Saturday, 25 July 2009

Congratulations... Monsignor Richard Moth, Vicar General in Southwark, who is to be ordained Bishop of the Forces. Twitch of the mantilla to Fr. Ray Blake, and also Fr. Stephen Langridge (who tweeted it!)

You can see the Vatican announcement HERE.


servingblogger said...

I haven’t a clue who he is, never met him, and so can’t say much about him. However, I have been reflecting on the way we get new bishops. Essentially, we are given them. No bishop one day, then one suddenly appears. He comes from on high, appointed by the Holy See. The process by which he emerges is covered in secrecy and fog, and I’m not really sure how the Holy See comes to the decision as to who is the best person for the role. Most certainly, no one asked me. I doubt whether most of us who make up this Diocese were asked. I think that’s the way it is. I do wonder how people in the pew feel when they are suddenly told that they have a new bishop, priest or whatever. They are expected to be grateful and welcome the new incumbent. The Church presumably knows best, and we take what we are given. I’m increasingly uneasy about that. It smacks of paternalism ... “There you are, now, here’s the bishop we’ve decided we’re giving you and you will unquestioningly accept him and be happy with our decision”.

I don’t say any of this in any way against the new bishop. He’s just been told he’s going to do the job. Although, I suspect that he’s quite pleased with himself. I just feel uneasy about a process that for the most part ignores the people whose bishop he is to be. They don’t get asked. They just get asked to pray. I guess in the belief that God will guide the Church to appoint the right person. Ever thought that God might chose to speak more directly through the voice of the people ? So why not ask them directly ? I remember from my history studies that one of the main ways in which the Papacy over the centuries has secured its authority over the Church has been by reserving to itself the appointment of bishops, making them dependent on and answerable to the Holy See. It wasn’t always that way. Bishops in the early Church were acclaimed by the people, chosen by the local church. Until the Papacy started to flex its muscles and take control. Many of the powers and privileges that the Papacy takes to itself were not always taken for granted. The Papacy worked hard to get them, and keep them. Much of it has to do with power and authority. Occasionally Rome gets a bit of shock. I recall that in the last few years the clergy and people of a diocese in Switzerland were not happy with the bishop given to them, and Rome had to change its mind. I don’t necessarily want Rome to change its mind, but I would have liked somebody to have asked me what I thought would be the kind of person to be our bishop. But nobody did, and there was no mechanism available for me to express an opinion. That doesn’t seem right. And if I were one of the praying and paying faithful in the pew, I would wonder why I hadn’t been asked as well.

Oh well, having had my gripe about the process and the way the Church does things, we will welcome the new bishop. I guess it’s not his fault.

Mulier Fortis said...

But that's just the point. We Catholics do not believe that the priest, bishop, cardinal or Pope is chosen by the people: Truth is not determined by majority vote.

Many Protestant denominations, including the Anglicans, I believe, do get a choice in their Pastor through parish councils and so on... I don't think they're any happier for it!

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