Tuesday, 3 April 2012

New Bishops on the way

Anyone you know?

I was told that "The Tablet" this week had an article on prospective new bishops in the UK, as over the next two or three years a significant number of sees will be having their bishop replaced. I managed to find a copy in a friend's house (who assures me he takes it to "know what the enemy is up to ") and found that is was, of course, just the usual speculation. Names many might guess at and a few curve balls thrown in. It's a sobering thought, however, making me feel rather long in the tooth, when friends and people of my acquaintance are mentioned in such a context! (I won't say who, as it might immediately ruin any chance they might have!)

What did strike me, though, was that they really were mostly the names anyone might guess at. Perhaps what we need are more names that are not the "usual suspects". It's often the case that bishops have been seminary rectors or done something on the bishops' conference - naturally, such men are high profile and they are the priests known to the other bishops who might be doing the recommending. But of course ANYONE can write to the Papal Nuncio and suggest names to be included on the terna (the list of three names that is sent to Rome for a final choice - and is occasionally sent back with a request for a different three names altogether!) Perhaps that's something EVERYONE can bear in mind as these vacancies become available. If you know of a good priest - a man who says his prayers, who is experienced in parish life, who is orthodox and loves the Church - why not write to the Nuncio and suggest him as a candidate either in your own diocese or another. The Papal Nuncio can only recommend someone if he knows about them and how is he to know about them unless he is told. My understanding is that there is a desire to find new faces rather than the usual suspects in order to help change the ecclesiastical culture in this country and shake things up a bit. Goodness knows, we need some leaders who are not happy to just carry on the way we've been going, as though everything was just fine and dandy in the Church.

Perhaps the sort of men we need are in the same mold as Cardinal Ranjith. I see that he has been re-iterating to his clergy his previous instructions about liturgical conformity - reported by Fr Z and on Rorate Caeli. Last year the good Cardinal told me that he couldn't understand why bishops didn't act more strongly in defence of authoritative Church teaching. His contention was that if you didn't want to be a bishop - with all that entails regarding loyalty to the Church's teaching - then you could always say "No" when asked. If you said, "Yes", then you really should be unafraid to show complete loyalty to the Church's teaching - including it's liturgical teaching. He understands that the liturgy in the lynchpin on which hangs the active faith of the Church.

Cardinal Ranjith - a leader not afraid to lead.

I'm sure that the Nuncio here would welcome as wide a consultation as possible. Unless good orthodox people do their bit in bringing good priests to the attention of those who make the decisions, how are they to know about them? We need good leaders who will lead the Barque of the Church into safe harbours amidst the stormy seas of the pagan world that assail us on every side - and indeed from within. May God raise them up from amongst us.

Should you want his address:

His Excellency the Most Rev. Antonio Mennini,
Apostolic Nunciature,
54 Parkside,
SW19 5NE
The Papal Nuncio
- open to hearing all the voices of the Church in our country.

1 comment:

GOR said...

Yes Father, it does seem that the ‘squeaky wheel’ is the one to get the grease even in episcopal appointments. Scanning appointments in the Bolletino, a majority appear to have been seminary rectors or to have had some ‘Roman exposure’ through work at assorted Vatican posts.

I have long felt that a wider net needs to be cast and the process for arriving at the terna needs work and broadening. This is where the Nuncio needs to be more ‘out and about’ and not just rubber-stamping the list from the episcopate. Perhaps he should invite the faithful of vacant dioceses to present names for consideration? At minimum he should develop an awareness of experienced and faithful priests around the country who might not otherwise make the terna.

Granted, this approach might run afoul of the bishops, but then he is not appointed to be the mouthpiece of the local episcopate - but for the benefit of all the faithful.