February 10, 2015, Tuesday — Our “Top Ten” People of the Past Year

(For Easter this year, which falls on April 5, we will be hosting a small group of friends of Inside the Vatican magazine in Rome for our Easter 2015 pilgrimage. We also will visit Assisi and Norcia — cities whose saints inspired the last two Popes to take their names: St. Francis of Assisi (Pope Francis) and St. Benedict of Norcia (Pope Benedict XVI). We plan to be in St. Peter’s Square with Pope Francis on Easter Sunday for his “Urbi et Orbi” message. We also plan to visit Manoppello and Lanciano. If you would like to join us in Italy for Easter, email now for more information. Only a few spots remain open. I hope to greet you in Rome! — Dr. Robert Moynihan, Founder and Editor of Inside the Vatican magazine)

Each year, Inside the Vatican magazine chooses 10 people to recognize as our “Top Ten” people of the year just past. In December, 2014, we chose:

Our “Top Ten” People of 2014

1. Tugdual Derville
This French father of six has been a leader of the demonstrations in France against the new “gender agenda”

2. Eugene and Jacqueline Rivers
This American couple stunned the world with their powerful “Affirmation of Marriage” in Rome in November

3. Archbishop Konrad Krajewski
This Polish archbishop, the Pope’s almoner, has become the “hands” of Pope Francis toward the poor of Rome

4. Dr. Constantin Sigov
This Ukrainian Christian scholar, a Russian Orthodox believer and a Ukrainian patriot, is one of the leading Christian intellectuals of Europe

5. Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino
The cardinal of Havana has spent a lifetime, including a year in prison, protecting his flock

6. Maria Hildingsson
This Swedish woman, head of an all-European pro-family alliance, is one of the leading pro-family activists in the world

7. Monsignor Duarte Nuno Queiroz de Barros da Cunha
This Portuguese monsignor is the General Secretary of the European Bishops’ Conferences, and a leading figure in the Church in Europe

8. Cardinal Arlindo Gomez Furtado
This bishop from Cape Verde is a dedicated pastor and now one of the new cardinals in the Church. He is known as a “good shepherd”

9. Cardinal George Pell
This Australian prelate, formerly Archbishop of Sydney, Australia, has emerged as one of the Pope’s most trusted advisers on the curial reform

10. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò
This Italian Church diplomat, now serving in Washington, has shown exemplary fidelity in his service to the Pope
Here below are brief profiles of our “Top Ten.”

1. Tugdual Derville

Pro-family and pro-life activist in France

“All children should have the opportunity to have a mother and a father…”

Interviewed by Giuseppe Rusconi

Tugdual Derville is one of the leaders of the pro-family and pro-life movement in France, and one of the chief organizers of the massive demonstrations in France during the past two years against legislation which would dramatically change the traditional definition of marriage.

For his work in this important cultural struggle, for his personal witness in caring for the elderly, for his example as a husband and as the father of six children, we are pleased to honor him as one of our “Top Ten” persons of 2014.

Born in 1962, Derville, 52, is a law graduate of the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris and of the ESSEC Business School.

He comes from a devout Catholic family. With his wife Raphaelle, whom he married in 1989, he has six children. His brother Guillaume Derville is a spiritual director in Opus Dei (Tugdual chooses a different spirituality).

Derville has worked for many years as a caretaker for older people, and has in recent years became a consultant in the medical and social field.

In 1986, he founded an “open arms” association to organize the reception in France by volunteer coaches of children, adolescents and young adults suffering from mental disability, for weekends or holiday stays.

In 1994 he joined the Alliance for the Right to Life, and association founded by politician Christine Boutin. This association has as its objectives “respect for human dignity, particularly the most vulnerable.” He is the Chief Executive Officer and, as such, regularly appears in the media to discuss bioethical issues, recalling “the profound dignity of every human being and the right of each to life.”

On October 23, 2012, during a demonstration in defense of marriage and the traditional family, he opposed the marriage of same-gender couples, citing the well-being of the child: “All children should have the opportunity to have a father and mother, if possible.”

We were able to meet with the 52-year-old Derville in November at the Vatican, during Humanum, an international, interreligious convention on complementarity between man and woman, promoted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Tugdual, in the 1980s, you began dedicating your life to helping others: first the elderly, and later the mentally disabled; more recently, with Alliance VITA (as a general delegate) you have been working for respect for the human dignity of the weakest members of society. What inspired you and the Alliance VITA to co-found the Manif Pour Tous in 2012?

Tugdual Derville: More than a “co-founder” of the Manif Pour Tous, I consider myself to be one of the main representatives of an immense social movement, one that has surprised its own initiators in expanding well beyond anyone’s ex­pectations… As focus points in the media, we have done no more than channel and make visible an energy that comes from the heart of France itself.

In July of 2012, after the election of François Hollande to the presidency, Alliance VITA acted on its previously-made decision to commit its resources strongly to the battle against same-gender “marriage,” to defend children who were under threat by the proposed bill.

This bill included the possibility of adoption by two men or two women, completely depriving children of clear maternal and paternal reference points. The government intended to move swiftly, aided by the deceivingly simplified slogan “marriage pour tous,” which hid the matter of adoption from the public.
And so Alliance VITA was the first group to take to the streets, in October of 2012, with 50-odd symbolic demonstrations with the slogan “Un papa, une maman, on ne ment pas aux enfants” (“One Dad, one Mom: one doesn’t lie to children”) which meant we were placing children at the center of the debate.
It was such a great success (in the media, too) that many other groups and associations, encouraged by their own members, wanted to join in. That is how the two most important groups got together, and that explains the enormous success of the first regional rally, which took place in Paris on November 17, 2012.

Manif Pour Tous: a challenge full of difficulties. What were the main ones? How did you manage to mobilize so many varied parts of French society?

