From Desmond O'Grady ALL CARDINALS have been summoned to Rome to discuss the Catholic Church's central administration, including its troubled finances. The three-day meeting, which begins on Tuesday should receive a report on what is called the "Marcinkus affair:" the links between the Vatican Bank (IOR) and the bankrupt Milanese Ambrosiano Bank.
This financial problem (the Italian treasurer Nino Andreatti claimed the Vatican should repay £600 million allegedly raised on the strength of Vatican "letters of patronage" but the Vatican contests this) is linked with another one: will the Vatican Bank President, Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, be made a Cardinal. The Amercian Marcinkus is also governor of Vatican
city-state, a post which has always been filled by a Cardinal.
If he is not made a Cardinal it can be interpreted as an admission of the charges against the Vatican Bank. If he is made Cardinal, it could seem the Vatican just like any other institution, is reacting to criticism by closing ranks.
The Cardinals meeting in Rome are likely to discuss whether Marcinkus should be received into their "college".
Pope John Paul, impressed by the College of Cardinals' efficiency in its meetings after the deaths of Paul VI and John Paul I concluded it should not be convoked solely for Papal elections. He decided to consult with the college periodically about the Vatican and the church as a whole.
As a result, for the first time ever the Cardinals were convoked in 1979 and subsequently a 15 member Cardinalate commission on Vatican finances was appointed.
This year its annual meeting is to be held in the three days preceding that of the full college.
Once again the cardinals are assembling in Rome. But this time not only have there been accusations of Vatican Bank mismanagement or worse but the college is depleted. (There are now 120 Cardinals phis one whose name has not been revealed; 15 are over 80) many traditionally Cardinalate Sees await the Red Hat: Warsaw, Washington, Paris, Brussels, Caracas, Seville and Chicago.
When a successor is appointed to the recently-deceased Cardinal Giovanni Benelli of Florence, he will be due for the Cardinalate. Announcement of a successor to Cardinal James Freeman, who has reached the age limit of 75, should be made shortly. He can be expected to be made a Cardinal.
For the first time San Francisco may have a Cardinal in the person of Archbishop John Quinn for his past presidency of the United States Episcopal Conference.
The archbishops of Detroit and Miami are also spoken of as possible Cardinals but observers feel their inclusion would make too high a proportion of Americans in office.
Although residential bishops must resign at 75, if they are Cardinals they retain the right to participate in the plenary sessions of the Roman Congregations (or ministries) of which they are members and also in Papal elections. Cardinal Freeman is a member of the Congregation for Education.
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