Rorate Caeli

New age for episcopal resignation?

Our friends at Spanish-language blog La Buhardilla de Jerónimo notice the increasing buzz in the Italian press (including La Repubblica - external reference) regarding an imminent measure by Pope Benedict XVI, which could be released before the end of the year, and which would alter the pertinent canons and extend by three years (to 78) the age in which bishops would be required to present their resignations to the Pope. The measure would apparently not apply to prelates in Vatican dicasteries.


  1. Anonymous9:00 AM

    Ugh... In the case of my bishop I wish the resignation age would be 70.

  2. Anonymous11:13 AM

    I should have thought lowering the Retirement Age to 70 would be a much better move...

  3. Nooooooooo! Not until all of the "Spirit of Vatican II" guys are gone.

  4. Anonymous11:52 AM

    Well, that seems to me a very, very bad idea at the time...
    We have in certain countries, France, Belgium, Germany, England, moderate or harsh liberal bishops which, I'm obliged to say, impede the development of catholic life, not mentioning the necessary and vital re-evangelization. And adding 3 years to the reign of bishops will give a big deceleration in the so much hoped renewal of the authorities... that is already very slow... (given the power of bureaucratic circles that misinform Pope Benedict, given also the lack - that is true in Belgium, not in England or France where good yound clerics exist - of good candidates, given that it can be bad politics to impose a very conservative bishop on a revolutionary clergy...)

    Of course, in se, the measure has got more than some sense. But if someone could tell our so much beloved pope to wait a bit...

  5. Why would a pope, allegedly committed to a "reform of the reform" do that? Our greatest hope is to get rid of the apostates through attrition. We don't need 3 more years of the likes of Mahoney.

  6. Anonymous1:41 PM

    At the very beginning of this pontificte, H.H. accepted the advice of his College of Cardinals to raise the age to 80, so this would be a first step. It's bad, since we still have 147 Pauline bishops left, about 8% of the whole. They include Cardinal Daneels, an archliberal in Belgium, and so forth. Let's pray that he dumps some of these chaps before making such a change.


  7. Anonymous1:50 PM

    Honestly, I disagree. This whole idea that a Bishop resign is a creation of a post-conciliar mindset. Bishops are binded to their diocese in an almost ontological way. When they set retirement ages after the council, they began to undermine the nature of the bishoprics.

    Does this slow down 'reform'?

    Yes, it may. But, the Church, as the Bride of Christ, has suffered worse in the past, and still survived.

    I sincerely hope that this is an interim step towards elimination of mandatory retirements.

    As Bishop Fellay would say, anything is possible with God and in his own time.

    If the SSPX were to reconcile with the Church, would anyone be excited about mandatory retirement for the Bishops?

  8. Anonymous2:36 PM

    Especially since he can always refuse the retirements of the trusted ones and keep them on longer. This is about pro-Vatican II orientation.

    How sure are all of you that the 50 and 60 year old bishops are traditional in orientation? Not talking about here and there, but on the whole. My impression is that they're generally of the same mold or they wouldn't be in favored positions, and so this detail means nothing.

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  10. Anonymous3:17 PM

    Paul VI introduced the retirement age to get rid of the Ottaviani generation.I note that Cardinal Danneels was advanced to the Belgian primacy and Cardinalate by John Paul II;at Paul's death he was Bishop of Antwerp.

  11. Anonymous3:52 PM

    Just when we were getting rid of some of the bad bishops ,the Pope intends to extend our penance,especially out here on the West Coast where apparently the Trojan Horse in the Vatican Cardinal Levada is making the appointments.

  12. Anonymous4:06 PM

    This is a mixed blessing. Comments have concentrated on the hazard of perpetuating the time of bad, post-concilear bishops and their atrophying influence on the Church. But the same problem was addressed by Paul VI who wanted to break the grip of their earlier counterparts who were the embodiment of reaction.

    The real difficulty that lies behind this possibility is that it is becoming increasingly hard to find men of the right calibre to become bishops and the same applies to major religious superiors in religious orders. They are thin on the ground and make good appointments problematical. How this will be solved in an era of low standards few know.