Derville: The movement that became Manif Pour Tous is typical of social movements that reflect three criteria: spontaneity, anarchy and ferment. Spontaneity: great numbers of people rise up at once, motivated by a common reason. Anarchy: no one is really able to dominate or control everything that is going on. Ferment: there is a constant ferment of initiatives that blossom and fade… The major stumbling block we were able to overcome, almost miraculously, was division among various groups. France is known for its Gallic tribes, characterized by warring among leaders or, rather, battles among narcissists. How did we manage to beat out this national tendency of ours, and unite under one flag?

Some of us gave a real example of humility. Others showed authority. All of us showed devotion. It is true, too, that Alliance VITA and the Catholic Family Associations provided a strong framework for unity and organization.
An important factor for success was the internet, with its social networks: here was the perfect instrument for organizing quickly and without running up against other media’s boycotting.

In any case, the internet wouldn’t have been enough, if there hadn’t been very serious motivation to begin with…

Derville: The liberal-libertarian revolution of 1968 had an enormous impact on France: this saw the emergence of widespread individualism and secularism, one of whose many consequences is Attorney General Taubira’s marriage pour tous law… If that law unleashed such a movement of protests, it is because it has shaken people on a very intimate level: the tampering with sexuality in procreation. In other words, the most deeply-rooted anthropological base in human history. With Taubira’s law, the father and the mother become interchangeable!

Moreover, whoever thought that this law only concerned a small minority within a minority — that is, those rare homosexual people who want to marry someone of the same gender — made a serious miscalculation. For us, this was not a matter of “opening” marriage, but rather of distorting it and destroying it. And, more specifically, ruining the process of filiation.

It was natural for the general public to rebel. That is part of French tradition: when those in authority abuse their power, the people rise up… I believe that the fire of rebellion had been smoldering for years, completely ignored by the dominant media and the ruling powers. Instead, a network of resistance had been consolidating, through associations, communities, publications, events of various kinds, symbolic gatherings… This humanitarian, social, religious and cultural fabric suddenly announced the fact that it existed, and that it was a vital force. Countering the liberal-libertarian, power-holding elite, which has been becoming more and more bourgeois, a vast crowd, motivated by altruism has sprung up: it seemed intolerable to us that future generations be deprived of that precious reference point that is the sexual otherness that characterizes all of us. This points to the fact that freedom is never so precious to us as when it is threatened.

While working against the approval of Taubira’s law, I have often said that this unjust law has, in any case, given life to a great social movement: France has woken up!

What members of French society have brought the Manif Pour Tous to life? How much weight does the Catholic sphere have in it?

Derville: The origin of the Manif is Catholic (according to one of our spokespeople, Caml Bechikh, a Muslim) but it has attracted more and more people who agree with its anthropology rooted in truth. In fact, the government has been shocked by this union among groups that previously hadn’t really known each other… The “silent majority” has always supported us: surveys consistently show that over 50% of French citizens are against adoption rights for homosexual couples, even after the approval of Taubira’s law.

The persistence of mass mobilization challenges the usual parameters of judgment, and confirm my analysis of ours being a true social movement that finds its strength in roots that are impossible to eliminate. The governing powers, in purposely ignoring us or humiliating us, and trying to erase us, have, paradoxically, strengthened us… The year 2013 gave experience in the “school of life” for thousands of young people. In France, more than in other countries, the public square is a school of democracy.

I must clarify, though, that our social movement is not based only on demonstrations, although, of course, they have produced their good fruits. French people of all ages have realized that they are not alone, that protesting is not only the monopoly of libertarians, that it is well worth it to sacrifice for the common good, and that it is important for every single citizen to be committed to influencing the course of history. Instead of being scared and keeping quiet, there are now many French citizens who dare to speak out, even if that means putting their career in jeopardy, and thus freeing themselves from fear and conventionality…

The Manif Pour Tous has given rise, among other groups, to the Veilleurs, who keep a silent, motionless vigil in front of government buildings, with a book in their hands and a candle at their feet… What is your opinion on this kind of demonstration?

Derville: The Veilleurs, who later inspired the Italian Sentinelle, started after the demonstrations of March 24, 2013, which was the most massive and most repressed one. We came close to serious chaos, that day. On my part, I had urged the crowd to maintain non-violence. But some groups maintained that the government would never have ceded if not in the face of violence. I believed the opposite: the government’s intentions were to show that we were an obstacle to democracy: they wanted to taint our image.

After March 24, while demonstrations were still going on throughout the country, some young people who had been unjustly detained by the police wondered what course of action they should take next. They decided to start the Veilleurs, based on the practice of non-violence. This movement spread like wildfire throughout France. It is very promising.

Authentic vocations do not begin in agitation, but rather in reflection, in meditation. There can be no spiritual life if there is not interior life, and there can be no interior life without silence. It is simply marvelous that these young people have been able to inspire the crowds to this silence. Thus we broke the vicious circle of violence that too often characterizes social movements in our country. No matter what is said, a fact remains: our movement has lasted over two years now, without any one of us ever having burned a single car, broken a single window, or put up a single barricade. This is our strength. We are the antithesis to the barricades put up in May of 1968.

Giuseppe Rusconi

2. Konrad Krajewski

“You need to get out of the Vatican…”

Archbishop, Papal Almoner, from Poland
The “hands” of Pope Francis in the past two years have been those of Archbishop Konrad Krajewski. He is the man the Pope has entrusted with carrying out acts of charity toward the poor of Rome. For the quiet, generous way Krajewski has carried out this important work, we are pleased to name him one of our “Top Ten” persons of 2014.

Krajewski, born on November 25, 1963, is a Polish archbishop of the Catholic Church. He was a papal master of ceremonies from 1998 to 2013. In 2013 he was appointed Papal Almoner.

Krajewski was born in Łódź, Poland. In 1982 he entered the diocesan seminary of Łódź and earned a degree in theology from the Catholic University of Lublin. He was ordained a priest on June 11, 1988. He worked in the diocese for two years in pastoral work.

