Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The bishop who wants to be loved

Canadian bishops take note:

[T]hinking of the bishops in general – and not in any way pointing to the Archbishop of Birmingham in particular – I am reminded of the writer Philip Trower’s analysis of our episcopate in his excellent book, Turmoil and Truth: The Historical Roots of the Modern Crisis in the Catholic Church.

In his chapter entitled “The Shepherds”, he writes, inter alia: “Misconceptions about the right way of being a servant have unfortunately resulted in the autocrat too often being replaced by the bishop who wants to be loved. The bishop who wants to be loved is frightened of losing his reputation for being ‘caring’ and ‘compassionate’ by doing something unpopular, even when this is what real love demands. Or he tries to ‘serve’ like a politician. When his flock goes into apostasy and heresy, he keeps it together by saying contradictory things to please all shades of opinion, or when the going gets tough, hides behind his diocesan bureaucracy. Or he becomes a kind of religious salesman. If he wants to attract Communist voters, he makes the faith sound as much as possible like Marxist Leninism. If, on the contrary, he is aiming at prosperous or hedonistically inclined sheep, he will refrain from speaking too harshly or too much about vice…”