Revealed: The three choices for Archbishop of Milan

.- The three names on the short list for Archbishop of Milan were revealed in the Italian press June 3.

The trio of Italian clerics are Cardinal Angelo Scola of Venice, Bishop Francesco Lambasi of Rimini, and Monsignor Aldo Giordano, the Vatican’s representative to the Council of Europe.

The details were published in the Italian paper La Stampa by journalist Andrea Tornielli, who is based in both Milan and Rome. He claims the final decision will be made on Thursday, June 9. The present incumbent, Archbishop Dionigi Tettamanzi, is 77 years-old and due for retirement.

The Metropolitan Archdiocese of Milan is the most populous in Italy and one of the most influential in the Catholic Church. In the 20th century, two holders of the office have gone onto the papacy – Pope Pius XI and Pope Paul VI.  Being a metropolitan see, it also has jurisdiction over nine other dioceses in the north of Italy.

Tornielli claims that over the past few months the papal nuncio to Italy, Archbishop Giuseppe Bertello, has been consulting with bishops, priests and lay people in Milan and the surrounding areas in an attempt to add more names to the list. Possible additions have included Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the Apostolic Nuncio in Venezuela. Tornielli thinks, however, that only three names will go forward for final selection.

Cardinal Angelo Scola is being seen as a favorite for the post. He’s currently the Patriarch of Venice and has been since 2002. Before that he was rector of the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. During this time he worked closely with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – now Pope Benedict XVI – at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The post of Archbishop of Milan was traditionally a personal appointment made by the Pope himself. This time, though, the usual Vatican procedures are being used. This involves collaboration between the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for Bishops.

The Archdiocese of Milan was founded by Saint Barnabus in the 1st century and was led by Saint Ambrose in the 4th century. The distinctive Ambrosian rite of Mass is still celebrated throughout the archdiocese. Tornielli says to expect a final announcement  on the new Archbishop of Milan by the end of June.

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