Action Alert!

too good to be true?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Oct 28, 2009

After the Pope, the Secretary of State, and the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the most influential man at the Vatican-- #4 on the overall list-- is the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. That congregation supervises the selection of bishops for dioceses all around the world; it's easy to see why the office is so important.

The prefect today is Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re. By reason of both tenure (he's just passed 9 years in that office) and age (he turns 76 in January), he is overdue for retirement. The prelate who succeeds him will have enormous influence in shaping the episcopate of the early 21st century.

So it's good news-- and that's an understatement-- that rumors that are circulating in Australia that the redoubtable Cardinal George Pell of Sydney may soon be headed for a new assignment in Rome. The Australian, in reporting that rumor, specifically mentions the Congregation for Bishops.

A feisty, orthodox, take-charge prelate in control of the machinery that produces new bishops? It sounds too good to be true. But we can hope and pray.

[H/T Ignatius Insight.]

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: Bernadette - Nov. 01, 2009 10:58 PM ET USA

    That would, indeed, be good news. I like all that I have read and heard from Cardinal Pell. However, he is needed in Australia, where the Catholic faith has suffered much these past 40 years. He has done much to improve the Catholic situation there, but much more needs to be done. Who of the cardinal's caliber could take over his position in Australia?

  • Posted by: kmbold - Oct. 31, 2009 2:04 PM ET USA

    Good news on the bishop front? O my soul!

  • Posted by: roymontfort3619 - Oct. 31, 2009 9:04 AM ET USA

    I just love Cardinal Pell and if this should come to past it will give me even more hope for the future of the Church. Roy in Louisville, KY

  • Posted by: mhains8491 - Oct. 30, 2009 10:23 PM ET USA

    Cardinal Pell is also well known to Pope Benedict, friends for many years! Plus I have also heard this rumours from very a reliable source (not the media, lets hope it is true.