Telegraph: Names from terna for Westminster leaked?

In the UK, The Telegraph has published something rather interesting: 

Short list to succeed Cardinal Murphy O’Connor

By Tim Walker
Last Updated: 2:13am BST 28/04/2008

The candidates to succeed Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor as Archbishop of Westminster have been whittled down to three.

Mandrake hears that the names on the official list – the terna – are Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Archbishop Peter Smith and Bishop Arthur Roche.

"It will disappoint those who were hoping for someone outside of the current crop of bishops," whispers my man at Archbishop’s House.

"Benedict XVI is not, however, obliged to pick one of the names that Archbishop Faustino Munoz, the Papal Nuncio, submits to him so we will have to wait and see."

Traditionalists had hoped that the next archbishop would have been chosen, like Basil Hume, from outside the episcopacy of England and Wales and Mandrake understands that George Pell, the Australian cardinal, had been lobbying the Pope for such a move.

This led to speculation that either Abbot Hugh Gilbert, of Pluscarden Abbey in Scotland, or Fr Aidan Nichols, a Dominican Friar, were in the frame.

The Most Rev Nichols, the Archbishop of Birmingham, considered the favourite, is supported by Lord Alton, while the Rt Rev Roche, the Bishop of Leeds, is backed by John Gummer, the Catholic convert MP.

The Most Rev Smith, the Archbishop of Cardiff, won admirers with his lobbying of parliament over legislation on euthanasia and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.

Cardinal Murphy O’Connor is expected to stand down early next year.

WDTPRS is duty bound to respond.

First, we say…. LIES!  Everyone knows … or at least hopes, that the next Archbishop of Westminster will be His Hermeneuticalness.

Second, shame on the one who, if this is true reporting, revealed the names on the terna.  The terna is a matter of Pontifical Secret and violating it can be punished with censures including excommunication.

Third, the Supreme Pontiff can pick whom it pleases him to pick for the See of Westminister.  He is not bound to take a name from the terna.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. KK says:

    Perhaps the Holy Father should eliminate all the names mentioned just to be safe on the chance that any or all might have been responsible for the leak. That would then leave His Hermeneuticalness as the only reasonable option left.

  2. Jane Oliver says:

    I think that wdtprs and the traditionalist wing of the Church are guilty of wishful thinking here. No doubt all those in the Church want the next archbishop of Westminster to be from among their particular tribe, and this is an understandable aspiration, but let’s look at the Holy Father’s recent form in England & Wales:

    Have a look at the Bishops appointed in England since Benedict XVI took over: Peter Doyle, Terry Drainey, Michael Campbell. I’ve probably missed one there, but none of these are particularly traditional, even since Summorum Pontificum.

    As for Fr. Finnigan, there is virtually no chance of this whatsoever. Okay, i know this is more in hope than expectation, but it’s highly unlikely. I haven’t even heard his name mentioned in connection with regular Bishop posts, never mind Cardinal Archbishop top dog in the country.

    The heavy favourite is Vincent Nichols. And that’s not a bad thing either!

  3. Jane Oliver says:

    I should add to the above that Peter Doyle is not really traditionalist, despite what some websites might say about him.

  4. Hugh Turnbull says:

    For anyone who loves the extraordinary form, Vincent Nichols would be an absolute disaster. Despite what some have said, Bishop Roche is quite favourable to any priest who wants to say it. What he doesn’t like are lazing priests using it as an excuse not to do their jobs. Sadly, this can (and does) happen. So, I’ll be praying that if the terna is correct, the Holy Father appoints Bishop Roche.

  5. Fr. E says:

    It isn’t surprising the names on the list considering how small GB is and the probability of an already ordained and established Bishop would be named. Nonetheless, how on earth could anyone get a copy of a terna? I can’t imagine there is more than a few copies of the terna. Could it be possible someone working in Rome had a look?

    It would be great fun if His Hermeneuticalness were to named Archbishop although I am sure Fr. Finnegan would not be all that excited – but there is always Leeds if Roche is named. Just think about how much more fun if Fr. Aiden Nichols OP were named. Imagine the possibilities.

    We’ll have to wait and see.

  6. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    I agree with Fr. Z.’s statements at the end of this. However, in a sick way, it may be good that someone revealed these names. It just might encourage the Pope to choose anyone but those three!


  7. Michael says:

    I probably should know this…. but who is “His Hermeneuticalness” (and how on earth is one supposed to pronounce it)

  8. Prof. Basto says:

    It happened that once upon a time a certain Father Joseph was promoted from priest directly to the rank of Metropolitan Archbishop of one of the most important cities in his country, and the most important city in his region. The Ordinaries Metropolitan See were traditionally created Cardinals of Holy Roman Church, and the said Joseph was indeed created a Cardinal less then one month after receiving Episcopal Consacration and taking posession of his Episcopal See. So, this man basically went from priest to Cardinal in less than two months.

