13Aug Who does the papal nuncio consult when choosing future bishops?

The present Papal Nuncio has the task of nominating bishops for the following dioceses: Armagh, Cloyne, Limerick, Kerry, Kildare and Loughlin, Ardagh and Clonmacnoise,  Derry and maybe a few more

In each case, so far, the man nominated is from outside the diocese in question.

This gives the Nuncio immense power. It means that he is determining the future of the Irish Church for years to come by choosing now who the future leaders will be.

In the old days there was a consultation process. The priests of the diocese were consulted by means of a vote. Often the popular choice was ignored by the powers-that-be in Rome. But at least there was some attempt at consultation

Who does the present Nuncio consult? I am sure he consults chosen individuals. In most cases even the priests of the diocese had never even heard of the man they were now getting as bishop. What criteria does he use in judging a man suitable to be a bishop?

In our struggle for freedom from the colonial power of past times there was an old Irish motto: no taxation without representation.

Surely we should be given some say in who our leaders are to be.

Fr. John O’Connell (retired priest, Dublin diocese)

 

COMMENT FROM ACP LEADERSHIP TEAM

• The ACP Leadership are grateful to John for raising this issue, because it is something that has concerned us for the past number of years. We do not wish to reflect on the qualities of the men chosen to be bishops, but when the future of the Irish Church seems to be largely shaped by one person it is a matter of concern.

14 Responses

  1. John Dwyer Kirwin

    Charles Brown was pulled out of the ranks of the CDF by his mentor, Joseph Ratzinger, bypassing the diplomatic corps, ordained an archbishop, for whatever reasons, and sent to Ireland to rebuild those various and sundry Churches. Are we surprised at the outcome?

    Here is one who, all things considered, might be a very nice guy, but totally lacking in any pastoral experience and/or diplomatic skills. Why shouldn’t he have a free hand in foisting more unknown entities on the vacant sees of Ireland?

    When the current Bishop of Rome met with Charles and his fellow (no sisters need apply)nuncios, it seems he strongly suggested that they put forth holy men, not interested in lofty titles or ambitions, for nomination.

    Would that he would do so by consulting the various Churches as to who they would recognize as possessing such qualities. Surely there have to be holy men in each vacant diocese, who could be put forth for election by the baptized and ratified by Francis of Rome.

    We must pray for a return to the acclamations which gave us Ambrose and others.

  2. LP

    My response, I fear, consists of ramblings, rather than contributions to a debate.

    Historically, Fr John is absolutely correct. For something over a century (1820s to 1920s, I think), the parish priests of the vacant see elected the terna; the bishops of the province met and composed observations on the terna; and the matter then passed to Rome. I do not think that the instances of total disregard by Rome of the votes and observations were all that frequent.

    If you read the volumes of Emmet Larkin on the Irish church in the 19th century, you will see that the leaving of a diocese vacant for many years (as is now all too common in Ireland, England & Wales, and Scotland) was more or less unheard of.

    Finally, the norm in England & Wales is for a bishop to be appointed from outside the diocese. Until recently, the norm in Ireland has been the contrary. Why the difference? Does either practice have the advantage over the other?

  3. Brendan Cafferty

    It is disturbing if priests’ views are not taken into consideration. We all remember how late Nuncio Archbishop Alibrandi once boasted that he had a hand in almost all the appointments of Bishops here. He was Nuncio for a very long time here, maybe too long ?

    Appointment of Bishops from outside may have some things to recommend it, but may also be a reflection on priests of a diocese that there is no Primus Inter Pares among them ?

  4. Los Leandros

    All I can say is that so far Archbishop Brown has done an excellent job in his suggestions. I am familiar with Fr. Denis Nulty, and he is a first class appointment. More of the same please !.

  5. Linda, Derry

    Who does Father Brown consult in his assigned duty to appoint bishops? Probably the only people he needs to consult….Jesus in the Tabernacle, Our Lady with his Rosary and the Vicar of Christ. Jesus DID promise “I will give you shepherds after my own heart” .Calm yourselves fellow flocksters …the Boss in the Tabernacle hasn’t gone away ye know!! :-)

  6. Soline Humbert

    @5
    Do you mean that the Holy Spirit, like the baptised, is not worthy of consultation by Fr.Brown?

