“Bob, you’ve been traded to Diocese of Black Duck.”

I have watched Moneyball a couple times.

The movie offers grist for our mill.

In one scene Carlos Peña is curtly traded by the A’s to the Tigers because of internal team management (vision) conflicts.

Priests are mostly treated like indentured servants.  The “Dallas” thing made this worse.  The lack of charity and justice with with many priests have been treated should fill many with concern and anger.

Leaving aside – without question – all cases of priests who commit crimes, could a baseball model work better?

After all, this isn’t a game we are playing!

In Moneyball, the main characters want to get the stats down to one number. The overriding task of the Church is to get as many people as possible to heaven (i.e., keep them out of hell).

Sooooo….

A scene at the chancery of the Diocese of Black Duck:

“Hey Bob, do you have a moment?  Have a seat…..

[Father “Just Call Me Bob” Liberal sits down in Msgr. Manager’s office.]

“Father Bob, you’ve been traded to Archdiocese of Red Bird.  Here is the number for Msgr. Rossi’s office.  He is their Manager and he is expecting your call.  Good luck and God bless you, Father!”

Later, in Red Bird, Msgr. Rossi receives Father’s call:

“Bob!  I’ve been expecting your call.  Welcome to the Archdiocese of Red Bird!  We believe with the Cardinal Archbishop, Bob, that you’ll be a fine fit with our diocese’s “Spirit of Vatican II vision”. His Eminence wanted me to tell you that you will be a great asset here as chaplain to the Aging Post Catholic Lesbian Sisters Who Evolved Out Of Perpetual Adoration Of Jesus In The Poor-Oppressing Bejeweled Monstrance.  Check your email for your airline ticket.  We have already contacted a moving company for you, Bob.  Your condo is ready. See you soon!”

And so, the small market Black Ducks, who because of a shift to a more traditional Catholic vision has been ordaining 6 men a year – good farm teams in parishes and from elsewhere – send the 55-year old liberal “Bob” to the big market Red Birds – who ordained 1  and where his liberal vision is still the norm.  In exchange, the Black Ducks receive 2 younger priests. Their love of the older liturgical forms made them sub-optimal for the Red Birds. The Black Ducks also picked up a priest-canonist who had to refused to rubber stamp annulments at the Red Bird Tribunal.

Baseball is the game God loves the most.

Is it analogous to how the Church is might be governed?

I dunno. Maybe.  Maybe I am just venting even as I throw out some ideas for discussion.

Consider: Isn’t this how bishops are handled these days?

In the ancient Church, moving a bishop from a diocese (to which they had been wedded) to another diocese was considered adultery.  That model has, it seems, changed.

Obligatory membership in territorial parishes is all but over. Law will eventually reflect this change (unless the global economy collapses first and people can’t just drive around anymore).

Incardination is less than the vinculum particolare that the Council Father’s idealized.  The assignment of priests to parishes is limited to 6 years with a possible renewal.  What’s with that?  Can a priest really do anything in a parish in that time?  I think not.

Everyone is on the move.  If lay people have multiple careers, well….

Since dioceses and parishes are so heterogeneous these days, well….

There are lessons to be learned from the scenario in Moneyball.

Given our challenges right now, we have to think outside the box.

First, let’s accept that our entire Church is “an island of misfit toys”.  Nevertheless, some toys can fit better in, and be happier in, another “fit”.  Then “market forces” can take over… okay… call it divine providence.

We have to depend on Our Lord’s promises to the Church.  Christ didn’t promise that the Church would prevail against Hell in the Diocese of Black Duck, but we know that He uses us for His plan and purposes.  We must use our gifts and work out in prayer and in the tangle of our minds and with the help of grace and from history to discern His will.

As times change, the basics remain the same.

We must, however, change our approaches at the times require.

So.

“Father, have a seat…”

Yes? No?

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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36 Responses to “Bob, you’ve been traded to Diocese of Black Duck.”

  1. Cantor says:

    Indeed great film — not surprising for a Sorkin work.

    That said, keep in mind that the underlying philosophy was less the trading than the statistical assessment of each player … how frequently does he get on base?!

    How does that translate for our parishes. The first obvious statistic is “ducats in the buckets”. Easy to track and pleasing to most of the bishops I’ve encountered.

