Bishop Bernard Barsi, the Archbishop of Monaco, told the French press that he will be announcing his retirement to the public on 27 January 2020, Saint-Devote Day. After twenty years as archbishop, Bernard Barsi will soon be leaving his residence in the archdiocese, housed below the cathedral of Monaco, where he has lived since the year 2000, and return to Nice, his hometown.
In 1969 Bernard Barsi was ordained a priest in the cathedral. Now, at the age of 79, Bernard Barsi will retire while remaining Archbishop Emeritus of Monaco, a title that will allow him to keep a link with the Principality and be buried in the cathedral.
After celebrating his twentieth and last Christmas as Archbishop, Bernard Barsi will be leaving the Principality, a place where Catholicism is the State religion, a place where he says he knows everyone and can’t step out onto the street without running into a friend. On Monday 27 January he will make his official farewell to the diocese. During Mass on that day, he will give thanks to God for the benefits that have been granted to him over twenty years.
The Archbishop of Monaco’s successor is not yet known. Choosing a successor is a long process which happens in Rome. The apostolic nuncio, that is to say the Pope’s representative in a country, looks for people who are likely to become bishops. He sends several names to Rome, where the congregation for bishops is located, chaired by Cardinal Ouellet. Then three names are presented to the pope, who choses one. If the person accepts, the Prince is then informed. He is then asked if he has any political objections to the appointment.
If there is no bishop chosen by January 27, Bernard Barsi will act in the interim and become apostolic administrator of the diocese of Monaco.