Friday, November 10, 2006

The Ontario Reshuffle

Hard to believe, but there are little more than seven weeks in 2006, so it's time to start looking to the New Year. In that light, one thing to keep an eye for in '07 is the impending turnover of two of Canadian Catholicism's most prominent posts.

The country's senior Anglophone cleric, Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic of Toronto, turned 75 in January 2005. As things stand, all eyes are on a late-winter retirement date for Ambrozic and the simultaneous appointment of his successor. Particularly given the papal briefing on the Canadian church -- not to mention Benedict XVI's pointed words -- at the recent ad limina visits, we could well be surprised, but the consensus name in the buzzmill is that of Terrence Prendergast, the Jesuit archbishop of Halifax and a former Toronto auxiliary.

That the magic words "Vox Clara" grace the 62 year-old prelate's CV doesn't hurt; a Fordham grad and biblical scholar, Prendergast is the sole Canadian member of the red-ribbon committee for liturgical translations.

Elsewhere in the Great White North's largest province, Archbishop Marcel Gervais of Ottawa has made it known that he's out the door on the 30th of June. And in Ontario's third province, a tragic wild-card has presented itself in the illness of Archbishop Anthony Meagher of Kingston.

After a two year long battle with bone cancer, Meagher announced in his October monthly column that "my cancer has returned aggressively, and the experimental treatments that we thought might work have not worked.

"In my particular case," he said, "the side effects of the treatments were becoming more lethal than the cancer itself, and, so, I have had to stop taking the treatments altogether.

"I have not given up."

No November column has yet appeared from the archbishop, who turns 66 next week.