    It’d be nice to include something like “souls saved”. Since that stat’s not available to the Ecclesia Militans we’ll need something else. Baptisms at the Easter Vigil? First Communicants? New Fourth Degree Knights? [Confessions? New seminarians?]

    Sorry, but the on-base average is a whole lot more sensible. I don’t think the idea quite fits the Church. [Of course not. Analogies limp, but they are starting points.]

    On the other hand, you asked:
    Can a priest really do anything in a parish in [6 years]? I think not.
    Really? How long does it take to rip out a communion railing, tear out the organ, and move the Real Presence into a side room shoe box?

    If it’s movies we want, how about the Papal Nuncio gets bit by a radioactive spider?!

  2. A.D. says:

    I can’t help but feel sorry for those folks in Red Bird who will, eventually, only have access to liberal-minded priests if that system is used.

  3. Phil_NL says:

    I think such a system would, by and large, be running behind the facts.

    First of all, a lot depends on the bishop. Now these come in many varieties (Heinz has fewer), but the kind that would gladly get rid of two orthodox but otherwise fine priests in exchange for a single one that his more to his liberal liking won’t be among us for much longer, Deo Volente. Not just because of a slow but steady uptick in the quality of bishops – it’s there, but will take at least another generation – but mainly due to the fact virtually no diocese can spare those priests (European situation) or will soon be in that spot. Being a liberal bishop isn’t much fun either if you have no priests to help in the outreach department.

    That doesn’t mean that the more orthodox priests will like such a situation, and I think that, in the coming years, we’ll be more looking at a model where the new priests are getting more and more careful for which diocese (or institute) they will be ordained. People tend to be very careful about schools and colleges nowadays, and the same applied to employment before the crisis hit. It’s altogether natural for the newer generation to plan ahead, and pick and choose. The more dopey parishes and diocese don’t seem to produce many vocations anyway, so the two effects will reinforce eachother. Of course there will always be men who really wish to make a difference in their home diocese, but one shouldn’t forget that many, due to frequent moving, don’t really have such a diocese and will consider themselves free to shop around.

    So in all, rather than dioceses trading, I suspect it will soon evolve to a point where good-running dioceses will be the ones with all the priests, giving some bishops enourmous clout – if they so desire – by be able to lend priests to their neighbours. A certain Darwinistic pattern would likely ensue – o irony.

  4. I might be concerned in such a situation that some diocese would end up with a team stacked full of priests that perhaps need to be sent back to the minors. :P

  5. DelRayVA says:

    This approach would destroy the vow of obedience, and lead to a rise in clericalism. It would also encourage corruption among priests.

    [Hmmm… First, diocesan priests don’t make vows of obedience. Secondly, I think such a possibility lurking in the back of a priest’s mind would undermine any negative sense of “clericalism”. Corruption? Hardly. I think the possibility of being traded would drive men to make sure that they were squeaky clean in respect to parish finances, etc.]

  6. HughOSB says:

    There is a lot to be said for trading priests to place where they might “fit in” better, though there would be one place that is obviously the winner, and another the loser.

    But I really must take exception to your heretical statement that baseball is the game God loves the most. It is sententia fidei proxima that rugby union is the game they play in heaven. This teaching derives from a renewed exegesis of Genesis 32 – Jacob did not wrestle with the Lord; they had both packed down for a scrum. :-p [Piffle. It is baseball. Conform or your name shall be struck from the diptychs! o{];¬) ]

  7. jflare says:

    On one hand, this could be a good thing: Orthodoxy-seeking bishops could likely trade their way out of dopey priests and land themselves some good ones.

    On the other hand, if a diocese or two (or more) has a more liberal-leaning bishop, said bishops COULD theoretically work together to some degree to hinder the orthodox guys from obtaining, er, critical mass.

    Even if Summorum Pontificum officially allows for any priest to offer Mass in the traditional form, a crafty bishop (or three) might succeed in hindering his priests without catching much notice from Rome.

  8. Faith says:

    Fill you with concern!

    What about the priests in Czechoslovakia, especially the women!

  9. jkm210 says:

    In a diocese in which I used to live, the habit was the ship out the younger, more traditional priests to the small country parishes in the sticks, and not leave them in the large city of the diocese past the time they had finished the associate pastorships (and would then be pastors, where they might have some actual control over things). Honestly, I don’t know if this is a conspiracy, or if those priests actually prefer going to these smaller parishes where they might have greater impact and not be tied down by a hundred committees found at the larger parishes. But in any case, I think this strategy will not work much longer. The older priests are retiring and most of the younger ones have a more traditional bent.

