Thursday, January 20, 2011

Maronite Catholic Patriarch Appeals to Rome for Retirement

In a statement released earlier this week it was announced that Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Cardinal Sfeir of the Maronite Catholic Church, the largest Eastern Catholic organization in Lebanon, submitted his resignation to the Vatican two months ago. As the Maronite Catholic Church is submitted to Rome, although it is technically recognized as an autocephalous, self-governing sister church by Rome in practice its primate needs the approval of the Vatican to resign, just as he needs papal approval to be enthroned.

The Vatican is hesitating in accepting the 91-year old patriarch's retirement because of the mandatory retirement of six Maronite Catholic hierarchs over the summer and the upcoming mandatory retirement of two more this spring. Cardinal Sfeir, who has served as head of the Maronite Catholic Church since 1986, says that he is tired of dealing with the difficult political situation in Lebanon and needs rest. More here.

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