Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Cardinal Vingt-Trois Reaches 75 -- Pope Ignores Congregation of Bishops in Appointments -- Wants the Most Progressive Replacements
(Paris) On November 7, André Cardinal Vingt-Trois completed his 75th birthday. He has offered Pope Francis his resignation according to canon law. Who will succeed him as Archbishop of Paris?
The Cardinal has been the head of the Archdiocese since 2005, which had been evangelized by Saint Dionysius of Paris (Saint Denis). According to La Croix, the daily newspaper of the French bishops, the Apostolic Nuncio and the Permanent Council of the Episcopal Conference have already prepared a tripartite proposal, which will be examined by the Congregation of Bishops and presented to Pope Francis for help in any decision. The Pope is completely free in his decision.
He can leave Cardinal Vingt-Trois in office for another two years or more. He may if he wants to retire the Cardinal, he may or may not stick to the proposal of the Bishops' Congregation. While his predecessors rarely deviated from this, Pope Francis also strikes his own course on this point. Above all, he has appointed the important episcopal sees on his own, that is, past the competent Congregation of Bishops. As it happened in Chicago, Madrid, Sydney, Palermo and Bologna, to name just a few examples. Paris is one of the important episcopal sees, which is why the Pope is likely to take a similar approach.
Search for "the most progressive candidate"
It is not just a papal willfulness, but a directional decision. On 19 April 2016, Le Journal de Montréal quoted Quebec's Alain Pronkin, a journalist specializing in religion and good connections with his fellow countryman, quoted Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops as saying:
Pope Francis is looking for "the most progressive candidates".
"It is disturbing because it is the task of Cardinal Ouellet in Rome to propose the name to the Pope, but he ignores it and opts for completely different candidates".
A few days earlier La Croix had written:
"It has already happened that Pope Francis rejected all three of the names presented to him by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops, [...] and even sought others from his direction."
In order to seek "others from his own direction," the Pope, in order to obtain information, makes use of the Jesuit order. The decisive factor for Francis, according to Pronkin, is the progressive attitude of the candidate, which must be confirmed to him by a confidant. This confirmation is sufficient. The Pope would then need no dossiers and reports, as presented to him by the Congregation of Bishops. The recommendation of a person whom he trusts is enough to make someone a bishop.
Candidate for the Archdiocese of Paris
Several names have been mentioned in the past for the Archdiocese of Paris, which are given alphabetically:
Msgr. Michel Aupetit, 66, Bishop of Nanterre since 2014
Mgr. Jean-Marc Aveline, 58, Auxiliary Bishop of Marseille since 2013
Msgr. Jacques Blaquart, 65, Bishop of Orleans since 2010, Chair of the Solidarity Committee of the Episcopal Conference
Msgr. Jean-Paul James, 65, Bishop of Nantes since 2009
Msgr. Dominique Lebrun, 60, Archbishop of Rouen since 2015
Mgr. Éric de Moulins-Beaufort, 55, Auxiliary Bishop of Paris since 2008, Chairman of the Faith Commission of the Episcopal Conference
Msgr. Pierre d'Ornellas, 64, Archbishop of Rennes since 2007
Msgr. Laurent Ulrich, 66, Archbishop of Lille since 2008, former Vice-Chairman of the Episcopal Conference
Msgr. Pascal Wintzer, 57, Archbishop of Poitiers since 2012
There is also a name that has recently been given special mention and is also highlighted by La Croix:
Father François-Xavier Dumortier, 69, Jesuit, former Rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
For the Paris See, Francis may not only use the Jesuit order to obtain information, but make another Jesuit Archbishop.
The Jesuit Dumortier was born on November 4, 1948 in Levroux, France. His family is from French Flanders. He studied Political Science at the Institut d 'Etudes Politiques de Paris and Law at the Université Panthéon-Assas Paris with a specialization in Legal Philosophy. At the age of 25, in 1973, he entered the Society of Jesus and studied philosophy and theology at the Center Sèvres of the Jesuit order in Paris and at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge Massachusetts. In 1982 he was ordained a priest and in 1990 also took solemn vows in his order. For 20 years he taught philosophy, mainly ethics, at the Paris Jesuit College Center Sèvres of which he was its principal from 1997 to 2003. His research focus was the work of Hannah Arendt. In 2003 he was appointed Pro-Provincial of France. In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI made him the rector of the Roman Jesuit College Gregoriana. This is a post he held until 1 September 2016. Since the beginning of 2014 he is a Knight of the French Legion of Honor. Pope Francis personally made him a Synodal participant for the Double Synod of the Family in 2014. In 2008 he was already talked about as successor to Msgr. Gerard Defois as Archbishop of Lille. Now he is considered the most promising candidate for the Episcopal See of Paris.
On 15 April 2016, just a week after the presentation of the post-synodal letter Amoris laetitia , Rector Dumortier hosted a conference on this highly controversial document. Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, and Archbishop Vicente Paglia, at that time President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, attended the meeting. In his greeting, Dumortier expressed his unreservedly positive response to Amoris laetitia, in whose establishment he had himself participated as a synod.
His introduction and the conference papers are in video:
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Youtube (screenshot)
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org