EVERYONE in this country will first of all wish this week to congratulate the Archbishop of Westminster on his nomination by the Holy Father as a member of the Sacred College; to wish him many years during which to combine with happy success the double role of counsellor to the Holy Father, in the government of the Church. and the rule of Westminster. involving as it does the presidency of the assembled episcopate of England and Wales; and to offer him the help of their prayers in the high task which falls on his shoulders.
In^vitably, the inclusion of the chief Catholic figure in this country among the Pope's choice of twenty-three new cardinals stands out for us in this early and highly important act of government in the new pontificate. Rut we should also view the creation of new Cardinals and the announcement of the Consistory for December 15 in the context of the new chapter that is opening in the history of the Church.
AN immense amount of speculation has marked the election of Pope John XXIII and the first days and weeks of his reign. Much of it has been hardly more than gossip whose chief excuse was the whole world's interest in a personality about which not a great deal had been known in this country but whose first actions clearly presaged marked differences from the years of Pope Pius Tn some quarters there have been regrettably-worded suggestions that the defects of the qualities of Pius XII called for many changes.
It is almost as though many people were already beginning to forget the blessings of one of the greatest pontificates in the story of the Church, a pontificate which. apart from its brilliance in the field of the relationship between the Church and the world today, had been one of unique leadership in the doctrinal, moral and pastoral application of the Church's unchanging teaching to the personal needs of the faithful and to the apostolic opportunities and necessities of the present times.
In an unprecedented way. we can say, Pope Pius XII helped each of us personally in living better and fuller Christian lives and in witnessing to Christ among our neighbours. Indeed, that great Pope seemed in his saintly enthusiasm and deep knowh.dge to move so swiftly that the problem of the Church at large was to keep up with him. Without question, his long reign will throw its light forward and continue to guide us all for very many years along the ways of the future. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Cardinals elected a successor whose age and experience are enabling him to make the necessary transition from a saintly and brilliant leadership, but one also who has already shown how much he has to give to the Church through his truly paternal personality and the speed of his decision.
In the long story of the Papacy, the continuance of deep, unchanging traditions has been always compatible with great differences of character and outlook among the pontiffs succeeding to one another. Thus it is that the Church ever moves forward with the times while yet remaining the same in its witness to Christ and His revelation to mankind.
HE immediate appointment
of Cardinal Tardini as Prosecretary of State to be followed this week by the restoration after many years of the important post of Secretary of State, together with the present nomination of new cardinals, bringing the Sacred College to a number that breaks a nearly four hundred-year old precedent, is evidence enough that the Church can look forward to years when its forward-movement and its adaptation to the needs of the times will proceed as certainly, though doubtless differently, as in the last pontificate.
Many of the names of the new cardinals are unfamiliar to us in this country since they have been nominated for that section of the Sacred College which always lives and works in Rome itself as the Pope's counsellors and presidents over the various Roman congregations and tribunals which constitute the day-to-day government and administration of the Church.
All of these, except Cardinal Julien of France, are naturally enough Italians; and it is interesting to see how the Holy Father has called on nuncios from all over the world to advise him and to rule in Rome. The suggestion that he wishes the Papal Curia to he furnished with the widest possible experience from all over the world is inevitable.
Our own Archbishop of Westminster is one of the eleven who have been raised to the purple in token of the great sees which they hold and the countries to which they belong. All these in a special way represent the Holy Father throughout the world, but it should not be forgotten that all cardinals are bound to reside in Rome unless they are rulers of territorial sees —a fact which emphasises that they too are close counsellors of the Pope.
Perhaps it is this international character of the Pope's nominations which stands out most in the first selection which John XXIII has made.