    But, apart from anything else, men simply do not have the physical and mental energy to remain diocesan bishops indefinitely. After 60 physical energy evaporates, after 70 mental energy follows suit, after 80 little remains beyond the energy to get through the day, not to mention life-threatening illnesses and general debilitation. This encourages power bases to form and mayhem follows.

  13. It is very sad to read such harsh comments. Infact the new rule of Paul VI on the "retirement age" is against the Tradition of the undivided catholic church.
    A bishop can resignate, but only if he wishes (or if he is removed for some grave cause).
    The pope is taking a first step in the right direction: as he does step by step for the liturgical matters.
    In the end I hope that no bishop will be forced to retirement: that is against the sound ecclesiology of bishop as husband of his diocese.

  14. Just a note: given that, in practice, it often takes 1-2 years for the Vatican to replace a bishop who has already offered his resignation, extending the reigns of bishops to their 78th year is practically equivalent to extending it to their 80th year.

  15. Anonymous6:41 PM

    All I know is that if our bishop does not have to resign until 78 than this diocese is finished. Please let this be a false rumor.

    Rochester, NY

  16. Anonymous7:26 PM

    Fra a.r.,

    Can you explain how the new espiscopal resignation is a first step in the right direction?

    I would like to know your opinion.

  17. Anonymous8:49 PM

    Fra A.R. explains in Italian on his blog

    For my part I'll just note that imposing a retirement age on bishops overturns an immemorial tradition of lifetime tenure during good behavior.Its advocates have also urged that Popes be term- or age-limited.

    The idea of changing the age from 75 to 78 was first suggested before the 2005 Synod of Bishops,though at the Synod itself a bishop suggested cutting it to 65...quickly shot down with the observation that half of those present wouldn't be there were that the limit.Whether there will be any change in the 80-year voting age limit for Cardinals is unclear but the over-80 Cardinals are an increasing proportion of the College.

    Adding years to the tenures of Clark and Hubbard and Trautman and Mahony will not sit well with the orthodox,but there can always be coadjutors named...just see what kind of appointments are made.And those most in favor of term limits can always retire early.

  18. Theologically speaking, I am convinced that a bishop is bound to his diocese as husband. That is why he wears the ring. So he can't change wife (diocese) but only be elected metropolitan or patriarch and his commitment is for life. You don't get retirement in family life. I hope the Pope one day will abrogate this recent law, that make people look at episcopate as a job.

  19. Anonymous10:11 PM

    Maybe we're taking the bishop as husband analogy a little too far. Wouldn't that go also for a pope, only more so? Yet the church has had a Pope (who never wanted to be pope) resign to return to the lifestyle of a hermit, by his own admission a failure, and a conclave confirmed the new Pope, and this was a long, long time ago. I believe the abdicated pope spent the rest of his life in a cell in the Vatican, which is all he ever wanted to do. Does my memory fail?

  20. Anonymous10:37 PM

    Can anyone offer evidence supporting the proposition that the new bishops will be any better than the current ones, whether the latter must turn in their resignations at 75 or 80 or 110?

    I suppose that the fresh blood won't be able to do much damage, because there's almost nothing left to destroy down in the pews of the conciliar Church. Since ordination no longer represents upward mobility, they're also going to be a lot dumber than a Bernardin or a Mahony, and so less capable of doing what harm remains to be done. I could even imagine any kind of militant liberalism dying out, with almost all (as opposed to the current most) of the episcopacy being just clueless placeholders who couldn't find another job, and don't know or care enough about the Faith to be hostile to it. I'm afraid that that's about the best that can be hoped for.

    I also think that the way to bet is that the next Pope will be of the better class of clueless placeholder -- Cardinal Bertone or his moral equivalent. If you believe that Pope Benedict is Really On Our Side, can you think of anyone likely to succeed to his mantle?

  21. Anonymous10:56 PM

    I would be in favor of abolishing the mandatory retirement age, which is historically and theologically impossible to justify, but I would also like to see reimposed the rule that existed until the early modern period: no transfer of a bishop from one see to another. Finally an end to episcopal careerism and time-serving to get better posts.