In 1990, Krajewski was sent to Rome to continue his studies at the Liturgical Institute of St. Anselmo. On March 5, 1993 he obtained his Licentiate in Sacred Liturgy.

Krajewski earned a Doctorate in Theology from the Angelicum in 1995 with a dissertation on “Episcopal Ordination in the Reform of Vatican II.” During those years in Rome, Krajewski collaborated with the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff.

He returned to his diocese in 1995, and served as master of ceremonies for the archbishop as well as teaching liturgy at the seminary and to the Franciscans and Salesians.

In 1998 he returned to Rome to work in the Pope’s Office of Liturgical Celebrations. On May 12, 1999, he was appointed a Papal Master of Ceremonies by Pope John Paul II.

In 2013, Pope Francis appointed him Almoner of His Holiness and at the same time Titular Arch­bishop of Beneventum (succeeding Manuel Monteiro de Castro in this last function).

He was consecrated on September 17, 2013 by Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello with Archbishop Piero Marini and Bishop Władysław Ziólek acting as co-consecrators. Pope Francis attended the consecration.

The almoner’s duties are twofold: carrying out acts of charity and raising the money to fund them.

Krajewski’s office funds its work by papal blessings on parchment with a photograph of the Pope, which the faithful can obtain for a particular occasion — say a wedding, baptism or priestly ordination — with the name of the recipient and an apostolic blessing written in calligraphy. The parchments range from €13 (US$17) to €25 (US$33) apiece, plus shipping. All proceeds go directly to the works of charity. In 2012, the office spent 1 million Euro (US$1.4 million) on 6,500 requests for help.

Krajewski has described how Francis has redefined the little-known office of Papal Almoner and explained the true meaning of giving.

“The Holy Father,” he said, “told me at the beginning: ‘You can sell your desk. You don’t need it. You need to get out of the Vatican. Don’t wait for people to come ringing. You need to go out and look for the poor.’”

Krajewski gets his marching orders each morning: A Vatican gendarme goes from the Vatican guesthouse where Francis lives to Krajewski’s office across the Vatican Gardens, bringing a bundle of letters that the Pope has received from the faithful asking for help.

On the top of each letter, Francis might write “You know what to do” or “Go find them” or “Go talk to them.”

And so “Don Corrado,” as he likes to be called, hits the streets.

Archbishop Krajewski has visited homes for the elderly in the name of the Pope and writes checks to the needy in the name of the Pope. He traveled to the island of Lampedusa in the name of the Pope after a migrant boat capsized.
Archbishop Krajewski spent four days on Lampedusa, bringing 1,600 phone cards so the survivors could call loved ones back home in Eritrea to let them know they had made it.

He also prayed with police divers as they worked to raise the dead from the sea floor.

Inside the Vatican Staff

3. Rev. Eugene and Dr. Jacqueline Rivers

A married couple one a Protestant minister, the other a noted scholar, from the United States
The son of divorced parents who belonged to the Nation of Islam when he was growing up in Chicago, Rev. Dr. Eugene Rivers has been speaking out for the revival of Christian family values in the black community for more than 30 years. Now located in Boston, he is a nationally-known inner-city pastor of a Church of God in Christ, the largest historically-black Pentecostal denomination in the US.

His wife, Dr. Jacqueline Rivers, earned her Ph.D. in African-American Studies and Sociology at Harvard University, where she met her husband. She is the Executive Director of the Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies, founded by Rev. Rivers.

The couple presented the eloquent closing statement, entitled “A New Affirmation of Marriage,” at the Vatican-sponsored Humanum colloquium affirming traditional marriage in November (see our December 2014 issue for complete text).

The moving essay, read at the conference by both Rev. and Mrs. Rivers, begins, “Why do weddings still move us?” and goes on to remind us of the irreplaceable beauty of marriage, which “binds us across the ages in the flesh, across families in the flesh, and across the fearful and wonderful divide of man and woman, in the flesh.”

In 2005, the Seymour Institute published God’s Gift: A Christian Vision of Marriage and the Black Family, in which Rev. Rivers and co-author Kenneth D. Johnson cite the near-disappearance of the black family unit as a primary reason for the social and economic woes of the black community in general.

“Black men and women simply don’t get married,” the report says. “Some black women have a series of children, each fathered by a different man and raised in a female-headed household.”

They cite high unemployment rates among black men, their limited access to well-paying jobs, and “a lack of sexual fidelity, especially on the part of black men, resulting in embittered relations between black men and women, both married and unmarried.”

“One of the things that is perhaps most disturbing is the divorce rate for blacks,” Rev. Rivers laments, saying even middle class blacks divorce at twice the rate of their white counterparts. “Whatever socioeconomic strata you go to,” he says, “we still have this crisis throughout the entire community.”

Church leadership on promoting “a culture of sexual fidelity” is the answer, he says. Children need to “believe that relationships have integrity, you know, relationships are sacred.”

In Jacqueline Rivers’ address to the Humanum colloquium, she highlighted the fact that marriage is a gift from God.

“Something precious was stolen from blacks in the United States during slavery,” she began. “It was a blessing from the hand of the Creator Himself: the right of a man and a woman to be joined in holy matrimony.”

Despite legal prohibitions, she said, “My ancestors longed to participate in the blessings of divinely sanctioned marriage… striving to be faithful even under the harsh conditions of slavery” and seeking marriage in large numbers immediately after emancipation.

Dr. Rivers called marriage a “permanent bond” and a “divinely established order” that “creates unity at every level of husband and wife: physical, emotional, volitional and spiritual.”

However, she said, “sexual partnerships between persons of the same gender are being legally recognized as ‘marriages,’ thus abolishing in law the principle of marriage as a conjugal union and reducing it to nothing other than sexual or romantic companionship.”

Echoing Pope Francis’ statement that “children have a right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother,” Dr. Rivers warned that “the unavoidable message” of same-gender marriage “is a profoundly false and damaging one: that children do not need a mother and father in a permanent complementary bond.”

