Salvatore J. Cordileone
Archbishop-designate Salvatore J. Cordileone, named July 27 to be the ninth archbishop of San Francisco, will continue to lead the Diocese of Oakland.
A letter from the Congregation of Bishops states Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Archbishop-designate Cordileone apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Oakland until a new bishop is appointed and takes canonical possession of it.
Archbishop-designate Cordileone had been bishop of the Diocese of Oakland since May 2009. He will be installed in San Francisco Oct. 4.
Such an appointment relieves a panel of diocesan priests — consultors — from electing one of their own as an interim administrator, and can provide continuity of management until a successor is named by The Vatican.
"I have all the powers of a diocesan bishop as an apostolic administrator," the archbishop-designate said. "… I can appoint pastors and make other innovations. However, I will only do the bare minimum necessary to allow maximum discretion to my successor.
"… A number of very significant changes are about to take place and cannot be delayed," he said, such as "the decision on a capital campaign, the reorganization of the development efforts of the diocese and the strategic plan for the parochial schools. This is why it was necessary that an Apostolic Administrator be appointed."
Rev. George Mockel, moderator of the curia, said in a statement: "This good news provides the diocese with continuity of leadership during our time of transition. We can anticipate continuing to gain momentum on initiatives important to building a successful future for the diocese."
Archbishop-designate Cordileone said he would make arrangements for the day-to-day running of the diocese.
Vatican-watcher Rocco Palmo, who writes the widely followed blog, Whispers in the Loggia, told The Voice, "In the past, apostolic administrators were normally only named when a diocese was in a state of particular difficulty or crisis," but the practice is "becoming more common. Bishop Malone was just named apostolic administrator of Portland, Maine (his former diocese), so he'll have to do double-duty from Buffalo. And Bishop Kagan of Bismarck is serving as apostolic administrator of Fargo until Archbishop Aquila's successor there is named. Plus the auxiliaries of Denver and Indianapolis were named apostolic administrators of their dioceses until the new archbishops arrived."
Geographic proximity and management continuity were also likely important factors in The Vatican's decision, he said.
And, Palmo said, as the archbishop-designate's mandate comes from Rome, he will have more leeway in governing the diocese than an elected local administrator.
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