The qualifications of bishops
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    This discussion was created from comments split from: The Jargon of Liturgists: Brain-Washing the Faithful.
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  • One thing that Vatican II didn't change one iota: clericalism. It just made room for more flavours thereof. If priests did not desire these liturgists and all their baggage, these smart alecs would be unheard of. It should be obvious to all that where there is a liturgist savaging historic liturgical praxis there is a priest who hired her or him and whose vision of the liturgy is therefore being realised. Whether it is music, liturgy, cantors, or plumbers and roofers, it is the priest who knowingly does the hiring and the retaining of all these folk. And, who is responsible for this priestly malformation? Why, it's the seminary. And who is responsible for the seminary? Why, it's the bishop. And who is responsible for the bishop ...?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    The Apostolic Delegate (or Nuncio) is, and also the bishops are: by choosing which clergy are sent to study for advanced degrees in the sacred sciences, they influence which priests can be considered in the future for the responsibilities of a bishop.
  • Well then, on the face of it, it would seem that the apparatus you describe should provide us with a much higher aesthetical and scholarly calibre of both priests and bishops than we get. Something's not working! Many, of course, are stellar. Most are not.

    It was an eye-opener for me when (when something or other was being reported from Rome [it might have been Pope Francis' election]) there was a segment covering a large assemblage of bishops being led by some clown who was getting them to sway and dance to and fro, and from side to side, whilst dutifully clapping their hands over their heads. They might as well have been a herd of three-year-olds being trained by their 'teacher'. Is this what bishops are like when nobody is looking?
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,465
    I believe that memorable scene occurred during WYD in Rio at the Copacabana Beach Mass.

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  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    Well, here's a video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zo_1_WZ5DmA

    It shows a group of Brazilian bishops (the press described them as such), playing along with the presenters of some song at -- their own youth rally! Note: this does not appear to be happening during a Mass.

    Yes, to you and me it looks like a silly game, and that's what it is. But: big deal. It's an effusive culture. Not everybody's deportment in a youth rally is the same as that of Japanese or Swedes at Solemn Vespers.

    Get a little perspective about what is important.

    Next we'll see complaints because some U.S. bishop did the "seventh-inning stretch" at a ball game. ("Oh, no, Mabel! He's singing along to 'Sweet Caroline'! Call Eponymous!")
  • Ahem: The mentality and intellectual maturity of our bishops is that 'about what is important'! And that is more than 'a little perspective'.

    The event to which I referred above was in Rome. The event pictured above is another event, though an equally disappointing one.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    Making distinctions is the heart of intellectual maturity.
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  • It is, indeed!
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  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,926
    obviously the shepherds play along with the games initiated and conducted by the sheep in the pasture... in the process it is inevitable that we all step in the dung and carry it away on our hooves, and it just plain stinks.

    to bring the thread to bear, who has been brainwashed!?

    in the same amount of time and with much less effort they could have consecrated the world (or Russia) to God, but instead we do silly gymnastics and think God is smiling right along with us... foolishness.
  • The Apostolic Delegate (or Nuncio) is, and also the bishops are: by choosing which clergy are sent to study for advanced degrees in the sacred sciences, they influence which priests can be considered in the future for the responsibilities of a bishop.


    Exactly. Thank you. As it happens, a new priest at my parish was taught by the priest whom I mentioned (EDIT post-split: See this post.), and the lessons, however brief, were not entirely lost on him, though he lacks the tools to stand his ground.

    While I was disappointed to learn of how little attention is paid to liturgical matters in the training of these (future) priests, I was also encouraged by this man, who is himself headed to Rome to complete his terminal degree (with the blessings of the bishop, one presumes), and intends to return to the seminary and change the curriculum. Will he and others, like-minded, succeed? I have no idea, but I refuse not to hope.
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  • ...I refuse not to hope.

    Amen!
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    A 1995 article by canonist Ed Peters foresaw a "coming bishop crunch" around 2005-2007, a span in which (he estimated) 45 US diocesan bishops and archbishops would have to be replaced. His suggestions for ensuring a supply of suitable candidates are pertinent now as they were then:

    * reduce the number of openings by combining small dioceses
    * reduce the use of auxiliary bishops
    * consider foreign priests for American sees
    * send suitable candidates for advanced study, even though this means reducing their availability for service in the diocese
    * give younger priests longer, more stable assignments so that they can see the long-term effects of pastoral decisions
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  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,687
    I think that the bishops need to fight the perception that the PNAC is where they send people who are already being looked at for episcopal appointments.

