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Big personnel changes coming at the Vatican? An important new role for the ultimate 'airport bishop'?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Nov 25, 2015

In the National Catholic Reporter, Robert Mickens predicts a host of important personnel changes coming soon at the Vatican . I’m always hesitant to send readers to the Reporter, and I do not vouch for the accuracy of those predictions (in most cases I sincerely hope they are wrong) but I can’t deny that they make for interesting reading. Among them:

  • Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, will retire.
  • Archbishop Angelo Becciu, the sostituto, will be moved from that key post to become prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
  • As widely anticipated, the Pope will soon establish a new congregation to handle issues of marriage, family, and life.

As the first prefect of that new congregation, Mickens suggests Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, the chairman of the Council of Cardinals, who has been Archbishop of Tegucigalpa for 23 years, but, frankly, hasn’t spent much time recently in Honduras, a country where Catholic influence is steadily fading. Mickens goes on to say something that I’ve often thought myself:

Rodriguez is, without a doubt, one of Francis' most important allies. But he looks suspiciously like the epitome of the so-called "airport bishop" that the pope so strongly criticizes -- one who is constantly travelling abroad for speaking engagements and meetings and is rarely at home.

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 CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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