"Promotion means motion", as my bank clerk father used to say every two years as we packed our bags for yet another country town, and so it seems for Cardinal Pell of Sydney, who, if our source is correct, will soon be off to Rome to become Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops, which means he will oversee every episcopal appointment in the Roman Church for the next seven years, at which time he will be due to retire.
There have only been seven Australian cardinals in history (which is not as bad a record as it sounds when you consider that Australia has only been extant for c. 200 years; in fact a member of a RC religious order once told me that up until the 1950s his order was reluctant to even ordain native-born Australians because of their reputation for being uncouth and uncultured, so 7 cardinals is not bad in that light :0) ), and I dare say no Australian has ever held such an infuential position in the Roman hierarchy; only Cardinal Cassidy, who signed the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification for the Catholic side, would come close (here at the old manse we feel more warmth and affection for Cardinal Cassidy than for the Lutheran signatories to that flawed document).
Pell's Catholicism is robust, which has earned him about equal amounts of bouquets and brickbats from both within and without his church in Oz since his rise to prominence in the latter years of JPII's pontificate. We must say that the Australian ecclesiastical scene will certainly be duller without him, although we think the Cardinal must be looking forward to leaving Sydney, where his tenure as Archbishop hasn't received quite the same acclamation as it did in Melbourne.
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OK...I confess I only posted this to scoop Schuetz over at Sentire Cum Ecclesia. Here at the old manse we really have our finger on the pulse - which beats all the way from Rome!
Btw, the pic is of Cardinal Pell in Newman's personal chapel in the Birmingham Oratory, which allows me to point out an interesting but little known fact about the 'Blessed' John Henry - he did not like crucifixes and never displayed one in his rooms, where it was strictly cross without corpus only. Apparently this aversion hearkened back to his younger days when he was an Anglican evangelical, and it was something he never overcame!