To read, print, or order a copy of the position paper entitled People's Participation in the Selection of Bishops, go to http://www.councilofthebaptized.org and click on Publications in the main menu bar. Scroll down to read about our program to invite Catholics of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to have a voice in the selection of our bishops.
Leadership Selection Resource Team members: Rose Marie Assad, Ellen Boroughf, Patricia Klucas, Linda Napier, Judith Pryor, Paula Ruddy, Carol Tauer, Patty Thorsen, Kathryn Warneke, and Jo Youngren.
Our historical predecessors were the Bishop Selection Work/Study Group (2009-2010): Jim Moudry, Bill Hunt, Patricia Gries, and Frank and Ginny Meuers. They researched the subject of bishop selection and presented their findings at Synod of the Baptized 2010. We began after Synod 2010 to design a program to give a voice to all the faithful in the selection of our Archdiocesan leadership.
The rationale for our efforts: The role of the church as institution is to serve the spiritual growth of individuals and of the community as a whole. That institutional support enables the community to manifest the message of God’s love to the world, its mission. Leadership imbued with the Christian vision is essential to the functioning of the institution in its role and mission. Given these premises, Catholics are increasingly aware that they must take responsibility for calling the leaders they need.
Although election of bishops by the people was the rule from the early church to the 13th Century, the current practice has become centralized in the Vatican. Canon law determines how bishops and archbishops are selected. The process for appointing new bishops and promotions to archbishop is handled by the Papal Nuncio, the Vatican’s ambassador to the U.S. The current Nuncio is Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, and his office is 3339 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008. Archbishop Vigano has responded to a letter from us saying that he is willing “to receive recommendations from any lay Catholic at any time.”
Canon law requires the Nuncio to consult with current archbishops, bishops, priests, and lay people “of outstanding wisdom.” Canon law does not give a test for wisdom, but we believe the Catholic faithful of the Archdiocese qualify. We invite you to write to the Nuncio about the needs of our Archdiocese and the characteristics we need in our next pastoral leader.
OUR PROGRAM: The People’s Voice in the Selection of Our Bishops
This program is to be implemented by the Leadership Selection Resource Team (LSRT) during the years 2012-2014. It has been endorsed by the CCCR Board of Directors and the Council of the Baptized.
LSRT shall conduct educational programming to raise awareness among the Catholics of the Archdiocese of the desirability of having a voice in the selection of leadership. The Council’s endorsement and publication of a position paper will be the chief tools used in this educational phase of the program. LSRT shall publish profiles, interviews, and articles featuring possible candidates for bishop and archbishop by email and/or on a blog. Look for them at http://www.theprogressivecatholicvoice.blogspot.com.
In 2013, LSRT shall invite a Task Force to initiate the process of collecting data from people on their specific expectations of the person in the role of bishop/archbishop in this Archdiocese and their suggestions for candidates.
The Task Force shall consist of representatives of parishes, the ordained priesthood, the diaconate, men and women’s religious orders, and organizations of Catholics at the diocesan level.
The Task Force shall determine the details of the process:
· to survey the Catholics of the Archdiocese on the most important needs and opportunities facing the Archdiocese, the desirable qualifications of the next bishop/archbishop, and the names of priests who, in their prayerful and considered judgment, would make excellent candidates for bishop; the survey can be conducted electronically at any time and in writing at deanery meetings
· to make known the bishops who are possible candidates for the position of archbishop
· to contact the leaders of Parish Councils or other parish organizations, priests, deacons, men and women religious, and lay associations
· to hold meetings in the 15 deaneries of the Archdiocese
· to collect data elicited and prepare reports
· to send the reports to the Papal Nuncio at his address in Washington D.C. and to interested persons in the Archdiocese
· to organize communication with the Papal Nuncio as appropriate
January to December, 2012: LSRT shall conduct forums in each of the quadrants of the Archdiocese to familiarize the people with the history of bishop selection, the basis of authority in Vatican II and good management practices for people’s participation in the selection of their leadership.
June, 2012: Publication of the Council of the Baptized position paper on Selection of Bishops and endorsement of the LSRT program for implementation.
The Council and LSRT shall send the published endorsement of this proposal to all priests, deacons, men and women religious, and lay organizations in the Archdiocese as well as to the Archbishop.
January to December, 2013: LSRT will form a Task Force of lay people, priests, deacons and men and women religious to design the process for consulting the people of the Archdiocese and formulating the questions they will be asked.
January to December, 2014: The Committee shall compile the data received and communicate with the Papal Nuncio
This process is adapted from “Consulting the Laity on Candidates for the Episcopacy,” prepared for Voice of the Faithful by The Voices in Action Universal Church Reform Team, March 2010.