Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Report: Bishop Thomas Olmsted to get Vatican appointment - by Michael Clancy

A leading Italian newspaper is reporting that The Catholic bishop of Phoenix will be appointed soon to a position at the Vatican.

Longtime Vatican reporter Marco Tosatti of Italy's La Stampa wrote that Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted will become secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life. The secretary position is second in command of the office.

No official appointment has been made by Vatican officials.

Tosatti, in an e-mail exchange The Republic, said he based his report, which focused on Americans in Catholic Church government, on confidential sources that have been "highly reliable" in the past.

Diocese officials said they are treating the report of the appointment "as rumor and speculation."

Communications director Rob DeFrancesco said, "We have no reason to believe it is true."

Phoenix's Auxiliary Bishop, Eduardo Nevares, responded to the rumor, saying, "What a shock! I was with the bishop today (Friday), and nothing was mentioned."

He said Olmsted traveled to Rome on Saturday for a meeting.

The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life oversees all religious orders in the world. All Catholic nuns are part of an order, while about a third of Catholic priests belong to such a group.

The congregation recently became prominent in Catholic news for its role in recent Vatican efforts to reform the United States' largest group of Catholic sisters, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

Tosatti's report said Olmsted's approach would be "far closer (than the previous secretary) to the sensibilities of American bishops" in regards to reining in the women's group, which is considered to be rebellious.

Olmsted has been rumored numerous times in recent years to move on to larger, more important dioceses or to Rome, where he spent 16 years working early in his career. He was appointed bishop of Phoenix in late 2003, replacing Bishop Thomas J. O'Brien.

Olmsted has been a polarizing figure during his tenure in Phoenix, winning the support of traditionalists and conservatives, but alienating a significant number of liberal Catholics. His decision to declare St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center no longer Catholic received international attention.

The opening at the Vatican congregation occurred when Archbishop Joseph Tobin was appointed in mid-October to become archbishop of Indianapolis. Tobin had served the congregation for two years.

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/2012/12/09/20121209report-olmsted-get-vatican-appointment-new.html?nclick_check=1#ixzz2Eg4d2mXg

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