Consistory after Christmas
ITH Pope Paul reportedly setting a consistory to nominate new cardinals "soon after Christmas" there is much speculation about the retirement of Cardinal AmIeto Cicognani and the appointment of a new Secretary of State to succeed him in the job that, in the Vatican hierarchy, is next most important after the Pope himself.
Cardinal Cicognani will be 86 on February 24. In 1958, the late Pope John, then 77. named him to the Sacred College when he was 75 and nearing the end of a 25-year term as Apostolic Delegate to the United States. In 1961, Pope John made him Secretary of State to succeed the late Cardinal Domenico Tardini.
Among "possibles" mentioned for the post if Cardinal Cicognani does retire is
Cardinal Pericle Felici, 57, former Secretary-General of the Ecumenical Council and now chairman of the Papal Commission for the Reform of the Code of Canon Law. A noted conservative, he is extremely close to Pope Paul. so much so that, during the upheaval cause by the Pope's anti-birth control encyclical, he has virtually become his personal spokesman.
Twice lately, in the Vatican
newspaper Osservatore Romano. Cardinal FeIici has soundly rebuked bishops and theologians who differ from Pope Paul's views, and he has also taken a smack at all who challenge the Pope's magisterium, or teaching authority, especially when he speaks on matters concerning faith and morals. Also mentioned are Archbishop Giovanni Benelli, who, at the unusually young age (by Vatican standards) of 47. now holds the Number Two post in the Secretariat of State as Sub stitute Secretary, and Archbishop Emanuele Clarizio,57, Apostoloie Delegate in Canada.
But a prelate to watch, I'm told, is a very close friend of Pope Paul. Archbishop Sergio Pignedoli, 58, SecretaryGeneral of the Sacred Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church's world rnissionery activities, where he ranks immediately after the Prefect, 73, Cardinal Gregory Peter Agagianian, Before he was appointed about a year ago, Archbishop Pignedoli was in Ottawa as Apostolic Delegate to Canada. He was Auxiliary Bishop to Pope Paul when the Pope was Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini, Archbishop of Milan, immediately before his elec
tion, in 1963, to succeed the late Pope John.
A seasoned Vatican diplomat, and therefore very wellknown to the Secretariat of State, Archbishop Pignedoli also served as Papal representative in West Africa, Venezuela and Colombia.
About 60 per cent of the applications for nullity of marriages made this year to the Holy Roman Rota have been granted, an interim report .discloses. This means that more than 110 of the 196 cases before the tribunal have succeeded. During the past 10 years, we are told, there has been a "gradual rise" in the number of successful applications made to the Rota.