Report: Archbishop to leave Baltimore for Rome
Pope Benedict XVI is set to name Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien to a Rome-based order of knights charged with protecting the Christian community and sacred sites of the Holy Land, a prominent Catholic blogger is reporting.
Blogger Rocco Palmo writes that O’Brien, 72, could be named pro-grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem as early as Monday.
The Baltimore Sun has been unable to confirm the report independently. Messages left for the archdiocese have not been returned.
By tradition, Palmo writes on his Whispers in the Loggia blog, the “pro-” designation indicates that the individual is next in line to be named a cardinal, at which point the prefix disappears.
O’Brien arrived in Baltimore in 2007, succeeding Cardinal William Keeler as archbishop of Baltimore and spiritual leader of the area’s 500,000 Catholics.
He presided over the restructuring of the archdiocesan school system last year, closing 13 of 64 schools, consolidating those that remained and introducing new programs in the hope of attracting more families.
More recently, he urged Gov. Martin O’Malley last month against supporting same-sex marriage, which he described in a letter as “a goal that so deeply conflicts with your faith.”
O’Brien joined Benedict in 2008 to concelebrate a Mass at Nationals Park in Washington during the pope’s visit to the United States.
A former archbishop for the military services, he gave a widely noted speech in 2009 outlining Catholic teaching on nuclear disamament to an audience of military leaders at a conference sponsored by the Pentagon.
Palmo writes that O’Brien is likely to continue as the church’s apostolic administrator in Baltimore until Benedict names a successor.