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as the rumor mill churns

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jan 11, 2010

On Saturday, Pope Benedict XVI met in a private audience with Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re.

What's special about such a meeting? Nothing at all. The Pope meets regularly with the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, to conduct routine business.

But Cardinal Re is approaching his 76th birthday (January 30), and the ordinary retirement age for bishops is 75, and there have been rumors about his replacement for several months now. So every meeting between the Holy Father and Cardinal Re will attract extra attention, from now until... whenever it really isn't a routine business meeting. 

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