THE BISHOP

Is it because it’s Friday or because I’ve touched some nerves, but my inbox is overflowing. Thanks for the comments, but now I’ve got to keep this company up and going, so for today I’m only posting this message, a dissent to my plea that a Dallas priest be appointed the next bishop:

I loved every word of your Publisher’s Note on the Glorious 15th (of July) until I got to the last paragraph. First, I submit that “a forceful, orthodox, and demonstrably competent local pastor”–at least one qualified to be a bishop–simply doesn’t exist in this diocese. I don’t know every priest, and I’m ready to be proved wrong about this, but I can’t help thinking that if there were such a pastor in the diocese I would have heard of him.

Second, the last thing we need is an insider to clean out the Augean stables of the diocese of Dallas. If we have been suffering under a “reign of goofballs, thumb-suckers, and brown-nosers” (beautifully put), why would we look to their ranks for a reformer? We need an outsider to do what Bishop Robert Finn has been doing in Kansas City. As for such an appointment doing “wonders for morale”, I ask whose morale? It seems to me that the only people who would care if the new bishop is a local man are the clergy and other employees of the diocese. Frankly, I hope their morale drops through the floor the day a new bishop is named. I hope they’re scared spitless. The only people whose morale I care about are the faithful of the diocese, and I don’t think they’ll care one whit whether the new bishop is from Dallas. I, for one, hope the new bishop is from somewhere else (how about Uganda? Nigeria?) and owes nothing to anyone here. Then let’s hand him a shovel and a flame-thrower and tell him to get to work.

Good points. Let me answer quickly with only two comments. First, any first-year seminarian could do a better job than the present incumbent. I ask my more conservative brethren to remember that “the perfect is the enemy of the good.” Aspire to the best, yes, but good enough is also good enough. Second, my comment about “goofballs, thumb-suckers, and brown-nosers” referred to the current slate of bishops in the U.S., not to the general run of priests in the diocese. However, now that I think of it, the phrase does fit the current Chancery staff rather nicely.

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