Sandro Magister refers to some recent episcopal appointments to illustrate some comments in a recent interview with Cardinal Marc Ouelliet, the Prefect for the Congregation of Bishops. Ouelliet says:
"Today, especially in the context of our secularized societies, we need bishops who are the first evangelizers, and not mere administrators of dioceses. Who are capable of proclaiming the Gospel. Who are not only theologically faithful to the magisterium and the pope, but are also capable of expounding and, if need be, of defending the faith publicly."I wonder if there really is a trend to appoint defenders and proclaimers of the Gospel instead of the nuanced political diplomats that seem to have been appointed since the Secretariat of State replaced the old Holy Office under its newer incarnation of the CDF as the final arbiter of episcopal appointments.
Cardinal Levada wishes to retire this month, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone turned 75 at the end of 2009, replacing both the head of the CDF and the Secretary of State could offer a real change gear in 2112. Perhaps the strange appoint of Msgr Charles Brown, from the CDF rather than the Secretariat of State, as Nuncio to Ireland could be an indication of some new Vatican thinking.
What is evident is that the Council for the New Evangelisation is being increasingly highlighted and yet quite what its purpose is still seems very vague, it seems to be a bit of a dark horse. The Church is supposed to be "evangelical by its very nature", how the Secretariate of State quite fits into this vision obviously needs further development. The Ostpolitik of Cardinal Casaroli or even relationship with States in the glory days of JPII and Cardinal Sodano are rapidly waning. The weakening of the Church at grass roots level diminishes the Church's political clout internationally.
Under Cardinal Levada the CDF has been responsible for some quite remarkable moves, the setting up of the Anglican Ordinariate, the negotiations with the SSPX are but two examples, it is now much more than the Papal watch dog. The CDF since Dominus Jesus (2000) has become much more about teaching, rather simply bashing heretics.