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Vatican still weighing resignation of aged Maronite Patriarch

February 17, 2011

The Vatican has not yet accepted the resignation of Maronite Catholic Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir, reports from Lebanon indicate.

Cardinal Sfeir, who has led the Maronite Church since 1986, submitted his resignation late last year. The Lebanese prelate, who is 91 years old, reportedly cited his age and his frustration with the country’s political instability.

In weighing the Patriarch’s resignation, the Vatican may also be considering whether a number of Maronite bishops who are also over the normative retirement age of 75 should be replaced before the Maronite Synod of Bishops elects a new leader.

The Maronite Patriarch is expected in Rome on February 22, for a ceremony in which Pope Benedict XVI will dedicate a statue of St. Maroun in St. Peter’s Square. His resignation might be formally announced on that day.


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