Once a bishop resigns... the nuncio [currently Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz] requests a report from the leader of the diocese about its condition, needs and challenges. The nuncio also does his own investigation into the needs of the diocese and suitable candidates to lead it. He consults past bishops of the diocese, other bishops in the province and around the country, and the metropolitan. He may also consult priests and lay members of the diocese.
Once he narrows the list to a handful of candidates, the nuncio sends confidential questionnaires to people who know the candidates, including priests, religious and well-respected laity. Those who receive the questionnaire are bound by the code of papal secrecy: they cannot tell anyone that they have received the letters or what they write in response.
The nuncio then gathers the information and writes a report including a list of three candidates, a terna, and notes his preference, which he sends to the Congregation for Bishops at the Vatican, the body of about 30 cardinals that oversees the selection process.
An English-speaking cardinal assigned to review the Southwark position studies the file and makes a recommendation to the body of cardinals at one of its twice-monthly meetings. The congregation then votes for its preferred choice, which may not be the same as that selected by the nuncio or the presenting cardinal, or it may ask for more information or to be given a new terna.
Once the congregation agrees on its choice, that information is passed on to the pope during a Saturday meeting with the head, or prefect, of the congregation. The pope can follow the council’s recommendation or, in a rare case, make a different decision. He is ultimately responsible for selecting the bishop.
Wednesday, 6 January 2010
The inimitable Fr. Z had a very interesting post a short while back, about the appointment of bishops. Since we, in the Archdiocese of Southwark, are currently sede vacante (I believe that is the correct term), the process will apply to us!
I took the liberty of editing out the bits which referred to Scranton diocese, and substituted bits that were relevant to Southwark... no doubt someone will tell me if I've made a complete hash of it!!
Archbishop Sainz Muñoz has himself stated, in an interview given to that dreadful rag, The Suppository, that Rome is apparently more interested in what is available on the internet than in a terna submitted by himself.
Given that The Suppository spends all its time promoting worn-out liberal ideas while attacking the Holy Father and doing its utmost to undermine Catholicism with wishy-washy, it's-ok-if-it-feels-right pronouncements, I am surprised that the nuncio would give them an interview.
To be honest, from what I've heard, I'm actually not surprised... but I am surprised that, given how happy he is to be associated with The Suppository and all things liberal, the nuncio seems surprised that no-one in Rome trusts his judgement... and that they prefer to look at the internet for information on the state of the Church in England.
Having said that, it's of vital importance that we bloggers make sure that Rome has all the information they want.
So, what do we need from our new Archbishop?
A man of prayer: that goes without saying. A man who is loyal to the Holy Father... that should also go without saying, but, sadly, we have seen little evidence of such loyalty from our Bishops in the UK. A man who is unashamedly Catholic, and who is prepared to stand up for the Truth, and for the rights of the Church to teach those Truths.
That means we need someone who is pro-life and pro-family. Someone who will proclaim Humanae vitae, Evangelium vitae, and every one of the doctrines of Holy Mother Church, proudly, and explain why they are right... instead of shuffling off with a half-apologetic smile, saying, "Well, Rome says..." as if that means it has nothing to do with us in Britain because we're easy-going, rational sorts who just want to get along and be nice to everyone...
We need a man who will address the mess of the Cabrini Society, which, while failing to uphold the teachings of the Church with regard to marriage and the family, still expects to receive financial contributions from the Catholic faithful, as well as retaining assets it gained when it was still a Catholic charity.
And we need a man who is sympathetic to the Extraordinary Form of Mass, who wishes to implement Summorum Pontificum with generosity, as there are many priests and people in the Archdiocese of Southwark who are very attached to the traditional liturgy.
Those of us who recognise that Truth is not subject to a majority vote, and cafeteria Catholicism is not an option, should not have to watch our shepherds cave in to the latest Government policy, be it human-animal hybrids, cloning, abortion, compulsory sex education for five-year-olds or whatever. There are things which are WRONG, absolutely wrong, and we need a man who will say so.
Such a man should be prepared to be treated with contempt by our politicians, just as Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue was treated, when, after daring to say that the Catholic Faith should be taught in Catholic Schools, he was hauled up before a Parliamentary Committee to explain himself.
Unfortunately, I suspect that such a man would also need to expect a great deal of hostility from those Catholics who have grown comfortable with the idea that conscience excuses all things (forgetting that it is an informed conscience which must be heeded, informed by Holy Mother Church) - the attacks in The Suppository on our own Holy Father are proof of that.
If Rome is, indeed, more interested in the internet than in the ternas submitted by nuncios, then it is time for the faithful to make themselves heard.