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Friends of Christ, Suitcase in Hand

Today Pope Francis addressed one hundred fifty papal nuncios and representatives gathered in Rome to reflect on their roles in light of the Year of Faith.

Vatican Radio has issued a translation that is rather wooden, but provides the substance of his remarks. The style is personal and to the point as when the Pope says:

Now I would like to offer you some simple thoughts on certain, I would say existential, aspects of your being Papal Representatives. These are things I reflected on in my heart, above all by trying to place myself alongside to each one of you. In this meeting, I do not want to address purely formal or perfunctory words to you. What I now say comes from deep within my heart.

The Pope recognizes the existential rootlessness of their lives from a physical and psychological perspective (hence the suitcase metaphor), and urges them to be rooted in Christ and his Gospel. He also warns them against ambition and "spiritual worldliness" (quoting de Lubac yet again) which seeks self-fulfillment instead of God's greater glory.

Though Vatican Radio does not mention this, today's L'Osservatore Romano reports that at the end of his own remarks, the Pope invited some of those present to come to the microphone to share some of the questions and concerns they experienced. A number did. Francis thus demonstrated not only by his words but by his actions that he truly sought to "place himself alongside each of them."

 

 

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This is indeed an extraordinary talk, though the translation omits some of the pope's important asides. The second to last paragraph, on the criteria for proposing candidates for bishops of the local dioceses, is at once moving and forceful. Pope Francis often says at the conclusion of his talks, "Cosi' sia." May it be so!

Perhaps if these clerics were functioning as true bishops instead of as church diplomats, they might not feel the need for a suitcase.  However selected, they might have a better chance of feeling *rooted* to the church.  (Of course, whether these careerists would be effective bishops, that's another matter altogether.) 

More and more people, I think, live a rootless life. We academics travel here and there like dust in the wind. We wake up in the morning and, before we open our eyes, do not remember what the room looks like, nor, sometimes, what country we are in. We make friends, but then we move, and we repeat, until our friends are scattered at the four corners of the world. We can communicate with them, of course, but we cannot  easily be with them and touch them. Our relationships become literally disincarnated.  Others envy our travels, but we envy them their friends.

We appear to travel far and wide, but in reality, we always go to places that look the same everywhere: universities, offices, libraries, classrooms. We pretend to  be well-traveled, but in reality we do not meet the locals, but see the same people in meetings everywhere, the international "community" of fellow academics with like interests. We should take the opportunity to visit the countries we pass through, but there is no time - work is calling. We may be seasoned travelers, but it's all shallow, and we have gained little wisdom and no culture along the way.

At cocktail parties we talk about airports and airlines: which ones are more convenient, comparisons and tips on how to travel better. Others might think that we snobs are showing off, but in reality, we talk about airports like others would talk about subway stations: they're just the places where we spend our few idle hours.

Sometimes we stay somewhere for a few years, and our neighbors may attempt to get to know us, but in vain: whenever there is free time, school vacation or other down times, a conference happens somewhere, and we're gone! They finally give up. We live in a sort of quantum state, nowhere and everywhere at the same time. 

Finally we also give up - forced detachment. No more furniture: living in furnished rentals is easier than moving stuff around. No more books: computers are a substitute. No more friends nearby: that's how life is. No more efforts to get involved in the local social life: we always have one foot our of the door anyway, so why invest time in local politics or activities? No more possessions. We try to enjoy good moments when they come up, but with no expectation of stability. As we wearily yearn for a place to rest our head, we come to realize that it won't happen in this life: once our family and close friends are scattered, it becomes hopeless. In a way it's like being in prison: we are emprisoned by our senseless moves, like others are emprisoned by four walls. Even our own selves, character and cultural habits, have become different, disintegrated, molded by the mix of our experiences, and we are doomed to be misfits everywhere.

Finally we may turn to Christ as a last resort, because we know that he at least is never far from us. When we travel, with us we always have: our body, our passport, our suitcase, and Christ. 

Claire,

As you know, in his remarks Pope Francis dwelt on the figure of Abraham and made specific reference to chapter eleven of the Letter to the Hebrews. Francis said: "A second aspect that involves this being nomads, always on the road, is what is described in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. Listing examples of the faith of the fathers, the author says that they saw the promised goods and greeted them from afar, declaring that they were pilgrims on this earth (cf. 11:13). Such a life is of great worth, a life like yours, when lived with an intensity of love, with an active memory of the first call."

