Appointing Bishops

Not sure if this is the right forum but what is the process for picking Bishops? I know it starts with the Nuncio but why are we left with empty sees?

Here in NY the Diocese of Rochester has no Bishop and in in Albany (my diocese) Bp. Hubbard turns 75 this year. They (whoever they are) should have had coadjutors in place ready to go.

What gives?

same with my diocese it came as a shock for our cathedral for a monsignor who has served at the same cathedral for 15 yrs to then not be chosen to be our dioceses’ new bishop instead we were given a bishop whom seemingly appeared out of no where ( though we know he has a history it just was not known ) and thusly the new bishop does a switcheroo on our diocese and moves the veteran monsignor to another parish, with no explanation at all, among other transfers no explanation was given to the diocese other than the date in which the transfers would take place; ( though I never knew till I got on CAF that it is rather the norm for priests to be moved around ever six years or so. ); personally I at least expected something like " after much prayer and reflection the Holy Spirit has guided to me these transfers. " Or at least something that reminds the diocese that every few years expect your parish priest to be transferred due to ( what ever reason ).

I kind of figure it is a similar situation to the military where some officers are transferred on a regular basis so a unit does not get complacent with the officer they have , so the officer can gain more experience an so forth…

But I do know that the lay people have no choice what so ever in electing a Bishop or anyone, and I wonder why is that, why do lay people have no right to elect their leaders of their parish or diocese ?

My friend, speed is the very last consideration when it comes to choosing a bishop! Pray for the Holy Father in naming faithful orthodox bishops.

We cannot even “elect” proper politicians to govern us and you want to “elect” your Bishops that are responsible for your souls? :rolleyes:
Please pfft.

Didymus, I read on the website Cleansing Fire, a website run by orthodox lay people in the
DOR as you probably know, that there was a rumor that Bishop Clark had been offered a coadjutor bishop and refused it. My husband’s family has lived in the DOR for many years,and we are watching this situation closely. We join you in prayer for the quick appointment of a new bishop for Rochester. I am sure that it is taking so long, because the Holy Father wants to make sure that he has the right man for the job.

Coadjutors are normally only appointed in particular circumstances, e.g. a bishop is ill. Bishops of a country have to recommend priests who are suitable for the episcopate on a regular basis to the Congregation for Bishops. When a diocese is sede vacante the nuncio prepares a terna, i.e. a list of three candidates he recommends. In making his recommendations he’ll consult various priests and lay people as well as other bishops. The Congregation for Bishops may accept this list or draw up its own. The Pope can then follow the Congregation’s recommendation or follow his own choice.

Thank God that lay people have no say in the matter, they cannot elect proper politicians let alone Clergy, Did Our Lord ask lay people when he choose the Apostles - No.
Did St. Peter invite any lay people to have any say when electing replacement for Judas - No.

Do some Protestants have lay people sticking there noses in elections in there Church - yes and that is why some of them have the mess they have. Lay people would always want someone they know, like, or even a relation, Let the Holy Father decide, its not your place or mine, nor are we Holy enough to know who is most suitable for the Office of Bishop in a particular Parish, pray that you get a good and Holy Bishop that would be good and wise.

It never pays to jump ahead of the Church.:confused:::shrug:

I believe that bishops in the early Church were elected by all the laity and clergy of a city. This process eventually changed into what we have today, which is very top-down and dependent on the Holy Father’s centralized authority. The early Church was certainly not as centralized as it is now. Just look at the Orthodox Church for an example of the different ecclesial organizational model.

Do sheep have a right to elect their shepherd? If not, then why should we elect our shepherds?

Here’s a site with all the dioceses in the US with their status, bishop’s age & education:

I wonder what the situation is in other countries?

pffft please as if we are to believe that we can not use our own form of prayers to guide our decision on who to elect, pfffft. There is no reason why lay people should not have a choice to vote for who their leaders should be; especially considering lay people are a free people. pfffffffft, and the problem we have with electing our current politicians is we are choosing between two options, bad and worse, pfffffffffft so imagine if we could actually have politicians with strong a strong and morally upright back ground in the catholic faith we might be able to start electing better politicians, ppfffffffffft. please. to bad you didn’t take the opportunity to answer the question, pfffffft.

because sheep are not people so no, and in turn since you are referencing Christ, yes people do choose to accept Christ to lead them, in turn we should be able to elect through our own means of prayer and reflection meditation of who is allowed to lead us.

