Cardinal to stay till at least 75, hints at Pope meeting with Alexis

Following his meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Cormac has dismissed claims he offered his resignation and made it clear he intends to stay in post until his seventy-fifth birthday.

In an interview in the Vatican he said “I will offer my resignation when I reach 75, after that I will wait for the response of the Holy Father. I leave it all in his hands.”

He said the reason the audience had been scheduled was to discuss the proposed visit of the Pope to England in 2007. The Pope has subsequently said it would not be possible, but the Cardinal decided to make good use of his audience regardless.

Speaking about the state of the Church in this country, HE said he discussed not only the state of the English Church but also relations with the Anglican Communion.

Asked about the impasse reached following the Anglican decision to ordain women ‘bishops’, Cormac said “The way ahead is very difficult to see… There is no central focus of authority in the Anglican Communion, that is a very big problem.” 

The Cardinal also said he and the Pope spoke at some length about his recent meeting with the irascible Patriarch of Moscow, Alexis II. His October 4 meeting with the Patriarch seems to have been very broad in its discussion, including the pastoral care of Orthodox in London as well as wider Ecumenical issues.

Cormac said that Alexis had been keen to express his admiration of the Holy Father, and to proclaim the row Catholic ‘proselytising’ in the East over.

The Cardinal further hinted that Alexis was open to meeting the Pope in the very near future, a event he rebuffed time and again with John Paul II.

Asked if such a meeting was immanent he responded “I very much hope so.”   

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