|Shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic?|
The “Congregation for Catholic Education” has the following functions:
The Congregation for Catholic Education (in Seminaries and Institutes of Study) is the Pontifical congregation of the Roman Curia responsible for: (1) houses of formation of religious and secular institutes; (2) universities, faculties, institutes and higher schools of study, either ecclesial or civil dependent on ecclesial persons; and (3) schools and educational institutes depending on ecclesiastical authorities. Until Friday, January 25, 2013, it was in charge of regulating seminaries, which prepare those students intending to become priests (seminarians) for ordination to the presbyterate. However, that day, Pope Benedict XVI issued an Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio (done on his own initiative), in which oversight of seminaries- and all other related formation programs for clergy (priests and deacons)- are to be transferred from the Congregation for Catholic Education to the Congregation for the Clergy, which regulates already-ordained deacons and priests. The Congregation for Catholic Education will still regulate other education for clergy and religious not relating to ordination or done after it, and it will still regulate non-seminary programs of study and have administrative oversight of pontifical universities, faculties, and institutes (even if some of these institutions are now involved in priestly formation), and oversight of Catholic education in general religious education programs. It already works closely with the Clergy Congregation.
What does this mean?
Among the full confirmations the most interesting is certainly the one at the congregation for Catholic education, and not only because in the recent past - as documented in a recent book by Elisabetta Piqué, "Francesco. Vita e rivoluzione," published in Italy by Lindau - then-cardinal Bergoglio had some difficulty in getting the dicastery to accept his choice as the new rector of the Catholic University of Buenos Aires, Monsignor Victor Manuel Fernández (who as pope he significantly elevated to the episcopal dignity just two months after being elected bishop of Rome). [Note that the Google Chrome browser will translate the article linked in this paragraph.]
While in the case of the congregations for the doctrine of the faith and of Propaganda Fide the pope has in fact confirmed the members of the dicasteries en bloc, and in the [Ratzinger-influenced] congregation for the clergy has instead confirmed no one, in the congregation for Catholic education the pope has dug deep: with confirmations, with the addition of new members, with removals.
The names are listed in the original article, and Magister says that in addition to the nine removals, “the pope has appointed eleven new members of the congregation and has confirmed another 23.” – Cardinal Dolan of New York is one of these. Magister notes that the makeup of this “congregation” is shifting from heavy Italian and European to one that is far more evenly distributed among Latin America and Asia. This is to say nothing at all regarding the theological or philosophical leanings of these individuals.
What will be very important to watch is, what happens to the [Ratzinger-influenced] “the Congregation for the Clergy, which regulates “already-ordained deacons and priests” and now, since January 25 of this year, “seminaries- and all other related formation programs for clergy.”
Given his liking for the Ravenna document, (which officially now “should not be understood as an official declaration of the Church’s teaching”) if he lives long enough, Bergoglio may see to it that all of these various nationalities from the hinterlands will be autocephalous and the “Bishop of Rome” merely the deciding vote in case of ties.
What a smack in the face to all the Medieval popes who thought it was their divine right to have their toes kissed by princes.
Note: a “Dicastery” (from Greek δικαστήριον, law-court, from δικάστης, judge/juror) is an Italicism sometimes used in English to refer to the Departments of the Roman Curia.
By the word "dicasteries" are understood the Secretariat of State, Congregations, Tribunals, Councils and Offices, namely, the Apostolic Camera, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See and the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See (from Wikipedia).