Well, perhaps it is more than that. But it is amazing how often, if a rumour is repeated and spread and repeated often enough, people come to think that it is an “established fact”.

That Andrea Tornielli publishes something which Rocco Palmo picks up, and then which becomes so talked about around diocesan offices throughout Australia that The Australian does a story on it, which Cathnews reports

And apparently, according to the story in “The Australian”, there is even a time line on the appointment: it has to be before the Holy Father goes on holiday to Castel Gandolfo for the summer.

BXVI (bent over suitcase): Now vhere did I put my bathers?
Aide: Holy Father, Holy Father, you can’t leave yet! There’s still a vacancy at the Congregation for Bishops.
BXVI: But I read in ze papers zat ze Prefect had already been appointed.
Aide: No, Holy Father, that story came from Cathnews from the Australian from Whispers in the Loggia from Il Giornale.
BXVI: I see. Are the ze stories true?
Aide: They come from the best sources, your Holiness, and everyone says it is true and that is a done deal.
BXVI: Well, there it is. Let it be. Now where are my sunglasses?

Perhaps not. But anyway, here is the story from The Australian (afterall, Sentire Cum Ecclesia can’t be left out of the rumour mill, can it?):

Rumours fly over Cardinal George Pell’s job in Rome

SPECULATION that Australia’s Cardinal George Pell is about to be appointed to a senior Vatican post has strengthened in Rome with high-ranking priests now regarding the move as a done deal.
And Cardinal Pell’s forthcoming book-launch tour of three states is increasingly thought to be a farewell tour, according to prominent Catholic blogs in Europe and Australia.

Yesterday a leading Italian newspaper, Il Giornale, speculated that just days ago, after Cardinal Pell had met Pope Benedict XVI, he had spent an hour with Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re – the current prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

The report by journalist Andrea Tornielli – who has accurately predicted several developments during this pontificate – suggested that the meeting was to discuss Cardinal Pell taking over from 76-year-old Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, who has been prefect for 10 years.

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It also said Cardinal Pell had been “officially nominated” as Cardinal Battista Re’s successor by the Pope.

The report matches rumours that have circulated in Rome for several months and said a formal announcement on Cardinal Pell’s appointment would come within the next few weeks.

The Congregation for Bishops oversees the selection of new bishops around the world.

If appointed, Cardinal Pell would take up the position of prefect by the end of August.

Major changes in the Roman Curia often come either just before or after the Pope makes the move to the apostolic palace at Castel Gandolfo for his (northern) summer stay there.

Cardinal Pell’s challenges if made prefect could include helping the Pope select new bishops for Ireland following the fallout from child abuse revelations, and recommending a replacement for himself in his current archdiocese of Sydney.

The Cardinal’s new book, Test Everything: Hold Fast to What is Good, will be launched next Friday in the crypt of St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney.

The launch will be followed by several stops in Melbourne, his Victorian home town of Ballarat, and Brisbane.

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5 Responses to Speculation…

  1. Tony says:

    Saw this on Catholica the other day. I thought the announcement might have a more catchy subject heading … like … mmm … ‘That’s one down …’.

    I guess it was already taken.


    • Schütz says:

      “And the little one said, roll over” might have been a possibility, given the speculation that will be rife about how the deck-chairs are will be rearranged if his transfer goes ahead.

    • Louise says:

      Except he’s not really “down.”

      • Peregrinus says:


        I’m not trying to be smart here, but actually it seems to me that there can be few vocations more important, and more central to the life of the church, than that of a diocesan bishop. This may be a promotion in the sense that it takes Dr Pell to Rome, and to a life at the centre of church administration, but it takes him away from a unique pastoral and Eucharistic relationship with his church, or with any (local) church. In Sydney he’s a bishop; in Rome he’s a bureaucrat. The church survived perfectly well for many centuries without a Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops – indeed, without a Congregation for Bishops at all – but without diocesans the church is dead.

        From having filled a central role, Dr Pell will move – if the rumours are correct – to a role in which he supports those who fill that role, but no longer fills it himself. Somebody’s got to do it, perhaps, but I struggle to see it as an umixed promotion.

  2. Catchy title? How about ‘Pell Promoted Prefect, Peregrination Presaged’? That’s what I labelled my p-p-p-post last night after receiving the news across the wires at the old manse.

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