  7. Eddie Finnegan

    I’ve just been wondering if ‘Linda, Derry’ isn’t ‘Sean (Derry)’s better half ?
    .
    Linda(@5), you took umbrage on another thread when Neal Carlin was not appropriately styled as ‘Fr Neal Carlin’. I think you saw this as a veiled attack on the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
    Sooooo, aren’t you being a little inconsistent in stripping Charles Brown of his archiepiscopal dignity, referring to him as a character strayed out of G.K. Chesterton, the simple detective ‘Fr Brown’ ? If we were sure that Charlie Brown has been endowed with the inquisitorial acuity of Fr Brown (who, after all, detected the perpetrators of 51 crimes), we could acquiesce in his single-handed choice of bishops. OMG, does that mean he’ll still be around to select a further 45 episcopabili? Hopefully, the Boss in the Tabernacle (as they say in Derry) will get fed up at being hauled up to the Brown study in Cabra every other weekend for one-on-one quality time consultations.
    .
    But Linda, I agree fully with your ignoring these quasi-simoniacal archbishoppings of flockless diplomatic or CDF civil servants. ‘Fr Brown’ is how Charlieboy should be styled. The office of bishop or archbishop should not be conferred like a Benny Merenti medal on some Vatican ladder-climber just so he can pull rank on his host country’s diplomatic corps, impress an Enda Kenny, or even go eyeball-to-eyeball with Armagh, Dublin, Tuam or Cashel at meetings in Maynooth.Same goes,of course,for Gorgeous George -archbishopped for being companion to an Old Pope and go-between with the New Man. If the Dignity of Bishop is the “fullness of the Priesthood”, and if they want to persuade us that all of this was er ordained as we know it, all in the space of a few minutes over a meal one Passover evening, maybe it’s time they started respecting the Priesthood, the fullness of the Priesthood, and the Arch-fullness of the Priesthood for what they claim it represents. But, as Soline suggests, if they let the Holy Spirit get her foot in the door, there’d be hundreds of archiepiscopal carpetbaggers and hopeful monsignorial paper-pushers quaking in their boots. Now if Francis has the gumption to demote them all to the dignity of curate and sends them out to parishes in, let’s say, Africa, maybe their grateful flocks will eventually recognise them as true bishop-material and recommend them to Rome for ordination.
    I’m sure, Linda,Derry, that’s just what you meant by your reference to Fr Brown of Cabra Parish. Now, yous are short of a bishop to fill the cathedra at St Eugene’s, I believe. Have you thought of applying?

  8. Linda, Derry

    Soline, with respect, you believe a woman can be a priest, please take your ignorance to Christ in prayer, and google StPatrick, SHamrocks and Holy Trinity while yer at it. Don’t bother responding, I won’t be getting embroiled in a row, too much like my mother! Take care and, sincerely, God Bless. :-)

  9. Paddy Ferry

    Eddie@ 7 – you know since Linda began her onslaught yesterday, I have also been wondering about Linda and Sean.

  10. Linda, Derry

    LOL!! :-)
    1)Our Lady said “Close your ears and minds to the din of voices which lead you to confusion…MY voice alone you will listen to”…Little wonder the Pope and Bishops get on about their business of leading and shepherding, or should do, without a ‘Church ‘ referendum for every decision!
    2) I have never read, nor even thought about reading, GK Chesterton
    3) My ONLY and INFINITELY better half is JESUS CHRIST himself.
    4) Your declared interest in my private life has been noted should I ever be tempted to alter point no.3… Living without hope can be potentially demoralising
    5) Any alteration to point no.3 would, of course, necessitate complete submission on the part of self-suggesting candidates to safety and standards vetting, by Pope Emeritus Benedict, Pope Francis and currently ordained Bishop of Derry, Fr Seamus Hegarty. 6) Points no.4 and 5 are, now and for the foreseeable long term future subject to the following superceding ‘Reality Clause’: ‘The only thing worse than no hope is the illusion of false hope’
    7) Thanks for the laugh….before you went to confession…Jesus DID say the sick need a doctor, although you may also require referral to specialised psychiatry….ye nosey wee skitters!!! LOL! :-)

  11. Joe O'Leary

    Unfortunately this website is just recycling the drearily familiar Catholic culture wars. Could someone do something to give it a more practically helpful orientation, building on the morale-boosting talks of Pope Francis?

