    Cdl. Scola was papabile in 2005, and nothing has altered that in the meantime. I doubt that it makes any difference whether he is seated in Venice or Milan. However, if he is selected for Milan, and the name of Abp. Bruno Forte, which some have said may also be on the list for Milan, then is moved onto the short list for Venice, then there is a small cause for concern. True pastor and accomplished theologian that he may be, Abp. Forte nevertheless went on record opposing Summorum Pontificum in 2007. Whether his view has changed since then, I don’t know, but hopefully it has, if he is on track for a cardinalitial see.

  11. CBM says:

    Don Giussani, pray for us! ;)

  12. Aussie Catholic says:

    I don’t understand, could some one (father?) explain in some detail, what makes Milan so important for Italy and for the rest of Church around the world?

  13. Prof. Basto says:


    It is important for several reasons, cultural, etc., but especially because, two Archbishops of Milan having been raised to the Chair of Peter in the 20th century, the Archbishops of that city are automatically regarded as papabille, as are the Patriarchs of Venice.

  14. Imrahil says:

    @Prof. Basto

    has about said (in his first comment) what I was going to post, only with more detail, precision and knowledge.

  15. robtbrown says:

    Prof Basto,

    I think Fr Z said it well–the Cardinal in Milan has much more influence on the Italian Church than does the Cardinal in Venice.

  16. robtbrown says:


    I had to laugh when I saw Bruno Forte referred to as an accomplished theologian. My mentor at the Angelicum often made fun of him, at times referring to him as un cretinaccio.

    I was told that Cardinal Ratzinger was opposed to Forte being made a bishop.

  17. Andy Milam says:

    @ Tim,

    I would be curious to know of any other moves of a Cardinal from one see to another – offhand, I can’t think of any in recent memory.

    How about Card. Tettamanzi moving from Genoa to Venice. Granted the cirucmstances were a little odd, but nevertheless…

  18. Imrahil says:

    Cardinal Döpfner from Berlin to Munich, Cardinal Meißner from Berlin to Cologne.

  19. trespinos says:

    @ robtbrown

    Thank you. You’ve cleared up that misconception for me and reassured me about the future: no trip up the Adriatic for him.

Comments are closed.