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with an ear to the ground in Rome

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Feb 01, 2010

If you've been following this blog very, very carefully, and taking note, you were aware that Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, the prefect of the powerful Congregation for Bishops, celebrated his 75th birthday last Friday. And that roughly since he turned 75-- retirement age-- there have been rumors about his replacement. More recently, Vatican insiders hinted that they expected an announcement at about the time of Cardinal Re's birthday: that is, about now.

You may also recall that Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, was regarded the most likely replacement

With that in mind, if you take today's routine announcement of the most recent papal audiences, and add a bit of emphasis, things get interesting:

On Saturday 31 January he received in separate audiences:

  • Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia.
  • Seven prelates from the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, on their "ad limina" visit:
  • Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops David Christopher McGough and William Kenney C.P.
  • Bishop Kieran Thomas Conry of Arundel and Brighton.
  • Bishop Hugh Christopher Budd of Plymouth.
  • Bishop Roger Francis Crispian Hollis of Portsmouth.
  • Bishop Thomas McMahon of Brentwood.
  • Archbishop Petar Rajic, apostolic nuncio to Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar, and apostolic delegate to the Arabian Peninsula, accompanied by members of his family.
  • Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, perfect of the Congregation for Bishops.
Could it be coincidence? Absolutely; it could be. But I see I'm not the only one who noticed. 

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Show 1 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Te_Deum - Feb. 02, 2010 3:15 PM ET USA

    It's fun watching that Bollettino!

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