    Then we could see some decent priests appointed archbishop of LA and NY. End the old boys game of "up the hierarchy." Yes!

  22. Anonymous11:09 PM

    Paul VI introduced the rule of retirement at 75 to get rid of the earlier generation, who was more conservative.

    Now the Church desperately needs that same rule to get rid as soon as possible of the "spirit of Vatican II" generation. At this pace, it will need some 15-20 years from now. Why to add 3 years to this devasting illness?

    We would need the contrary: like lowering from 80 to 75 the age of voting cardinals (so letting the Pope to name many more new cardinals, hopefully more orthodox).

    The Church is already gerontocratic. We need younger bishops.

  23. Anonymous11:21 PM

    While I agree in principle that there should be no retirement age for bishops, we should also note that the retirement age was only imposed in the first place in order to remove traditional bishops and replace them with revolutionaries. About 6% of the sitting bishops (not 8% as I previously misreported) are Paulines; that is, they received their first episcopal appointments or else were consecrated to the episcopate under Paul VI. Most of these are radicals who desperately need to be removed. Should the Pope wait another five years, only 1% of the remaining bishops would be Paulines, and few would be early John-Paulines who received their first non-episcopal appointments under Paul VI (e.g. to seminary rector or vicar-general).

    Quite frankly, the health of the Church comes first. Restoring the traditional practice, however necessary, is not as important as ridding the Mystical Body of Pauline radicals. The Pope could wait another five years and then remove the retirement age altogether, and we'd be fine.

    Anyway, how can anyone argue for *changing* the age of retirement? One age is as bad as another. So this planned change is not good unless it is a stepping-stone towards abolishing retirement, which I doubt. Advancing the age only protects the radicals.

    One commentator has asked about the orthodoxy of younger bishops. But it's not really about that. Older bishops received their promotions under John XXIII and Paul VI. They associate themselves with and they advanced their policies under those popes. That is why they resist restoration, and not because they are naturally liberal or conservative. Younger bishops are not particularly traditional but are more open to traditionalism to the extent that it is associated with the man who is presently promoting them: Benedict XVI.

    Lastly, the most visceral liberals are the old liberals. They are the biggest problem. We desperately need them out for the good of souls, which is the highest law of all.


  24. Anonymous11:25 PM

    Another Comment:

    I am not surprised at this media buzz from Italy, and was, in fact, preparing to predict it myself. I've noticed that Benedict XVI has made VERY FEW appointments of diocesan bishops since June; in fact, John Paul II made more in a week when he was on his death-bed than this Pope makes in a month. And this Pope has also introduced a new policy of appointing a large number of auxiliary bishops in sees which never had them before or had fewer of them. Benedict XVI has also been especially solicitious in filling long-vacant sees and in creating new sees by subdivision. The one thing he does little of is replacing bishops who are past the age limit.

    I have seen this coming for a long time now. But it did not take any special prescience. As I've already noted, H.H. accepted this change in principle as one of his very first acts in 2005.


  25. Anonymous1:24 AM

    Every generation is the same. After Vatican II the novus ordo was made mandatory because, if optional, few would have adopted it, in Latin or the vernacular. Then Paul VI (knowing the state of the Church better than most because of his long Vatican experience) decided to winnow the old guard of bishops through compulsory retirement at 75 to give Vatican II a chance.

    Those appointed by him are now seen as the expendable enemy, fit only to be dislodged and replaced by what? It is true that the Church no longer needs them in a practical sense because their work is done and they have formed the present candidates for episcopal ordination. But there is no guarantee that things will be much better as time advances because few suitable for promotion are capable of being otherwise. The realistic possibility of change lies even further in the future with the present generation of seminarians who really do want to make a difference.

  26. This discussion has finally answered a question I've been asking: why the Pope isn't replacing almost all of our past-retirement bishops.

    The two cardinals in the Philippines are both past 75: Ricardo Cardinal Vidal of Cebu (77) and Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales of Manila (76). And both are "Pauline" bishops.

    Incidentally, Bangkok's archbishop since 1973 (35 years ago!), Cardinal Kitbunchu, is now 79, turning 80 next January, and there are no signs that he'll be replaced soon.

