Tuesday, June 29, 2010
ELECTING A NEW BISHOP?
Bishop J. Kevin Boland of the Diocese of Savannah submitted his resignation to Pope Benedict in April upon reaching the canonical age of 75 for retirement. Bishop Boland remains bishop until a new bishop is appointed by our Holy Father. There is no time line for the naming of a new bishop. It could be tomorrow or in two years.
In the meantime, we pray for the man who will be our bishop because he is out there, but it is only known to a small group of people who it will be or could be. It would be the papal nuncio of our country and the Congregation for Bishops in Rome and Pope Benedict eventually. But right now, only God knows.
In this country the process for naming a new bishop is a bit of a secret and I do pray that one day we will have more transparency. Usually the papal nuncio has a list of priests who he has determined might be a good candidate here, there or elsewhere. These names have been submitted by other bishops. Sometimes priests are polled by the nuncio about whom they would recommend. Sometimes priests are asked about the suitability of a potential candidate. All of this is under "pontifical secret." So I can't tell you if I've ever been asked to comment on someone or I think I'm excommunicated. Not a pleasant thing in the Church.
Do you think this process should be more democratic? Should leaders, both clergy and laity, be consulted about their vision for the Diocese, its problems and the type of person who would be the new bishop? Should there be a more open vetting of the various candidates that could be named? By extension of this, we could even apply it to the pastor that will be assigned by the bishop to a parish. What about that. Be nice!!!
At any rate, at St. Joseph Church, we are praying in one of our petitions of the General Intercessions on Sunday that God will guide the process that will lead us to a new bishop and that the one who God calls through the Pope will hear and answer God's call. Apart from that, we have to leave it in God's hands and, oh yes, the papal nuncio, the Congregation for Bishops and Pope Benedict XVI.