Friday, 15 April 2016

England's Next Cardinal: Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher

The infallibility which comes with papal election does not bring with it absolution for past faults and failings, a guarantee that those will have no bearing on the future, and a certainty that that future will in all other respects be additional mistakes-free.

If it did, His Excellency Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, in all likelihood England’s next cardinal — and first non-residential one since Francis Aidan Cardinal Gasquet OSB, the last cardinal created by Pope St Pius X, in 1914 — priest of the Archdiocese of Liverpool but a Scottish bishop (? See below), would not have been appointed, in November 2014, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States (usually described as the Pope’s Foreign Secretary) the third highest ranking prelate of the Secretariat of State behind the Cardinal Secretary of State, His Eminence Pietro Parolin, and the sostituto, the Secretary of State Substitute for General Affairs, His Excellency Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu.

For months prior to Mgr Gallagher’s advancement, there had been speculation that Pope Francis intended to remove His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke, an old Roman student days’ friend of Glasgow’s Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, from his post as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the ultimate court of appeal in the Catholic world. Cardinal Burke’s great sin? His face didn’t fit. It did not matter to Pope Francis that here was one of the finest legal minds ever to have graced his high office, a prelate who over the next few years — His Eminence will be 68 on June 30 and so could have served for another 7 years at least — might have made a substantial contribution to the massive legislative work that will be required to implement any fruits of the labours of the Council of Nine Cardinals.

No, he had to go. That autocratic tendency which Pope Francis had noted in his younger self as Jesuit superior in Argentina and which he had lamented during his interview with Fr Antonio Spadaro SJ in La Civiltà Cattolica (A Big Heart Open to God, September 30, 2013) is alive and well. I have no desire to labour this point but if further proof be needed that it rages still within the papal bosom then see:

the appointment of Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki as Archbishop of Cologne over the heads of the Cathedral Chapter and in clear breach of the law, and;

the appointment of Blase Joseph Cupich as Archbishop of Chicago without taking advice of anyone with a legitimate say in the matter.

Then see also his refusal of the red hats that are the traditional due to:
Francesco Moraglia, Patriarch of Venice;

Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia of Turin and, and most scandalously;

Archbishop Jean-Louis Bruguès OP, Prefect of the Secret Archives and Librarian of the Holy See. Most scandalously? Going back to 1700, only 4 prelates appointed to head the Secret Archives were not yet Cardinals. All were created Cardinal at the next consistory (and these all in recent years).

To the surprise of many, when Pope Francis finally decided to remove Cardinal Burke he appointed the “Foreign Secretary” he had inherited from Pope Benedict, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, to replace him. Really it should have been no surprise. Of Archbishop Mamberti’s 23 predecessors going back to 1878 and the beginning of the Pontificate of Pope Leo XIII (and the restoration of the Scottish Catholic episcopal hierarchy; which point I always take as the beginning of “the Church in the Modern World”) roughly one-third, 7 in all, have been former diplomats, including Achille Cardinal Silvestrini who was also promoted from being Secretary for Relations with States. But it was a surprise, a genuine surprise, when at the same time it was announced that Archbishop Gallagher was to replace Archbishop Mamberti.

It is hard to offer a typical example of what Archbishop Gallagher’s usual daily routine is in the Secretariat of State but take as an example a week following the end his first six months in office. The English language bollettino, the press release issued each day by the Vatican Press Office at noon (11 am here), recorded the following: “The Pope received in audience… (Thursday) the Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Stephen Harper… (Friday, June 12, 2015) the President of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Poland, Ms. Ewa Kopacz” who both “subsequently met with Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.” And when on the Thursday President Putin came to call on Pope Francis, at the same time “a meeting was held between Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher… and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov during which the topics of the conflict in the Ukraine and the worrying situation in the Middle East were also discussed.”

Earlier in the week, on Tuesday, June 9, 2015, Archbishop Gallagher had addressed a seminar, “Building inclusive societies together: contributions to Sarajevo’s exchange on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue”, organised by the Council of Europe. He spoke on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue. If I may be excused for putting it this way, Archbishop Gallagher is now very much playing with the big boys. And we, and not just our co-religionists south of the border, should be proud of him.


When Mgr Gallagher received episcopal consecration on Saturday, March 13, 2004 at the hands of the then Cardinal Secretary of State, Angelo Sodano, he was not to be the ordinary of a diocese but Apostolic Nuncio in Burundi, in succession to the martyred Irish prelate, Archbishop Michael Aidan Courtney (Saint Andrew and Edinburgh’s Archbishop Leo Cushley was Second Secretary during Archbishop Courtney’s first year resident in Bujumbura). Thus Archbishop Gallagher was provided, as the quaint expression has it, as titular to Hodelm, more commonly known as Hoddom.