  27. Anonymous5:32 AM

    Other cardinalitial sees whose occupants are in office past 75 include Detroit(he'll be 79 in March),New York,Prague,Westminster,Rio de Janeiro,Sao Salvador da Bahia,Turin,Guadalajara,Brussels,and Santiago de Chile.

    In early centuries those who were already bishops were never elected Pope...I doubt that will be restored.

  28. Anonymous5:41 AM

    As usual, Mr. Palad makes excellent comments. Yes, the two Philippine cardinals are both Paulines and both past retirement; so is Kitbunchu and two other Thai bishops (Thienchai Samanchit and Phimphisan); so are two Vietnamese bishops (and some Vietnamese John-Paulines are past retirement too).

    In the case of the Philippines, Vidal, Cardinal-Archbishop of Cebu, will have to be replaced fairly soon, I think, perhaps in a year or a bit, since he is now approaching his 78th birthday. The reason is that, given the great importance of the Philippines in the Church, it is important to line up a successor because it usually takes a successor about two years to get a red hat, and Rome wants two voting red hats for the Philippines in the next conclave. If you check the list of cardinals heading for the age of 80, you will see that there are very few for the next year or so. I figure that the next consistory is about two years away.

    Cardinal Rosales, at 76, might stay a little longer. Cardinal Kitbunchu is an excpetional case and cannot be replaced right now owing to the political instability in his country. The Church wants stability and continuity in such sitautions. Look at the recent exceptional retirement a few days ago of the Latin-Rite Cardinal for the Ukraine. He was 82 years old (but a John-Pauline).

    I'd watch for the retirement of other ageing Paulines, such as the following:

    Cardinal Cheong Jin-suk of Seoul, Korea, aged 77; Bishop Nair of Meerut, India; Archbishop Gomis of Ceylon (will he be replaced by a certain Sri Lankan archbishop in Rome?), aged 76.

    The oldest of them all--by a country mile--is Armenian Archbishop Tcholakian of Istanbul, Turkey, soon to turn 90. Yes, he's Eastern Rite but, no, he's not a cardinal or a patriarch, so what on earth is he doing still in office? He has a coadjutor who is already 73! This is what I mean when I assert that this Pope is not retiring these ageing Pauline liberals.

    What he is doing is appointing a very large number of auxiliary bishops. These will presumably be the future ordinarines in the next pontificate (even if there's no guarantee of that): he's stacking the deck for the future because he knows that the restoration will be long and arduous.


  29. Anonymous7:13 AM

    The retirement age is a Latin Rite canon and has never applied to the Oriental Churches.(I note that the canon as translated in English only "requests" that bishops resign,does the Latin carry stronger connotations or is it the principle that a Pope's request equates to a command?)

    I had thought that Cardinal Rosales was in uncertain health...of course God does not need a calendar to cause a vacancy in a see.

    I have seen no particular plethora of auxiliary bishops in this pontificate...some sees seem to be running short of their usual complement thereof.And auxiliaries (another canonically/theologically doubtful institution) are not guaranteed promotion...look at the long auxiliary careers of Gumbleton in Detroit or Steiner in Portland.

    A Pope who wanted to lock in a future impact on the hierarchy would make a practice of naming youthful coadjutors,but this seems against the Roman etiquette.

  30. Anonymous1:57 PM

    Didn't Saint Peter get transferred from Bishop of Antioch to Bishop of Rome?

  31. Anonymous2:27 PM

    The new appointments have been, by and large, good ones. Witness the new guy in New Ulm, Finn in KC, the new auxiliary from Corpus Christi in Detroit, etc. There are many good up-and-comers. It's just that there is still a Jadot contingent in the American episcopacy - Clark, Morneaux, Mahony, et al. We need to get rid of them before more souls are lost. Lift the age requirement or banish it altogether, but don't do so until these folks have left office, please.

  32. Anonymous2:45 PM

    "Why would a pope, allegedly committed to a "reform of the reform" do that? Our greatest hope is to get rid of the apostates through attrition. We don't need 3 more years of the likes of Mahoney."

