- The Washington Times - Monday, June 12, 2006

Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the outgoing archbishop of Washington, described his post-retirement plans yesterday and thanked Washington-area Catholics for accepting him as their leader when he was installed Jan. 3, 2001.

“They had this old geezer at 70 coming to be their archbishop,” he told about two dozen reporters at a Mass and breakfast at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Northwest. “They were so good to me.”

About 1,500 Washingtonians, he added, signed up for classes on joining the church last year, more than any other Catholic diocese in the country. The cardinal, who turns 76 next month, hands over leadership of the Washington Archdiocese to Bishop Donald W. Wuerl of Pittsburgh June 22.

“Then it will be the golden age,” he said, “after the bronze age.”

Afterward, Cardinal McCarrick will travel to Rome with Archbishop Wuerl. In July, Cardinal McCarrick will visit Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II in Moscow, followed by a visit to Montenegro with the Knights of Columbus. Then, he will have speaking engagements in the United States, Canada, Kazakhstan, Argentina and South Africa, interspersed with more visits to Rome.

“By next year, I’ll be looking for jobs,” Cardinal McCarrick joked. “Whether people will listen to a retired archbishop rather than an active archbishop, only time will tell.”

The cardinal, who will have an apartment at Redemptorist Mater, the archdiocese’s new seminary in Hyattsville, plans to spend nine months of each year in Washington and three in residence at Seton Hall University in New Jersey. Before his transfer to Washington, he was archbishop of Newark, N.J., for 14 years.

“I’ll be getting ready to go home” to heaven, Cardinal McCarrick said. “I’ll be welcome — at least in Purgatory.”

But before death beckons, “I’m going to nap,” he said. “I never have time to nap. At night, I sometimes fall asleep at my desk. Sometimes I fall asleep at meetings, too, which is more problematic. Paradise will be five naps a day.”

The cardinal reiterated his plans to study Arabic to better aid him on visits to the Middle East. He said he has no plans to write his memoirs and hopes Pope Benedict XVI might visit the United States for the 60th anniversary of United Nations Day Oct. 24, 2007.

He retains his membership in the College of Cardinals, where he can vote for any pope until he turns 80.

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