Your words and the Pope's reference to Hebrews sent me to re-read parts of the Letter. I thought these verses somewhat echoed your reflections: "Here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come. Through Christ, then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God" (Heb 13:14–16).

As Pope Francis (and John Page) would say: "così sia."

Fr. Imbelli --

Now that most of the young college instructors are forced to be wanderers, do you think that is a good for the students?  How long do you think the bright young people will go into college teaching in the first place if they know they'll be treated like Kleenex?

I can't believe that Abraham himself would approve of the practice.

Interesting explanation by Francis of the qualities Nuncios should  seek in proposing a new bishop:

"I would like to conclude by saying just one word about one of the important points of your service as Papal Representatives, at least for the vast majority: collaboration in providing bishops. You know the famous expression that indicates a fundamental criterion in choosing who should govern: si sanctus est oret pro nobis, si doctus est doceat nos, si prudens est regat nos - if holy let him pray for us, if learned teach us, if prudent govern us. 

 

In the delicate task of carrying out inquiries for episcopal appointments be careful that the candidates are pastors close to the people, fathers and brothers, that they are gentle, patient and merciful; animated by inner poverty, the freedom of the Lord and also by outward simplicity and austerity of life, that they do not have the psychology of "Princes". 

 

Be careful that they are not ambitious, that they do not seek the episcopate - volentes nolumus - and that they are married to a Church without being in constant search of another. That they are able to "watch over" the flock that will be entrusted to them, take care to keep it united, “vigilant” of the dangers that threaten it, but above all that they are able to "watch over" the flock, to keep watch, imbue hope, that they have sun and light in their hearts, to lovingly and patiently support the plans which God brings about in His people. Let us think of the figure of St. Joseph, who watches over Mary and Jesus, of his care for the family that God entrusted to him, and the watchful gaze with which he guides it in avoiding dangers. For this reason Pastors must know how to be ahead of the herd to point the way, in the midst of the flock to keep it united, behind the flock to prevent someone being left behind, so that the same flock, so to speak, has the sense of smell to find its way.

 

http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-to-nuncios-be-pastors-who-carry-christ-t...

 

Paragraph breaks added

 

Interesting the reference to Saint Joseph. The Pope was installed on the Feast of Saint Joseph and built his homily around the theme of Joseph as protector, guardian.

Francis has recently authorized the inclusion of Blessed Joseph in the Eucharistic Prayers.

Claire:

St. Augustine regularly referred to our condition as peregrini, to the Ecclesia peregrini.  The Latin noun peregrinus is usually translated "pilgrim," but I think that has connotations of walking toward some shrine, being on "pilgrimage" to Lourdes, for example. But its root meaning is "foreign," that is, not in one's home country, someone who is not entirely at home. Augustine exploits the metaphor: our homeland (patria) is heaven; we are on the way (in viia)--and that path, road, is Christ himself--; we live in temporary dwellings, tents (tabernacula) and will only find our home (domus) in the Kingdom. 

So your home-less academics are a symbol of the Church.

To me, this address by Pope Francis is a masterpiece.  Normally, I would not have read it, so thank you for posting it.

Pope Francis has given those who represent him throughout the world their "marching orders" in a gentle, heartfelt, personal manner, yet his message is not subtle at all.

Powerful!

"More and more people, I think, live a rootless life. We academics travel here and there like dust in the wind. We wake up in the morning and, before we open our eyes, do not remember what the room looks like, nor, sometimes, what country we are in."

Yes, the plight of "academics" is sad.  The soft berth they had hoped to loll in did not materialize.  Some/many have been reduced to seeking employment in the real world. 

 

Gerelyn --

So those in academe don't have to be patient with real spouses, raise real children, pay real bills and taxes, adjust to real in-laws, go to real war, face all the sorts of real problems other people do?  Academe is really just a never-never land?  The historians are talking fairy tales?  The physicists about some other world?  The English teachers about some foreign language?  The biologists about Disneyland?  The business folks about the stock exchange on Mars?  Etc., etc., etc.?  

You're wallowing in a dangerous stereotype..  

As part of the observances of the Year of Faith, Pope Francis was to attend a concert, now under way, in the Paul VI Audience Hall. Just prior to the concert's start, Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella informed the large gathering that the Pope would not be present owing to urgent tasks that cannot be postponed -- "urgenti e improrogabili incombenze".

 

"You're wallowing in a dangerous stereotype.."  

Did you read Claire's cri de coeur?  The penultimate paragraph?