And again you missed a chance to explain why lay people are not allowed to choose anything in regards to leadership in the Church. There is from what I can tell nothing in scripture or even a slight hint that Christ, God, or the Holy Spirit would deny us the opportunity to have a vote in who the leaders are of the Church, considering the only difference between the lay people and our clergy is our clergy goes through roughly 8 years of education and have taken their faith to a higher degree to trust in Christ and follow him, there is nothing to suggest that lay people are not worth to enter into pray and to seek guidance from the Holy Spirit to vote for any leader in the Church including the Holy Father. As our leaders are doing absolutely nothing different when choosing who will lead us, they pray, and ask for guidance in their decision. So why are the mere lay people all of a sudden lesser in value in being able to pray and discern to choose a leader, or perhaps one is going to suggest that no one is praying or discerning for their secular leaders so why should they be allowed to do the same for clergy in the Church ?

So perhaps there is someone out there who can reference where in Cannon law, dogma, doctrine, rubix , where it is expressly forbidden for lay people to have a vote. An saying that since Christ chose the disciples, and Peter to lead the Church still does not answer that Christ is not allowing his followers to have a choice.

get real, as if the Church does not make mistakes on a daily basis in choosing who becomes a priest, or that the Church has never elected a Pope that was completely wrong less we want to stick the thought process that they are not choosing that the Holy Father is making that decision, so now try explaining how the Holy Father made a mistake.

Did St. Peter invite others to help him choose, probably, to think that he didn’t seek any insight what so ever to help form an opinion, an just made the decision all on his own entirely through prayer is a bit hard to believe. There is nothing any where that suggests that Peter even had the suggestion made to him an thus rejected it. Did Christ ask for a vote on who he would choose, no , brilliant answer, considering now that no one will even contemplate answering if Christ is even against us having a vote on who leads us, no no that thought is just out of the question , heresy to even think it !

An really you are pointing at Protestants for getting into some of the messes they are in ?? The Catholic Church has had no lay person come close to being able to vote for their leaders and we have had bad popes all through out history and a bloody sex scandal that is going to plague the Church for decades to come.

still no valid answer any where that states why it is forbidden for the unwashed, unholy , peons of lay people to not be allowed to vote on who leads them in the same prayerful manner that these once lay people turned clergy are allowed to pray and discern to then cast a vote. ( which here is a shocker of a thought, who says those clergy voting do not have their own agenda on who and why they vote the way they do ! * gasp * blasphemy ! )

See that is the problem the word " change " evidently it is okay for change to happen in the early stages of the Church on at least this matter of voting, granted there are a million things in the Church that should not change, but as the Church grows and slowly adapts to society, on any level, or not at all, there really is no good reason why now in the present day lay people should not have a vote in the same prayerful and discerning method that our leaders do. Less one wants to say that the Church runs the risk of voter fraud, and the like, and that we will have politicians slipping into power that do not belong in power. But that is a stretch of an argument too, im not saying we should vote for any lay catholic but have the opportunity to vote on those who are already ordained deacons, and priests, and etc to fill any vacant seats that are in need of being filled.

Comparing our secular way of voting to a spiritual vote is like comparing apples and oranges, and to assume right off the bat that things would go wrong is nuts. let alone to say that we do not deserve a chance to vote because no where in scripture or any where does it say we are allowed to, but then disregard that no where in scripture is there any mention of forbidding anyone the opportunity to vote.

[edited] the Church is NOT a democracy.
This Church was founded by Jesus and it is HIS.
You are either flock, sheep (I saw you disliked the metaphor in an earlier comment) OR you are a sheperd.

[edited] the imposition of hands and annointing someone goes back to our Father in the faith Abraham.
There are no democratic elections to annoint or impose hands, nor they ever were.
God would speak to a Prophet and tell him to annoint someone.
In the early Church, it has always been this the case, doubt we will change any time soon. Now God speaks to the Bishops who hopefully hears Himcorrectly in order to annoint Bishops.
Nothing has changed since the time of Abraham in the fundamentals. Sins back then are still sins now.


Me I am pretty happy to be counted as one of Jesus’s sheeps.

