I have a priest friend who has 30+ reasons on his list for why he doesn’t want to be a bishop.
[UPDATE: I was informed that the list is presently at 42 reasons for why he doesn’t want to be a bishop. It’s inclusive and brutally honest.]
My list isn’t quite as long as his, but it is pretty long and pretty similar.
From CNS via CathNews:
Although the number is not high, it is no longer “exceptional” to have priests turn down an appointment as bishop, according to Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
Speaking yesterday about the annual course his office sponsors for new bishops, the Cardinal was asked about rumours that more and more priests are saying they do not want to be a bishop and declining an appointment even when the Pope, on the recommendation of Cardinal Ouellet’s office, has chosen them.
“Yes, that’s true. Nowadays you have people who do not accept the appointment,” he said, adding that he would not provide statistics on how often it happens, although he insisted the number was not huge. [So… it is “big”? “substantial”? “hefty”?]
Priests decline for a variety of reasons, Cardinal Ouellet said, pointing to the example of a priest who was chosen, but then informed the congregation that he had cancer and had not told others of his illness. “It was a sign of responsibility not to accept the appointment,” he said.
Others decline because of something in their past or because they think they cannot handle the responsibility, he said. In the latter case, he said, “normally we insist” because often people are not the best judges of their own abilities. But when a person makes “a decision in conscience,” the Vatican respects that.
As for the type of priests Pope Francis and the congregation are looking for as candidates, Cardinal Ouellet said the Pope “has insisted on the pastoral quality of the bishops. That’s very clear. It does not mean that they do not have to be masters of the faith because a bishop is, first and foremost, the first teacher of the faith in his diocese.”
Read the whole thing there.
Happily, I will never be a bishop.
But about that Monsignor thing….