It has been rumoured for months in the Vatican that a list has been compiled by Pope Francis’ inner circle of curial priests to be dismissed from their posts and sent back to their dioceses before Christmas. What is disturbing is that no explanation is being given, they are just being told to pack up and go.
The latest series of dismissals confirms the report run by the National Catholic Register in November about the existence of this list:
‘VATICAN CITY — At least 30 priests employed in Vatican departments may be removed from their posts and sent to dioceses in the following months, according to three different Vatican sources.
“The Congregation for Clergy will be the first of the list,” a Vatican source familiar with the congregation told CNA.
Four priests employed in the congregation have been called to serve in dioceses. Among them is Msgr. Luciano Alimandi, who had been private secretary for a number of years to the department’s former head, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos.
According to the source, Msgr. Alimandi and the other three were “all part of Cardinal Mauro Piacenza’s inner circle.” He was prefect of the Congregation for Clergy until last September.
Cardinal Piacenza was appointed to lead the Vatican’s Apostolic Penitentiary tribunal on Sept. 21. Archbishop Beniamino Stella replaced him as prefect for the Congregation of the Clergy.
A second source who had been recently in touch with Archbishop Stella explained to CNA that “many changes are awaited in the congregation.”
The source also maintained that “Pope Francis seemingly wants to have fewer employees in the Vatican departments and aims to send the most priests he can to serve in parishes and dioceses.”
Pope Francis’ reform, the source said, “would give more power to the local bishops. In the past, when there was a difficult case to handle, an official of the congregation was sent for an onsite visit to report on it. In the future, local bishops could be entrusted with these reports, thus taking part of the work of the Vatican dicasteries.”
According to another source who spoke to CNA and asked not to be identified, “The changes would involve all the Vatican departments.”
The source said that, “when appointed as a member of the council of right cardinals, Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello made several visits to Vatican congregations, asking each of them for a list of people the congregation could do without.”
According to the source, the list will include about 30 people, all priests. The source added that “some of the priests had been requested back by their home dioceses.”
Protect the Pope comment: With the sidelining of Cardinal Piacenza, Cardinal Burke and Archbishop Muller, it may be revealing to learn the names of those curial priests who have been summarily dismissed. Are the upholders of the Benedictine reforms being purged from Rome?