It's a common lament.  Attempting to deny the obvious with platitudes is not helpful.

People who went into college teaching hoping for good salaries, good benefits, nice offices on nice campuses, short office hours, long vacations, respect (esteem, even), etc., etc., found reality instead.  

 

See, e.g.:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/08/faculty-pay-survey_n_3038924.html

Are any of these papal nucnios women?

I do not know Italian (only French).  But the words "il medico" after "urgenti e improrogabili incombenze" on this blog have me concerned. Any insider info?

http://ilsismografo.blogspot.com/

Helen,

the reference to the "doctor" is reassuring in that it says both the Pope's doctor and his secretaries were at the concert, thus alieviating concerns on the medical front.

The article speculates that the Pope's decision may be due to wanting to prepare to meet some nuncios regarding the Vatican's diplomatic stance on issues. Also that his style is not to attend galas of this sort. For what Italian media speculation is worth. These are the guys who didn't have Bergoglio in the running. He may just prefer bebop to Beethoven.

Thank you.

Let me say to all the Vaticanistas and Curial members: "Fasten your seat belts.  It's going to be a bumpy ride."

Vatican Insider quotes Francis as saying that he is "not a Renaissance prince who listens to music instead of working"

http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/vaticano/dettaglio-articolo/articolo/f...

Perhaps the concert was scheduled before Benedict resigned. 

The same article also mentions that Francis gave each of the nuncios a silver pectoral cross. They speculate that the message is that the nuncios should put away their gold crosses and follow Francis' custom of wearing a modest silver one. 

I'm waiting to hear his thoughts on the cappa magna. 

John,

I saw the quote you mention. I must say that the put down doesn't sound like Francis to me. I know the thought is shocking, but i Vaticanisti are not beyond converting what Francis might have said, to what he should have said, to what, clearly, he must have said.

Gerelyn --

Claire was at an Ivy.  Most schools don't pay nearly as well, nor do they have lovely campuses,  and the notion that typical professors have short hours and long vacations is a total, cruel myth.  Class hours are a relatively small portion of the work a teacher has to put in.  There are grading papers, individual student conference, sreading new materials, scientific experimentation, research and writing,  and professional meetings both on campus and off.  And there is more of the same in the summer "off" time (when the teacher typically isn't paid unless he/she teaches summer school).  Yes, there are some compensations -- having students to teach plus a certain amount of professional autonomy and flexibility.  But teaching of any sort is far from a cushy job.

True, the great teachers in the great schools with great endownments do very well financially and have great autonomy and small teaching responsibilities but there aren't many of those.   It's also true that what many college administrators -- at both Ivy and non-Ivy schools -- are paid these days is often scandalous, and I mean that literally.  But the  newly-graduated PhDs hoping to teach don't and never did have such prospects.  

I must also admit that the older, tenured college profs are partly responsible for the glut of PhDs in certain disciplines, especially in the Humanities and Social Sciences.  Obviously, too many of the tenured people encouraged more kids to go to graduate school than they knew would find decent, stable jobs.  Shame on the ones who didn't at least warn those kids how difficult if not totally impractical their ambitions were likely to be.  (But don't start me on the morals of university administrators.)  

Here's a recent NYT report on the fiscal remuneration of certain NYU administrators and top teachers.  How does being paid $685,000 on *leaving* a job there grab you?  You won't believe what NYU paid for real estate to help a preferred prof with his housing woes (e.g., millions for one apartment).  

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/04/nyregion/nyu-gives-lavish-parting-gift...

And this is going on there even as the non-tenured stay non-tenured.  Now do you see why profs *need* tenure in the first place?

"The same article also mentions that Francis gave each of the nuncios a silver pectoral cross."

Could it have anything to do with the fact that the name of the Pope's country is derived from the Latin word for silver, argentum?

Helen, when he appeared on he balcony after his election, it was noted that, along wih omitting the papal mozetta and stole, he continued to wear the silver cross he had worn as bishop, rather than the gold papal cross that had been laid out in the dressing room. 

I think he is very good at getting his message across in the direct way he presents and expresses himself. I can't picture Benedict saying "The Church is a mother, not a baby-sitter"  or telling nuncios to look for bishop candidates who don't think of themselves as princes. 

Robert, I took it that the nuncios were in town and he wanted to have discussions with some of them to get their insight on refoming the Curia. From his standpoint that was work and had to take priority over going to a concert. 

