Church law requires resignation be submitted to pope at the age of 75 [St. Cloud Times]
Past bishops of the Diocese of St. Cloud
• Rupert Seidenbusch, O.S.B. (Feb. 12, 1875, Appointed — Oct. 19, 1888, Resigned)
• John Joseph Frederick Otto Zardetti (Oct. 3, 1889, Appointed — March 6, 1894, Appointed, Archbishop of Bucarest
• Martin Marty, O.S.B. (Jan, 21, 1895, Appointed — Sept. 19, 1896, Died)
• James Trobec (July 5, 1897, Appointed — April 15, 1914, Retired)
• Joseph Francis Busch (Jan. 19, 1915, Appointed — May 31, 1953, Died)
• Peter William Bartholome (May 31, 1953, Succeeded — Jan. 31, 1968, Retired)
• George Henry Speltz (Jan. 31, 1968, Succeeded — Jan. 13, 1987, Retired)
• Jerome George Hanus, O.S.B. (July 6, 1987, Appointed — Aug, 23, 1994, Appointed, Coadjutor Archbishop of Dubuque, Iowa)
• John Francis Kinney (May 9, 1995, Appointed — )
How bishops are appointed Stage 1: Bishops' Recommendations
Every bishop may submit names of priests he thinks would make good bishops to his archbishop. After a discussion among the bishops of the province, which includes an archdiocese and one or more dioceses, the group votes on who to recommend.
Stage 2: The Apostolic Nuncio
The apostolic nuncio gathers information about potential candidates, and interprets it for the Congregation. If the appointment is a replacement for a diocesan bishop or archbishop about to retire, the incumbent’s recommendations are considered. Broad consultation is encouraged with regard to the needs of the diocese, but not the names of candidates. Past and present bishops of the diocese, and the president and vice president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops are consulted. Three candidates are listed with the nuncio’s preference noted, but all materials are forwarded to the Congregation for Bishops in Rome.
Stage 3: Congregation for Bishops
Once documentation from the nuncio is in order, and the Congregation of Bishops’ prefect approves, a cardinal relator is chosen to summarize and report to the full congregation, which generally meets twice a month on Thursdays. After hearing the report, the congregation discusses and then votes on the appointment.
Stage 4: The Pope Decides
At a private audience with the pope, usually on a Saturday, the prefect presents the recommendations . A few days later, the pope informs the congregation of his decision. The congregation notifies the nuncio, who contacts the candidate. If the candidate accepts, the Vatican is notified and a date is set for the announcement.
Bishop John F. Kinney celebrated his birthday today by declaring his intent to step down as the spiritual leader of the Diocese of St. Cloud. The 75-year-old’s letter to Pope Benedict XVI announcing his intention to retire does not come as a surprise; Kinney is the age at which bishops are required by church law to submit their resignation to the pope.
“We’re very appreciative of Bishop Kinney’s service to this local church, which began with his ordination to the priesthood in 1963 and continued with his ordination as a bishop in 1976,” said Jim Accurso, Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis media and external relations manager.
Kinney has indicated he will send his letter today by way of the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, Pope Benedict XVI’s diplomatic representative in America.
“The nuncio conducts his own investigation and then the process begins from there,” Accurso said of the replacement process, which often takes eight months or more to complete.
The process for selecting candidates for the episcopacy normally begins at the diocesan level and works its way through a series of consultations until it reaches Rome. “He’s not moving out at any point soon,” said Rebecca Kurowski, director of communications for the Diocese of St. Cloud. “We would be shocked if, three months from now, they said, ‘OK, here’s the new guy.’ ”
It is a process bound by strict confidentiality and involves a number of important players – the most influential being the apostolic nuncio, the Congregation for Bishops, and the pope. “They will not be accepting his resignation until they have someone lined up to take his spot,” Kurowski said.
The late Archbishop Pietro Sambi, who died almost a year ago, preceded Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano as the apostolic nuncio. “It took six months to fill his (Sambi’s) spot and so it created this huge backlog because he’s the liaison directly to the pope for the United States,” Kurowski said.
Kinney was first ordained an auxiliary bishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 1977. He served as bishop of Bismarck, N.D., from 1982 to 1995 before his appointment to St. Cloud.