27 December 2008

A Look Ahead – 2009 in the USA Hierarchy

As another year wraps up, its time to once again look ahead at what changes in the Catholic Hierarchy of the USA might be anticipated for the upcoming year.

First, there are the Cardinals. Cardinal Maida (Archbishop of Detroit) turns 79 in March. It seems very likely that his retirement and the naming of a replacement will occur this year. In April, Cardinal Egan (Archbishop of New York) turns 77. His retirement and the naming of his replacement might also occur this year, or perhaps next. One other deserves a mention, Cardinal Stafford. Although he is not an ordinary, he is from the US (Baltimore) and also turns 77 in the coming year. He is also likely to retire as Major Penitentiary in the next year or two.

There are 9 other ordinaries already over 75 (marked with an * below) and another 8 that reach that age in the coming year. First, the archbishops:
  • Eusebius Joseph Beltran: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Alexander Joseph Brunett: Seattle, Washington
  • Elden Francis Curtiss*: Omaha, Nebraska
  • Alfred Clifton Hughes*: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Daniel Edward Pilarczyk: Cincinnati, Ohio
    (Coadjutor: Dennis Marion Schnurr)
Next, the bishops:
  • Edmond Carmody: Corpus Christi, Texas
  • Patrick Ronald Cooney: Gaylord, Michigan
  • Edward Peter Cullen*: Allentown, Pennsylvania
  • John Michael D'Arcy*: Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana
  • Bernard Joseph Harrington*: Winona, Minnesota
    (Coadjutor: John Michael Quinn)
  • William Leo Higi*: Lafayette in Indiana
  • John Jeremiah McRaith: Owensboro, Kentucky
  • James Michael Moynihan*: Syracuse, New York
  • James Albert Murray*: Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • Raymundo Joseph Peña: Brownsville, Texas
  • William Stephen Skylstad: Spokane, Washington
  • Arthur Nicholas Tafoya*: Pueblo, Colorado
In addtion, there are 8 diocese that are already vacant, namely:
  • Biloxi, Mississippi
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • Duluth, Minnesota
  • Gallup, New Mexico
  • Juneau, Alaska
  • Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Saint Louis, Missouri (archdiocese)
Over the coming weeks, I hope to again do an overview of each province of the USA. You may also find the two web pages below useful (both are frequently updated): Active Bishops Near Age Limit (USA) and Currently Vacant Dioceses (USA).

The Next Consistory to Create Cardinals (II)

Just over a year ago, I wrote a post on this topic, and my opinion is not substantially different today.

Today there are 116 Cardinal Electors and a total of 191 Cardinals overall. Assuming no one dies, 4 cardinal elector slots will open up over the next year. But that still leaves only 8 elector slots open at the end of 2009. If Pope Benedict XVI creates new cardinals in the coming year, he will almost certainly go past the 120 limit on cardinal electors.

In 2010, however, the situation changes – with 11 additional slots opening up. That would be a grand total of 19 open slots by the end of 2010.

In the end, my prediction remains the same: the next consistory to create cardinals will be held in 2010 after the end of March with mid-summer or fall being the most likely.

21 December 2008

Vacancy: Cardinal-Bishop of Palestrina

Within the inner circle of the Pope (the College of Cardinals) is another much smaller circle: the Cardinal-Bishops. This group of 6 includes the Dean and Vice-Dean (sometimes called Sub-Dean) of the College of Cardinals.1

These 6 are often quite well known and today is no exception. The current Cardinal-Bishops are: Cardinals Sodano, Etchegaray, Re, Arinze, and Bertone.

Cardinal Bertone was elevated in May taking the place left open by the death of Cardinal López Trujillo.

Pope Benedict XVI has only named one other Cardinal-Bishop and that was to replace himself as Cardinal-Bishop of Velletri-Segni after his election to the papacy. Cardinal Arinze was his selection. 2

Which leaves the curious case of the Cardinal-Bishop of Palestrina. In the two previous vacancies, the replacement was named within a month. But Cardinal Gantin (the last holder of this office) died more than 6 months ago.

There are, however, signs that it may soon be filled. Yesterday among the people who had audiences with the Pope two names stood out. First, Bishop Domenico Sigalini who is the Bishop of Palestrina. He is the ordinary of the diocese which goes with the vacant Cardinal-Bishop title.

The other name that I noticed was Agostino Cardinal Vallini, Vicar General of the Diocese of Rome. I do not mean to suggest that I have any inside information - I do not. But Cardinal Vallini, imo, would be an interesting choice for the vacancy.

In any event, because of the length of the vacancy and the audience with Bishop Sigalini, I suspect that the next fortnight will see this title filled.

1. I should note that technically Patriarchs that are Cardinals automatically have the rank of Cardinal-Bishop as well, but they rarely have the influence of the suburbican 6.
2. Again I should note that Cardinal Delly was named a Cardinal in the consistory of 2007 and became a Cardinal-Bishop by virtue of his being the Patriarch of Babylon (Chaldean).