Cardinal to Lead Portugal Bishops Before Retirement

FATIMA, Portugal, MAY 5, 2011 ( Though the 75-year-old patriarch of Lisbon has already made his request for retirement due to the age limit stipulated in canon law, the episcopal conference of Portugal elected him its leader.

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Cardinal José da Cruz Policarpo was elected Tuesday the president of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference (PEC). He already served in that role from 1999 to 2005.

He succeeds Archbishop Jorge Ferreira da Costa Ortiga of Braga, who ended the maximum number of consecutive terms allowed by the conference statutes.

Cardinal Policarpo was created a cardinal in 2001. He has been patriarch of Lisbon since 1998. He tendered his resignation to Benedict XVI last February.

According the PEC’s statutes, the term for a president or vice-president of the council who is near or past retirement age ends when their resignation is accepted by the Roman Pontiff.

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