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Cardinal Scola to become Archbishop of Milan, top papabile

June 28, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI has named Cardinal Angelo Scola to become the Archbishop of Milan.

The appointment, announced on June 28, confirms reports that have circulated in recent days, and puts Cardinal Scola at the top of the list of Pope Benedict’s likely successors.

Cardinal Scola, who is now the Patriarch of Venice, will replace Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, who is retiring at the age of 77. Cardinal Scola will assume his new post in the fall.

The Archdiocese of Milan is the largest see in Italy, in the country’s leading financial and industrial center; the archdiocese has a Catholic population of nearly 5 million, and almost 3,000 priests. The Archbishop of Milan—successor to St. Ambrose and St. Charles Borromeo—has traditionally been a major figure in Italian Catholic affairs. In the 20th century, two archbishops of Milan later became Popes (Pius XI and Paul VI), and two have been beatified (Andrea Ferrari and Alfredo Schuster). The Patriarchate of Venice, where has served since 2002, also produced three Roman Pontiffs in the 20th century: St. Pius X, Blessed John XXIII, and John Paul I.

Born in 1941, Angelo Scola was ordained a priest of the Teramo diocese in 1991. He was named Bishop of Grosseto in 1991, then rector of the Pontifical Lateran University in 1995. In 2002, Pope John Paul II named him Patriarch of Venice, and a year later the same Pontiff elevated him to the College of Cardinals.

Cardinal Scola has been closely associated with the Communion and Liberation movement, and in fact was once reportedly considered to become the group’s leader. He is also a longtime ally of Pope Benedict XVI, having worked with the future Pontiff on the theological journal Communio. During his tenure in Venice, the cardinal founded another scholarly journal, Oasis, designed to foster dialogue between Christianity and Islam.


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