Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Praying for good bishops: rumours, rumours!

You may have noted that the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Ouellet, recently visited Australia.

Given the number of current vacancies (viz Wilcannia-Forbes and Canberra-Goulburn), diocese with bishops over the age limit (viz Hobart, Rockhampton and Lismore) or where the bishop is approaching the age limit (viz Broken Bay), one assumes he might also have taken the time to meet some of the candidates and take some soundings in person while here.

No surprise then that the rumours have started flying, with someone over at aCatholica suggesting that ++Prowse of Sale is destined for Canberra-Goulburn (I'd like to think that Catholica wasn't a reliable source on such subjects given its steadfast opposition to actual Catholicism, but alas, it is a sign of the state of the Church in this country that it has in fact proved on the money in the past).

Of course appointing bishops these days is no easy task.

In Scotland, a halt has been called on all appointments pending the in depth investigation of the Cardinal O'Brien fiasco.

Some have speculated that a similar process might (or at least should!) be underway in England and Wales given the problem of homosexual infiltration of the seminaries there in the 1970s.  Given the sordid account of life at Manly offered recently, and the problem of apparent complicity or worse in the coverup of child sexual abuse on the part of many, similar arguments apply to Australia.

But all those issues aside, there is also the problem of persuading priests to actually say yes when asked.  If they are refusing because their past lives won't stand up to scrutiny, then good that they do so.  But otherwise, hard to understand why a priest should refuse to serve, not withstanding the challenges involved: our religion, after all, demands that we take up our cross!

So perhaps it is a good time to renew our prayers for good shepherds for our dioceses...

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