.by Anura Guruge
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In their excitement to break the news the media is losing sight of two key points.
First: Appointment is as of October 15, 2013; not immediate.
Second: Only a CARDINAL can be Secretary of State, Holy See. Pietro Parolin is not a cardinal as yet — though now a cardinalate is guaranteed. ‘Pro-‘, in Latin, means ‘acting’. So until he becomes a cardinal his official title is Pro-. This is true for the heads of nearly all of the important curial dicasteries. You have to be a cardinal in order to officially head them. If not, you can still hold the office, but not the title!
That it is ‘Pro-‘ is not a problem. Quite a few Secretaries of State started off as Pro-, including the current Dean of the College, the holder of three Roman titles (churches), Angelo Sodano.
What is funny is that just yesterday I started thinking about cardinalabili and the next consistory now that my work on comets was coming to an end. November has traditionally been popular for consistories. A November consistory would work. But, then again Pope Francis, not that interested in tradition, might take my recommendation and just have a micro-consistory and just create Parolin.
I, a confirmed pedant, especially when it comes to papal history, just wanted to make sure that we all had the facts right.
I am, of course, sorry to see the departure of ‘my man’, My Lord, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who in my opinion (and I do follow curial politics better than most) was an outstanding Secretary of State. Thank YOU, Lord Bertone for all of your wonderful work, non-stop inspiration and for being a good and decent human being.