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Melbourne consultors to elect temporary Pell replacement

A bishop will be appointed this month as the temporary administrator of Melbourne Archdiocese as the Vatican begins the closed selection of a replacement for George Pell.

Melbourne's council of senior priests, known as the College of Consultors, will elect a caretaker on 11 May, the day after Dr Pell is installed as Sydney's archbishop.

The Age reports the administrator is likely to come from Melbourne's auxiliary bishops - Bishop Joseph O'Connell, Bishop Hilton Deakin and the Vicar-General of Melbourne, Bishop Denis Hart, with Bishop Hart being talked of as the leading contender.

The administrator will serve until the Vatican chooses Melbourne's eighth archbishop - probably not until August at the earliest.

Another contender being talked about in Melbourne Catholic circles is Archbishop Barry Hickey of Perth.

The confidential selection process is administered by the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Francesco Canalini.