DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     January 25, 1999     vol. 10, no. 16


To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO and SECTION THREE
      This new feature that we introduce today will spotlight each member of the Conclave. We find this necessary as our dear Sovereign Pontiff Pope John Paul II grows older, clinging to hope, as we join him, of seeing the light of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart with the dawn of the new millennium - the Jubilee Year 2000. How much longer this 264th successor of Peter has left on this earth only God knows for sure, but His Divine Mercy is evident in allowing him to be with us this long for he truly is a saint for our times, truly Christ's Vicar on earth in these waning days before the glorious Reign of the Sacred Heart, the Time of Peace, the Era of the Eucharistic Presence, the New Pentecost, the Second Advent, the Age of the Holy Spirit. What 1999 will bring we have no idea, nor does anyone else, but with John Paul II at the helm, we feel much more secure in knowing God's Will will be done. Nevertheless, we want to preview the future Pope whether that be soon or much, much later, for no one lives forever and eventually one of those prelates will be selected as the 265th successor of Peter. This will give the reader a better insight into the man whom the Holy Spirit will move the conclave to choose. Thus we bring the reader vignettes on each cardinal in alphabetical order gleaned from the Catholic Almanac, Inside the Vatican and other sources.

10.   Cardinal William Wakefield Baum

          The first American cardinal we feature is one of the least known in the United States. That is because since 1980 he has been a member of the Roman Curia, first serving as Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education and then being appointed Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary by Pope John Paul II on April 6, 1990. This office, dating back to the 12th century was radically reorganized by Pope Saint Pius V in 1569 and in 1917 Pope Benedict XV added the Office of Indulgences to this Tribunal which is responsible for dispensing absolutions and dispensations on matters that are non-doctrinal on questions of conscience. His office played a significant role in the composition and release of the Holy Father's latest Papal Bull, Incarnationis Mysterium.

          Cardinal Baum hails from the heartland, having been born in Dallas, Texas on November 21, 1926 and relocating 350 miles north to Kansas City while he was still in grade school. It was during this time he heard the calling to the priesthood and, after minor seminary at St. John's followed major seminary in the Kansas City/St. Joseph sprawling Diocese he was ordained on May 12, 1951. His first assignment was as parish priest at St. Aloysius parish in Kansas City. Five years later someone higher up saw great potential in this young priest and he was asked to continue his studies in the shadows of the Vatican at the Angelicum where he received his Theology degree in 1958. Returning to the heartland, he was reassigned pastoral work but depended on more and more for his legal and administrative expertise. In 1962 he contributed to more than a few sessions of Vatican II as Peritus which refers to an "expert advisor." On April 5, 1970 Pope Paul VI named him a bishop, assigning him as Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. Three years later he was elevated to Archbishop and appointed head of the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. succeeding Cardinal Patrick O'Boyle. It's interesting to note that Archbishop Baum's replacement in Springfield-Cape Girardeau was another future cardinal - Bishop Bernard Law. He became a cardinal in the Consistory of May 24, 1976, the second-to-last one of Paul VI. He was given care of the titular church of the Holy Cross on the Via Flaminia and continued as Archbishop of the nation's capitol until his curial assignment made it mandatory that he resign and move back to Rome. He was replaced on June 17, 1980 by yet another red-hat Cardinal James Hickey.

          For the past two decades Cardinal Baum has been active in many curial departments with membership in the Secretariat of State, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the Congregation for Bishops, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts working with the interpretation of the Code of Canon Law of the Oriental Church, and the Office of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See. In all of these tribunals he has been very active.

          Cardinal Baum has been of great help to countless Americans who visit Rome, providing passes to the Holy Father's regular Wednesday papal audience in Paul VI Hall, organizing special audiences and being the intermediary in presenting things to the Pope. This he did for us in May 1993 when we were in Rome. Having traveled there with Father Vince LeMoines the gentle, Marian priest from Kansas arranged through Cardinal Baum - whom he had known in Kansas City - to arrange for Father to be in the first few rows of a papal audience and there to present personally to the Holy Father a special message from the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart as well as the Rule for the Institute of Divine Mercy.

January 25, 1999       volume 10, no. 16


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