LONDON, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor may become the first Roman Catholic bishop to sit in the House of Lords since the 16th century, The Times of London has learned.
The newspaper reported Friday that offering a life peerage to the retiring Archbishop of Westminster was discussed during a meeting last week between Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Pope Benedict XVI.
The move would require a special dispensation from the Vatican because the Catholic Church bans its clergy from any office that might involve the exercise of political power.
When he steps down, Murphy-O'Connor, 76, will be the first archbishop of Westminster since the Reformation not to die in office.
He plans to remain an active member of the College of Cardinals and retain an interest in the affairs of the Holy See.
A decision on his replacement is expected in mid-March, The Times says.