  10. robtbrown says:

    I have watched Moneyball a couple times.

    Which offers me the opportunity to say that, like Bill James, yours truly and most of the originals at Clear Creek Abbey are products of the University of Kansas.

    Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

  11. cresci says:

    Phil_NL said:

    That doesn’t mean that the more orthodox priests will like such a situation, and I think that, in the coming years, we’ll be more looking at a model where the new priests are getting more and more careful for which diocese (or institute) they will be ordained. People tend to be very careful about schools and colleges nowadays, and the same applied to employment before the crisis hit. It’s altogether natural for the newer generation to plan ahead, and pick and choose. The more dopey parishes and diocese don’t seem to produce many vocations anyway, so the two effects will reinforce eachother. Of course there will always be men who really wish to make a difference in their home diocese, but one shouldn’t forget that many, due to frequent moving, don’t really have such a diocese and will consider themselves free to shop around.

    Phil, you just described exactly my situation.
    I am about to finish paying off my remaining debt and almost ready to go to Seminary. But I found myself in a strange case of scrutinizing seminaries and dioceses as well as secular institutes. My own home diocese (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) let me know in advance that I am not a fit for their seminary since I don’t fulfill the “profile” they need.
    While looking for other dioceses, I contacted a number of bishops and monsignors who are personal friends with me, but they had to turn me down either because accepting me would bring issues with their local presbyteral college, or would be bypassing “the rules established by the National Bishops Conference” in regards to “seminarian mobility” or, in other cases, would be facing resistance and apathy (if not “enemyship”) from the ones that are from local origin – I had bishops telling me that their seminaries are too “provincial” for me that come from the big city.
    My only desire is to have my seminary formation in a calm and decent place, far away from my home diocese and its surroundings (too much gossip going around) so I can concentrate on the essential instead of having to deal with political bull**** and having to play roles and deal with secondary stuff that is not part of the seminary formation at all.
    At this point, I can’t even think on asking for any kind of traditional stuff (and don’t care also, this can be solved after ordination and I am perfectly OK with the 2002 missal as long as it’s say the black-do the red, or even being tolerant of a little abuse sometimes in order to avoid conflict if it needs to be to keep the calm standing). The last thing I would like to have is some kind of persecution for appearing to be minimally traditional at all.

    Back to Phil’s last statement, I do feel attached to my home diocese but it brings with her a ton of unnecessary stuff to deal with. At the same time, having a business in the US for around 10 years, and having also worked in higher diocesan and inter-diocesan levels, I see an even “more urgent” need for priests in other dioceses/countries/continents than it is needed in my own diocese (proportionally), and if ordained, you are ordained to the Universal church (this is against the thought of the majority of liberal and socialist bishops we have in Brazil, by the way, they think that being locked to your local diocese and reality is a pre-requisite nowadays for new priests). So yes, I feel free to shop around and help where there is more need.

    As for Fr. Z’s original post, this caught my attention:

    Obligatory membership in territorial parishes is all but over. Law will eventually reflect this change (unless the global economy collapses first and people can’t just drive around anymore).

    Here in Brazil that has been changing since the early 90’s. It started with the wide spread out of the Charismatics. Since they were usually outlawed by those priests that were more attached to Liberation Theology, they began attending parishes where the priest was also charismatic. Then came the phenomena of the “Singer-Priests” (a.k.a. the showmen) and they also dragged people from other parishes to theirs, “because his mass is more animated than neighboring Fr. Boring’s”. In the 2000’s it evolved into “I go to mass with the priest I most like” (or that “is my spiritual director”, or “which homily I like more or that doesn’t make me sleep”) and that goes on. Now Holy Mass in parishes in Brazil are “public-driven” instead of driven to the punctual needs of the local population (that is relegated to the other stuff the parishes do, like the other sacraments and social work), in some cases it turned to be “what is the kind of mass-style that is bringing in more money”. It’s now all cafeteria-style choose-your-mass. Even “Benedict XVI hermeneutics of continuity” (whether Novus Ordo or Tridentine) is being viewed by bishops and priests as “just another option in the menu” and “just another niche”.
    So, yes, territorial membership of a parish is almost dead here in Brazil, along with unbalance on parochial accounting due to the evasion of money (concentrated to “more popular” parishes). A problem that leaves bishops in the hands of those more-famous priests not because of compromise to the money they make, but to the issue that they cause those imbalances and there must be a solution to it, that namely in a current situation is the bishop allowing this to go on as long as the income is redistributed somehow to the poorer parishes after it comes in to the famous one. Then pure politics play the game, and it’s like sausages: you don’t want to know how it’s made.