Where do you find this wild assertion?
Did St. Peter and the other 10 make an announcement to the congregation in Jerusalem that names would be taken to “elect” the replacement of Judas?

If you read how they did it, what makes you think that the Bishops that THEY chose after teaching and grooming in the faith would CHANGE the way to select their sucessors?

When you read that a Bishop had been chosen and the people rejoiced that does not “prove” that they had much to do with their election by the Bishop that imposed his hands and annointed him.
The Bishops are annointed ones, chosen by discernment (prayer) and pondering/consideration of the suitable possible candidates. It is NOT a political exercise.

In the Catholic Encyclopedia.

Such an exalted position was not without its difficulties. One of the gravest was the interference of the lay authority in the election of bishops. Until the sixth century the clergy and the people elected the bishop on condition that the election should be approved by the neighbouring bishops. Undoubtedly, the Christian Roman emperors sometimes intervened in these election, but outside the imperial cities only, and generally in the case of disagreement as to the proper person.

Bishops have not always been appointed by the Holy See. In the past each diocese used to elect its bishop. At one time the laity would have been involved in these elections. In later times civil authorities played a major role in choosing bishops. Read any good history of the Church.

maybe you should take your happy self for a long walk off a short bridge with your snarky attitude , because there is absolutely nothing wrong with a democracy , if voting was soooooo horrible as some would like others to believe then Americans would not have fought so hard when they did for the right to vote, you are off the bat assuming that with a right to chose who leads would in turn go down the road of heresy and all sorts of horrible things, and what do you instead, you stick your head in the sand and keep foaming over with no no no no ancient times this an that an the other thing and verse this chapter that. It is not so bloody far fetched for lay people to be allowed to vote for those who are already ordained, the process of coming up with who can be voted for is beyond simple, more over, no one here can give one good solid answer as to any prohibition against lay people being allowed to discern in prayer to be able to vote for anyone that is an ordained clergy.

You really want lay people to believe that their prayers are no more heard or valid because they are not ordained, and thus they can not come to the same decision given to them under the same circumstances you have suggested, it is non sense. An sins back then are still sins now ? come on / the future does not hold on to sins of the past nor does God impose punishment from sins commited decades ago upon an innocent society, plenty of scripture all through out the bible on that. There is absolutely no reason any where to forbid lay people with in the Roman Catholic Church to be allowed to vote for their parish priest, bishop, cardinal, even have a vote for who the next Pope is, and the vote stops right there, nothing absolutely nothing would change in regards to anything the Roman Catholic Church has done thus far, your cries of ordaining women wouldn’t take place, your whining about then abortions would happen is ridiculous, and everything from the sky falling to the boogie man would get us in our sleep would not happen either. Simply give the lay people of any parish, the ability to vote for ordained clergy who are already serving the Catholic Church.

Bahhh but how can one vote for the pope, same bloody way people vote for the President, our elected clergy would review the votes and continue with the conclave as it has always been. Why assume the worst is going to happen if lay people were allowed to vote.

but what ever, for those of you who keep sticking your head in the sand over the subject and screaming blasphemy and heresy enjoy it, it is a simple suggestion that can be easily enacted and there is no good reason for lay people to not have voice in who leads them, I am not stupid to the fact that this will never in a billion years happen , but that doesn’t mean no one should not even consider it with in the Roman Catholic Church.

Be a sheep all you want, I am using the God given thought process I was given to be more than just a sheep in the same Roman Catholic Church you are in.

Actually, that’s how St. Ambrose became a bishop.

When Ambrose had governed at Milan for two years, the bishop, an Arian, died, and the city was torn by strife over the election of a successor, some demanding an Arian, others a Catholic. Ambrose, as the responsible civil official, went to the church where the voting was to take place, and urged the people to make their choice like good Christians, without disorder. A voice suddenly called out, "Ambrose, bishop! " The whole gathering took up the cry, and both Catholics and Arians then and there proclaimed him bishop of Milan. The outburst astounded Ambrose, for though he was a professing Christian, he was still unbaptized and therefore not eligible for the office.

In view of the popular vote, the other bishops of the province agreed to ratify the election, at which Ambrose sadly remarked, “Emotion has now overruled canon law.” The bishop-elect tried unsuccessfully to escape from the city.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit