DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUN     November 19-21, 1999     vol. 10, no. 220


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      Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we spotlight each member of the Conclave in alphabetical order. 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, The Official Catholic Directory, Inside the Vatican and other sources.

125.   Cardinal Achille Silvestrini

        The Prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches and Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Orietnal Institute since 1991, Cardinal Achille Silvestrini has worked closely since 1952 with various Southeast Asian nations. He was born in Brisighella, Italy on October 25, 1923 in the Diocese of Faenza-Modigliana. He entered the diocesan seminary there in 1942 and became a diocesan priest on July 13, 1946. His first assignment was in Rome where he continued his studies and then called by Pope Pius XII to enter the Vatican Diplomatic Academy. In 1952 he graduated from this institute and became involved with the diplomatic service in the Secretariat of State Section for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, focusing his attention on Southeast Asia. You can imagine the crises he faced for the French were losing control in Vietnam and Cambodia and rumblings were on the horizon of war as the communists marshalled under fierce leaders who wanted to usurp the rights of many tribes.

        In 1958 he served as head of the Holy See delegation to the UN under first Secretary of State Cardinal Domenico Tardini and then Cardinal Amletto Cicognani. In 1973 Pope Paul VI appointed him Under Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Public Affairs of the Church and on May 4, 1979 Pope John Paul II made him titular bishop of Novaliciana with the personal title of archbishop and promoted him to Secretary of the same curial office of which he had been under secretary for six years. Through the Holy Father's Pastor Bonus this office became the Second Section of the Secretariat of State and his headed today by Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran. He remained there until the Consistory of June 28, 1988 when he was elevated to the cardinalate and received the titular church of St. Benedict Outside St. Paul's Gate and appointed Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura until 1991 when the Pope made him Prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches, drawing on his many years of experience with Southeast Asia and Eastern Churches in union with Rome. He was also appointed Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome.

        In addition to his current duties, he also serves membership in numerous curial offices including the Second Section of the Secretariat of State, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Congregation for Bishops, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, and the Congregation for Catholic Education in addition to the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. At 76 he continues in these duties while residing at Palazzina decca Zecca at 00120 Vatican City State.

November 19-21, 1999       volume 10, no. 220


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