Are Bishops placed by the Holy Spirit?

There’s been some controversy here in Germany about the so-called “Bling Bishop”, The Most Reverend Dr Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, Bishop Emeritus of Limburg. The Dean on Frankfurt in the diocese of Limburg is now demanding change in the hierarchy, saying that those who argued that Bishops were placed in office by the Holy Spirit were engaging in “bad theology”.

Now, Cardinal Müller of the CDF has said (I think it was in the Osservatore Romano) precisely that which the Dean calls “bad theology”: That Bishops are placed by the Holy Spirit. I did a Google search, and found similar language in Church documents, such as Christus Dominus and Pastor Aeternus.

The bishops themselves, however, having been appointed by the Holy Spirit, are successors of the Apostles as pastors of souls.
Christus Dominus 2

[The jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff and of the bishops]. This power of the Supreme Pontiff is so far from interfering with that power of ordinary and immediate episcopal jurisdiction by which the bishops, who, “placed by the Holy Spirit” [cf. Acts 20:28], have succeeded to the places of the apostles, as true shepherds individually feed and rule the individual flocks assigned to them, that the same (power) is asserted, confirmed, and vindicated by the supreme and universal shepherd, according to the statement of Gregory the Great: "My honor is the universal honor of the Church. My honor is the solid vigor of my brothers. Then am I truly honored, when the honor due to each and everyone is not denied.’’
Pastor Aeternus (Denzinger 1828 [3061])

Pastor Aeternus, issued by Vatican I, makes reference to Acts 20:28, which says: “Take heed to yourselves, and to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost hath placed you bishops, to rule the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”

These quotes don’t seem to be saying “The Sacrament of Holy Orders and the Episcopate was instituted by the Holy Spirit”, but that every Bishop is placed in his position by Him. Doesn’t this make God responsible for the way Bishops act?

No, not any more than God is responsible for how you act. It’s called “free will.” Bishops don’t loose free will when they are made a bishop.

It is self evident that God is not responsible for the way anyone acts, bishop or otherwise.

Judas was chosen by God. Is God then responsible for Judas’ behavior?

And what about Adam and Eve? God created them perfect. Is God to be held responsible for original sin?

-Tim-

A little thinking, and I could have found the answers myself. So it is correct Bishops are appointed by God, that is placed in their positions?

You could look at Romans 13 and Hebrews 13.

-Tim-

Here’s a quote from Cardinal Ratzinger regarding the election of a Pope: if applicable to the Holy Father’s election, then how much so for another bishop?

Perhaps the classic expression of this idea belongs to none other than the outgoing pope, Benedict XVI, who as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was asked on Bavarian television in 1997 if the Holy Spirit is responsible for who gets elected. This was his response:

I would not say so, in the sense that the Holy Spirit picks out the Pope. … I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator, as it were, leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us. Thus the Spirit’s role should be understood in a much more elastic sense, not that he dictates the candidate for whom one must vote. Probably the only assurance he offers is that the thing cannot be totally ruined.

Then the clincher:

There are too many contrary instances of popes the Holy Spirit obviously would not have picked!

OK, I did. Romans 13 is about submitting to political authority, and by extension the Bishops. I do, however, read the Divine Right of Kings in Romans 13… which I understand has been a primary argument by those in the past advocating it. :shrug:

Hebrews 13 says in verse 17: “Obey your prelates, and be subject to them. For they watch as being to render an account of your souls; that they may do this with joy, and not with grief. For this is not expedient for you.” While that is true, it doesn’t exactly mean God has appointed every single Bishop?

How do these things match up with the quote from Card. Ratzinger, though?

CutlerB;11859180]There’s been some controversy here in Germany about the so-called “Bling Bishop”, The Most Reverend Dr Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, Bishop Emeritus of Limburg. The Dean on Frankfurt in the diocese of Limburg is now demanding change in the hierarchy, saying that those who argued that Bishops were placed in office by the Holy Spirit were engaging in “bad theology”.

Now, Cardinal Müller of the CDF has said (I think it was in the Osservatore Romano) precisely that which the Dean calls “bad theology”: That Bishops are placed by the Holy Spirit. I did a Google search, and found similar language in Church documents, such as Christus Dominus and Pastor Aeternus.

Pastor Aeternus, issued by Vatican I, makes reference to Acts 20:28, which says: “Take heed to yourselves, and to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost hath placed you bishops, to rule the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”

These quotes don’t seem to be saying “The Sacrament of Holy Orders and the Episcopate was instituted by the Holy Spirit”, but that every Bishop is placed in his position by Him. Doesn’t this make God responsible for the way Bishops act?

“We” {God and most of us would like to believe this to be true}
John.15: 16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you”

And I SUSPECT that it is in the beginning. But Power seems to have a HUGE corruption capaility; and IF the Bishop gets too involved in administration [a critically important element of the responsibility]; there is the possibility of in a sense loosing Faith and grace,

They too are human and desperately need our prayers and support. which is why every Mass prays for the protection and guidence of the Local Bishop.:wink:

This notion is contained explicitly and word for word in the Bible (Acts 20:28), but it has more to do with being made a bishop (it is the Holy Spirit’s action in the Sacrament of Holy Orders that makes a man a bishop through the laying on of hands) than the Holy Spirit selecting the person in some manner guaranteeing they will be a good bishop.

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