And so he became the second English prelate in recent years who, should he experience a sudden yen to visit his titular See, wouldn’t have had far to travel. When Bishop John Arnold was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster in December of 2005 he was provided to the titular see of Lindisfarne. He was a lucky man as few titular bishops can accurately locate their Sees on a map, never mind visit, celebrate Mass and chat to the locals in his and their own native language. Just ask Archbishop Cushley’s former Auxiliary, Bishop Stephen Robson, now Bishop of Dunkeld. When he was appointed Auxiliary, I doubt if he had ever heard of Tunnuna (proconsular Africa as was, modern-day Tunisia and the adjacent Mediterranean Coast of Western Libya, if you must know).

Lindisfarne is just on the English side of the border, Hoddom on ours; in Dumfriesshire.

Driving north on the M6, when you hit the Scottish border at Gretna Green the road becomes the A74(M). About five miles north of Gretna, you will see a sign saying Kirtlebridge and you are now in what was once the Bishopric of Hoddom. The territory of the old diocese stretches out a few miles to either side of the road as it runs northwards from Kirtlebridge to just north of Lockerbie. Indeed, about three or four miles on from Kirtlebridge you come to Ecclefechan and here you will see a sign for Hoddom Castle and Caravan Park. In the late 6th century, St Mungo, founder of Glasgow and its patron saint, founded a monastery on or about the land now occupied by Hoddom Castle, but long before the original castle was built post-Norman Conquest by the Carlyle family. That monastery was the seat of the first bishops of Hoddom.

And Hoddom is not unimportant for other than its ecclesiastical association with St Mungo. Thomas Carlyle, the great Scottish philosopher, mathematician, writer and satirist was born within the See, at the aforementioned Ecclefechan (December 4, 1795), and was buried there after his death in London (February 5, 1881) despite Westminster Abbey having been offered (it was his wish to be buried beside his parents). William Paterson (1658-1719), founder of the Bank of England, was also born here in the hamlet of Tinwald near Lochmaber, four miles west of Lockerbie. And many believe that it was at Lochmaber Robert the Bruce was born.

So if we cannot quite claim Archbishop Gallagher as entirely our own, we can certainly claim a measure of him. Perhaps now that he is well settled into his new position, the Scottish Catholic Bishops’ Conference might care to offer this newly illustrious servant of the Servant of the servants of God honorary membership.

Archbishop Gallagher a future cardinal?

I will only go back as far as what I have mentioned above I take to be the beginning of the Church in the Modern World, the beginning of the pontificate of Pope Leo XIII. The department over which Mgr Gallagher now presides was formerly the Sacred Congregation for the Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs of the Holy See until, in August 1967 consequent upon changes in the Roman Curia made by Blessed Pope Paul VI in response to the will of the Council Fathers and informed by his many years of service in the curia, it became the Council for the Public Affairs of the Church (Archbishop Agostino, later Cardinal Secretary of State, Casaroli was Secretary at that time). Pope St John Paul II made further changes to the Roman Curia as laid down in Pastor Bonus, now under cardinalatial review, and this department took its present form and name on the first day of March, 1989 (Archbishop Angelo, later Cardinal Secretary of State, Sodano was Secretary at that time)

From the beginning of Pope Leo XIII’s pontificate, there were seventeen (17) Secretaries of the Sacred Congregation for the Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs of the Holy See: every one of them was subsequently created cardinal. It should also be noted that only one of them was a non-Italian, the first one, in place upon his election, the Pole Wlodzimierz Cardinal Czacki (an Earl and relative of Pope St John Paul II’s mentor, the Prince Bishop Cardinal Adam Sapieha). Of the three (3) (excluding Cardinal Casaroli) Secretaries of the Council for the Public Affairs of the Church, all were subsequently created cardinal and all were Italian. Finally, of the three Secretaries for Relations with States (excluding Cardinal Sodano) who have preceded Mgr Gallagher, all have been created cardinal. It should be noted that two of the these three were non-Italian, both being French: Cardinal Mamberti, as noted above, and Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran.

How long will it be before Mgr Gallagher has to revisit fratelli Gammarelli?

The first twelve (12) Secretaries of the Sacred Congregation for Extraordinary the Ecclesiastical Affairs of the Holy See, within our time span, served for between two to five years. This takes us from Wlodzimierz Cardinal Czacki (March 1877– August 1879) to Bonaventura Cardinal Cerretti (May 1917 – May 1921). Thereafter, the Secretaries tended to serve for longer, successively 7, 8, 15 (this last would have been 10 but Mgr Tardini declined a cardinal’s hat in 1953 to continue in post) and then 14. Of his nearest predecessors, Cardinal Sodano served for 3 years, Cardinal Tauran 13, Lajolo 3 and Mamberti 8.

Although it is impossible to make any predictions as to the length of this pontificate — apart from the the Grim Reaper, who could anticipate Pope Francis? — which might affect Mgr Gallagher's service, since a new Pope might get out his new broom, it would seem reasonable to expect that Mgr Gallagher will be created cardinal after having served about ten years as Secretary for Relations with States, maybe a bit less maybe a bit more. This would mean round about when he turns 70 in 2024.

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