Gerelyn,

Claire's lament over the real human costs to her of her way of life rings true. The academic life is no bed of roses, no matter how gifted one may be, how lucky in love, how appreciated by one's students, how rewarded financially by one's institution. Before assuming that she chose her vocation solely for its perks, you might pause to empathize a bit over what she sees herself as having lost. And you might consider,with respect, the admirable way she tries to resolve the problem of going forward in the situation she describes.with such  painful clarity.  

 

I am guessing Fr Imbelli is right. It is hard to reconcile the pastoral image projected by pope Francis with such second-hand quotes revealing a mean, petty personality. 

John,

I do not dispute the suggestion that Francis may have decided not to attend the concert because of pressing work to be done. I only question the quotation attributed to him concerning "Renaissance princes." To my ears that sounds philistine rather than "Franciscan."

Thanks all for your reactions to my comment - but enough about me! I bet pope Francis particularly sympathizes with the nuncios now that he is stuck in Rome, far, far away from Argentina. 

Claire,

my question is: did he unpack his suitcase? :-)

 

"Claire's lament over the real human costs to her of her way of life rings true. The academic life is no bed of roses, no matter how gifted one may be, how lucky in love, how appreciated by one's students, how rewarded financially by one's institution. Before assuming that she chose her vocation solely for its perks, you might pause to empathize a bit over what she sees herself as having lost. And you might consider,with respect, the admirable way she tries to resolve the problem of going forward in the situation she describes.with such  painful clarity."  

 

  I agree that Claire's lament rings true.  The words "hopeless," "prison," "misfits," "doomed," et al. stood out.  

 

  Here are 15 million leads to more information on the sad topic.  (The one halfway down from Patheos about The Lonely Life is interesting, imho.)

 http://www.google.com/search?q=adjunct+professor++&oq=adjunct+professor+...

(Not sure why you inferred from my comment that I imagine the academic life is a bed of roses.  Quite the contrary.  And I'm not sure why you think I assumed Claire "chose her vocation solely for its perks."  I said nothing like that.)

 

 

 

 

Claire wrote "It is hard to reconcile the pastoral image projected by pope Francis with such second-hand quotes revealing a mean, petty personality." 

Passing over tne "princes" business, if you are thinking of the "baby sitter" quote, that one is apparrently correct since it was quoted back to Francis by Cardinal Vallini in his opening address at the Rome diocesan convention. 

"La Chiesa, che è 'madre e non una baby sitter' - come ha affermato Vostra Santità alcune settimane or sono"

http://www.lastampa.it/2013/06/17/blogs/oltretevere/chiesa-non-e-baby-si...

Both a few weeks ago and in yesterday's talk to the nuncios, Francis has used the image of the shepherd mixing with his flock and staying so close to them that he takes on their smell. That's quite different from the traditional "prince of the Church" meme. 

Given that Francis has spoken out many times agains careerism in the Church, it doesn't strike me as odd that he would refer to the careerists as "Princes" in a disparaging way.  Sometimes kindness is telling unpleasant truths.

Ann, yes, as Francis said in the speech to the nuncios:

"In the delicate task of carrying out inquiries for episcopal appointments be careful that the candidates... do not have the psychology of "Princes".

I was interested that he seemed to refer back to the early church in which once a bishop was appointed to a diocese he stayed there for life - not moving up through a chain of larger and more prestigious dioceses.

"Be careful that they are not ambitious, that they do not seek the episcopate - volentes nolumus - and that they are married to a diocese* without being in constant search of another."

*the English translation says "Church" but I think he meant "particular church" i.e. a diocese. 

 

 

About bishops being "married" to their dioceses --  someone noted recently that many  bishops have had not just one but two dioceses, and some have even had three;  so it's ironic that they should preach about the evils of divorce while they themselves move from place to place.

What I wonder about is the theological soundness of bishops functioning as nuncios/bureaucrats/whatever while not actually functioning as bishops with a flock.  When you look at how badly the Vatican functions, you have to wonder whether it's being crammed full of bishops has something to do with its inefficiency.  Cardinal Bernardin said that the Vatican bureaucrats treated the bishops in the field like altar boys.  If the bureaucrats were only monsignors I venture to say that would not be as likely to happen.

This was discussed at least  as recently as 1999:

 

VATICAN CITY, 27 MAY 1999 (ZENIT).- In an interview published in the latest edition of the Italian magazine '30 Giorni,' Cardinal Bernardin Gantin made a revolutionary proposal: "In principle, once appointed to a specific see, a bishop should remain there forever."

