Catholic News Service
Cardinal William Levada
Catholic News Service
Cardinal William Levada
Cardinal William Levada, former archbishop of Portland, has become the man who will announce the name of the new pope, should there be a papal election in the next two years.

That’s because of the domino effect after a set of seniority based honorific promotions at the Vatican.

At the weekend’s ordinary consistory — a gathering of cardinals — Pope Francis announced the promotion of six of the men from cardinal deacon to cardinal priest.

The promotions are mainly ceremonial, but there is one main practical change. One of those promoted was French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, who had been the most senior cardinal deacon. In the post, it was his responsibility to announce the election and name of a new pope, which he did in March of last year.

The new senior cardinal deacon is Cardinal Renato Martino, but since he is 81, he will by age have no part in a future conclave. Replacing him in the task of announcement — at least until he turns 80 in two years would be Cardinal Levada.