Twenty-one U.S. bishops could retire for age reasons in 2011

WASHINGTON – Five U.S. cardinals and more than two dozen other U.S. bishops could retire because of age this year.

There are 12 active U.S. bishops, including three cardinals, who have already turned 75. Two cardinals and seven other bishops will celebrate their 75th birthday in 2011.

At age 75, bishops are requested to submit their resignation to the pope.

Cardinal Bernard F. Law, archpriest of St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome and a cardinal since 1985, turned 75 Nov. 4, 2006. A former bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Mo., he was archbishop of Boston from 1984 until his resignation from that post in 2002 in the wake of controversy over his handling of cases of clergy sex abuse there. He was named to his Rome post in 2004.

Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia turned 75 on April 19, 2010. Born in Los Angeles, he was ordained an archbishop in 1985 while serving as head of the school that educates future Vatican diplomats. He returned to the United States in 1994 to become archbishop of St. Louis, holding that post until his appointment as archbishop of Philadelphia in 2003. He was elevated to the College of Cardinals that same year.

Also Philadelphia-born Cardinal John P. Foley, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher since 2007, turned 75 Nov. 11. A former editor of The Catholic Standard & Times newspaper in Philadelphia, he was president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications at the Vatican for more than 23 years. He became a cardinal in 2007.

Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles turns 75 on Feb. 27 and Coadjutor Archbishop Jose H. Gomez already has been named to succeed him when he retires. Cardinal Mahony has been archbishop of Los Angeles for almost 25 years. He was elevated to the College of Cardinals in June 1991.

Cardinal William J. Levada, former archbishop of San Francisco and Portland, Ore., and a former auxiliary bishop in Los Angeles, will be 75 on June 15 but is expected to continue as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a post he has held since 2005, until Pope Benedict XVI names his successor. He became a cardinal in 2006.

Pope Benedict, like his predecessor Pope John Paul II, often has asked cardinals to stay on the job after they reached the age of 75. Even when a cardinal retires in his 70s, he remains an active member of the College of Cardinals, eligible to enter a conclave and vote for a new pope, until age 80.

The nine other active U.S. bishops who are already 75 and the dates of their 75th birthday are:

– Bishop Manuel Batakian of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Nareg in New York for Armenian Catholics; Nov. 5, 2004. A bishop since 1995, he was already nearly 76 when appointed to his present post in 2005.

– Bishop J. Kevin Boland of Savannah, Ga., April 25, 2010.

– Bishop Carlos A. Sevilla of Yakima, Wash., Aug. 9, 2010.

– Bishop John B. McCormack of Manchester, N.H., Aug. 12, 2010.

– Bishop Joseph V. Adamec of Altoona-Johnstown, Aug. 13, 2010.

– Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Neb., Sept. 6, 2010.

– Bishop Victor B. Galeone of St. Augustine, Fla., Sept. 13, 2010.

– Bishop Paul A. Zipfel of Bismarck, N.D., Sept. 22, 2010.

–Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger of Evansville, Ind., Oct. 20, 2010.

In addition to Cardinals Mahony and Levada, bishops turning 75 in 2011 and the dates of their 75th birthday are:

– Bishop Thomas G. Doran of Rockford, Ill., Feb. 20.

– Bishop Edward U. Kmiec of Buffalo, N.Y., June 4.

– Archbishop George H. Niederauer of San Francisco, June 14.

– Bishop Donald W. Trautman of Erie, Pa., June 24.

– Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces, N.M., Sept. 12.

– Bishop Tod D. Brown of Orange, Calif., Nov. 15.

–Auxiliary Bishop Kenneth D. Steiner of Portland, Ore., Nov. 25.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.