 

The African Cardinal knows very well what he is talking about. He is Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals and, from 1984 to 1998, was prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, the Vatican organism which helps the Pope in the appointment of successors to the apostles in a great part of the world. In mission territories, this task is carried out by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. In the Eastern Catholic Churches, the bishops are chosen by other methods.

 

"When he is appointed, the bishop must be a father and a pastor before God and to the people. And when one is a father, one is so forever. Therefore, in principle, once appointed to a particular see, the bishop should remain there forever. This must be clear. The relation between a bishop and his diocese is akin to matrimony and, according to the evangelical spirit, indissoluble. The new bishop must not have other personal plans," the most distinguished Cardinal of the Catholic Church said.

http://www.ewtn.com/library/Theology/ZBISHOPS.HTM

 

and (then) Cardinal Ratzinger agreed:

“I totally agree with Cardinal Gantin. In the Church, above all, there should be no sense of careerism. To be a bishop should not be considered a career with a number of steps, moving from one seat to another, but a very humble service. I think that the discussion on access to the ministry would also be much more serene if the Episcopate saw it as a service, and not as a career. Even a poor see, with only a few faithful, is an important service in God’s Church.” 

http://www.hprweb.com/2009/03/pastors-and-stability-of-office/

 

So, is Francis reopening this issue?

 

 

John,

thanks for the Gantin-Ratzinger quotes.

Sandra Magister recently gave three quotes:

"In the concrete history of the Church, however, a contrary tendency is also manifested, namely that the Church becomes self-satisfied, settles down in this world, becomes self-sufficient and adapts herself to the standards of the world."

Moreover: "Not infrequently, she gives greater weight to organization and institutionalization than to her vocation to openness towards God, her vocation to opening up the world towards the other."

And finally: "Once liberated from material and political burdens and privileges, the Church can reach out more effectively and in a truly Christian way to the whole world, she can be truly open to the world."

They sound like Francis, but were spoken by Benedict in 2011 in Freiburg.

Perhaps Francis will succeed in implementing Benedict's vison.

Once liberated from material and political burdens and privileges.

Seems to me that even after 100+ years, the Vatican has still not come to terms with the loss of the papal states and its role of validating kings of European nations. In those days it needed a papal court and ceremonial that could outshine the court of any king in order to make the point that the Pope was superior to any king.

Now, with the possible exception of Great Britain, all those formal courts of Europe have disappeared but the Vatican continues on as if nothing has changed.

In  May, I visited the abbey of Fossanova, in Italy, where Thomas Aquinas died. A prominent carved plaque recorded that Cardinal Piero Aldobrandini, the nephew of his uncle Pope Clement VIII by his brother, was the permanent trustee of the benefice and had restored the abbey. It's been a while since the Church was controlled by "Cardinal Nephews" but we still haven't put the image of a feudal court with costumed courtiers behind us. 

John,

 

I do not dispute the suggestion that Francis may have decided not to attend the concert because of pressing work to be done. I only question the quotation attributed to him concerning "Renaissance princes." To my ears that sounds philistine rather than "Franciscan."

 

Vatican Insider has revised the text so it no longer implies that those words were spoken by Francis:

"Gli obblighi di pastore non consentono svaghi musicali in un momento delicato di riforma della struttura ecclesiastica e Bergoglio non si sente un principe rinascimentale"

Score one for Claire and me. Perhaps we should hang out our shingle as "vaticanisti!" :-)

Ann:   At Vatican II, Cardinal Frings gave a speech, almost certainly written by his personal expert Joseph Ratzinger, in which he criticized the practice of elevating ecclesiastical bureaucrats, particularly in the Roman Curia, to the episcopate. The practice has since become worse (I have seen estimates that over 40% of all bishops today are not heads of dioceses), and Benedict XVI did nothing to stop it. In fact, when he was prefect of the CDF, it issued a document which said that the fact that so many bishops are not heads of dioceses had to enter into the theology of the episcopate, and serves as an argument that in this theology being by ordination a member of the episcopal college is more important than a bishop's being the head of a particular Church. I think this is exactly backwards. To be a bishop is in the first place to be head of a local Church, and the theology of the episcopal ministry ought to be derived from a theology of the Church as a communion of local Churches. I'm waiting to see whether Pope Francis will end or at least limit the practice.  It would certainly help in the campaign against the leprosy of careerism.

