Toward a Remaking of the American Episcopacy?

The United States has 194 Catholic dioceses; of these, eight are now vacant, while 11 have at their head bishops who are already at or over the age of 75 but whom the Supreme Pontiff has left in place to give himself more time to find successors.

By March 2025, many “heavyweights” of the American episcopate will have–or already have–sent Rome their letter of retirement: such as Cardinals Seán O’Malley, Wilton Gregory, Daniel DiNardo, Blase Cupich, and Timothy Dolan.

Will Pope Francis act quickly to appoint new Ordinaries to the 27 dioceses whose current bishops will have passed the age limit by 2025? It is the wish of the progressive sphere: “If the Pope wants to remake the hierarchy in a more Francis-friendly vision,” Michael Sean Winters of the National Catholic Reporter writes, “we should be getting at least two appointments each month.”

This is a sentiment shared by Michael Heinlein, who thinks that Rome should fill the positions more quickly, “Unless that’s a plan that’s in the works and will soon be revealed.”

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