Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Rutler for New York.....or Westminster?
According to 'The Spectator', Munich, Westminster and New York are the three most important posts Pope Benedict XVI will have to fill during his pontificate. With Munich now filled, all eyes are turning to the two most prominent sees in the English speaking world. While rumours have been buzzing around for months about both positions, an intriguing new name has emerged as a front-runner for New York - but in the same breath, he is also reportedly a candidate for Westminster: the mystery candidate is none other than popular EWTN host, author, confidante of princes, potentates and presidents - Father George Rutler, pastor of the Church of Our Saviour in New York City. According to a senior source in the Congregation for Bishops, the Holy Father "knows who Rutler is," and "likes what he sees!" Already possessing a doctorate, which used to be a requirement for Bishops - Roman sources suggest it is Rutler's skill as an orthodox pastor and effective communicator of the faith that seems to have caught the eye of influential figures in the Vatican. Rutler's weekly show on EWTN, with a possible global audience in the millions would certainly give him name recognition way beyond any of the candidates suggested so far. While some might claim Rutler is an ethereal figure, who spends what little spare time he has painting water colours, his administrative skills are beyond question, having revived a moribund and bankrupt parish into a flourishing centre of good liturgy, financial stability and, very significantly for Roman eyes - a seedbed of vocations. In the last six years no less than seven Cardinals have stayed in the simple, yet adequate rectory, and Rutler's links with the great and the good in Gotham make him the underdog that may snatch the bone from all the other episcopal contenders. The intriguing part of this story, which is now receiving strong confirmation from across the Atlantic, is that Rutler's name is also being considered for Westminster. A former Anglican, Rutler was educated at Oxford (his tutor was Rowan Williams, the present Archbishop of Canterbury). A well-known anglophile, Rutler is often mistaken for an Englishman by people with inferior aural skills. A prominent London-based cleric, who insisted on anonymity said that Rutler is "exactly the kind of candidate who would shake things up in Westminster - and he's not part of the club." Rutler is known to be appalled by the very suggestion of ecclesiastical preferement but, if that heavy Cross were presented to him, he is a man of obedience and a loyal servant of the Church. Watch this space...!