Wednesday, April 02, 2014

It is Difficult to Obtain the Removal of Bishop: Columnist

The sacking of a bishop is quite difficult to achieve if the bishop puts up a fight, as the incumbent has rights in Canon Law, and cannot simply be removed from his diocese without due process. Therefore, one assumes that what has happened here is a series of delicate negotiations which have resulted in the bishop “going quietly”.

Some people would maintain, and they may well be right, that more bishops and other clergy should be sacked by the Pope. But there are many reasons why this hardly ever happens. Think back for a moment to the case of Bishop Gaillot of Evreux, who was removed from post because he was regarded as heterodox. This hardly solved the problem: indeed, it made a martyr out of the bishop and turned the affaire Gaillot into a cause celebre, which was highly damaging to the unity of the Church.

A few bishops have up to now been sacked for financial incompetence, usually in the developing world, and the Bishop of Bling, as he will forever be known, is a European who falls into this category. Unlike with cases of heresy, financial incompetence can be proven much more easily. There will always be arguments among theologians, but accountants have a way of being precise which does not admit of dissent in any form. As with heresy, so with gross moral turpitude: it is hard to prove it without the co-operation of the accused.

While it's true there are canonical rules for everything the Church...since when does Canon Law stop anything?

Pardon my cynicism. Canon Law seems to conveniently overlooked when it comes to Canon 915 and pro-abort Catholic politicians, but suddenly it matters when a bishop needs to be given his pink slip?

I agree that sometimes, when dealing with matters like heresy, bishops can be misunderstood or some other reason can explain the discrepancy between what he appears to be saying and what the Church teaches.

But sometimes there is outright disobedience. How does it serve the faithful (as opposed to the bishops!) to make it tough to remove these men?

If Canon Law makes it hard to do the right thing, then it's time to reform Canon Law.