    To Kevin who wrote this:

    THat is because the reputation of Benedict XVI as a "conservative", or for the "reform of the reform", or for "Catholic tradition" is very much overblown, overdone, and 70% misplaced judgements.
    Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI if anything is far less that today, because as Pope he's had to "cave in" and accomodate the tidal wave of dissidents (Cardinals, Bishops, priests, Curial officals, etc). He's "wimped out" on alot of areas.

    Also, it also might possibly be that there just ARE NOT that many good, or traditional, or orthodox Catholic priests to elevate to replace the old guard guys filled with the "Spirit of Vatican II". Finding a true Catholic Bishop like Archbishop Raymond Burke, Salvatore Cordileone, or Renato Fischiella (in Italy), is like finding a "needle in a haystack", or a diamond amid a mountain of rubble and debris.

    I would not like to think of bishops like Mahoney and about 60 others in the USA of his ilk, or people like Cardinal Daneels in Belgium or Tettamanzi in Milan being able to stay on 3 more years.
    But this is what the Pope has been doing anyway.
    There's such a mountain of backlog that liberal Bishops have been left hanging still in office for 3+ years or more.
    Either the Pope can't make a decision and handle his job, or a clique of liberals are pressuring him and making his job all the harder.
    I think it;s a combination of the two.

  33. Anonymous4:17 PM

    So is he giving himself more time to find out who the needles in the haystack are?

  34. Anonymous7:46 PM

    This is off topic, but does any one know anything beyond the news reports about the new coadjutor in Cincinnati, Dennis Schnurr?

  35. Anonymous9:15 PM

    Che essagerazione!

    If bishops, or anyone else could destroy the Church it would already have happened long ago - the Divine Founder and the Holy Spirit prevent this.

    Please stop all the ridiculous overreactions and spend the time in prayer...

  36. Anonymous10:01 PM

    I beg to differ with Louis' claim: look again. This Pope has appointed far more auxiliary bishops per appointment than did his predecessor. He has installed many in sees which rarely or never had them before; and he has added to the numbers where they have existed before. It is true, however, that they are not, on average, particularly young. He may be thinking about promotions shorter-term.

    It is certainly true that auxiliares are not assured of promotion. However, the problem over the last few decades, as the number of sees has mushroomed, has been to find suitable candidates for promotion to a see. It is now taking one, two, three, even five years in some cases just to find such candidates. Creating a large cadre of auxiliaries is a way to encourage promotions of a certain kind because these men will gain experience exercising authority over time. I submit that more and more of the new diocesan bishops are now former auxiliaries--and in a greater per centage of the total.


  37. Anonymous10:16 PM

    On Eastern bishops and retirement:

    While I haven't consulted the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches on this yet, I know that, de facto, the Church expects them to submit resignations at the age of 75 (hence the dispute in Toronto when one of them didn't and Rome put an apostolic administrator in his place). The exception seems to be patriarchs and major archbishops, who seem to stay on forever.

    Hence the case of Tcholakian is exceptional, since he is not a patriarch or a cardinal or a major archbishop. I suspect that, in his case, it is simply that the Armenian community in Istanbul is very small (about 3,000) and there are few available to replace him; and his health has been good. He has had a coadjutor for some years now but that prelate lives in Lebanon (to my recollection) and is probably needed there.

    Nevetheless, if you check, you will find that he is BY FAR the oldest serving bishop who is not a patriarch or a cardinal. It is an exceptional case and I'm surprised he's still there. He will soon turn 90.


  38. Anonymous11:46 PM

    To support what one blogger has written here, yes, under this Pope, there has been a very large backlog of ageing liberals who are not being replaced. The Pope did reduce the number of vacant sees substantially last spring, but the backlog of superannuated liberal prelates has continued to grow, and H.H. has made very few appointment during September and almost as few so far this month.

    Once again, I insist very vehemently that he has been appointing a *much* higher per centage of auxiiaries than did Pope John Paul.


