Saturday, October 23, 2010

Is that so wrong?

Sandro Magister has a great story, fresh off of Pope Benedict's announcement of his intention to create new Cardinals. You can e-subscribe to Chiesa, and get told when new articles are posted. But I digress. In his article, Magister floats an idea in the last paragraph:
Next Monday, October 25, in the academic hall of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music in Piazza Sant'Agostino in Rome, Maestro Bartolucci will also receive an award from the Fondazione pro Musica e Arte Sacra, together with Benedict XVI's brother, Georg Ratzinger, another great proponent of liturgical music.

And it will be as if the purple given to the former is also honoring the latter. Something not entirely bizarre, if one remembers that Leo XIII, at his first consistory in 1879, made a cardinal of his brother Giuseppe Pecci, a Jesuit and the deputy librarian of the Vatican library.
An interesting "what if?" I'm afraid of how the media would react, but still there should be something to being the Pope's brother. Could anyone, other than the Holy Father himself, ever really know the influence or counsel Msgr. Georg has been during their lifetime?

What would happen if Pope Benedict made Msgr. Georg Ratzinger a Cardinal?
  • At age 86, he's ineligible to vote in a Conclave, should he outlive his younger brother.
  • Within the College of Cardinals, seniority counts. As "Cardinal Ratzinger" [who thought we'd ever say that again?] he'd be there for his brother's funeral, though towards the back because of his low seniority within the Sacred College. Truthfully, he'd probably have a better seat as "the Pope's brother" than as a Cardinal.
  • Cardinals are usually chosen among the world's Bishops, but not always so (and especially amongst the ad honorem ones). Though they may wear the Pontificals (mitre, pectoral cross, and of course the ring), they may ask to not be ordained a Bishop. This was true in the case of Avery Cardinal Dulles. So naming Msgr. Georg a Cardinal would not even necessarily raise him to the episcopacy.
  • Nepotism? C'mon, even today I can rattle off the names of a few Priests who seem to have gotten a little something extra because of a blood relation to a Bishop.
  • Hasn't been done lately? Is that on purpose, or because we've had a drought when it came to a Pope with a sibling who is a Priest? JP2 had no living siblings. Both JP1 and P6 had 2 brothers, neither clergy. I believe Pope John XXIII had a nephew, though I may be wrong.
OK, readers, anything I'm missing?


Ellen said...

The former priest at my parent's parish was a second cousin of JPII. Though he did have a few audiences with "Cuz JPII," he certainly didn't get any special privileges, like becoming a Monsignor at 30!

Father Jay Toborowsky said...

Becoming a Monsignor is not always about long service. Those Priests in service at the Vatican generally become Monsignors after a set amount of years of service. It's only in the United States that you find some who mistakenly connect Pontifical Honors with longevity.

Unknown said...

I just pray it happens and I pray even harder that he doesn't get any flak about it!!! They seem to be very close whenever I see anything about them on TV. I thought I remember something a while back saying that Pope Benedict was a little saddened when he was elected because it would be harder to visit with/enjoy the company of his brother which he seemed to do often. God bless and protect him ... I just love him!

ignorant redneck said...

but...I LIKE nepotism--if you won't look after family, who will you look after? This whole thing of viewing it as evil seems an American idea