VATICAN INSIDER: BENEDICTINE ABBOT PRIMATE GREGORY POLAN
Join me this weekend for Part II of my conversation with Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation Gregory Polan. Born near Chicago Illinois, Abbot Polan is a linguist, a scripture and theology scholar, a translator and, I have heard, is quite the organist. As abbot primate of the Confederation, he is also the abbot of St. Anselm in Rome and chancellor of the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm and its Pontifical Liturgical Institute.
The 4th American to occupy this post, Abbot Gregory will tell us about the history of the order, his specific ministry as Abbot primate, what it means to be a monk and he looks at the growth of the order in the world.
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AN ELOQUENT, SAVVY PAPAL DIPLOMAT DEAD AT 75
An eloquent, impassioned voice for the Catholic Church, particularly for relations between Catholics and Muslims, was silenced yesterday.
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, died in the United States on July 5 where he was being treated for Parkinson’s disease. (photo: vaticannnews)
Born in France, this Prince of the Church was at the Vatican for many years, serving in the Secretariat of State in particular. He was secretary of the nunciatures to the Dominican Republic and Lebanon, came back to Rome and over the years participated in special missions in Haiti, Beirut and Damascus and knew the Middle East especially well.
In 1990 he was appointed Secretary for Relations with States, and in 2003 was named Archivist and Librarian of Holy Roman Church. In 2007 Pope Benedict appointed him to head the Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.
Pope Francis on Saturday, December 20, 2014 named French Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran as Camerlengo of Holy Roman Church, replacing Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who had turned 80 on December 2.
On March 13, 2013, as camerlengo, Cardinal Tauran announced the election of Cardinal Bergoglio who took the name Pope Francis:
And this is only the tip of a very large iceberg that is the cardinal’s years of service to the Church.
Cardinal Tauran, a true gentleman and a brilliant scholar, was considered one of the most knowledgeable and capable diplomats of generations of papal diplomats.
A reserved personality, he nonetheless always made a remarkable impact when he was a member or head of a Vatican delegation to international conferences. Cardinal Tauran was a terrific listener and yet, when he spoke in his soft voice, he made his audience become the good listeners. You knew you were listening to someone with vast knowledge of the topic he was speaking about, someone of great authority.
I had the wonderful great luck, in my years at the Vatican Information Service, to have interacted with Cardinal Tauran on a number of occasions. When he was Secretary for Relations with States, VIS was constantly writing news stories about his speeches, his interventions on the international stage, his meetings with foreign leaders and so on.
When he was made a cardinal, he was the first one I went to see during the afternoon courtesy visits.
In May 2004 I was one of six journalists chosen by Cardinal Tauran to join him in Doha, Qatar for the Qatar Conference on Muslim-Christian Dialogue.
Those were amazing days, not just the conference but breaking bread with the cardinal or sitting around in the lobby with my journalist colleagues, chatting away and asking questions of him like mad.
There is much more to say about those days and about Cardinal Tauran and his life and work and I’ll do so next week. I published an interview with him in the National Catholic Register, I did three stories for the Vatican Information Service and in later years, June of 2009, I interviewed him for Vatican Insider. I will re-air that conversation.
I admired and respected so very much about Cardinal Tauran – the man, the diplomat, and the humble priest who found time behind the scenes for personal charities and helping people and institutions. My esteem grew with every encounter.
What was most remarkable about Cardinal Tauran, certainly in these later years, was his indefatigable spirit, his endless love for the Church, for diplomacy, for trying to bring peace to a world that so badly needs it. He never stopped working. He was in his 11th year at the council for Inter-religious Dialogue, He seemed to be tireless, when it came to all things Church, notwithstanding the increasingly devastating effects of Parkinson’s.
And today he is resting in the Lord. RIP!