New Secretary of State coming… soon

My spidey-sense suggests that there may be an appointment of a new Secretary of State very soon.  It is safe to say “soon”.  How about maybe as soon as tomorrow… well… today (it’s just after midnight where I am).

This appointment is important.  It will signal what the Holy Father intends to do with, for example, curial reform and also to whom he is listening now that he is getting his hands on the reins of government.

UPDATE 9 April

Well… I was wrong about the day, wasn’t I.

Let’s find out how many more days I’ll be wrong!  o{];¬)


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. B16generation says:

    I’m voting for Benedict XVI as new Secretary of State!

  2. Anchorite says:

    Can he just abolish the post and name a Deputy Servant of the Servants? At this point things can really be as creative as one can dream of. With a residence in a nearby hotel as well? Wait, maybe an oversee residence in, say, Abidjan? The Church is global now, not just European…. :)

  3. Bob B. says:

    As part of his realignment, perhaps he might consider bringing back the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition?

  4. Genna says:

    Yes, this will be the key appointment, followed by what happens to ++Ganswein and Mgr. Marini.

  5. Hank Igitur says:

    Let us pray it is a good, loyal (to the Papacy) and successful appointment, what will become of Bertone?

  6. Phil_NL says:

    I maintain my earlier position: nothing matters as much as the congregation for bishops – those decisions are with us for decades. I’m hoping Ouellet stays on as Prefect, with Pell and Burke among the members (and hopefully reinforced by more good cardinals).

  7. The Drifter says:

    I would like a loyal, efficent love-child. And while I’m not counting on another Merry del Val, if the new Secretary of State is also a believer it would not be a bad thing.

  8. Phil_NL says:

    Hank Igitur:

    Card. Bertone is nearly 80. He deserves a nice retirement, and I’m sure that can and will be arranged. Even if BXVI stayed on, Bertone would have needed to be replaced sooner or later; its not a job that octogenarians can generally do successfully.

  9. Jon says:


    You mean to say you’ve scooped The Brat? (that would be Rocco).

    Btw, it’s 7:18am EDT, already 12:18 Rome time. But then again, time is relative in Italy…

  10. Jean Marie says:

    My guess is that it will be Cardinal Ouellet – that’s just a feeling. Maybe Pope Francis will want to unite the Americas – north and south. It’s the Americas that will save Christendom.

  11. Juergensen says:

    Off topic …

    I just read that “[i]n a recent gesture, Francis became the first Pontiff to visit the tomb of Saint Peter – as if to point back to the Church’s rock, to the very foundation.”

    Really? Popes John Paul and Benedict never visited the tomb of Peter?

  12. TNCath says:

    While I have no way of knowing this, I tend to think that Cardinal Ouellet may have been a major contender in the last papal election, perhaps finishing second to Pope Francis. As it stands now, I am wondering if keeping him as Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops might be more beneficial for the Church than making him Secretary of State.

    My bet for Secretary of State is Cardinal Sandri.

  13. Blaise says:

    I am inclined to agree with Phil_NL: if Cardinal Ouellet does move from the Congregation of Bishops let us pray and hope that his replacement carries on the good work.
    What really is the role of the Secretary of State? The other major jobs in the Vatican all seem to have a specific area of responsibility but it is entirely unclear what the Secretary of State actually does or is supposed to do.

  14. David in T.O. says:

    Jean Marie, speaking as a Canadian, I’m not sure America’s hat is going to do much good in terms of rebuilding Christendom. On the other hand, keeping our wonderful former Primate in his current job and recommending two whoppers of appointment as he did yesterday to Pope Francis is exactly where he needs to be. Two bishops from the Bruskewitz school. Imagine that effect for the next 20 to 30 years and what more is to come from the midwest. Think also that these are the next generation to replace the Sees of New York and Washington and other places. No, Card. Ouellet needs to stay right where he is for my books.

  15. Andrew says:

    Am I the only one who thinks that these sorts of speculations are in bad taste? It kind of reminds me of “intravit autem cogitatio in eos, quis eorum major esset”.

  16. For real reform of the curia the Holy Father should consider ending the practice of making the heads of dicasteries all cardinals and the secretaries archbishops. It creates an imbalance in papal electors, encourages clerical careerism, and abuses the office of bishop. Why should one need to be ordained a bishop to be the deputy senior civil servant? This would open up the jobs, which are essentially bureaucratic, to religious and lay people, including women. I would also try and use more secondments for priests at lower levels with them returning to their own dioceses. I would reserve cardinal posts for the CDF and SoS.

  17. Phil_NL says:

    Mr McCamley:

    I think we would get a very poor result if we put lay people in charge of / in a position to judge priests. Any many congregations involve just that, and when they don’t, they often require extensive dealings with other clerics. (Imagine that one would sent a lay woman to discuss various topics with the orthodox. chances are they wouldn’t even receive her) A lay person simply couldn’t appreciate all the factors that are at play.

