Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Arns Tells Rome He Is Eager to Retire

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Arns Tells Rome He Is Eager to Retire

Article excerpt

SAO PAULO, Brazil -- The delay in the appointment of a successor to Cardinal Arns as archbishop of Sao Paulo has resurfaced as a topic of discussion in Brazil.

Arns himself prompted the discussion during a recent news conference.

The Vatican still has not accepted his resignation, submitted in September 1996, when he reached the canonical retirement age of 75. He said he is eager to retire and feels that his status as "lame-duck" archbishop is beginning to hamper the administration of the archdiocese.

At his annual Christmas news conference on Dec. 23, 1997, the cardinal said that he had pressed the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, on the question during the Synod for America in Rome.

Arns told reporters his successor should be announced "in December or January, probably in February." However, friends of the cardinal and archdiocesan officials say that this is more a message to Rome than a statement of fact, and that there is still no hard news about the succession.

Sources in the Brazilian Bishops' Conference say that they expect an appointment to be made shortly, and that the front-runner is Geraldo Majella Agnelo, a Sao Paulo bishop serving as secretary to the Congregation for Divine Worship in Rome. Majella is said to be the consensus candidate. Being from the Sao Paulo clergy is likely to make him generally acceptable, and it is thought that he would not make drastic changes in the archdiocese's current orientation.

On the other hand, other names are still mentioned, notably those of two auxiliaries, and Bishop Celso Queiroz, a former secretary general of the bishops' conference, and Bishop Angelico Sandalo Bernadino, though both are probably too progressive to be acceptable to the current Vatican regime. …

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