  12. Subdeacon Joseph says:

    A priest will spend three to six years gaining the trust of the parish, and then he is moved. This policy could be used by some bishops to ensure that the pastor may never have the time to make changes that may not match the bishop’s agenda. Once a priest can gain the trust of the flock great things can happen! Moving a priest every six years no doubt leads to instability in the parishes, and in instability not much can be accomplished but the same thing that has been done for the past 30 years.
    By the way does anyone know if a bishop can still award a diocesan priest “Pastor Immoveable ” status?

  13. Kathleen10 says:

    I know so little about how these things work in our church. It is all a mystery to me.
    Let me just say that in my field, I always likened our situation to the film “Mister Roberts” one of my favorite movies. The scene where Mister Roberts finally cracks under the pressure, decides not to “take it anymore” and tosses the Captain’s beloved palm tree overboard captures the atmosphere nicely. We’re all in more or less powerless situations for ourselves, and there are circumstances and yes, PEOPLE, who seem to enjoy making life miserable for everyone… If there is a better way, yes, find it. It is good that you are contemplating alternate ways of doing things Fr. Z. You just might come up with a model that would work.
    I don’t envy priests, certainly not today. I am currently reading “Goodbye Good Men” and the discouragement I feel at this time is palpable. I hope things have improved in our seminaries since this book was written. How our church ever got this far given the way it has been is beyond me. Good thing I’m not the Lord, I would have squashed it a long time ago.
    Keep thinking about it Fr. Z. If anyone could come up with a workable model, my money’s on you. [That is above my pay grade.]

  14. Philangelus says:

    My first thought was as above, that the bishops would play the trading game until they had an entire diocese full of priests who believed exactly as they did, and at that point, we’d have the Rochester Catholic Church and the Brooklyn Catholic Church and the Manchester Catholic Church, and they would all bear very little resemblence to one another.

    In my previous city, if you didn’t like the way they handled things at St. Joe’s, you could go over to St. Chris (which is exactly what my family did when we discovered their model of religious education). But if St. Chris and St. Joe’s are equally into the idea that our kids are perfeclty fine to educate themselves, then what do we do when there’s no other option?

    Maybe a liberal/conservative split between the priest and the parish helps both sides from going too far afield in some respects. Maybe iron can sharpen iron. (I think someone smarter than me said that once.) ;-)

  15. wanda says:

    6 years? I only wish we had a priest for six years. The last two, younger and very ortodox, were here 3 years and 2 years, respectively. It is a revolving door, very hard growing attatched and fond of a priest and presto, he’s gone. Some wonderful and needed changes took place under their watch, tabernacle was restored to it’s proper place, Mass was by the book, they dared to ask for silence before and after Mass, etc. Now we are down to a Pastor (recovering from open-heart surgery) and one asociate pastor. Pray for more vocations to the Priesthood. By the way, we are a cluster situation with two other nearby Churches. I pray for our priests, that we do not wear them out or they do not burn out from the load they carry. God bless them.

  16. Bob B. says:

    “First, diocesan priests don’t make vows of obedience.” This explains some things one sees going on in the diocese and is certainly something most parishoners don’t know. Was this always so? Do you think if this changed, things would run better?

    [Diocesan priests make promises of obedience to the diocesan bishop. Promises are not the same as vows.]

  17. jilly4ski says:

    @Subdeacon Joseph,
    I am not sure if it is the same thing, but in the church I grew up in, the Pastor was the “founding” pastor, and thus had a sort of immovable status. He asked for early retirement several years ago now. One of the parishes next to us also had their founding pastor, he even got to stay after he retired. (I think that made things very difficult for the new pastor). He has since passed away.

