BOSTON – The Archdiocese of Boston (search) is expected to announce a permanent replacement for Cardinal Bernard Law (search) this month, and has already identified locations where the announcement could be made, according to a published report.
Citing unidentified church officials, the Boston Sunday Globe (search) reported that Pope John Paul II's choice to head the archdiocese could be made public as early as Tuesday.
Some church officials with knowledge of the internal process believe the most likely candidate is Bishop Donald W. Wuerl of Pittsburgh, according to the Globe. It also named Archbishops Harry J. Flynn of Minneapolis-St. Paul and Edwin F. O'Brien of the Military Services as possible candidates.
The Rev. Christopher Coyne, spokesman for Boston's interim administrator, Bishop Richard Lennon, confirmed that he had been seeking sites for the announcement but said the report was speculative.
Pittsburgh Diocese spokesman Ronald Lengwin said Sunday, it's "all speculation."
"We have no reason to believe whatsoever that Bishop Wuerl will be appointed to Boston. We're flattered that people would feel he is qualified to take such a position," Lengwin said.
Wuerl, bishop of Pittsburgh since 1988, has been credited for solid handling of allegations of sexual abuse in the Pittsburgh Diocese. That may make him a good candidate for Boston, where a priest abuse scandal exploded last year.
Flynn would be a logical candidate because he is well regarded by other bishops, said Dennis McGrath, director of communications for the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul. However, McGrath said Sunday he could not confirm that the archbishop was a top candidate.
Law resigned in December after months of criticism over the shuffling from parish to parish of priests accused of sexual abuse. The archdiocese still faces lawsuits involving about 500 alleged abuse victims.
On Saturday, about 300 Boston-area members of the lay Catholic group Voice of the Faithful met to draft a "blueprint for change" for the archdiocese, saying the incoming archbishop won't be able to solve the archdiocese's problems alone.
Among the group's goals for the archdiocese are better communications between parishes, disclosure of church finances, and support for children and abuse victims.