Press speculation tips Canberra's Archbishop Carroll for Sydney
The Sydney Morning Herald and Australian Associated Press have reported rumours that Archbishop Francis Carroll, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Archbishop of Canberra, is set to succeed the retiring Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal Edward Clancy.
Cardinal Clancy reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 two years ago, but Rome is yet to name a replacement.
AAP described 70 year old Archbishop Carroll as a 'stopgap' candidate, quoting 'Church insiders' as suggesting that 'a short appointment could take into account that the pontificate of ailing Pope John Paul II is nearing its end'.
The announcement of the appointment is believed to be imminent, although the Vatican may wait until next month's end of the Holy Year.
The Sydney Morning Herald named Archbishop Barry Hickey of Perth as another possible candidate, given the success of his role as a secretary-general to the Synod of Oceania held in Rome two years ago. Melbourne's Archbishop George Pell is believed not to be a candidate, as rumours suggest he is about to be appointed Rector of Propaganda College in Rome.
Herald commentator Chris McGillion praised Archbishop Clancy's leadership, and described Archbishop Carroll as 'a man who can build bridges'.