Father Ray Blake has, as so often, perceptive considerations about careerism in the Church; careerism fuelled by the “expectation” of a red hat for certain prestigious dioceses, and the custom to move bishops from A to B to C as their, erm, career proceeds.
If the system were to be frozen, a bishop would know that it is highly probable he will remain in his diocese for a long time; this would in turn allow him to start a long-term work of re-shaping of his own diocese. He wouldn't be allowed to see his diocese as a “station” towards more prestigious appointments, and would not be motivated to ingratiate himself to the press or the powers that be and appear just the ticket for the next big diocese in need of an appointment. Incidentally, if he is bad this would undoubtedly be seen in the figures concerning vocations, conversion and co. and said bishop wouldn't have anywhere to hide, nor would he be allowed to move elsewhere and endanger a bigger or more prestigious diocese (Peter Smith comes to mind; or our own Vincent “Quisling” Nichols). The contrast in results between the good bishops, those who make an excellent work in their diocese, and the Nichols would be brutal. Then, the one or other bishop could be gently pushed elsewhere for manifest incapacity; but ending down, not up.
The problem with this system is, I think, that it would work. No more easy favours for the friends of the friends; no more opportunities to hide one own's incompetence claiming lack of time to do a proper job; no more trendy prelates guffawing around in desperate search of a camera. Bad times all around.
Plus, as the conservative dioceses tend to regularly fare better than the trendy ones in vocations etc, this system would lead to conservative bishops systematically rising to preeminence; a preeminence earned by good and hard work and not by networking and by appointment.
Meritocracy? God forbid! What would happen of the trendy crowd? That would, one day, be the end of…. gasp…. Vatican II! No, this certainly can't be allowed, will our men in black, purple and red think; let us rather build fully unrecognisable “trendy” churches; let us follow the crowd on social and environmental issues; let us waste money in stupid modern art exercises; and let's be overtly or covertly approving of same-sex unions, even those of us who don't wear stilettos in private. The Church will be damaged and countless souls will get lost, but who cares…
We'll be so popular; and if you, my dear Father Smart, can say the right things and mix with the right crowd, one day the diocese will arrive for you, too.
Posted on June 10, 2013, in Catholicism, Conservative Catholicism, Traditional Catholicism and tagged Bad shepherds, careerism, modernism in the church. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Careerism.