    Now he holds the Chair of Peter.

    So basically, anything can happen, if the Pope wills it. And Benedict XVI certainly can promote someone in the quick fashion that was employed by Paul VI to advance a certain Joseph Ratzinger in the hierarchical ranks.

  9. Prof. Basto says:


    Go to the Hermeneutics of Continuity to find out…

  10. Latter-day Guy says:

    Michael, I can’t use IPA here (I don’t have the font for it) but the pronunciation is roughly herm-uh-nyu-tick-uhl-ness.

    Fr. Z, love the blog. It is accessible even to non-Catholics like me. (I didn’t find it on my own; I was pointed here by a priest friend of mine.) Thanks for everything you do!

  11. Prof. Basto says:

    Since we are in the guessing and wishful thinking game…

    Perhaps some day in a few decades we will hear the Protodeacon say:

    Annuncio vobis gaudium magnum:
    Habemus Papam!
    Eminentissimum ac Reverendissimum Dominum,
    Dominum IOANNEM,
    Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem ZUHLSDORF,
    qui Sibi nomen imposuit Pium Decimum Quintum.

    Notice the accusative case in the announcement of the regnal name. One couldn’t expect anything different from a Latinist Pontiff.

  12. pattif says:

    Quite right, Prof. Basto. And in the same Father Joseph’s memoir, ‘Milestones’, he basically says, “What? Me? But I’m just a university professor – I’m useless at admin. How could I be a metropolitan archbishop? What can they be thinking of?”

    Just goes to show what wonders a little creative thinking (and prayer) can work. And since our dear Papa is an outstanding exemplar of both activities, we may yet hope for further wonders.

  13. Richard T says:

    Rumours about future ecclesiastical appointments are not new.

    But isn’t the odd thing here the claim that “George Pell, the Australian cardinal, had been lobbying the Pope” about this?

    I know Pell was being touted by the Catholic Herald as a candidate, but to me it seems odd that a senior cleric from another country would try to influence the result. Is this normal?

  14. Tim Ferguson says:

    I’ve heard a rumor that Fr. Finnigan is to be appointed Legate of all England, to compliment Fr. Z’s upcoming appointment as titular archbishop of Aruum Sabinum and Legate to North America.

  15. Prof. Basto says:

    And Aurum Sabinum is to be made the Primatial See of the United States, for the country still lacks one.

    As such, good Father John will have primacy of honour over the American Episcopate, and will probably be in line to receive his red hat, a prelude to the event mentioned in my post of 12:52 p.m., seen above.

  16. Andrew says:

    Well this story may not be true, but it is a fact that Cardinal George Pell of Australia is quite friendly with a number or laity in the United Kingdom, who have expressed concerns over the kinds of bishops being appointed over there. Some of them regularly visit Rome, and document information about the English scene in different dicasteries of the Holy See.

    Cardinal Pell studied at Oxford University, and has a great fondness for Britain, being a regular visitor there. It is quite conceivable that some of these individuals may have approached him, asking his assistance in the appointment of an orthodox successor to Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor as Archbishop of Westminster, and in other dioceses in the UK, with the Pope and Cardinal Re.

    One can only hope and pray his influence in bringing World Youth Day to Sydney, can also extend to the vexed question of future episcopal appointments in the British Isles.

  17. The comments here are very worrying. All even the best want is someone who will allow the Tridentine Mass. What we really need in England and Wales is someone who will insist on the Truth, and only the Truth, being taught again in Catholic parishes and schools. Otherwise we are doomed – notwithstanding the odd Latin Mass.

  18. RichR says:

    I agree with Ms. McLeod. I believe that the current trend in orthodoxy amongst young adult Catholics is due primarily to the New Evangelization that JPII called for. When you have good catechesis, many other things will fall in line. If you have a few Traditional Latin Masses in a diocese, but you fail to instill the doctrines of the faith in all the diocese’s religious ed programs, you end up worse than before. We can’t be too narrowly focused on the Mass. That’s just part of it.

  19. Robert Tickle says:

    It’s got to be Aidan Nichols O.P. He has just written “Realm” about the evangelisation of England and his “Christendom awake” is a must for orthodox Catholics. He is a scholar and very much in the mould of PBXVI. He wants the liturgy to be “re-enchanted” which is much more important that th euse which is celebrated, although he woulod support the Tridentine Use for those who want it. Frankly, the use is a red herring. I went to a trdentine low mass in ~Beford celebrated by the St Peter’s priest and it was really rather sloppy whereas Sung Mass in Latin (normative use) at Westminster Cathedral or Farm Street (Jesuit) is a joy.

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