Pope Francis has appointed pastors for two of the world’s most important dioceses.
He named Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes, 67, as Archbishop of Mexico City, home to eight million Catholics, and Bishop Michel Aupetit, 66, a former doctor, as Archbishop of Paris.
Cardinal Aguiar, a long-term ally of the Pope who was made a cardinal last year, collaborated with the then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio in producing the 2007 Aparecida document on evangelisation, a text often seen as a blueprint for the Francis papacy.
Rocco Palmo, writing at his blog Whispers in the Loggia, said: “That sound you hear is the new cardinal-primate vaulting to the front of the papabile file.”
Mr Palmo cited a source, close to Francis and Cardinal Aguiar, who described him as a “Renaissance man” who was “extremely smart and close to the people”.
He said that, “more than anything”, the choice underscored the Pope’s emphasis on the role of bishops’ conferences, as Cardinal Aguiar was elected to lead Mexico’s conference twice.
Archbishop-elect Aupetit, formerly Bishop of Nanterre, in the western suburbs of Paris, was a doctor for 11 years before becoming a priest at the age of 44.
La Croix, the Catholic daily, said he had experienced a “lightning ascent in the Church hierarchy”, having become an auxiliary bishop four years ago.
The paper noted that Archbishop-elect Aupetit was a bioethics expert who was criticised for taking part in the Manif pour tous protests against same-sex marriage.
The paper said people described him as “warm and convivial”. He plays guitar, likes the singer Georges Brassens, and is a sculptor in wood. One Paris church has a statue of Christ he carved at its entrance.
The archbishop-elect will succeed Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, while Cardinal Aguiar replaces Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera. Both turned 75 this year.
‘Shaven-headed’ youths disrupt ecumenical service
Young traditionalists “with shaved heads and black clothes” disrupted an ecumenical service in Lyon last week.
The young men were escorted out of Lyon’s St Irene Church after stopping the service by repeatedly shouting “Hail Mary”.
The service, entitled “From conflict to Communion, together in hope”, was intended to mark the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation – and is the third such service to be disrupted in a matter of weeks.
The latest protest was organised by Militants of the Movement of Catholic Youth of France and French Youth Civitas, according to the Catholic daily La Croix. Alain Escada, Civitas president, said the service was a “blasphemous circus” and lamented the fact that it had been attended by Cardinal Philippe Barbarin.
Régine Maire, an ecumenical official, described the youths as shaven-headed and wearing black. She said Cardinal Barbarin approached the group to ask them what they were doing but was “ignored”.
Previous services were disrupted at the Catholic cathedral in Brussels and at the Church of Our Lady of White Mantles in Paris.
Pope: it’s good to study Latin
Pope Francis has said the “very rich heritage” of Latin can help young people steer away from “superficiality” and “banality”.
The Pope made his remark to a meeting organised by the Pontifical Academies on the theme: “In interiore homine: research paths in the Latin tradition”. In his message he praised the “unforgettable wisdom” of St Augustine and said great Latin authors could help people reflect on “the inner and intimate essence of the human being”.
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