The local news outlets and the Catholic blogosphere were abuzz with the news that Robert Deeley, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Boston, had been appointed Bishop of Portland, Maine, by Pope Francis. I had not realized, until I read the press releases, that they had been without a bishop for a long time. Currently, he is serving as the Vicar General of the Boston Archdiocese. The Archdiocesan newspaper, The Pilot, has reported on the story.
This appointment raises the question again about how much “juice,” Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, has in Rome. As a member of the newly formed Council of Cardinals, (also known as the “G8,”) one can speculate that he was a force behind the establishment of a papal advisory commission, dealing with the child abuse crisis within the global Church. The Diocese of Portland is a part of the Ecclesiastical Province of Boston, with Cardinal O’Malley as the metropolitan bishop. From so many angles, the Cardinal must have some influence in the selection of Bishop Deeley for Portland.
I read somewhere that the Cardinal could have even more influence in Rome, if he wanted to play the church political game. However, there are indications that Cardinal Sean has no interest in engaging in Vatican power plays; it goes against his Franciscan nature. It will be interesting to see that holds true as his involvement in the pontificate of Pope Francis continues.