    I agree that we tend to have too many auxiliary bishops. Unfortunately, some larger dioceses need to be split. Los Angeles and Chicago need to be split.
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,465
    It is interesting that the issue of decentralization and synodality has not gone away. Robert Pentin reports that the Secretary of Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Baldisseri, has announced a seminar in February studying synodality and the Pope's vision for" a more collegial, decentralized and “listening” Church."

    Baldisseri said "the Pope wants collegiality “to be deepened,” to follow a “circular path, from the bottom to the top and top to the bottom.” It is a “way of conceiving the Church as a living organism that moves at different levels, with no stagnant compartments,” he said."

    A friend of mine, a mom of eight, was recently asked to offer her thoughts on the vocation crisis at a meeting at the chancery, and I wonder if that's part of a new effort to "listen" to the laity.

    She was planning to say that she believes it's the over-feminization of the liturgy and the lack of masculine role models in the parish youth group that turns her sons off from wanting to be involved in the parish.

    (However, what she really wants to say but is too afraid to attempt, is that when her boys serve at the EF Latin Mass, they are very engaged and interested and want to learn more about the Mass and serving at the altar and love going to Mass.)

    I admire her courage in telling folks in the chancery that "the lack of masculinity at the Novus Ordo" (her words, not mine) is what destroys her sons' potential interest in the priesthood, but I have a feeling that this line of thought is not going to be very effective. Very few of the 1.4 million Catholics on Long Island are going to be sympathetic to her point of view and there will be no frame of reference for her remarks.

    It it were I, I'd rather talk about the collapse of the liturgy as it relates to the decline in priestly identity and stay completely away from the gender politics. I remember too well how poor Cardinal Burke was lambasted by Catholics on all sides for his remarks about the feminization of the Church and ended up even alienating traditional Catholic women.

    At any rate, it remains to be seen how well her input is going to be received by the diocesan authorities and how "circular" things really are in our local Church. I suspect her remarks will more likely be quietly put in the "circular file" and not influence anything at all.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,601
    As Miss Jean Brodie would say, for those who like that sort of thing, that is the sort of thing they like.
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  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,465
    I think my friend will do a great job, but it's a shame she is afraid to be completely honest and explain how she and her boys really feel and the tremendous difference the EF Latin Mass has made to them.

    If I could speak at that chancery meeting and suggest that the decline in priestly vocations was caused by the role revision of priest and laity in the reformed liturgy, I know my argument would be even less well received, but at least it would avoid getting into the weeds over the issue of men vs women and remain focused on the priesthood and the liturgy.

    I wonder, though, if Pope Francis really envisioned laywomen like me when he spoke of inverting the pyramid of the Church's structure and declared that "the first level of exercise of synodality is realized in the particular (local) Churches"?

    Somehow I think the contributions of a traditional, EF Latin Mass-attending Catholic mom of six children would upset all the proposed models of "synodality" and "decentralization". : )
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,431

    It it were I, I'd rather talk about the collapse of the liturgy as it relates to the decline in priestly identity and stay completely away from the gender politics.

    It's especially important to avoid putting into the category of "feminine" various liturgical abuses that properly belong in categories such as "goofy," "crass," or "cheezball."
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,601
    "I wonder, though, if Pope Francis really envisioned laywomen like me when he spoke of inverting the pyramid of the Church's structure and declared that "the first level of exercise of synodality is realized in the particular (local) Churches"?

