Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Word Down Under

This week, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference is meeting in plenary session. And by its end, the body might just have a new president.

I'm told the Holy See is poised in short order to green-light the retirement of Archbishop Frank Carroll of Canberra and Goulbourn, who has served as the conference's president since 2000. Carroll reached the retirement age of 75 last September.

The buzz about Oz is that Auxiliary Bishop Mark Coleridge of Melbourne -- who served for four years, sub Pellum praesidium, in the Secretariat of State -- is tipped to succeed Carroll at the helm of the church in the national capital. Coleridge, 57, is a Scripture scholar and was the first diocesan priest of Melbourne to earn the SSD. He returned home after being named an auxiliary of Australia's largest diocese in 2002, where he took the place of Denis Hart, who had been named Pell's successor as archbishop of Melbourne the year prior.

Archbishop Carroll's retirement will vacate the presidency of the Conference, and the open question on tap is if Sydney Cardinal George Pell will move to further consolidate his empire by standing for the post.

As always, stay tuned.