Today`s Mandrake column in the Daily Telegraph has the following interesting information:
Short list to succeed Cardinal Murphy O'Connor
By Tim Walker
Last Updated: 1:22am BST 26/04/2008
The candidates to succeed Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor as Archbishop of Westminster have been whittled down to three.
Mandrake hears that the names on the official list - the terna - are Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Archbishop Peter Smith and Bishop Arthur Roche.
"It will disappoint those who were hoping for someone outside of the current crop of bishops," whispers my man at Archbishop's House.
"Benedict XVI is not, however, obliged to pick one of the names that Archbishop Faustino Munoz, the Papal Nuncio, submits to him so we will have to wait and see."
Traditionalists had hoped that the next archbishop would have been chosen, like Basil Hume, from outside the episcopacy of England and Wales and Mandrake understands that George Pell, the Australian cardinal, had been lobbying the Pope for such a move.
This led to speculation that either Abbot Hugh Gilbert, of Pluscarden Abbey in Scotland, or Fr Aidan Nichols, a Dominican Friar, were in the frame.
The Most Rev Nichols, the Archbishop of Birmingham, considered the favourite, is supported by Lord Alton, while the Rt Rev Roche, the Bishop of Leeds, is backed by John Gummer, the Catholic convert MP.
The Most Rev Smith, the Archbishop of Cardiff, won admirers with his lobbying of parliament over legislation on euthanasia and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.
Cardinal Murphy O'Connor is expected to stand down early next year