Thursday, September 20, 2012

Roll Out the Crystal – For Orange, Benedict's "Hour of Power"

Among other things Stateside to be expected for Roman Noon tomorrow, a press advisory from the diocese of Orange announced earlier today that Pope Benedict will accept the retirement of Bishop Tod Brown and name his successor as head of the 1.3 million-member SoCal fold – for purposes of context, a church as large as those of Houston, Philadelphia, Miami and Dallas.

Indeed, it's no small bit; if anything, the move will make for the most consequential transfer of an American diocese this year – at least, by size – not to mention the added profile wrought by the nominee's inheritance of the diocese's $57.5 million seat-to-be: the heretofore Protestant landmark to be known as Christ Cathedral come its dedication for Catholic worship, expected by 2015.

The incumbent having reached the retirement age of 75 last 11 November, Brown's successor will be the fourth leader of the single-county diocese since its 1976 separation from the (now 5 million-member) LA juggernaut.

Small in area yet brimming with energy and challenges alike, the Orange church is said to be nearly 40 percent Hispanic, along with a significant Vietnamese bloc; American Catholicism's first prelate from the community, Bishop Dominic Mai Luong, was named an OC auxiliary in 2003. Alongside other key considerations, both ethnic factors are believed to have played a sizable role in the choice of the new bishop. In addition, the Pope's selection carries a conspicuous link both to the local metropolitan, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, and yet again, the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, Cardinal Raymond Burke – currently the dominant American among the US' three voting members on the Congregation for Bishops.

The marquee move of two domestic shifts slated for Friday, as ever, more to come. In the meanwhile, for a fitting introit, a flourish from the organ of Orange's Cathedral-to-be – now the second largest pipe-set in the Catholic world...

...and for good measure, an old favorite among friends:

That's it for the night, gang. See you at the appointed hour.