Monday, August 31, 2009

Sede Vacante

And, now, it's all official: at Roman Noon (6am ET) today, it was announced from the Vatican that Pope Benedict had accepted the resignations of Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton and his auxiliary, Bishop John Dougherty.

The resignations have immediate effect -- pending the installation of a permanent successor, the bishopric of Scranton is vacant.

As previously noted, a 10am press conference has been called at an undisclosed location in the Northeast Pennsylvania city. Martino and Dougherty will appear along with the freshly-named apostolic administrator, Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, who now exercises the full powers of the diocesan bishop until the yet-unnamed successor's arrival.

Given his responsibilities in the River City and elsewhere, the 74 year-old cardinal -- the lone resident American member of the Congregation for Bishops -- will likely name a delegate to handle the day-to-day running of the diocese. Today's move is just the third time this decade that a Stateside red-hat has been called in to oversee a local church amid emergency circumstances.

As always, more as it happens.