Rev. Rivers, in a December 2014 essay he co-authored with Kenneth D. Johnson, seeks to dispel confusion caused by same-gender marriage apologists who use the rhetoric of the US civil rights movement.

“The claim that the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman constitutes discrimination,” it says, “is based on a false analogy” with old laws prohibiting interracial marriage.

Using language similar to that in the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the dual ends of marriage, the article stresses “the procreative and unitive functions of marriage,” and notes that “racial differences do not interfere with the ability of sexually complementary spouses to become ‘one-flesh,’ as the Book of Genesis puts it,” in a potentially procreative way.

Dr. Jacqueline Rivers concluded her Humanum address by saying, “God our Father has brought us to this place, the Humanum Colloquium, to join in unity… Together, under God, we will see Him triumph, restoring a divinely inspired understanding of marriage.”

Christina Deardurff


4. Constantin Sigov

“The walls which divide us, do not reach up to Heaven.”

Leading Christian intellectual from Kyiv, Ukraine — Russian Orthodox in faith, Ukrainian in nationality
The tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine continued to deepen throughout 2014.

In this situation, the courageous work of many on behalf of a negotiated solution is praiseworthy.

Among those who have been a force for reason and freedom for an entire lifetime is Dr. Constantin Sigov, a leading Russian Orthodox intellectual from Kyiv who is Professor of Philosophy and Religion Studies at Ukraine’s National University of Kyiv-Mohyla in Kiev. In recognition of his contribution to peace in Ukraine, in Europe, and in the Church, we are pleased to honor Constantin Sigov as one of our “Top Ten” persons of 2014.

One of Sigov’s lasting contributions has been his founding and leadership of the St. Clement’s Center in Kyiv.

The Center was founded in 2007 in Kyiv with the blessing of His Beatitude Volodymyr, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine. The Center was inaugurated on the feast of St. Clement of Rome on December 8, 2007. The Archbishop of Poltava and Myrhorod, Filip, and Cardinal Walter Kasper, among other participants, attended the inauguration.

The main goal of the Center’s activity is to contemporize and disseminate the spiritual heritage of St. Clement of Rome and Sts. Cyril and Methodius.
In September 2009, Sigov gave a talk at a conference in Freising, Germany, on Christian ecumenical dialogue, and explained how the Center came into being.

“In December 2007, Cardinal Walter Kasper inaugurated the ecumenical St. Clement’s Center in Kyiv,” Sigov said. “He was accompanied by the Archbishop of Lviv, Mieczysław Mokszycki, and the Apostolic Nuncio in Ukraine, Archbishop Ivan Jurkovi. The Orthodox participants of the inauguration were the Archbishop of Poltava and Myrhorod, Filip, and the former Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations Archimandrite Cyril (Hovorun).

“In the middle of winter, people heard spring news.

“The sun was shining, as if giving a special blessing to that time in December when days were the shortest in the year.

“A testimony of love among Christians in the ‘hot spots,’ in which it was quite unexpected, disproved the stereotype of the ‘ecumenical winter,’ which emerged at the end of the last century. It reminded mankind about the fundamental relation between the Christmas Star and the spring Easter Tree.”

Sigov added: “The words of Pope St. Clement still remain of vital importance for us: ‘Wherefore, having so many great and glorious examples set before us, let us turn again to the practice of that peace which from the beginning was the mark set before us; and let us look steadfastly to the Father and Creator of the universe, and cleave to His mighty and surpassingly great gifts and benefactions of peace. Let us contemplate Him with our understanding and look with the eyes of our soul to His long-suffering will. Let us reflect how free from wrath He is towards all His creation.” (Clement, First Epistle to the Corinthians)

Constantin’s St. Clement’s Center has published many Catholic works of theology in Ukrainian. It has also sponsored a Summer Institute each year bringing together as many as 150 young people.

“In 1988, the most radical antithesis to the Soviet myth, which claimed to have started a new era of a new world with the revolution of 1917, was the celebration of the 1,000th anniversary of the baptism of Kyiv Rus’ during the reign of prince Volodymyr in 988. The death of the Soviet rulers of Brezhnev’s generation revealed the futility of their attempts to ‘cancel’ the 1000-year-long tradition.

“Twenty years later, on July 28, 2008, the Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew, and the late Patriarch of Moscow, Alexiy II, came to Kyiv to celebrate the feast of St.Volodymyr. This day was announced as the Day of Remembrance of the Baptism of Kyiv and proclaimed a state holiday in Ukraine. Today the interpretation of the tradition of St. Volodymyr may give rise to disputes among the pretenders to its inheritance. Beyond the disputes, however, remains Kyiv’s identity as this fruitful branch growing among the family of Christian cultures.

“In the spirit of Ut unum sint (the final prayer of Christ), we will continue to work towards the treasured goal when the Church will breathe with her two lungs once again. To conclude, I would like to quote the famous statement of one of the Kyiv metropolitans, which best communicates the spirit of the Kyiv tradition: ‘The words which divide us, do not reach up to Heaven.’ I consider these words to be the key leitmotif of our cooperation.”

For his work in reconciling Christians of the Orthodox and Catholic traditions, and for his efforts to make Christian faith a vibrant reality in the modern Europe of our time, we are pleased to honor Constantin Sigov as one of our “Top Ten” persons of 2014.

Christopher Hart-Moynihan
5. Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino

Retired Archbishop and Cardinal of Havana, from Cuba

“In 2010, Ortega pleaded the case for the island’s imprisoned dissidents in a four-hour meeting with Raul Castro…”

The breakthrough in relations between the United States and Cuba announced in mid-December has prompted an outpouring of praise, but also of critical analysis.

The essence of the debate revolves around the question of whether this new “openness” in Cuba will bring a more free society, and so benefit Cuba’s ordinary citizens, or simply entrench more firmly an authoritarian regime which has been in place since the 1960s.