    In the archdiocese of Saint Paul/Minneapolis, there is a huge shake up of priests, I have never seen so many appointments in the local diocesan paper. The parish I am currently attending lost their priest back in January (it was a very sudden move, the bishop gave him a week to think it over, and he was gone in less than a month). But we think he was moved to try and save another parish with a school so they can avoid any more closings, which is what he did for this parish. We then got a parish administrator, who has now been assigned a new parish, and we are getting the pastor from that same parish.

    As far as 6 years. I think it depends. The parish administrator trained the servers to use incense for the Easter season in the few months he was here (though the pastor before him had been of similar more traditional liturgical practices). At the parish were I grew up, the priest has now been there 6 years or so and he moved the tabernacle to the sanctuary from a back chapel and has made the “music ministry” do psalms instead of whatever song they wanted to do. This priest has a much more reserved and quiet spirituality than the charismatic founder, yet the parish adapted, and really like him. (This dynamic actually makes it easier for people to practice the spirituality which fits them best rather than being pigeonholed into the charismatic spirituality). I think if a priest is waiting 6 years to implement change, he either isn’t showing enough leadership or he is underestimating his parishes capacity for change. (But then again not all parishes are the same, and those with entrenched “parish councils” with wrong and bull headed members might find it more difficult).

  18. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Bob B.- I have dealt with both diocesan priests and those in an order where they take vows. The degree of faithfulness varies in all groups. This is because people are variable I guess. Or more variability is allowed these days maybe. I don’t know. I am just a convert and can only tell what I actually observe going on now.

  19. joecct77 says:

    Has anyone out there read “The Cardinal”? The pastor of Fr. Fermoyle’s parish had the status of “Permanent Rector” — meaning he stayed there until he retired (did priests retire 100 years ago?) or died.

    Do we still do that? I’ve never seen it and I’m 56.

  20. Imrahil says:

    According to, well, the law – we do still do that (can 522). The Conference of Bishops may dispense with that, though.

    In Germany, pastors really are appointed for life, that is until retirement.

    There has been lately a certain amount of pastors not called parish priests but parish administrators, but as far as I see that has been due to a couple of reasons, and artificially making the office of pastor temporary was not one of them. (It appears, however, that pastors resign because they want to get a change.)

  21. Athelstan says:

    It’s an interesting analogy to think about.

    Of course, there are obvious difficulties that force the limp. For example, that the Red Birds would actually have two young priests available for trade, let alone two that have traddy-ish leanings.

    Well, strike that: Occasionally they *do slip through in such places, and I can think of one or two whose bishops would likely not be unhappy to trade them away for a cleric more sympatico. But it’s rare.

  22. Elizabeth D says:

    Black Duck sounds a bit like my diocese, where we have had a significant influx of good orthodox priests from outside the diocese. We are now sending one of our best young priests to join the Holy See Diplomatic Corps. I am not aware of an outflow of more liberal older priests though, they seem to still be there and someone told me recently our good bishop has tried hard to win their trust and cooperation. We have excellent seminarians, and someone who might or might not be correct, just told me something extraordinary about the liturgical training all seminarians will now be receiving.

    Phil_NL have you tried the Diocese of Madison, WI? You may be wanted and appreciated here.

  23. Charivari Rob says:

    Hmmmm…. It depends.

    Are we talking about a free-agency model wherein the priests would be free to make the best deal they could for themselves? …or a pre- Curt Flood model where the Reserve Clause is undiluted?

    Similarly, would there be an amateur draft – or would the rich dioceses be able to sew up as much prospective talent as they could lay their hands on, whether they ever used it to full effect or not?

    Besides – I’m a bit skeptical of the trade scenario. When you’re unloading a problem case, you often get someone else’s problem in return.

  24. Tantum Ergo says:

    “Baseball is the game God loves the most.”

    True indeed! After all, the Bible begins with “In the big inning…”

  25. Supertradmum says:

    Tantum Ergo, I am sorry, but your exegesis is wrong….That line is referring to Cricket, of course.

  26. Joseph-Mary says:

    I might be concerned in such a situation that some diocese would end up with a team stacked full of priests that perhaps need to be sent back to the minors. :P

    LOL!
    When you have a good pastor, you hope he stays for 6 years and a renewal. When you have a bad one, it is eternity and you might change parishes if possible. We have had a fair amount of priests come through our parish although the same good pastor for two years and I hope he stays. But the parochial vicars have not been staying long. It is hard to change priests for the parishioners whose confessors they are and so forth! We did just lose our good parochial vicar whose talent with languages is needed elsewhere but we are getting another good young priest who I already know.

