My diocese is waiting for a new bishop, I must confess I haven't written to the Nuncio to express my opinion on who should be our next bishop. In part because I don't think a parish priest's opinion is taken very seriously, unless of course he has skeletons to pull out of closets of one those mentioned as a possible bishop and in part that I am rather pleased by the new generation of diocesan bishops, no-one is perfect but Davies, Egan, O'Toole and Stock (who have I forgotten?) seem pretty good choices, I would be happy with any of them. I am not sure who we should thank, Cardinal Nichols or the Nuncio.
Like younger priests, younger bishops seem like a breath of fresh air. Fr. David M. Friel suggests there are two important factors that surround the formation of younger clergy, one is child abuse, the other Summorum Pontificum.
I agree with him on child abuse, it is a major factor which affects younger priests and the choice of younger bishops, we cannot continue as we had before, bishops and priests cannot cover-up, lie and certainly not give the impression of being themselves amoral. I am not exactly sure I would agree with him on Summorum Pontificum, at least not where bishops are concerned. I suspect it is more the eight years of Benedict XVI, (of which SP was a part) but more the sense of doctrinal solidity he brought, his teaching on the centrality of Christ to the Church and the importance of the priesthood to the Church. Summorum Pontificum though important, symbolised the end of the Church in rebellion against its own history, that period of self hatred. Benedict made moving ground solid. Seed does not grow in ground that shifts but flourishes in solid ground.
Rorate publishes a letter from Archbishop Lenga some of it can be dismissed as 'cultural' but the following struck me as being particularly pertinent:
In England I would have said in the past this was indeed the case, factionalism was preferred over faith, this was when one of the key players was a notoriously poor judge of character. I am not sure it is so true now, at least not here, at least at the moment - but time will tell.
In our days the voice of the majority of the bishops rather resembles the silence of the lambs in the face of furious wolves, the faithful are left like defenseless sheep. Christ was recognized by men as one who spoke and worked, as one, who had power and this power He bestowed upon His apostles. In today’s world the bishops must liberate themselves from all worldly bonds and – after they have done penance – convert to Christ so that strengthened by the Holy Spirit they may announce Christ as the one and only Saviour. Ultimately one must give account to God for all that was done and for all what wasn't done.
In my opinion the weak voice of many bishops is a consequence of the fact, that in the process of the appointment of new bishops the candidates are insufficiently examined with regard to their doubtless steadfastness and fearlessness in the defense of the faith, with regard to their fidelity to the centuries-old traditions of the Church and their personal piety. In the issue of the appointment of new bishops and even cardinals it is becoming increasingly apparent that sometimes preference is given to those who share a particular ideology or to some groupings which are alien to the Church and which have commissioned the appointment of a particular candidate. Furthermore it appears that sometimes consideration is given also to the favour of the mass media which usually makes a mockery of holy candidates painting a negative picture of them, whereas the candidates who in a lesser degree own the spirit of Christ are praised as open and modern. On the other side the candidates who excel in apostolic zeal, have courage in proclaiming the doctrine of Christ and show love for all that is holy and sacred, are deliberately eliminated.