Magazine article The Christian Century

Who Will Succeed Cardinal Law? (News)

Magazine article The Christian Century

Who Will Succeed Cardinal Law? (News)

Article excerpt

BOSTON IS the fourth-largest diocese for U.S. Catholics but probably the tops in trauma after its cardinal resigned in disgrace. Despite the likelihood that any new archbishop will in time gain a red hat, it is not a choice job because restoring the shattered trust and reaching saddened hearts demands unusual skills in leadership.

Names of potential successors were swirling in public and private talk for months before a scandal-weary Cardinal Bernard Law gave his resignation to Pope John Paul II December 13. Perennial favorites include the battle-tested stars of the American church--men known for managing conflict with grace or for leading the charge against child sexual abuse by clergy.

Most of the traditional criteria--age, geography, liberal/ conservative, ties to the Vatican--are in flux as church leaders search for a pastoral leader who can heal the broken archdiocese. "They need someone who can hit the ground running," said Tom Reese, editor of the Jesuit-run magazine America. "Someone who as soon as he's appointed will have instant credibility with the people, with the priests, with the media, someone who is recognized as a person who will handle [the current crisis] quickly and correctly."

The process is clouded in secrecy and layered in bureaucracy. The headhunter at the center of the search is the pope's representative to the U.S. church, Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo. He will solicit nominations from other bishops and send a list of his top three picks to the Vatican. Pope John Paul II makes the final call.

Among the possible contenders whose names have surfaced in recent weeks:

* Archbishop Harry Flynn of Minneapolis, chairman of the bishops' ad hoc committee on sex abuse. Flynn, 69, helped clean up a notorious sex abuse scandal in Lafayette, Louisiana, in the late 1980s.

* Bishop Wilton Gregory of Belleville, Illinois, president of the U. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.