In the midst of this debate is Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino. Ortega is controversial. Critics say he has not done enough for dissidents in Cuba. But he is also highly praised for a lifetime of work on behalf of the Church and the people of Cuba.

For this lifetime of effort, culminating in the breakthroughs announced in December, we are pleased to honor Cardinal Ortega as one of our “Top Ten” persons of 2014.

The role of negotiator may not seem like a good fit for Ortega, who has publicly opposed the Castro regime since he was first ordained as a priest in 1964. (He became the archbishop of Havana in 1981 and was elevated to cardinal in 1994). But who better to be an “honest broker” than someone with Ortega’s background?

As a young priest he opted against exile even though soon after returning to Cuba from his religious training in Canada, he was imprisoned for more than a year in a work camp.

Writers like Marielena Montesino de Stuart are critical of Ortega. They say that for 54 years the Cuban people, inside their “island prison,” as well as the exiled community abroad, have suffered not only under Castro’s bloody Communist regime, but also due to the “betrayal” of Catholic prelates who travel the globe to symposiums and conferences to speak about Cuba’s past, present and future.

“Meanwhile,” she writes, “the people of Cuba continue to experience unspeakable persecution and suffering at the hands of their Communist captors. Ortega is a perfect example of the hypocritical game played by modernist Vatican officials — in the ongoing dialogue and rapprochement with the Communists, which has often been duplicitous towards dissidents, prisoners and Cubans in exile. Someone has to say the truth.”

But is it really the truth? Others think that the way Ortega has led the Church has been courageous and exemplary, and has now brought good fruits which will benefit ordinary Cubans, and prepare the island for a more free future.

“Over the past half-century, Fidel and Raul Castro have ensured — through exile, purges and execution — that no political figure or generation has emerged as their obvious successors,” journalist Mark I. Pinsky wrote in USA Today in 2011. “Given this reality, post-Castro Cuba will need someone trusted by all segments of society to help shepherd this nation into a new era, without bloodshed or upheaval. Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, archbishop of Havana, is that man. The son of a sugar mill worker, Ortega is uniquely equipped to fill any power vacuum.”

In coming years, “Ortega will be well-positioned to exercise his influence in the economic and political transformation,” Pinsky wrote.

He continued: “For 30 years after Cuba’s 1959 revolution, Church attendance plummeted, in part because of government restrictions and sanctions. Although no reliable statistics are available, observers say the Catholic Church has experienced a slow but steady resurgence under Ortega’s leadership… If Ortega outlives the Castro brothers, he will make an ideal if unelected candidate to lead, a master of realpolitik who walks a fine line between principled opposition to some government policies, and practical accommodation to others.”

In 2010, Ortega pleaded the case for the island’s imprisoned dissidents in a four-hour meeting with Raul Castro, negotiating an arrangement that would send released prisoners to exile in Spain.

Not long after the releases, Ortega was instrumental in another agreement with the government that allowed any of the island’s 200 remaining political prisoners to move from jails far from their homes to prisons in their home provinces. And now, Ortega, along with diplomats from the Holy See, has managed to help negotiate the lifting of American economic sanctions on the island nation.

In recent years, Raul Castro has appeared twice in public with Ortega, once for the dedication of a new US-sup­port­ed Catholic seminary, and earlier for a beatification Mass for a Cuban priest, Jose Ollalo, known as the “father of the poor.”

Ortega has been critical of both capitalism and communism. Like John Paul II, he has urged his nation not to construct a post-communist future on the basis of hyper-capitalist principles. In 1998, he warned of the insidious influence in Cuba of a “species of American subculture that invades everything: It is a fashion, a conception of life.” In September 1993 the Cuban Conference of Catholic Bishops, headed by Cardinal Ortega, published the message “El amor todo lo espera” (“Love endures all things”), extremely critical of the Cuban Communist government and asking for a new direction of the country.
For the many “small steps” he has taken over a lifetime of service to his people and nation, we honor Cardinal Ortega as one of our “Top Ten” persons of 2014.

By Inside the Vatican Staff

6. Maria Hildingsson

“If you want to build peace, you cannot manage it without the family…”

Secretary General of the European Federation of Catholic Family Associations (FAFCE), from Sweden
“If you want to build peace, you cannot manage it without the family,” says Maria Hildingsson, Secretary General of the European Federation of Catholic Family Associations (FAFCE). Hildingsson is leading the charge for political representation of family interests from a Catholic perspective in the European Union’s governing bodies.

Born and raised in Sweden, Hildingsson moved to France in 1997, obtaining her Master’s degree in international relations at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Internationales in Paris in 2004. She assumed her post at FAFCE in 2009.
Originally formed after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, FAFCE has been recognized by the Council of Europe, and has representatives from every EU member country. It was recognized as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with participative status in 2001 — the only explicitly Catholic NGO with this status in Europe.

Many Europeans assume that the EU government in Brussels does not affect their daily lives, but, in an interview in 2014, Hildingsson noted that about 70% of national laws actually originate at the European level. “I do think it’s important to underline how much power the EU actually has, although it can seem as if it is very far away, very abstract,” she says.

Unfortunately, the influence of the EU Parliament and the Council of Europe has not been benign toward the family.

One dramatic example is the Estrela Report. Portuguese member of parliament Edite Estrela drafted the text, which put reproductive “health” — including free access to abortion — on a par with other human rights. It also refused the right of conscientious objection for medical staff who oppose technologies which violate the dignity of the person. Thanks in part to a vigorous campaign led by FAFCE, the Estrela Report was voted down in December 2013. Though non-binding, it could have paved the way to push this agenda on every EU nation.

FAFCE has tackled other related concerns in 2014, including the eclipse of the family by economic issues. While conceding the necessity of economic support, she says, “The Euro 2020 strategy is about work… but it is not based on a family perspective. It is rather about improving the competitiveness of European countries. The family is thus put aside.”

