Friday, March 4, 2016
Just say no. . .
Speaking yesterday about the annual course his office sponsors for new bishops, the Cardinal was asked about rumours that more and more priests are saying they do not want to be a bishop and declining an appointment even when the Pope, on the recommendation of Cardinal Ouellet’s office, has chosen them.
Read the whole story here. . .
I am happy to report that there is little chance I will ever be a bishop (Lutheran or otherwise) and many of you are breathing a sigh of relief about that fact. I am not even sure I want to be a Senior Pastor (but that is mostly about age, something I cannot do much about). But it appears that I am not alone. There are those who are following William Tecumseh Sherman's dictim: "If nominated, I will not run. If elected I will not serve." I respect that. Being a bishop (or even a District President, for those of the Missouri variety who eschew the episcopacy) is hardly a plum job. You get all the responsibility with not much direct authority and every kind of complaint imaginable. I have great respect for those who humbly accept and do the job well but for every one like this there are mediocre candidates and even less than mediocre men who serve without much distinction. It saddens me that such is the case. We need good strong bishops (DPs for the weak stomached among us) who do not merely listen but lead, who do not merely administer but minister, and who do not merely talk but teach. That said, when a man knows he is not that fellow and does not believe it is God who is calling him, the one who declines is wiser beyond his years.
All in all it is an angry time in America. People are angry for all sorts of reasons (the Trump phenomenon is certainly due to the pent up anger and frustration of many). It is also a troubled time when being correct is not enough to prevent you from being assaulted from all sides. It is a time when authority is demanded and authority is rejected. I have never aspired to the office and am pretty confident that I possess neither the temperament nor the requisite wisdom and patience for the job. For that matter no one has suggested I did. But I have the greatest respect for those who do and also for those who know they do not and so decline. It is the best of times and the worst of times -- really. We need a few good men. In the parish and to serve the episcopal responsibilities the church requires. Pray for them. Pray for those who will be asked, elected, and installed. And pray for your pastor just the same.