14 April 2018

Episcopal CVs

I just browsed through the CV of the new Bishop of Lancaster.

I don't know anything at all about him, or his views on "the issues of the day". (By the way: I sha'n't enable comments which criticise him.) But ...

He grew up in that diocese, as his father had; he went to Lancaster Royal Grammar School, a medieval foundation; then to the Provincial Seminary at Ushaw (R.I.P.); spent his lifetime in the diocesan priesthood (except for a spell "in the Missions"); is a Canon of the Cathedral rather than "Monsignor".

I find it quite simply and unambiguously lovely that a diocesan bishop should be a real Man of his Diocese, a son of the place and of people whom he serves, rather than being what the Irish would call a 'Blow In' from some fancy Roman University or an auxiliary Metropolitan bishopric. He is rooted in the soil! In premodern days, both clergy and laity had a much deeper sense than I think most moderns do, of where they came from, who they were. And they took pride in it. (I would not want to be anything other than an Essex Man, a Colchester Boy! All the Essex Man jokes find their Incarnation in me!)

Autochthony must be a good start for his Lordship! God bless him, and the priests, deacons, and laics of his great diocese!!


Arthur Gallagher said...

I do not know anything of that diocese, yet your comments make sense.

I live in New York. We once had an archbishop names Cooke who was from The Bronx- right in the city. Apart from Spellman, New York typically got local men as their Archbishop. They were different. They knew the parishes. They knew the clergy. Local people had a lot of standing.

Then we got O'Connor. Nominally a local, because he was a Navy Chaplain (and therefor, under the jurisdiction of New York,) he came from Philadelphia, served almost his entire career in the Navy, and was then made Bishop of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

O'Connor's reign was a disaster. He did not know any local people, so nobody had any standing. He had always operated at government expense, as an Admiral, and Chief of Chaplains, and had no idea how to run things on a budget. As a result, the church closings began, in a timid way to be sure, and the Hospitals lost track of their mission and spent themselves into a hole they could never get out of. He neglected the parishes, and refused to visit many of them, in one case because he heard a stupid rumor that the pastor took money from the Mafia.It was not true. O'Connor was an older man, and not very bad in many ways. But closing schools and churches seemed reasonable to him, because he knew nothing about them. He also had an obsession for race relations, particularly Black/White. He probably never knew that we had a strong black community in Morrisania, of good-and somewhat traditional-Black Catholics. His eye was set on social justice initiatives for the Black Protestants of West Harlem, whom he favored, at the expense of Hispanic Catholics. It was part of his Philadelphia liberalism.

Then came Egan, who closed churches with a vengeance. In once case, the pastor was told to come to a meeting, and while he was out, the locks were changed. That is how he was told his church was being closed. Egan was an effete, wealthy man, who spent most of his adult life in Rome. He was from Chicago, as different from New York as Belfast is from Exeter. His only connection with New York was a brief and disastrous assignment, that culminated in his being banished to Connecticut. He was not on speaking terms with O'Connor.

Now we have Dolan. From St. Louis, via Milwaukee. He had no New York connections, and is a walking faux pas. He has been the worst church closer yet, but has spent huge sums of money on such tings as a performing arts centre. Several priests had accusations of sexual abuse made against them, which were almost certainly false. They were punished in the most draconian manner. Despite this, there have been several huge sex scandals involving millions of dollars stolen by gay clergy, and yet these individuals are being protected.

The main thing about Dolan is that he is an outsider. He fell in immediately with the Mayor, and a local race-baiter named Al Sharpton, and was over-awed by every special interest group and lobbyist he encountered. People that not even Egan would be taken in by.

I can't help believing that if only Fr. Neilan from 14th Street, or Fr. Lynch from Our Lady of Angels had been made our Archbishop, or any one of the busy pastors around the city, that things would be better all around.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Ah, for the days when sons of Lazio sit on the throne of its principle see.

El Codo said...

Isn’t this the norm with the Orthodox? Given their married parish clergy, they like to “grow their own”.

Paul@Ryhope said...


E sapelion said...

The Orthodox have married parish clergy, but their bishops are celibate, and hence usually monks. The mediaeval church in the West discouraged, and later banned, clergy from marrying. I think this was in part to prevent alienation of church property. It is noteworthy that while the Pope issued dispensations from Canon Law to sons of clergy, from their illegitimacy, all the ones I have seen explicitly barred them from ever receiving a benefice enjoyed by their father.
In Iceland they seem, at least initially, to have completely ignored this attitude. When they decided, by democratic vote, to adopt Chritianity, they also decided that all their pagan priests would convert and continue their tradition of hereditary priesthood (at least so I have read).

Tony V said...

How did you get his CV? I've looked on LinkedIn and can't find anything.

Sadie Vacantist said...

The big problem is the bishops' conference. Under the English system they acquire a national portfolio rather like a government minister. Then they spend more and more time out of the diocese. Ann Widdicombe even suggested that we needed two Cardinals with one acting as foreign minister to the other's PM. For a short spell that was indeed the case.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

When Cardinal Niclolas Breakspeare as legate, so I have heard, held a synod in Norway, the clergy protested at his attempts to impose celibacy on the ground that the best priests in Norway were those trained by their own fathers.