    The ‘liberal’ ones are slowly either retiring or being sent to small parishes–unlike some other models but we have had faithful bishops who have seen to the stellar quality of our seminarians and now our young priests are in many of the largest parishes. Both our priests are 33 years old.

  27. disco says:

    How about an English premier league model where the liberal nonsense churches get relegated to episcopalianism and the trad Anglicans get promoted to Catholic?

  28. Tantum Ergo says:

    Supertradum:
    Mea MAXIMA culpa!
    (but you’d better square this one with Fr. Z… he’s got both feet in the “baseball” camp.)

  29. Tantum Ergo says:

    Oops! I left the “m” out of Supertradmum… “m”ore “m”axima culpas!

  30. Phil_NL says:

    Elizabeth D,

    I’m sure you meant that last line for cresci, and not me. I believe my vocation lies elsewhere than the priesthood.

  31. Jack Hughes says:

    1stly

    I second supertradmom, its nice to know that SOME americans appreciate the best game on the planet

    2ndly

    I think that playing musical chairs every 6 years is BAD; sure if at St Elsewhere they are in DESPERATE need of a Priest with a talent for numbers then sorry but St Mary’s has to loose the late vocation who was an accountant in another life, but my understanding was that the Priest is (in theory) the Paterfamilias of the Parish, and you don’t vote dad out the family (parish council members in my experience the whiners) just because he does unpopular things. Also I think we underestimate the familial needs of the Priest in these cases, unless he has family who live in the Diocese a Parish Priest who is moved every six years has no chance under the current arrangements to become a true spiritual father to the Parish and cannot develop lasting relationships, this (a) undermines his authority and before you know it we have feminazis trying to push Jesus off to the side and (b) results in lonliness (not a good condition for anyone).

  32. Supertradmum says:

    TantumErgo, most days it is supertradumb….

  33. papaefidelis says:

    An intriguing idea, Father! The notion of “incardination” is, presently, like an adhoc marriage – a permanent commitment unless and until things change. So why not shuffle priests around across diocesan borders every few years instead of just around the diocese? The bishop of the diocese this year will be coadjutor of another archdiocese next year, so let the priest be distributed and assigned by a national lottery (optional each year but mandatory to eqach priest every sixth).

    I’ve long argued against the “term limit of pastors” which seems to me to be an aberration of the idea of the “stability” of a pastor.

    So much for stability of office or the permanancy of incardination.

  34. AnnAsher says:

    Josephminor, lol “sent back to the minors”.

    I’ve learned something new! Had not known Bishops are wedded to their Diocese.

  35. JMody says:

    Hmm,
    a trading model across dioceses — would be interesting. It’s certainly interesting now that most dioceses have gone to the parish-as-separate-entity/corporation model. Who would regulate? Would there be contract buy-outs, free agency, salary caps?

    And I’m sorry, even with the local high here for UofA winning CWS, baseball and its antecedent cricket involve far too much standing around — the perfection of heaven and the glorified bodies of the saints will require more exertion, lest the saints become portly pincushions. Rugby, hockey, football, or even soccer seem to fit far better. But as eye has not seen, ear has not heard, is it not some form of presumption to say that baseball is the heavenly sport?

  36. catholicmidwest says:

    Interesting post, Fr Z.

    This has already been happening, sort of behind the scenes, for a great long time, and it accounts for some of the really dramatic regional differences in the church in this country. For instance, a few years back, my diocese was ordaining very few men because of the screening setup in the chancery run by a program and a liberal sister. Many of the men from this diocese either opted for something else, or established residence in a better diocese, or went to a religious order, typically the Legionnaires of Christ, what with their being not so picky. Sad but true. Now that we’ve straightened out somewhat, we’re ordaining many more every year. Most of them are kind of moderate just like this little diocese.

    I think 6 years in one parish is fine. I don’t like it when a priest stays too long and I think it’s even bad for the parish. As laypeople we’re not supposed to “get fond of the priest;” we’re supposed to get fond of God. Priests who stay in the same place to long start thinking they own the place, and that’s when some of the real problems tend to kick in. Better that they have to move every 6-12 years, and the parish should ought to get thoroughly audited at that time. Accountability is always a good thing.