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A VOTF Proposal for the Selection of Bishops from VOTF website

A true leader calls forth the gifts and best efforts of those whom he/she serves.


A Working Paper prepared by Eleanor McLellan, RSCJ,  for the

"Voice of Renewal in the Spirit of Vatican II"  [ Working Group for VOTF ] as of 12/02


We, the Voice of Renewal (in the Spirit of Vatican II) Working Group, propose to the VOTF Executive Committee and Council that we write a letter to the Apostolic Delegate mentioning the qualities we would like to see in a bishop and possibly proposing names of people who possess these qualities. The letter would make the following points:


The 1983 revision of the Code of Canon Law in accord with Vatican II is premised on its declaration that, by virtue of their baptism "all the Christian faithful have a true equality" and therefore have rights to participate in the Church's advancement of the Kingdom of God. (The Right of Catholics to Govern the Church, America, N.Y., Nov.14, 1992; William E. McManus)


The Vatican II Council "Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity" (1965) states: "Bishops, pastors and all priests should keep in mind that the right and duty to exercise the apostolate is common to all the faithful."


Therefore it is essential that we, the laity, work in close communion with our bishops and priests.


In order for this to be achieved, bishops must be accessible to the people. They should live and work among the people, and thus experience first hand, their joys and sorrows. In the current structure bishops are removed from the direct contact that could enable them to become more sensitive to the real needs of their people.


Bishops should also be willing and able to listen and discern together with the people, through prayer and reflection, the direction in which the Spirit is leading the Church. Lay people have insight and experience that are not available to the hierarchy, and the hierarchy has experience that is not available to the people. Therefore, it is important that each listen to the other and that together they discern the direction in which the Church should progress.


This requires humility on the part of the bishops.

Their role is one of leadership, but not one of domination.

A true leader attracts followers because he/she believes in their ability to contribute to the good of the whole.

A true leader calls forth the gifts and best efforts of those whom he/she serves.

The emphasis here is on service.

A true leader inspires others and enables them to offer their gifts.

We need charismatic leaders, not ones who are slaves to the "rules."


Bishops should not be afraid to be totally truthful regardless of what this entails. The faithful should know "what is going on." They should know how their contributions are being used, and they should be consulted regarding these things.


We might want to name people who possess these qualities, and, in the spirit of the early church, recommend them as bishops.


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