Saturday, March 22, 2014

Our Responsibility to Call Church Leadership

Nominate a candidate for Archbishop! 

Since Vatican II (1962-1965), people in the pews have been talking about electing Roman Catholic bishops, but centuries of practice are not easily changed. We think the time has now come to begin.

In 2014, Catholics in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis are taking a first step to electing bishops. It is a first step in that we are proposing a hybrid process of initial nomination/election combined with finally sending the names of candidates to the Papal Nuncio for appointment in accord with current Canon Law.

Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (CCCR) is asking Catholics to nominate local pastors who are capable of pulling the Archdiocese together to work for the mission of the Church in the world. The nominations are due by June 30. You can find the criteria we are suggesting and a nomination form at

The nominations will be sifted according to the criteria into a slate of candidates by a committee of ordained and lay men and women. Then in November, people will be asked to vote on the slate to produce a list of three names which they will suggest to the U.S. Papal Nuncio for his investigation. It is the Papal Nuncio’s job to recommend names of ordained men to the Pope for appointment as bishops of vacant sees.

The first step is about building a sense of our own responsibility and the possibilities for action. Building our electoral strength will take a while.

What is the hope of having one of the men we recommend appointed Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis? The See of St. Paul and Minneapolis may not be vacant for another 8 years. Bishops serve until age 75, and the current Archbishop is 67. Nevertheless, we think beginning to get accustomed to having a voice is necessary. As it happens, archbishops and bishops are frequently moved to larger dioceses or to positions in which their skills are needed without notice to the people. We want to have readiness to elect a successor archbishop when the time to act arrives.

What makes us think the Papal Nuncio will listen? Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the current U.S. Nuncio, responded to a letter from us that he is always willing to receive recommendations from the people for bishops and archbishops. You will find his message in a letter from Archbishop Nienstedt to us in May 2012 on the website. We understand that the names have to be sent by individuals to him by U.S. mail or by email.

In 1974, the priests of our Archdiocese organized to name three men to succeed Archbishop Leo Binz who was retiring. The priests invited the current lay organization to participate but they were not ready to do so. The priests’ senate sent the name of John Roach, a local man, to the Papal Nuncio and he was appointed Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Perhaps Roach was also the choice of Archbishop Binz. Only the Vatican archive knows. Nevertheless, that initiative by the priests of our Archdiocese 40 years ago gives us courage to move forward today.

1 comment:

  1. It is just wrong for the Pope to defrock and punish sexual abuser priests AFTER they have criminally abused their victims. The victims are damaged for the rest of their lives. A very simple and easy way to PREVENT sexual abuse BEFORE it happens is to change the rule and allow priests to choose celibacy or to marry.