Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How to Be a New Bishop

Lawler has a great essay addressed to new Bishops.  And he pulls no punches.

The new bishop is young and energetic, fully orthodox, and filled with apostolic zeal. He is taking control of an average American diocese. What assumptions should he make? What should he expect? What should he do?

Well, inter alia:

If there are any solid orthodox communities of female contemplatives in the diocese, visit them within the first few hours of your installation and enlist their prayers for you.

...Upon arrival, get rid of all paper shredders at the chancery and insist that no work be taken home in briefcases. Make friends with the maintenance man and the wash lady.

...Your next pastoral should insist upon the proper celebration of the Mass. It should contain disciplinary teeth. Narcissistic priests hate constraint. It's easier to catch them in an act of liturgical abuse than an act of sexual abuse.

...Like Archbishop Pell of Sydney, Australia, get a secretary who's married with several children. Break the daisy-chain.

...You will find that you have two or three prosperous parishes that are traditional centers of opposition, led by dissident priests. If you had all your priests read that fire-breather pastoral on protecting family life, you'll probably have enough general lay support—even given the hostility of the media—to face down the bad pastors after they refuse to play ball. Replace them with Nigerians to mute the screams from liberals and to force the worst parishioners to go to the Episcopalians or the Paulists.  [HaaaaHoooo! --ed.]

...Publish every semester a roster of the theologians and philosophers teaching in your diocese along with their mandatum status. Give a brief but candid explanation for any case in which the mandatum has been denied, e.g., “defects regarding Catholic doctrine on contraception.”

Plenty more at the link, and every single line-item is worth the time and effort!

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