    With regard to Pope Francis, I think he does. Just not only you. I think Pope Francis's background is such that he's aware how often people don't speak up but rely on silence and others to do the work for them; he's does not have a paralyzing fear of messy, loud, open disagreement that is typical of Catholic prelates (which does not mean that he lacks his own strong views and opinions nor that he's unwilling to boldly state them). I think he's trying to discourage the siloing of viewpoint bubbles in this, seeing such habits as counterproductive in the long term.
  • Just looked at LA after @MatthewRoth said it and Chicago needed to be split. Cardinal Mahoney split it into 5 "pastoral regions" - each large enough to be its own diocese, in my opinion - with its own "regional bishop" (i.e. auxiliary bishop given charge over that region). It looks to me that the LA Archdiocese could very easily be split into 5 dioceses, with LA remaining the arch and the others being suffragan sees - it seems to effectively be that way now, anyway.

    http://www.la-archdiocese.org/regions/Pages/default.aspx
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,601
    Many US dioceses could be split up effectively. We probably have too many metropolitan provinces, though, and their structures could be reformed canonically and otherwise. The practice of having auxiliary bishops should be rarer than it is here. And bishops should be transferred less laterally, and limited more to vertical elevation within a province...
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  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,933
    The situation in western/northern Wisconsin is much different, it seems. Instead of splitting dioceses, there has been talk of combining two. Fortunately, m Diocese of Superior has just finally acquired a new bishop. However, the associate pastor (committed to raising musical standards) at my parish (the largest one in the diocese) has just been reassigned to become pastor elsewhere, with 3 parishes to serve. It's not at all clear if and when we will get a new associate pastor.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,241
    Combining two, or splitting Superior between La Crosse and Green Bay?
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,933
    Combining Superior with another, Green Bay (I think). I think the combining talk has pretty much simmered down now. I'm not sure there was any talk about actually divvying Superior up and giving the two pieces to La Crosse and Green Bay, although that might actually have been good thing for those of us in western Wisconsin.
  • MBWMBW
    Posts: 175
    How can you tell whether a bishop is qualified-before and after he has been installed?
    What is a bishop's purpose in his diocese?

    I would venture to guess that Rome has a least two sets of answers to these questions. One set would reflect the theory of episcopal leadership: pastor, head teacher, prayer leader, etc. The other would be more pragmatic: financial officer, administrator, etc.

    I would also venture to guess that many on this forum would have a different set of answers largely centering on liturgical style, taste and what many call orthodoxy.

    On another board, the criteria might reflect the importance of gender, sexual and, life issues.

    Another board might be primarily concerned with how well the bishop observes the "preferential option for the poor".

    What is a poor pope to do?

    Seriously, how do you judge whether a bishop is qualified or not? I find this very difficult because so often they are clearly very good men, and so often their priorities are not my priorities, even when we have agreed on mutually important issues (like sacred music).

    If anyone wants to reply to this post, I suggest that, if you post quotes from church documents, then also tell us how you are personally using the documents to arrive at your criteria for evaluating bishops.
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  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,576
    Dumb down people and then request their input?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    I've seen that sort of advice before:

    Please enter your statement in the attached complaint form.

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    100 x 100 - 331B
  • Bill,

    You forgot: "Please write legibly".
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  • MBWMBW
    Posts: 175
    Abbot Jonathan Coel - what qualities of Bishop Sheen would you suggest to Rome in order for them to have the proper template for (primarily American) bishops?
  • (deleted)
  • JahazaJahaza
    Posts: 468
    Archbishop Sheen had many good qualities, but he has a rather mixed reputation as an ordinary in Rochester.
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  • (deleted)
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,067
    Archbishop Sheen had many good qualities, but he has a rather mixed reputation as an ordinary in Rochester.


    Report card could read, "Does not play well with Spellman."
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,601
    And Franny Spellman learned his trade at the foot of the master, Cardinal O'Connell....
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  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 1,076
    Seems to me that Rome has been appointing Bishops for a few years now, I'm sure they have some sort of process in place.
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  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,687
    I wouldn’t blame Sheen for troubles with Spellman, at least not entirely... And things were going nutty when Sheen was in Rochester, so who knows what would have happened in saner times.
  • Whatever the story, a few chancery folks were still cracking jokes about Sheen's height during my decade-long sojourn in the DoR.

    I'm sure it was all in good fun.
  • Scott_WScott_W
    Posts: 462
    To the hoary excuse that the bishops acting like doofballs at the WYD is no big deal, I recall this response:

    As a military officer, there were activities that I would engage in while in civilian clothing that I would never do while in uniform. That’s because while in uniform, it’s not about me but about my office and maintaining a level of dignity and decorum for that office because it doesn’t belong to me.


    If there is that much demanded of an office in the military, how much more is there for the office for a successor of the Apostles? It IS important.
  • And by extension the priesthood.