  39. Just some random thoughts.

    1) Cardinal Rosales of Manila is in very good health. He was appointed to Manila in 2003, when he was already 71, and I won't be surprised if Pope Benedict lets him stay until he is 80. He is a liberal when it comes to liturgical matters and has made some questionable statements regarding homosexuals in the priesthood (and other matters). Nevertheless, he is relatively uninvolved in political matters and has criticized the political involvements of some bishops. Given that the political activism of the Philippine bishops has been a headache for Rome since the 1970's, Cardinal Rosales can easily be seen as Rome's ally in keeping this tendency among the bishops in check. He has also been a spectacularly successful fund raiser for projects for the poor.

    My only hope is that Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle -- the rising star and acknowledged theologian of the Philippine hierarchy, and a disciple of the Bologna school -- will NOT be his successor. Bishop Tagle has given much-applauded speeches in the recent Eucharistic Congress in Quebec and in the Synod of Bishops, but in the Philippines he has a strongly liberal agenda. (He also appears in public and television in lay clothes, but that is the least of our concerns.)

    2) It is easy to criticize the "Pauline bishops" as hopelessly liberal -- and I have no doubt that many of them are. It should not be forgotten, though, that the generation of bishops slated for retirement in the next 5years (the ones between the 70-80 age bracket) is also the last batch of bishops whose education was almost entirely pre-Vatican II. If any restoration is to be launched, the bishops of this generation are also crucial.

    The younger bishops are entirely products of the 1960's and 1970's, and while they may not be as vocal or as militant as some of the Pauline bishops, and for that matter are more friendly to the "traditional" cause, please make no mistake about it: they are firmly committed to the postconciliar paradigm, albeit interpreted in a more Vatican-friendly way. Furthermore, the phenomenon of younger bishops being more "orthodox" than older ones seems to be confined to North America and some parts of Western Europe. In the Philippines at least, the younger bishops are decidedly more liberal than their elders, and I think the same can be said of much of the "Third World" church.

  40. Regarding Tchokolian, I think that he may be the last Armenian Catholic bishop in Istanbul, and so is not being replaced.

    The historic Christian community in Turkey may very well be extinct in 20 years. While the Greeks have suffered the most pressure, the Syrians and Armenians are also under heavy oppression from the Turkish "deep state". The Greek Catholic exarchate in Istanbul has finally disappeared in recent years, and the tiny Armenian Catholic, Chaldean Catholic and Syrian Catholic populations in Turkey may be next. (Right now the Armenian Catholics in all of Turkey have 2 bishops -- and 5 priests serving 5 parishes. The Syrian Catholic exarchate for Turkey has no bishop, and has been reduced to 1 priest and 1 deacon serving 3 parishes. The Chaldean exarchate has no bishop, and is down to only 1 priest left in all of Turkey, serving 9 parishes.)

  41. Anonymous9:40 AM

    to Carlos Antonio Palad :
    "2) It is easy to criticize the "Pauline bishops" as hopelessly liberal -- and I have no doubt that many of them are. It should not be forgotten, though, that the generation of bishops slated for retirement in the next 5years (the ones between the 70-80 age bracket) is also the last batch of bishops whose education was almost entirely pre-Vatican II. If any restoration is to be launched, the bishops of this generation are also crucial."

    In fact, we have to consider several elements :
    - I won't say all and every "Pauline" bishops are die-hard liberals. The label "Pauline" covers only the fact they were appointed by the pope Paul VI.
    We can notice that die-hard liberals have also been appointed by John Paul II and ... let us face the unpleasant truth by Benedict XVI himself.
    According to the countries and continents, we have various results : in Western Europe, there hasn't been any strong evolution in episcopal appointments in the past 3 years. We can also remember the procedures : episcopal conferences are providing names, cardinal Re is still there, cardinal Sodano was still there and the appointment of cardinal Bertone has not yet be a sign of a dramatical change in this dicastery.

    - However the trend, on the long distance from the Wojtylian pontificate to the present Pontiff, is indeed a slow evolution from more "liberal" bishops to more neo-conservatives, even a handful of trad-oriented bishops, though this last group is truly extremely limited.

