Posts Tagged bishop appointment

Catholic bishops rule in their dioceses; who gets a say in their appointment?

Catholic BishopJan. 10, 2017 – Four U.S. Catholic bishops have reached retirement age and five more will in 2017, and their dioceses await word about who their next bishop will be. The stakes are high. Bishops rule in their dioceses.

Voice of the Faithful has long advocated for the widest possible input in selecting local bishops. Catholic lay people have the right and responsibility to comment and an expectation of being heard on issues important to the church. Not much is more important than who leads the local diocese. But papal nuncios (ambassadors), who recommend bishop candidates to the pope, listen only to a few influential clerics and even fewer lay people.

Pope Francis has made clear his desire for casting the widest possible net for bishop candidates. Most recently, the pontiff told his nuncios, “You cannot be content to fish in aquaria, in the reserve or in the breeding grounds of ‘friends of friends,’” he said.

To help ensure the laity is heard, VOTF provides a website, votf.org/bishop, where lay people can become involved in the process. They can easily express their concerns and recommendations in three areas: 1.) outstanding needs and opportunities in the diocese; 2.) candidates’ ideal qualities and qualifications; and 3.) priests who would be excellent candidates for their bishop.

More than 500 Catholics in nearly a dozen dioceses from New England to Alaska have submitted their comments on the website. Recommendations made on the website go directly to Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the present U.S. apostolic nuncio.

U.S. bishops who already have submitted letters of resignation to the Pope, required at age 75, are:

  • Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C.;
  • Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona;
  • Bishop Martin Amos of Davenport, Iowa; and
  • Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, California.

U.S. bishops who turn 75 this year are:

  • Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of Richmond, Virginia;
  • Bishop Ronald Herzog of Alexandria, Louisiana;
  • Bishop Alvaro Corrada Del Rio, S.J., of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico;
  • Bishop Joseph Pepe of Las Vegas, Nevada; and
  • Bishop Robert Meunch of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Several dioceses, where the Pope has accepted the bishops’ resignations, await replacements. They are:

  • Allentown, Pennsylvania, former bishop John Barres now bishop of Rockville Centre, New York;
  • Cheyenne, Wyoming, former bishop Paul Etienne now archbishop of Anchorage, Alaska;
  • Cleveland, Ohio, former bishop Richard Lennon resigned for health reasons;
  • Indianapolis, Indiana, former archbishop Joseph Tobin now archbishop of Newark, New Jersey
  • Juneau, Alaska, former bishop Edward Burns now bishop of Dallas, Texan;
  • Pensacola-Tallahassee, Florida, former bishop Gregory Parkes now bishop of St. Petersburg, Florida;
  • Raleigh, North Carolina, former bishop Michael Burbidge now bishop of Alexandria, Virginia.

Catholics in any of these dioceses can use votf.org/bishop to send their input about their next bishop to the U.S. apostolic nuncio.


Voice of the Faithful News Release, Jan. 10, 2017

Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.

Contact: Nick Ingala, nickingala@votf.org, (781) 559-3360

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We need a new way of choosing bishops / National Catholic Reporter

Certain Catholics love to repeat ad nauseam that the church is not a democracy, especially when it comes to decision-making and the selection of leadership.

“And thank God it is not.

“Nor should it aspire to be if the democratic model is the dysfunctional political and electoral system at work in places like the United States.

“But that doesn’t mean all is well with the way the Roman church makes its pastoral-administrative decisions, discerns the call of the Spirit, or chooses its bishops.

“Quite the contrary.

“The inadequate leadership displayed by too many bishops in the United States and other parts of the world the past couple of decades has made that point painfully clear. One wonders how some of these men were ever put in a position of such weighty responsibility.”

By Robert Mickens, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

Since 2012, U.S. Catholics in a vacant See or a diocese where a bishop has retired have had the opportunity to provide input into the selection of a local bishop through Voice of the Faithful’s web portal, votf.org/bishop. The input is submitted via a form to the U.S. apostolic nuncio by email. The form records concerns and recommendations in three areas: 1.) needs and opportunities in the diocese; 2.) candidates’ ideal qualities and qualifications; and 3.) priests who would be excellent candidates for bishop. Canon Law encourages all Catholics to express their views on Church matters that concern them.

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Vermont Catholics can use a web portal to propose candidates for their next bishop as search process passes one-year mark

As the search process for Burlington’s new bishop passes the one-year mark, Catholics in the Diocese of Burlington, which includes the entire state of Vermont, can recommend candidates for their new bishop via a computer link to the pope’s representative in Washington.

Last year on Nov. 6, the Vatican announced that Burlington’s Bishop Salvatore Ronald Matano was appointed bishop of Rochester, N.Y. When Bishop Matano was re-assigned, the search for his successor began. The search process will continue until the Vatican appoints a new bishop. In the meantime, Apostolic Administrator Msgr. John J. McDermott has been administering the diocese.

U.S. Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Carlo M. Viganò, who advises the Vatican on bishop selection for the American Catholic Church, conducts confidential searches for new bishops. He speaks primarily to other bishops and to select lay people, most of whom are identified by the bishops.

Church law, however, encourages all Catholics to express their views on Church matters that concern them, and this includes who their new bishop may be.

According to Plymouth couple Bill and Anne Cherico, who are members of Catholic Church reform movement Voice of the Faithful®: “We feel that laity input on the selection of a new bishop would ultimately give greater credibility to that appointment. Also, the time frame in the selection process has been far too long with no explanation to the parishioners of the diocese on the reason for the delay.”

As the selection process for a new Burlington bishop continues, lay Catholic men and women can use an Internet link Voice of the Faithful® has developed, www.votf.org/bishop, to provide input directly to the apostolic nuncio via his email address.

The VOTF web portal allows Catholics in a diocese to record their concerns and recommendations in three key areas: 1.) outstanding needs and opportunities in the diocese; 2.) candidates’ ideal qualities and qualifications; and 3.) priests who would be excellent candidates for their bishop.

The portal brings into the 21st century a lay-consultative process as old as the Church itself. In the early Church, all members of a diocese, clergy and laity, elected their bishops, and only in 1917, did Church law reserve the appointment of bishops, with few exceptions, to the pope.

Archbishop Viganò has assured VOTF that all input reaching him from individual Catholics via the web portal will be reviewed and that “serious observations may well be incorporated in the developed confidential process.”

Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.

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Outside group wants to open bishop selection process to laity’s voice / The Times

This story reports on Voice of the Faithful’s efforts toward more meaningful lay input into the selection of local Catholic bishops. Please note that VOTF takes exception to the diocese’s spokesperson’s implication in the story that we would edit individual Catholic’s remarks to the Apostolic Nuncio. As our web portal, votf.org/bishop, says, “Your input will be transmitted directly to the Apostolic Nuncio, the Vatican’s representative in the U.S., who advises the Congregation for Bishops on bishop selection.” As faithful Catholics, we would expect to be taken at our word.

Outside group wants to open bishop selection process to laity’s voice

A national organization advocating change within the Roman Catholic church wants local parishioners to use the group’s website to tell church fathers who should be the diocese’s next bishop. ‘Church law encourages all Catholics to express their views on Church matters that concern them, and this includes who their new bishop may be,’ Nick Ingala, a spokesman for Voice of the Faithful, said Tuesday (July 29).”

By Bill Dolan, The Times, on nwi.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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