Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Red Ted Retires

Confirming reports first aired here weeks ago, this morning Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick as archbishop of Washington and named Donald Wuerl, heretofore bishop of Pittsburgh, as his successor.

In statements already released by the Washington chancery, Cardinal McCarrick said that he "truly cannot think of a better choice for Washington than Bishop Donald Wuerl" and that the time leading up to this morning's appointment has led him to pray "that the Holy Father would be inspired by the Lord to send a great bishop to take my place."

"[Benedict XVI] has done that in the selection of Bishop Wuerl," McCarrick said, "and I truly rejoice with all my heart."

Archbishop-elect Wuerl, 65, has served as head of his native diocese since 1988. He is a veteran of the Roman Curia, having served ten years at the Congregation for the Clergy as private secretary to Cardinal John Wright, its prefect in the 1970s. With a widespread fame for his keen intellect and communications savvy, Washington's next archbishop is well-regarded as a nuanced policy wonk known for tackling tough issues in a sensitive and harmonious manner.

"Although I am greatly aware of my own limitations," Wuerl said in his statement, "I find strength in the Pope’s trust and also in the prayerful support I have always found from the Catholic faithful I have attempted to serve."

The archbishop-elect will be installed in Washington on 22 June. The following week, in recognition of the see of Washington's metropolitan status, he will receive the pallium from Benedict XVI in St Peter's Basilica on the solemnity of Ss. Peter and Paul.

The Pope also named Bishop J. Peter Sartain of Little Rock to the diocese of Joliet, succeeding Bishop Joseph Imesch. A sacramentalist trained at the Benedictine Academy at Sant'Anselmo in Rome, Bishop Sartain, 54, has served as head of Arkansas' lone diocese since 2000.