Addendum to Fr. Komonchak:
There are 226 dioceses in Italy! Here is what Pope Francis said about that!

http://www.romereports.com/palio/pope-calls-on-italian-bishops-to-reduce...

On 13 May, Pope Francis named the fifty-year old Father Victor Fernandez, rector of The Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina, Titular ARCHbishop of Tiburnia.

From its founding in 1887, the rector of The Catholic University of America was a titular bishop. This continued until Bishop William Joseph McDonald was sent packing in the late 1960s to his diocese of ordination, San Francisco, as auxiliary bishop. His successors have all been priests or lay men.

As for bishops being moved to a sucession of two, three dioceses, this certainly continued under Pope Benedict, and, so far, that pattern continues under Pope Francis, most notably in the appointment of his successor, Mario Poli, who before being promoted to Buenos Aires was bishop of Santa Rosa. (There are now three archbishops in Buenos Aires -- the bishop of the diocese, the rector of the Catholic University, and  the papal nuncio.)

Pope Francis is admirable and innovative. We pray for him, especially at Mass, as he continually asks, but are we again falling into the perennial trap of letting the Pope exhaust the Church? (I certainly include myself.)

A bit unfair to talk about "careerism" as "leprosy," imho.  The separation of the sheep from the goats begins early.  Should seminarians who are assigned to the Pontifical North American College, e.g., refuse to go?  Should newly minted priests who are appointed to chancery jobs refuse to take them?  Should priests assigned to cushy parishes insist on being sent to the boonies instead?

The Church provides the career ladder.  Take it away and draw lots for the jobs.  And let the people of the diocese elect their bishop.  And once elected, he's there until death or retirement.

 

 

It seems to me that the theology of bishops is entangled in two metaphors (bishop as shepherd and bishop as married to his diocese).  In both cases the theologian is confronted with the problem intrinsic to all metaphors:  a metaphor means only part of what it says, so the question becomes:  which part or parts does a given metaphor intend?  Context seems to be the only guide.

When Christ said "Feed my sheep" what did He mean by the metaphor "feed"? Did He mean that the apostles were to have only  that one function of a shepherd (feeding them), or did He mean they were to be like shepherds in other ways?  If so, in what are those ways?  (The  women's ordination war revolves around this question.)  "Bishop-as-husband" poses a similar problem.  The metaphor obviously means that a bishop must be wholeheartedly devoted to his diocese, but does the metaphor intend *more* than that -- that a bishop may have only one "wife" in his whole lifetime? So we must look at context and ask:  how literally was the original metaphor meant? Historically, it seems that originally it did intend that the bishop must not leave one wife for another.  But does this metaphor/interpretation have any Scriptural root? 

At any rate, it seems that human nature demands that large human organizations  have a hierarchical structure, and surely bishops are meant to be a major part of the structure of the RCC.  It would be ludicrous to assume that Francis disagrees with that -- he did, after all, accept the towering office of pope.

"Historically, it seems that originally it did intend that the bishop must not leave one wife for another."

Sounds like adultery to me. On the other hand, shouldn't a bishop at least have to get an annulment if he goes to a diocese other than the one in which he was ordained bishop?

Helen, Pope Damasus is quoted as saying (supposedly in 389 AD)

“Do not allow someone to be transferred from one city to another, abandoning the people who have been entrusted to him, going to another Church because of ambition, contrary to what was established by our Fathers.”

Probably, the important words are "for ambition" - which leaves open the door for a higher-up to decide he is needed elsewhere. 

Sounds like the Jesuit vow that Francis took to not seek any office and to accept an office only if ordered by a superior to do that. I guess in his case, the superior was the conclave. 

 

 

When a pope bemoans careerism and all it entails, on the one hand, and promotes a university president to the archbishopric, on the other hand, we're looking at a state of institutional confusion.  The word 'dysfunction' comes to mind.

Should there be fewer dioceses or smaller, and therefore more, dioceses?  In the world of Ignatius, Polycarp, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Cyprian, the chief patristic sources on which Vatican II drew for its theology of the episcopate, a diocese was not a sprawling administrative entity, but a relatively small community, perhaps something like a fair-sized parish of today.  One has to wonder whether the quantitative difference between a diocese then and now does not disqualify easy applications from one instance to another.

I think bishops should be chosen from the pastors of the parishes  in their dicoeses. They should serve one term only of six years, after which time they go back to being the pastor of a parish.

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