Could a Priest turn down being appointed a Bishop?

If he had good reason and cause could a Priest turn down being appointed a Bishop or a Bishop do the same when appointed to a higher office. Or out of Obedience should they just accept?

I would think so, since no one can be ordained against his will. It would seem to me that it would apply to all levels of Holy Orders.

Of course. There have been instances in history of Saints turning down the position (some all but kicking and screaming). Being a bishop is hard enough, why force someone and make it harder, and even make it such that they don’t receive the Sacrament?

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Technically, I think they can turn it down, but typically they accept out of obedience.


Also, I don’t think it’s a surprise when someone is approached to be a bishop. Most have a history of being given roles of increasing responsibility before they are chosen as a bishop.

I have heard tales of priests who have turned it down for reasons such as a parent being extremely ill and the priest needing to be close by them. I don’t imagine the Vatican puts out any statistics on how often this happens. :wink:

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Also, now, in my head, I’m imagining the appointment of a new Bishop in the same kind of setting as the Oscars…

“And the crosier goes to…”

I heard of one who declined because he had a terminal disease. My understanding is that had he been in good health he would have accepted, but he knew that he only had a short time to live.

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It’s often a surprise. They’re often shocked.

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Absolutely. It happens.

According to the Prefect for the Congregation of Bishops, it is becoming more common not to accept the appointment to Bishop.

Well, even after the Pope is selected the first question is if he accepts the job.

It happens with a phone call from the Papal Nuncio in a couple cases that I know of.

Saint Dominic did twice.

Even though it isn’t required that a pope be a cardinal first, being in the conclave makes it a lot more likely a man will be elected pope. The elected individual can be asked right there before any public notice.

A priest may and should decline an appointment if there is a justifiable reason. Any bishop would appreciate such honesty. But, not every reason is justifiable.

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