By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
tI lunched with a veteran Italian vaticanista, meaning a journalist who specializes in the Vatican, this week. At one point, more or less out of the blue, he said to me: “You know, the American imprint on this pope’s curia is impressive.”
t(The Italian word he used was impressionante, which, if anything, is perhaps a bit stronger than “impressive,” suggesting something truly remarkable.)
tHe proceeded to tick off examples: Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s powerful doctrinal office; Cardinal Francis Stafford and Archbishop Raymond Burke, who headed two of the three Vatican courts (Stafford just resigned in June); and Archbishop James Harvey, still the prefect of the Papal Household. (Harvey was appointed to that position by John Paul II in 1998.)
In addition, the Americans are the only national bloc other than the Italians to have at least one official working in virtually every Vatican office.