Hildingsson identifies three main groups among the EU Parliament members: those who see marriage as an institution intended to protect children and spouses, and another group which is, she says, “hostile to this idea.”
“But in between these groups,” she continues, “there is a huge group, a majority… who never, perhaps, paid much attention to these issues.” This group is, Hildingsson says, is “quite willing to listen to arguments, put forward with common sense, but also using facts and figures… many things we can promote in the European debate.”

Family breakdown threatens Europe socially, as it does the West in general. Hildingsson maintains that it “does not reflect the desires of the hearts of young people,” who “want to have a family, relationships that last a lifetime, and they respect adults who have been good parents and kept their families together.”
In fact, Hildingsson believes that a change in mindset might actually be underway in Europe. In the debate about same-gender marriage and children, she says, “I think it is very important to have a look at a map of Europe… you will see there is a rift which is growing bigger and bigger” between the former Warsaw Pact states, who resist these policies, and the wealthier Western European states, who pressure them to change in return for financial aid. “Sometimes there is true bullying,” she says.

But large popular protests against anti-family policies have not been limited to countries like Hungary and Croatia; witness in France the Manif Pour Tous (“Demonstration for All”) phenomenon of a million protesting technology-assisted reproduction. And in 2013, almost 2 million signed the “One of Us” initiative to stop EU funding of technologies that destroy human embryos.

“I lived in France for 13 years, and I can see that there is a change in the minds of people,” Hildingsson said. “This would not have happened five years ago, I think. It is a reaction that comes from the grassroots level, from normal people in the street who are actually starting to realize that they can make a change.” It is a realization that may not have happened, nor been acted upon, without the tireless efforts of Maria Hildingsson and her colleagues at the European Federation of Catholic Family Associations.

Identifying the Catholic principle which forms the basis for their work, she concludes: “We cannot act from an individualistic perspective; we need to search for the common good.”

Christina Deardurff

7. Duarte da Cunha

A uniter — worker for unity

General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe, from Portugal
Administrative work can sometimes be unappreciated.

But when it is carried out with tact, vision and diplomacy, it can bring Christian charity to bear on the careful work of organization that, in the end, produces many fruits for the Church and society.

And during 2014, especially in Minsk, Belarus, during a high-level conference between Catholic and Orthodox representatives to discuss the faith and secularism in Europe today, a young monsignor from Portugal distinguished himself for his unfailing calm, Christian friendliness, and plain old hard work to ensure that Catholic-Orthodox dialogue in 2014 continued forward on an even keel despite many obstacles.

For these reasons, we are pleased to honor Monsignor Duarte da Cunha as one of our “Top Ten” persons of 2014.

On October 4, 2013, in Bratislava, Mons. Duarte da Cunha (his complete name is Duarte Nuno Queiroz de Barros da Cunha) was voted unanimously to serve as Secretary General of the Conference of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) for a second five-year term (2013-2018) by the presidents of Europe’s various national bishops’ conferences gathered in Bratislava for their annual Plenary Assembly.

Monsignor da Cunha was previously elected for the same position during the 2008 Plenary Assembly in Budapest, to succeed Mgr. Aldo Giordano, currently the Special Envoy-Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

In this way, the CCEE President, Cardinal Péter Erdö, together with Vice-Presidents Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco and Msgr. Józef Michalik, and the Presidents of Bishops’ Conferences, expressed their appreciation for the work carried out over the previous five years by da Cunha, and thanked him for his willingness to serve for a second term. The assembly also thanked the Patriarch of Lisbon, Manuel José Macário do Nascimento Clemente, for his generosity in allowing one of his priests to serve the Church in Europe.

Fr. Duarte da Cunha, a priest of the Patriarchal Archdiocese of Lisbon (Portugal), was born on June 1, 1968 and ordained priest in 1993. After secondary school he gained a Baccalaureate in Theology from the Catholic University of Lisbon. He then attended the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and gained a Licentiate in Theology (1995) and then, in 1998, a Doctorate in Theology with a thesis on “Friendship in the Work of St. Thomas Aquinas.”

Among his numerous academic activities, Fr. Duarte da Cunha was, from 2000-2004, Professor of Church Social Doctrine in the Faculty of Humanities, and Professor of Faith and Theology in the Faculty of Theology, at the Catholic University of Portugal.

At the same University he was President of a Commission entrusted with the task of establishing the Institute of Family Sciences (2002-2005).
He also taught a variety of subjects (Ecclesiology, Fundamental Theology, Eschatology and Mariology) at the Catholic seminary in East Timor between 2002 and 2005.

In Lisbon, he worked as General Secretary to the Patriarch of Lisbon (1997-2000) and Assistant in the Office for the Family (1997-2007).
From 1998 to 2008, he was also a parish priest in Lisbon.

In 1998, da Cunha founded and is now the President of the “Ponto de Apoio à Vida” Association, a private body aimed at helping and supporting pregnant women in difficult situations. Since 1998 he has been chaplain to the “Ajuda de Berço,” a private institution which accepts abandoned babies.

He speaks fluently Italian, English, French and Spanish.

In his work with the European bishops, one of his major tasks has been to guide the work of the Orthodox-Catholic Forum, which he has done with great skill and tact. For all these reasons, we honor him as one of our “Top Ten” of 2014.

—Christopher Hart-Moynihan

8. Arlindo Gomes Furtado

“Complete and total surprise…”

Bishop of Santiago, Cape Verde, and Cardinal-designate, from Cape Verde
On January 4, Pope Francis announced he would create 20 new cardinals. Two of them would come from Africa. One of these two, Bishop Arlindo Gomes Furtado, whose diocese is part of the Cape Verde archipelago 400 miles off the coast of West Africa, has been a humble Church pastor whose work for many years has been focused on his small flock with unstinting commitment.

Because he represents the type of pastor the Church needs in these times, we are pleased to select Cardinal-designate Furtado as one of our “Top Ten” persons of 2014.

