Posts Tagged bishop

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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Pope creates abuse tribunal for cases of bishop negligence / Associated Press

Pope Francis has created a new Vatican tribunal section to hear cases of bishops accused of failing to protect children from sexually abusive priests, the biggest step the Holy See has taken yet to hold bishops accountable.

“For years, the Vatican has been criticized by victims, advocacy groups and others for having failed to ever punish or forcibly remove a bishop who covered up for clergy who raped or molested children. In April, Francis accepted the resignation of a U.S. bishop who had been convicted of failing to report a suspected child abuser, but that wasn’t a forced removal.

“The Vatican said Wednesday (June 9) that Francis had approved proposals made by his sexual abuse advisory board. They create a mechanism by which the Vatican can receive and examine complaints of abuse of office by bishops and adjudicate them.

“A special new judicial section will be created inside the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ‘to judge bishops with regard to crimes of the abuse of office when connected to the abuse of minors,’ a Vatican statement said.”

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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A Chilean diocese is in an uproar over a bishop who defended an abuser / Cruxnow.com

A decision by Pope Francis to assign a bishop in Chile linked to one of the country’s most notorious clerical sex abusers as the new leader of a local diocese has locals gathering signatures to try to block the appointment.

“Bishop Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid, previously Chile’s military chaplain, was appointed in mid-January as the new bishop of the small Osorno diocese and is scheduled to be installed on March 21 …

“Since the Vatican announced the transfer of Barros to Osorno, laity in the diocese, as well as clergy and even local politicians, have written to the papal envoy in Chile to void the transfer. More than 1,000 signatures were sent to Rome, but to date there’s been no signal the move is under reconsideration.”

By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story. And in Utah, “Bill removing statute of limitations in child sexual abuse cases passes legislature.”

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Paraguayan bishop who shielded priest abuser removed from office / National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis has removed a bishop from his diocese in eastern Paraguay following an apostolic visitation that found he had shielded a priest from accusations of sexual abuse of minors.

“Bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano, 69, has been removed from heading the Ciudad del Este diocese, a statement from the Vatican press office said Thursday (Sept. 25).

“‘This was a difficult decision on the part of the Holy See, taken for serious pastoral reasons and for the greater good of the unity of the Church in Ciudad del Este and the episcopal communion in Paraguay,’ the Vatican statement said.”

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

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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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