With the recent news of Auxiliary Bishop Andrew Cozzens being selected as the Bishop of the Crookston MN Diocese, one would start to wonder about a replacement. So it was with great interest that I read Archbishop Hebda’s article concerning this in the Catholic Spirit:
It was the last couple of paragraphs that really caught my attention about putting forward suggestions for a Bishop. I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to suggest via an email to Archbishop Hebda a name of an Archdiocesan priest that I think would be a wonderful Auxiliary Bishop for our Archdiocese and some reasons for that. I went to bed Saturday night thinking that I would most likely not hear a reply to my email. Sunday morning I was pleasantly surprised to have already received a short email from Archbishop Hebda:
Thanks, Deacon. That speaks volumes ….. If you wanted to write a letter directly to the Nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, his address is 3339 Massachusetts Ave. N.W., Washington DC 20008. Thanks for the suggestion. (Sent from my iPhone)
Firstly, I was impressed with his quick response and encouragement. As Archbishop Hebda suggested, I wrote a letter and dropped it into the mail to Archbishop Pierre Monday. In his article, Archbishop Hebda comments that he had in the past solicited names for potential Bishop candidates.
“You might recall, moreover, that when I was serving as the administrator of this archdiocese, I asked all the priests and faithful to suggest names of priests whom they thought would make good bishops. I submitted at that time all of those names to the Holy See.”
This got me thinking that maybe the faithful should pass along their recommendation for an Auxiliary Bishop to Archbishop Pierre via a letter. I addressed my letter:
- Archbishop Christophe Pierre
- Apostolic Nuncio to the United States
- 3339 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.
- Washington DC 20008
I will not specify who I recommended or share my letter as I do not want to influence you but would encourage you to consider writing a recommendation letter if the Holy Spirit urges you to. As Archbishop Hebda mentioned, we do have priests in our Archdiocese that would be good Bishop candidates. In a big organization like the Catholic Church, it may seem pointless to do such a thing and that the hierarchy will do what they do. One of my mottos in life is “if you don’t ask the answer is no”.
The role and voice of the faithful was a major theme of the Vatican II documents. Before you think me crazy here is the beginning of section 37 of the Dogmatic Constitution On The Church, "Lumen Gentium" from the Vatican website.
- The laity have the right, as do all Christians, to receive in abundance from their spiritual shepherds the spiritual goods of the Church, especially the assistance of the word of God and of the sacraments (6*). They should openly reveal to them their needs and desires with that freedom and confidence which is fitting for children of God and brothers in Christ. They are, by reason of the knowledge, competence or outstanding ability which they may enjoy, permitted and sometimes even obliged to express their opinion on those things which concern the good of the Church (7*). When occasions arise, let this be done through the organs erected by the Church for this purpose. Let it always be done in truth, in courage and in prudence, with reverence and charity toward those who by reason of their sacred office represent the person of Christ.
Personally, I prefer the translation in the book “Vatican Council II Constitutions Decrees Declarations, A Completely Revised Translation in Inclusive Language” that was used during my formation.
- Like all the faithful, the laity have the right to receive abundant help from their pastors out of the church’s spiritual treasury, especially the word of God and the sacraments. The laity should disclose their needs and desires to the pastors with that liberty and confidence which befits children of God and brothers and sisters in Christ. To the extent of their knowledge, competence or authority the laity are entitled, and indeed sometimes duty-bound, to express their opinion on matters which concern the good of the church. Should the occasion arise this should be done through the institutions established by the church for that purpose and always with truth, courage and prudence and with reverence and charity towards those who, by reason of their office, represent the person of Christ.
While the Church will never be a democracy and sadly we will never return to earlier times when Bishops were selected via an election process (see the links in the article also):
I believe it appropriate and even necessary that all God’s people express their concerns and suggestions to their Bishops and the Church Hierarchy.
Enough stirring things up for one blog.
Peace, Love, and Blessings,