A Kilkenny woman is being tipped internationally to be the Catholic church’s first female cardinal.
If speculation in the Washington Post and Catholic media proves correct, Linda Hogan, who is originally from Callan and is the vice-provost of Trinity College Dublin would be eligible to cast a vote in the election of the next pope.
The 49-year-old professor of ecumenics at Trinity, once a Protestant stronghold, has not commented on the speculation.
It stemmed from an article in El Pais, a Spanish newspaper, postulating that Pope Francis is planning to appoint a woman cardinal. The pontiff has said he wants women to have a stronger presence in the church. The conclave that elected him pope last February was widely criticised for the absence of women, other than to serve the cardinals’ meals.
A native of Callan in Kilkenny, Hogan has published work on gender, ethics and religion.
She graduated from St Patrick’s College in Maynooth in 1993 and has lectured at the University of Leeds and at the Jesuit-owned Milltown Institute in Dublin.
The report says her name was first floated by Fr James Keenan, a New York Jesuit attached to Boston College, on his Facebook page.
Former President of Ireland Mary McAleese is also a possibility for the role.