Tuesday, 8 January 2008

In the old days all a fisherman needed was a net or a rod ???

[Here is a copy, from the BBC website, of a letter and questionnaire recently sent out with regard to the filling of an episcopal vacancy in NI by the Apostolic Nuncio.
If these criteria were strictly applied, one wonders how many of the current bench of Bishops managed to be appointed. Athanasius {via Holy Smoke Blog} ]

Private and Confidential

15 March 2007

Dear _________________

Since the Holy Father has accepted the resignation of the Bishop of the Diocese of Down and Connor, the Most Reverend Patrick Walsh, I am at present conducting a consultation that will lead in due time to the appointment of his successor. In this contest, I am seeking your assistance.
Bearing in mind the particular situation in the North of Ireland and what you see to be the specific needs of the Diocese of Down and Connor at this time, I would find it helpful to have your judgement as to the specific qualities that you would consider desirable in the new Bishop and to have the names, in the order of your preference, of (three) possible candidates, either bishops or priests, whom you would consider well suited to lead the Diocese. To facilitate a more comprehensive answer, I enclose a Questionnaire that may serve as a general guideline. For practical purposes, I would ask that the page(s) relating to each candidate, signed by hand and dated, be presented in each case as a separate unit. Finally, given the confidential nature of this consultation, I would ask that, in sending me your reply, you would also return this letter and the accompanying questionnaire.

I regret imposing upon your limited time, but I am most grateful for whatever assistance you can provide.

With kind regards, I remain,
Yours in Christ

Apostolic Nuncio

183 Navan Road
Dublin 7

Please provide on separate sheets the information regarding each candidate, indicating the circumstances and duration of your acquaintance with him.

1. PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES: physical appearance; health; capacity for work; family background with particular reference to any possible hereditary condition.

2. HUMAN QUALITIES: intellectual endowment and practical skills; temperament; judgement and balance, sense of responsibility; ability to establish ties of friendship.

3. MORAL CHARACTER: Practice of the human, Christian and priestly virtues such as prudence, justice, honesty, loyalty, sobriety, faith, hope, charity, obedience, humility, piety, (daily performance of religious duties such as the celebration of the Eucharist, and the Liturgy of the Hours, devotion to Our Lady). Personal bearing and conduct with people in the exercise of the priestly ministry and beyond.

4. CULTURAL TRAINING: competent and up to date acquaintance with ecclesiastical studies; general culture; awareness of contemporary problems and responsiveness to them; knowledge of other languages; published works (books or articles).

5. ORTHODOXY: devoted allegiance to the Tradition, Doctrine and Magisterium of the Church; attitude to pronouncements of the Holy See regarding the ministerial priesthood, the priestly ordination of women, marriage, sexual ethics, social ethics and social justice; commitment to the authentic renewal advocated by the Second Vatican Council and subsequent papal teaching.

6. DISCIPLINE: loyal obedience to the Holy Father, the Apostolic See, the Sacred Hierarchy; esteem for and acceptance of priestly celibacy as put forward by the Magisterium of the Church; respect for and observance of the norms governing divine worship and ecclesiastical attire.

7. PASTORAL ENDEAVOUR: experience and achievements in pastoral ministry; work of evangelisation and catechesis, preaching and teaching (preparation, ability to speak in public); sacramental and liturgical ministry (particularly the administration of the Sacrament of Penance and the celebration of the Eucharist); promotion of vocations and the Catholic missions; ecumenical spirit; dedication to family and youth ministry; promotion and defence of human rights; initiative in the area of labour, human development and social action (especially in relation to the poor), culture and communications.

8. ABILITY TO GOVERN: fatherly spirit; spirit of service; sense of initiative; willingness to enter into dialogue, to seek and accept collaboration, to share responsibility; capacity to analyse, to plan, to make decisions and execute them, to direct and carry out projects with others and show due appreciation for the contribution of collaborators, male and female; interest in the concerns of both the local and the universal Church; respect for the legitimate autonomy of civil authorities.

9. ADMINISTRATIVE COMPETENCE: skill in administration; respect for and proper use of the material patrimony of the Church; willingness to seek the collaboration of experts; detachment from self-interest.

10. PUBLIC ESTEEM: does the candidate enjoy the esteem of fellow priests, religious, the laity and authorities?

11. OVERALL JUDGMENT REGARDING THE PERSONALITY OF THE CANDIDATE AND HIS SUITABILITY FOR THE EPISCOPACY: If your concluding judgment is favourable, please indicate whether you deem the candidate suitable to be a Resident Bishop or an Auxiliary, specifying the size and type of the diocese you would envisage (large, medium, small, rural, urban, industrial).


To seek further information regarding the candidates you have proposed, it would be appreciated if you could indicate the name, qualifications and address of any priest, religious, or layperson who is well acquainted with them and whose judgment and discretion can be relied upon.

....Our Lord and Saviour chose twelve - I wonder what His criteria were ?
I'm sorry but I find this list obscene beyond imagining - The subversive agenda beneath it is reprehensible. I ask everyone to re-read it and see what it is really saying. This is savage indictment upon the contemporary church if this is the kind of appreciation of the qualities necessary for the episcopacy - perhaps St Francis de Sales wouldn't have qualified because of his squint and limp ?

Maybe Leo XIII would have been precluded because Rerum Novarum most certainly bears no respect for the legitimate autonomy of civil authorities , Nor did St Robert Bellarmine or St Francis of Assisi - St Peter and St Paul would have had no chance ; Augustine and Ambrose would have fallen at the first hurdle - and as for Moses ? or Abraham ? Come to think of it would The Second Person of the Trinity qualify ? I doubt it ! .....Although there is one cardinal from of old whom I think would qualify???? P.

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