As predicted, it's hard to get good bishops these days


Over the weekend, I transcribed Ed Peters' 1995 HPR essay, "The coming bishop crunch". At the time, Peters observed that two-thirds of America's bishops were scheduled to retire in a twelve-year period and the Church would have to replace them, with the "crunch" years falling now, from 2005 to 2007.

So where can the Church find 15 priests a year "outstanding for their solid faith, good morals, piety, zeal for souls, wisdom, prudence and other virtues and talents, possessing advanced degrees or true expertise in scripture, theology, canon law..." for the work of a bishop in this country? The piece offers bishops and laymen some suggestions on how they can help meet the shortage of candidates. The years of peak demand are upon us now, but the need isn't going away.

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Two obvious places to look: Legionaries of Christ and Opus Dei. Although I tend to think the Work isn't particularly thrilled to have its priests drafted in this way, but I'm sure they would serve if called.

There are already discussions in Rome about raising the retirement age for bishops from 75 to 80. I suspect there will be a couple of big rounds of appointments before the end of next year, though. This pope is making a decisive mark, one department at a time.

I'm doing my part...applying to seminary for the Fall. It's a long time coming though I'm still young (just turned 27 now). I recently saw Fisher's of Men and will always have an eye out for possible vocations. The biggest thing we can do is get parents to respect that choice of children and get more and more of the best and brightest into the priesthood. Since when do smart people have to avoid the priesthood in favor of a mythical "real job" that is where they can use their talents. I hate that attitude that I sometimes get from my parents but more often from others.

Actually, in response to #1, this Pope seems to have a thing for Redemptorists. I saw a blog post yesterday, can't remember where, but he's already appointed 5 bishops from that order and people are starting to notice.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard Chonak published on March 27, 2006 10:44 AM.

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