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US cardinal appointed church's major penitentiary

Pope John Paul II appointed US Cardinal Francis Stafford the new major penitentiary of the Church.

The Penitentiary Tribunal has competence on questions of conscience, the so-called internal forum, particularly those connected with the sacrament of reconciliation and the granting and use of indulgences.

The 71-year-old cardinal is replacing Archbishop Luigi De Magistris, 77, who handed the Pope his resignation for reasons of age, the Vatican press office reportedon Saturday.

Among the competencies of the Apostolic Penitentiary is that of assisting in the formation of confessors.

Cardinal Stafford gained wide recognition when, as archbishop of Denver, he was the host for World Youth Day 1993. The Pope called him to Rome in 1996 to be president of the laity council. He was elevated to cardinal in February 1998.

Cardinal Stafford's appointment marks the start of a series of expected changes in the Roman Curia.

Among others, a replacement is anticipated for Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, Vatican secretary for relations with states. He will be made a cardinal on 21 October when he is likely receive a new post.


Apostolic Penitentiary
Apostolic Penitentiary ( | James Francis Cardinal Stafford
Vatican rules out confessions in cyberspace (13/1/03)

7 Oct 2003