“We are trying to make the Church more open, welcoming, more dynamic in her evangelization,” he recently told Catholic News Service, adding that the spiritual aid given to families and especially the youth has been a top priority for the dioceses in his country. “Poverty and the rise of unemployment often lead to increased violence, and that is of great concern to us.”

In a telephone interview from his diocese, based in the Cape Verde capital, Praia, Furtado said he had “no idea” that Pope Francis would name him a cardinal on January 4: “It was a complete and total surprise,” he said. He will be among 20 men elevated to the College of Cardinals at a February 14 consistory at the Vatican.

The 65-year-old said he believes he was chosen because of the history of the Catholic Church in his Portuguese-speaking country. The diocese, based in the capital, is one of the oldest dioceses in Africa, he said, adding, “I believe it was time for a cardinal to be chosen from here.”

Cidade Velha, in Cape Verde Diocese, was the location of one of the first cathedrals in Africa and has been selected by the United Nations as a World Heritage Site.

The cardinal-designate said of his appointment: “It will be a challenge, I am sure, but with the help of God and my community I will try to further the teachings of the Lord.”

In 2014, the bishops of Cape Verde went to Rome to speak to Pope Francis during their regularly scheduled “ad limina” visit, and Bishop Furtado said they were pleased with the pontiff’s interest in the region. “We believe that, coming from the South [southern hemisphere], he understands our difficulties and our culture,” he said.

Arlindo Gomes Furtado was born November 15, 1949, in Santa Catarina, on the largest island of the Cape Verde archipelago.

He first attended São José Seminary on October 1, 1963, for his secondary school studies. On September 11, 1971, he departed for Coimbra, Portugal, in order to continue his studies in that city’s seminary. After concluding a course in Theology at the Higher Institute of Theological Studies, he returned to Cape Verde in 1976 and was ordained a priest that year. Between 1978 and 1986, he served as Rector at São José Seminary. In August 1986, he departed for Rome, where he earned a degree in Biblical Sciences from the Biblical Institute of Rome. He returned to Cape Verde in 1990, residing at São José Seminary.
For a year, he supported the population of the Praia neighborhoods of Lém Cachorro and Achada de São Filipe. At the same time, he taught English at Domingos Ramos High School. Between 1991 and 1995 he taught Biblical Greek, Hebrew, History and Geography of the Biblical People, as well as Old Testament Studies, at the Higher Institute of Theological Studies in Coimbra. During his years there, he was also parochial administrator of two communities, Amel and Vila Pouca.

He also collaborated with the group that translated the New Capuchin Bible, translating Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Sirach, writing their respective introductions as well. In 1995, he returned to Cape Verde to lead the Parish of Nossa Senhora da Graça. He was a member of the National Board of Education and a professor at the National Police Training School. He served as Vicar General of the Diocese of Cape Verde until 2004.

On December 9 of 2003, Pope John Paul II created the Diocese of Mindelo and named Father Furtado its first bishop.

On February 22, 2004, he was ordained Bishop by Santiago Bishop Paulino Livramento Évora in the presence of bishops from Guinea Bissau, Senegal, Portugal and other members of the regional episcopal conference.

On August 15, 2009, Furtado was sworn in as Bishop of Santiago during the celebrations marking Praia’s patron saint, Our Lady of Grace. He is the 34th Bishop of Cape Verde and the second of Cape Verdean nationality.

On his Facebook page, Cape Verde’s Prime Minister, Jose Maria Neves, congratulated the cardinal-designate. “I felt an enormous pride and my heart filled with joy upon receiving the news of the nomination,” he said. “It is a moment of great jubilation for the entire Cape Verde nation.”

Furtado will be a cardinal elector — in other words, he will be the voice of Cape Verdean Catholics, who will now have an official vote in the Catholic Church’s most important decisions, including in the election of Popes.

As a Bishop, Furtado is praised not only for his pastoral zeal but also for taking a keen interest in the pastoral welfare of Cape Verdean communities in the diaspora. It could well be said that he lives his episcopal motto: “Jesus, the Good Shepherd.”

—Inside the Vatican Staff

9. George Pell

“We’re not giving in to the secular agenda…”

Cardinal Prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy, from Australia
Among the heroes of contemporary Catholicism — and an influential voice at the recent Synod on the Family — is Australia’s Cardinal George Pell.

A trusted colleague of the three last pontiffs, Cardinal Pell is one of the Church’s most respected prelates, and one of ITV’s “Top Ten” persons of the year.

Growing up in the Australian outback, Pell, a tall, ruggedly-built man, once had ambitions to be a football player, but his thoughts soon turned toward the priesthood, as he “became convinced that God wanted me to do his work.”

Ordained in 1966, the young priest’s talents — he is highly educated (with degrees in theology and history) and has a gift for speaking — were quickly recognized, as his rapid rise in the Catholic hierarchy indicates.

St. John Paul II appointed him Archbishop of Melbourne in 1996, and the leader of the Sydney Archdiocese in 2001. In 2003, Pell received his red hat, and in 2005 he participated in the papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI, of whom Pell be­came a great supporter.

The following year, Pell made a successful effort to host the 2008 World Youth Day, which became one of the most successful events of its kind. Pell has been an advisor or member of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Congregation for Divine Worship, the Pontifical Council for the Family, and the Congregation of Bishops. By the time Francis became Pope in 2013, Pell’s skills were so well-known, that he was among the first appointed by the new Pope to counsel him on how to best reform the Church.

In early 2014, Pell became the first-Cardinal-Prefect of the newly-created Secretariat for the Economy, responsible for the financial affairs of the Vatican. (As a result of his new post in Rome, Pell’s see in Sydney went vacant, and has since been filled by Archbishop Anthony Fisher). In his new position, Cardinal Pell has already caused international headlines, particularly when he revealed that he had found “hundreds of millions of Euros” tucked away in accounts that hadn’t appeared on the Vatican’s balance sheets.