  12. Sean (Derry)

    Eddie@7 and Paddy@9, sorry to put a damper on a possible romantic relationship between Linda, Derry and myself but even though she sounds like my type of woman, unfortunately we do not know each other (yet?). Thankfully, however, I don’t think there is any chance that you might make the same mistaken link between me and Soline.

    Like Linda however I thank God that the Church has not (at least not yet) allowed His teachings and His Laws to be first voted upon and approved by His earthly creatures before adherence becomes necessary. No doubt that if this novel, majority rule method was adopted to replace the Pope and the Magisterium we could quickly get all that our mortal hearts desired. I’m sure that based upon ‘majority rule’ and media support, we could very quickly have, women priests, married priests, married lesbian priests, married gay priests, married bisexual priests, married transgender priests and married whatever you’re having yourself priests. Instead of confession we could all write our sins (maybe we could rename them ‘mistakes’ as ‘sin’ sounds very judgemental)on a piece of paper and then throw them in the fire.
    Next we can have a referendum on the 10 Commandments? How many of these do you think would survive a ‘majority rule’ ballot? I’m sure we could quickly reduce these to 3 or 4 and that we could then rewrite them to make them more ‘inclusive’, more ‘reflective of present day society’ and less dogmatic.
    Maybe eventually ‘we’ (The Church) could take a vote on whether or not ‘we’ actually need God.
    Thank God for preserving us from ourselves.

  13. Eddie Finnegan

    Joe@11, I’m not sure whether you mean this particular thread or the website as a whole. However, there’s no one on this site more fitted than yourself – theologically, philosophically, literarily, non-insularly – to re-orient (no pun intended!)us from the fifth-hand culture wars and our lazily reactive exchange of sniper fire. But I have to say that your own contributions to this website are too often merely reactive and minimalist. I keep expecting more. Even your Irish Times letters are much more substantial, despite editorial restrictions on space. You are right about Pope Francis’s morale-boosting – and we know you’ve already lobbed in some early warning shots months ago on not confusing changes of papal style with the substance that’s still awaited, but which he seems to be working on, at least by a process of attrition. You’re the man to raise our sights and to nudge us towards that “more practically helpful orientation”.
    .
    But, Joe, if I ask that you keep ‘l’homme moyen sensuel’ of the ACP in mind (not forgetting ‘la femme moyen sensuelle’ of the ACI), it is simply because I am still reeling since last night from a paragraph of yours on ‘Asian Hints for a Demystification of Negative Theology”, 2006:
    “A negative theology that stresses phenomenological immediacy, that gives a practical liberative function to its apophatic or aphaeretic moves, and that maintains an ongoing critical and creative engagement with the complexities of ordinary life and language has more appeal to the contemporary intellectual and even to l’homme moyen sensuel than one that urges an ascent to ever more rarefied mystical heights or a retreat into an interior castle known only to a tiny elite.”
    Still reeling, but I think I’m getting there!
    .

  14. Joe O'Leary

    Eddie, thanks for your kind comments and indeed mea culpa. I’ll try to be most positive. As to Pope Francis, I am becoming more enthusiastic. He has gone back to the original gospel of Jesus as found in the first layer of the Q document (as analysed by James M. Robinson) — the saying of the sort that got into the Sermon on the Mount, about care for the poor, trust in providence, not obsessing about me fein, etc. Dogma etc are important of course, but Francis has given the whole church an injection of the simple basic gospel and I hope he continues to do so for some more months or years.