Religious freedom and liturgy– not abuse crisis– top agenda for cardinals' meeting
The primary topics for the special meeting of the world’s cardinals on November 19 will be religious freedom and the sacred liturgy.
Secular news accounts of the special meeting have focused almost exclusively on the announcement that the College of Cardinals will discuss the sex-abuse crisis. But in fact that topic is only one of three secondary matters that will be taken up later in the day.
Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the dean of the College, has written to all the world’s cardinals, confirming the invitation of Pope Benedict XVI for the prelates to join in a day of “reflection and prayer.” The following day, November 20, will see the elevation of 24 new members to the College of Cardinals.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State, will introduce the first main topic, speaking about the threats to religious freedom around the world. Next Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, will open the discussion of liturgy.
In the afternoon, three topics will on the agenda. Archbishop Angelo Amato, the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, will speak on ecumenical prospects, 10 years after the release of Dominus Iesus. Then Cardinal William Levada, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will brief the cardinals on the latest developments in the sex-abuse scandal. Finally Cardinal Levada will speak on a topic that could provoke a lively conversation: the implementation of the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus and the establishment of ordinariates for Anglicans entering the Catholic Church.