    - But I would certainly not support the idea expressed above in the quotation by C.A. Palad that any positive move has to search a support in the oldest generation of the 1970's (even early 1980's) !
    On the contrary, those priests or bishops who have been trained in the pre-Vatican II era, even briefly, are most of the time rabidly hostile to TLM and anything traditional. At least, this is valid for Europe, the Americas and Australia. Maybe it's not worth for Asia but ...
    - Finally, Mr Palad has to keep in mind the corruption brought in younger Asian generations by the "Asian theology" of dreadful "inculturation" and "theology of religions" - remember the Indian school and Tisa Balasuriya in Sri Lanka etc. : Abp Ranjith has pointed out this deeply rooted corruption of the minds among Asian clergy, through several examples.
    Just a question for our Asian friends : who is the Asian Ratzinger ? besides Abp Ranjith naturally. Is there a trad-oriented movement in India ?


  42. Anonymous6:30 PM

    On Cardinal Rosales and Mr. Palad's statements:

    I have noticed that, when Rome appoints older bishops, there seems to be an unwritten rule that they will be given at least ten years in office. That would mean that Rosales may stay until he is 81 or 82. In addition, cardinal-archbishops can serve until they are 80 if they are 'good boys'. So I agree with Mr. Palad on both counts.

    On the other side, however, it is also true that Rome will want two voting Philippine cardinals for the next conclave. Rosales is now over 76. In addition, it normally takes an archbishop at least one year in office before he's given the red hat. So Rosales might only have about two years left.

    Vidal is nearly 78 now. I'd expect him to be replaced in about one year--or less.

    In regard to Tcholakian, he does have a coadjutor, so he will presumably not be the last Armenian Archbishop of Istanbul. On the other hand, his coadjutor, who is now nearly 74, seems to be busy in Lebanaon and might be an absentee ordinary. I suppose that it's possible that the coadjutor may have to submit a resignation when he turns 75, and this might be accepted quickly, making Tcholakian the last one.

    The Armenians are not doing well internationally either. They only have about 60 priests worldwide, plus twelve bishops. If things get much worse, they may end up with more bishops than simple priests.



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  44. "The Armenians are not doing well internationally either. They only have about 60 priests worldwide, plus twelve bishops. If things get much worse, they may end up with more bishops than simple priests."

    The Annuario Pontificio's 2007 statistics for the Armenians as reported by CNEWA puts them at 14 bishops and 77 priests, but given that not a few of these are very aged and retired, the situation may, in practice, be close to what you suggest.

    This is part of an alarming trend: the rate at which some of the Eastern Catholic Churches are shrinking, challenged by secularism, Islamic militancy, the leakage of members to the Latin rite (often without the proper process) and pressure / competition from their Orthodox counterparts. Some Eastern Catholic Churches look healthy on paper, but a closer look at the statistics show not a few impossibilities, repeating statistics (the same, big rounded numbers being used since years and years ago) and clear signs of over-optimism.

  45. Anonymous5:46 PM

    there's no hope.
    Today, 10/28/2008 rather than appointing a good traditionalist toe the See of Antwerp, Belgium, H.H. Benedict XVI appointed another liberal....a Belgian priest who had worked in the Vatican Congregation for the Unity of Christians.

    Another "ecumaniac".

  46. Come on, Anonymous -- even when the Pope makes bad episcopal appointments, there is ALWAYS hope, especially for the Catholic Church.

  47. Anonymous7:23 AM

    On comments about older and younger bishops and their liberalism:

    My contention is that a bishop's positions on matters are not primary, only secondary. What is primary is who appointed him. Mr. Palad is right that some of the Pauline bishops are more conservative and some younger bishops are more liberal. But what really counts is with whom a bishop associates himself. Consider that the implementers of the insane reforms in the 1960s were all Pietine bishops.

    If a bishop is promoted by a certain pope, he feels that he will be associated with that pope and that pope's policies, quite apart from his own views as a bishop. For this reason, the faster we can dump the Paulines, the better.

    The same might apply to the new Bishop of Antwerpen. Regardless of his liberal credentials, he is a Benedictine bishop now and will see himself as such; he will also be seen by others as a co-operator of Benedict XVI. That will mould his future as a bishop.

    There are rare exceptions, of course. I've seen direct evidence, though, of how bishops can 'change their tunes' depending on how they think they are perceived. And how they are perceived mostly depends on who appointed them.



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