No illegalities had occurred, but the revelation did show how dysfunctional the Vatican’s bookkeeping is.

Pell is determined to clean it up — despite resistance from the “old guard” within the Curia — and has the Pope’s full confidence in pursuing that reform.
But it is as a public defender of the Church that Cardinal Pell is best known, and at the recent Synod on the Family he was nothing short of magnificent — defending orthodoxy and rebuking the media for depicting the Synod as a liberal revolution.

“We’re not giving in to the secular agenda; we’re not collapsing,” he told the media as the Synod was taking place. Moreover, the Church has “no intention” of following those “radical elements” in the Church who want to change or weaken settled Catholic teaching — particularly on homosexuality and Communion for the divorced and remarried.

The final report on the Synod, which reaffirmed Catholic orthodoxy, vindicated Cardinal Pell’s position, though Catholic dissenters — which include a few prelates, alas — are still determined to push for some form of “change” at the concluding Synod this fall. The strategy will be to affirm Catholic doctrine, while undermining it, ever so cleverly, through “pastoral practice.”

But Cardinal Pell — already anticipating that underhanded move — will have none of it.

“Doctrine does develop,” and as it does, “we understand truth more deeply,” he has said. “But there are no doctrinal ‘back-flips’ in Catholic history,” he notes. “The apostolic tradition announced first by Christ and founded in the Scriptures is the touchstone for truth and genuine pastoral practice.” There can be no contradiction between the two.

Summing up his vision of the Church, Cardinal Pell affirms: “The secret for all Catholic vitality is fidelity to the teachings of Christ and to the teachings and the tradition of the Church.”

The Church is blessed to have such a powerful witness.

William A. Doino, Jr.

10. Carlo Maria Viganò

“Trust in the Lord…”

Archbishop, Nuncio of the Holy See to the United States, Italian

For our tenth “Person of the Year,” we chose a man of great integrity who holds one of the most delicate diplomatic posts in the world as the ambassador of Pope Francis to the United States of America.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, by all accounts, did not seek this post, which was entrusted to him originally by Pope Benedict in the troubled circumstances of the “Vatileaks” affair toward the end of Benedict’s pontificate.

But, when Pope Benedict confirmed personally to Viganò that he wished Viganò to take up a mission in Washington that would be “providential” for the Church and the world, Viganò accepted.

And in the years since, he has been the papal nuncio in America, Viganò has carried out his duties with unfailing calm and goodwill, listening to the concerns of all and “building bridges” in many both visible and hidden ways.

For this reason, we are pleased to honor him as one of our “Top Ten” persons of 2014.

Carlo Maria Viganò, born on January 16, 1941 — so this January it is appropriate to wish him a belated “Happy Birthday” on turning 74 — became the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States on October 19, 2011.

He had served as Secretary-General of the Governorate of Vatican City State for just a little more than two years, from July 16, 2009 to September 3, 2011.

Born in Varese, in northern Italy, Viganò was ordained a priest on March 24, 1968, at the age of 27. He studied law and earned a doctorate in utroque iure (both canon and civil law). In addition to his native Italian, he learned to speak French, Spanish and English.

He entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1973, and worked in missions in Iraq and Great Britain. For 11 years, from 1978 to 1989, he held posts at the Secretariat of State, and thus came to know the Vatican well. He was then named Special Envoy and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on April 4, 1989.

On April 26, 1992, he was consecrated arch­bishop by Pope John Paul II, with Cardinals Franciszek Macharski and Angelo Sodano serving as co-consecrators.

John Paul chose him to be the Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria. Pope John Paul II visited Nigeria in 1997 while Viganò was still Apostolic Nuncio there.

After his mission to Nigeria, Viganò was assigned to functions within the Secretariat of State as delegate for Pontifical Representations, making him the personnel chief for the Roman Curia as well as for Vatican diplomats. This means that he understood very well who was working in the Curia, and what their backgrounds and capacities were.

He served in this role until he became Secretary General of the Governorate of Vatican City State on July 16, 2009.

In that role he established centralized accounting procedures and accountability for cost overruns that helped turn a $10.5 million deficit for the city-state into a surplus of $44 million in one year.

Viganò came to be known as a fearless defender of the rights of the weak and poor, in the Vatican itself, in the Church, and in the world in general. On one occasion he spoke out sharply against global processes — a certain style of “globalization” — which may diminish human dignity and even deny the sacredness of human life.

As Secretary General of the Governorate, he spoke at the General Assembly of Interpol in November 2010, saying that “the issue which needs to be faced is one closely linked to the process of globalization which is now affecting every aspect of the life of nations, peoples and individuals, and is accompanied by political and economic changes which are often uncontrolled and even uncontrollable.”

He added: “While it is true that globalization offers opportunities for development and enrichment, it is also true that it can cause increased poverty and hunger… Nor can we underestimate the fact that the fruits of technological and scientific progress can, for all their enormous benefits to humanity, be used in a way that clearly violates the order of creation, even to the point of denying the sacredness of life and stripping the human person and the family of their natural identity.”

Viganò’s fearless work provoked opposition, and Pope Benedict was persuaded to transfer him out of the Vatican to the US. V

igano sees being Apostolic Nuncio to the United States as an “important, vast and delicate” task; he was grateful to Pope Benedict for entrusting him with the mission and he felt called to renew his “trust in the Lord, who asks me to set out again.” Being an Apostolic Nuncio in the US, he has said, is “a call to know this people, this country and come to love them.”

For all that he has done throughout his career, for his example of courage and fidelity, and for the calm and gracious way that he has handled his duties in America, we honor Archbishop Viganò as one of our “Top Ten” persons of the year.

Inside the Vatican Staff
What is the glory of God?

“The glory of God is man alive; but the life of man is the vision of God.”Irenaeus of Lyons, in the territory of France, Against All Heresies, c. 180 A.D.

Facebook Comments