Dear Fr. Serpa, is it a sin to pray for a bishop's removal or transfer?


Dear Father Serpa,

If a Catholic believes that their bishop is not leading his flock (diocese) in the right direction, and is possibly even leading his flock down a path of spiritual ruin is it a sin to pray for that bishop’s removal or transfer? I know that the merciful thing to do would be to pray for the bishop’s conversion but after years and years of praying for this particular intention and the bishop still is leading his flock astray would it then be permissible to pray for the removal or transfer?


Dear GP.

It is not a sin to pray that God transfer a particular priest or bishop. But we don’t pray to inform God of anything. He certainly knows about all the Church’s problems. Better to pray that His will be done—whatever it is. Having a difficult situation to deal with may be the very best thing in the long run. I find that most of the time I don’t really know what’s going on even when I initially thought I did. The Lord always knows. So I leave it to Him and ask Him to give me the strength to do His will in the matter at hand—even if it is repugnant to me. He must matter more to me than getting my way matters to me.

The big surprise for me comes when, after letting go and completely submitting to His will, things fall into place—sometimes beyond what I could have hoped for. When we trust Him in this way, WE change. And that may well be why He gave us the problem in the first place!

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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