Posts Tagged Congregation for Bishops

Pope Francis addresses papal nuncios on bishop selection

The importance of bishops to a local church cannot by overstated, so the selection of bishops is a major issue for the laity. Pope Francis is equally concerned about the qualities bishops possess. He has talked about bishop selection many times during his papacy and most recently when he addressed a meeting of papal nuncios from around the world on Sept. 17. He said, in part, in a Holy See press office extract:

The selection of future bishops is a great concern of mine. Speaking with the Congregation for Bishops some time ago, I outlined the profile of the Pastors that I consider necessary for today’s Church: witnesses of the Risen Christ and not bearers of a curriculum vitae; praying bishops, familiarised with things ‘from above’ and not crushed by the weight of what is ‘below’; bishops able to enter with patience in God’s presence, so as to possess the freedom not to betray the Kerygma entrusted to them; bishops who are pastors, not princes or officials. … You are the first to have to scrutinise the fields to see where the little Davids are hidden. They are there, God will not let them be lacking. … You must go out and search for them. … You must cast your nets out widely. You cannot be content to fish in aquaria, in the reserve or in the breeding ground of ‘friends of friends’. At stake is trust in the Lord of history and of the Church, Who never neglects their true good.”

Voice of the Faithful shares the pontiffs concerns for the quality of our bishops, and of course, is interested in the widest possible lay input into bishop selection. In a letter to Pope Francis only a few months after his election, VOTF asked him “to restore to all the laity and clergy of a diocese a formal role in the process of recommending candidates for their bishop to you prior to your appointment of him.” Enclosed with the letter was the VOTF document, “Furthering the New Evangelization: Consulting the Laity on Candidates for Bishop.”

You can read about VOTF’s letter to the Pope and our proposal for including the laity in the selection of local bishops by visiting and clicking on Bishop Selection under the Programs button on the home page. You also can learn there about VOTF’s web portal where any Catholic in a diocese may make recommendations about the new bishop that are forwarded directly to the U.S. papal nuncio’s email box.

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Abuse whistleblowers renew request for Vatican inquiry of U.S. bishops / National Catholic Reporter

“Eight months without a reply, Catholic advocates for survivors of clergy sexual abuse have hit resend on their request for a Vatican investigation into the abuse policies of U.S. bishops.”

The Catholic Whistleblowers mailed a second letter Sept. 1 to the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, addressed to its prefect Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Canada.

“The brief one-page letter summarizes and refers back to another letter the advocacy group sent at the beginning of the year. That first letter raised concerns that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was not fully implementing its zero tolerance policy toward abusive priests, and as a result putting children and communities at risk while also creating scandal in the church.

“Specifically, Catholic Whistleblowers argues the conference and its bishops have not reported all appropriate abuse allegations to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and lack a mechanism to assure bishops pass such cases to the congregation at all.”

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

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Pope Francis appoints Archbishop Cupich to Congregation for Bishops / National Catholic Reporter

In yet one more sign of his growing confidence in the archbishop of Chicago, Pope Francis appointed Blase Cupich to the Vatican Congregation for Bishops, the office that proposes candidates for the episcopacy.
     “The announcement, made July 7, means the congregation retains two Americans. The other is Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, D.C. The Cupich appointment comes just weeks after American Cardinal William Levada left the congregation. Levada turned 80 in June.
     “The turnover of American personnel on the congregation during the past few years is significant for several reasons …”
     By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
     Also of note — “How Archbishop Cupich’s Appointment Could Shape the Church,” By Michael O’Loughlin, America: The National Catholic Review

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What new Catholic bishops are, and aren’t being told on sex abuse /

Given what a cancer the clerical sexual abuse scandals have been for the Catholic Church, one would imagine the Vatican would want new bishops to get a state-of-the-art presentation on best practices in terms of preventing such meltdowns in the future.

“The Vatican has been running just such a training course since 2001 for newly appointed bishops around the world, and almost 30 percent of the Catholic prelates in the world today have taken it …

“On Monday (Feb. 1), the top official at the Congregation for Bishops, Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, outlined the papers presented during the most recent course, saying he wanted to invite ‘suggestions for improving the experience’ …

“The presentation was entrusted to French Monsignor Tony Anatrella, a consulter to the Pontifical Council for the Family and the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, who’s based at the Collège des Bernardins in Paris. He’s a psychotherapist controversial for his views on homosexuality and ‘gender theory.’

“Although his presentation was long on therapeutic analysis, Anatrella did a credible job of slogging through components of the Code of Canon Law governing clergy accused of sexual crime with a minor.

“In other ways, however, his presentation seemed seriously wanting. For instance, Anatrella argued that bishops have no duty to report allegations to the police, which he says is up to victims and their families. (emphasis added) It’s a legalistic take on a critical issue, one which has brought only trouble for the Church and its leaders. Why, one wonders, was it part of a training session?

By John L. Allen, Jr., — Click here to read the rest of this story, and click here to read a follow up in The Guardian “Catholic bishops not obliged to report clerical child abuse, Vatican says,” by Stephanie Kirchgaessner.

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Association of Catholic Priests voices ‘disquiet’ over Vatican’s selection of Irish bishops / National Catholic Reporter

The Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland is to write to the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops expressing its 1,000 members’ ‘grave disquiet’ over the current selection process for bishops in the Irish church.

“A resolution was carried unanimously at the association’s annual meeting in Athlone Nov. 24 which criticized the ‘lack of any credible process of consultation’ with priests and people in recent years and the Vatican’s ‘preference for candidates drawn from a particular mindset.’

“Over 100 members of the ACP who attended the meeting backed the statement which said the choice of candidates is ‘out of sync with the realities of life in Ireland today’ and with the openness of Pope Francis to change and reform in the church.”

By Sarah Mac Donald, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Conservative Cardinal Dropped from Key Vatican Post

Cardinal Raymond Burke Removed from the Congregation of Bishops

Pope Francis’ plan to reform the Roman Curia is primarily a two-pronged approach: changing the bureaucratic structures and changing the members of Vatican agencies. Today (Dec. 16) we saw yet another sign that the new pope wants people in synch with his more pastoral vision of the church, and in particular with his views on what makes a good bishop. U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke has been dropped from the Congregation for Bishops, an office that wields tremendous influence in shaping the world’s hierarchy.” By John Thavis from Vatican City on — Click here to read the rest of Thavis’ article.

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