ROME – In the 1999 film “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1955 novel, Dickie Greenleaf is a charismatic and rich young socialite who’s in the habit of drawing people into his orbit and making them feel special, until he loses interest and casts them aside.
When this begins to happen to Tom Ripley, the title character, Greenleaf’s girlfriend Marge Sherwood expresses sympathy.
“It’s like the sun shines on you and it’s glorious,” she says of Dickie’s favor, “and then he forgets you and it’s very, very cold.”
As Italian Cardinal Angelo De Donatis would be the latest to tell you, there’s a somewhat similar phenomenon with Pope Francis. After almost a decade in power, there’s an increasingly long list of figures who were once part of the pontiff’s inner circle, but who, for one reason or another, have lost that standing.
One day after Francis laid his predecessor Benedict XVI to rest on Thursday, he effectively buried De Donatis’ ecclesiastical career by issuing a sweeping overhaul of the Vicariate of Rome, taking away most of the vicar’s power and transferring it to auxiliary bishops in the Eternal City.
Pointedly, Francis decreed that the vicar must not “undertake important initiatives or ones exceeding ordinary administration without first having reported to me.”
It was a striking denouement for De Donatis, 69, whom Francis made an auxiliary bishop of Rome in 2015. Two years later De Donatis became the vicar, and in 2018 he became a cardinal. Also in 2018, De Donatis was the star speaker at a Vatican press conference to present Francis’s apostolic exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate, suggesting the Italian prelate was being groomed for a star role.Vicar of Rome latest papal confidante to fall out of favor | Crux