    Now whether they should ‘automatically’ get a red hat, is another matter. But much of the work simply cannot be done by people below the rank of bishop unless one is willing to stomach a lot of tension and mishaps due to lack of acceptance (by the people who are the subject of these decisions) and experience (by people taking them).

  18. Jean Marie says:

    David in T.O. –
    You make some good points. I almost forgot how solid Cardinal Ouellett has been. Yes, he will continue to do much good should he remain where he is. Also, the heartland of America is showing great promise because of these new Bishops. I just wish they could clean up the east coast (Long Island) where I live.

    PS – I hope Cardinal Raymond Burke remains in his position too!

  19. papaefidelis says:

    [Mean-spirited humor follows] I suspect that the new secretary of state will be an illiterate cleaning woman from the slums of Sao Paulo, who will charm the world with her plucky courage and irascible temper, not to mention her ceremonial duster, made from the ostrich plumes that once accompanied the papal sedia gestatoria.

  20. i would hate to see His Excellency Archbishop Georg Ganswein go-unless our Holy Father wishes to make him a cardinal :)

    Speaking of Archbishop Ganswein this is off topic but if anyone wishes to send a message to His Holiness Benedict they are collecting them here:änswein-Fansite-and-Forum/113471622072744?fref=ts
    there are also some remarkable photos of both Pope Emeritus Benedict and Holy Father Francis here:änsweins-Friends/432368890139634?fref=ts

    I am going to assume although Archbishop Ganswein will be let go by Pope Francis he will stay on with Pope Emeritus Benedict.

  21. MichaelJ says:

    At the risk of displaying my ignorance, what is the function of the Vatican Secretary of State? What does he do, and more importantly, does he have any kind of teaching role?

  22. Daniel says:

    While Cardinal Sandri has already had an audience with Pope Francis, I’d think the fact that he is also from Argentina may make it less likely he becomes the Secretary of State. Also having an early audience was Cardinal Filoni who is currently Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples but was previously the Substitute for General Affairs in the Secretariat’s office.

    Cardinal Filoni also seems to be an advocate for the NeoCatechumenal Way, that this past Sunday launched a “Great Mission” project that continues the next four Sundays in which they hit the streets to evangelize. Pope Francis recognized the project during the Regina Coeli audience and it seems to fit in with what he has been saying.

  23. gjp says:

    Didn’t Bl. Pope John Paul II choose Cardinal Casaroli to be his SOS because Casaroli didn’t always agree with him — and that if JP2 ever proposed any ideas, that Casaroli could be the one to present a viable alternative? That seems like a good way to go, so that many different points of view are considered before arriving at the eventual decision.

    I could be wrong, but certain positions in the Vatican basically require a red hat. For example, the Camerlengo (who isn’t always the SOS, in fact, Bertone was the first one to hold both posts since Cardinal Villot who served under Paul VI, and before him, Cardinal Pacelli under Pius XI.

  24. Marcello says:

    Inside word is that Pope Francis does not put curial reform high on his list. We’ll see, but don’t expect much of a shake-up anyway. The bureaucracy is so entrenched and intransigent, that they will drag their feet on everything in anticipation of the next conclave, unless there is a real iconoclast at the top who knows where all the bodies are buried. An outsider can’t do that, but a hard-nosed Italian can.

  25. kpoterack says:

    “Inside word is that Pope Francis does not put curial reform high on his list.”

    But wasn’t the main point of electing Cardinal Bergoglio supposed to be that, as a simple, humble outsider, he would clean up the corruption? At least that was an analysis which I heard early on – and one which I had doubts about – but, still, the only one that made any sense explaining this surprising conclave picking after only five ballots.

    Frankly, if this is true, then why wasn’t Cardinal Scola chosen . . . or any number of other men who could have not reformed the curia AND worn the mozetta.

    Well, as you say, we shall see, and a fair amount of the bureaucracy isn’t corrupt (Congregation of Bishops, Liturgy, etc), so if Pope Francis leaves the curia alone, then many of us will be OK with that.

  26. Marcello says:

    My picks were either Cardinal Scherer or Cardinal Schoenborn, but I didn’t get to vote!

    The curia is planted with landmines all over the place. Reforming it without setting off any will take a miracle.

  27. catholicmidwest says:

    So, Marcello. As a Church, let’s find them and “set them off.” They shouldn’t be there, after all. What is this Church about anyway if not the truth? I’m hoping that Francis chooses and disciplined and hard-nosed “iconoclast” as you say.

  28. Jerry says:

    re: Andrew – No, you are not the only one.

  29. A really bold move Bp Athanasius Schneider for SOS :)

  30. crjs1 says:

    Any further news? Been checking here and twitter mon stop!!

  31. merlk says:

    Hm. Galeazzi claims that it will be card. Filoni. And: “The Pope Emeritus expressed this preference during his historic meeting with the new Pope on Saturday 23 March at the papal residence at Castel Gandolfo.”

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