Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Picking bishops

On Sunday, The Salt Lake Tribune ran this article concerning speculation about the selection of our next bishop. (Our previous bishop was transferred to San Francisco.) IMO, it is not a bad overview of the selection process. I am not excessively thrilled about the names that are suggested as possible candidates. (Now watch, one of them will be appointed and I will never make monsignor.) Nor would I like to see a West Coaster as our new ordinary. But, those decisions are made above my pay grade.

The weak point in selecting bishops is how the names of potential candidates get to Rome. Much depends on the Nuncio and his staff. Look what happened in the US when Jadot was the delegate: lots of wacky, liberal bishops. But the greater problems is that the names of potential candidates are almost exclusively submitted by the bishops themselves. This is a sure way to continue the current bureaucratic episcopal culture and will mitigate against true reform of the Church in America. Nor does it help that Roman education seems to be more and more a requirement. Remember that it is the bishops who determine which students go to Rome.

What is the solution? A good start would be for the Nuncio to bypass the bishops in searching for candidates. He should get out of DC and meet the clergy and not just of the major dioceses. This should also apply to Auxiliary Bishops. It would be a good thing to appoint them from outside of the diocese in which they are to serve. This would be a good way to shake up ingrown clerical culture.
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