Thursday, March 4, 2010

ADAM'S ALE: BISHOP SHOPPING

BISHOP SHOPPING: "
What do you do when you do not like your bishop?

When still a seminarian there was a student/friend of mine who left to go to another diocese where there was a bishop that he liked more. He was there for a while and then as things go they changed bishops and he was once again unhappy.

Liking or disliking a bishop is more than just having a preference for a boss or even a politician. Bishops are more to us than that. We all belong (hopefully) to a parish and the parish is just part of a larger entity known as the local Church of which our bishop is the head. This is not a company with a CEO, it is more like a large family with a patriarch. And it is a hard job. Terribly hard. Especially in this difficult times.

Did you know that it is difficult even to find priests willing to become bishop? I think no sane man would do it unless he was an upper level saint. As one person once said, “Anybody who wants to be a bishop deserves to be one.” The glory days are way over.

And so we have a consecrated man as our see, a combination of administrator, politician, father, teacher, chief priest, healer, and at times, because it is necessary, CEO. Is there any other job requiring so many hats? And he is expected to be good at all of them plus be a saint if possible.

“It’s lonely at the top” is an understatement. A bishop makes decisions and they are wildly popular with some (these people remain quiet) and condemned as damnable by others (and these are quite vocal.) This past week I made a decision on socks for our uniforms in the school. You would have thought that I required each student to be flogged. I can’t imagine making decisions on whether a school or parish remains open.

Hopefully you like your bishop. But perhaps you do not. It may be that your bishop, in your eyes, is making terrible mistakes. You don’t have to like him but love him. Pray for him. Or this whole thing falls apart. I know some are facing terrible things in their lives because of how a decision of a bishop is effecting them but do not let hate enter your soul – do not become what you hate – do not, in trying to “save the Church” lose your soul.
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