By a Special Correspondent THE liberalisation of the Roman Curia took a sharp turn last week with the announcement that Pope Paul had appointed Cardinal Villot, of France, Prefect of the Congregation of the Council, the Church's "Ministry of the Interior."
The post had been vacant since the death in December of Cardinal Ciriaci, of Italy. Cardinal Villot is the first non-Italian to be named to such an important post in the Church's central administration since the late Pope John called for a "shake-up."
One of 27 Cardinals appointed by Pope Paul in February, 1965, he was an undersecretary at the Vatican Council where he was considered "a liberal."
It was also announced last week that the Pope had accepted the resignation of Cardinal Cento, the 83-year-old head of the Church's body for dealing with indulgences.
He had been among the six highest ranking members of the College of Cardinals. His successor will he Cardinal Ferretto, of Rome.
Although the conservative, Cardinal Ottaviani (secretary of the Holy Office) and Cardinal Cicognani (Secretary of State) are still very much at the centre of power, their influence is not likely to be so overwhelming in the future.
The Curia has started to become "international." But the important point is not that it is being "de-ltalianised" but that it is asstiming its proper role as the Church's civil service.
NOT TOO SLOW Critics who claim that the Pope has been too slow in bringing about his promised reforms have not apparently noticed the large number of new secretariats which have been set up.
Often these have circumvented the existing structures and albided a head-on clash with ageing prelates who have given years of faithful and devoted service.
Hitherto the Pope has confined his non-Italian appoint. ments to the, less important Curia posts. He appointed Mgr. Moeller, of Belgium, the Under-secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Mgr. Garrone, of France, Pro-Prefect of the Congregation for the Seminaries and Universities.
It was also announced last week that Mgr. Francesco Carpino, secretary of the Sacred College, had been made Pro-Prefect of the Congregation for the Discipline of Sacraments and Mgr. Dino Staffa, the conservative secretary of the Congregation for the Seminaries, Pro-Prefect of the Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature--a post far removed from the corridors of power.