Why is it a downer when a priest from an order becomes a Diocesan Bishop?


#1

I always figured that diocesan priests don't particularly like it when a religious priest becomes the Bishop. I figured that's why John Paul II chose O'Malley to fix the mess in Boston.

Some years later I was studying under a priest-professor who was Provincial Emeritus for his religious order and he says that diocesan priests feel like it's a "downer."

Why is this so? I read an article from John Allen saying that it's because diocesan priests might feel slighted because a Bishop wasn't chosen from within their ranks to lead the Diocese, but that doesn't seem to really answer the question, because in any case aren't Bishops nowadays typically chosen from areas outside of their new sees? Where I am, the current and previous Bishop were both from other dioceses before they were called to lead our diocese. Dolan of New York was from Milwaukee. Tagle of Manila was from Imus. DiLorenzo of Richmond was from Philadelphia and Honolulu. Though I gather historically it wasn't always this way -- Wojtyla was Archbishop of his hometown.

And in any case, at least where I am, the diocesan priests and religious priests get along like brothers. I can't see it being a problem here, though I suppose I could see it becoming an issue in places where they have a lot more priests who may tend to form cliques among themselves divided by orders and seculars?


#2

[quote="PazzoGrande, post:1, topic:306311"]
I always figured that diocesan priests don't particularly like it when a religious priest becomes the Bishop. I figured that's why John Paul II chose O'Malley to fix the mess in Boston.

[/quote]

Maybe, but I always thought HH chose Cardinal O'Malley since O'Malley had already "fixed" Fall River and Palm Beach and HH wanted an experienced hand in a major Archdiocese such as Boston....

Some years later I was studying under a priest-professor who was Provincial Emeritus for his religious order and he says that diocesan priests feel like it's a "downer."

A diocesan priest once told me that with the decrease in the number of named monsignori compared to earlier times, there are such limited opportunities to "move up" so to speak, that an outsider is sometimes resented. We forget sometimes that priests are human, too. They, too , have ambition - and that is not necessarily a bad thing...though it can be. If not ambition, at least the need to be recognized for their abilities.

Why is this so?

Priests are human...

I read an article from John Allen saying that it's because diocesan priests might feel slighted because a Bishop wasn't chosen from within their ranks to lead the Diocese, but that doesn't seem to really answer the question, because in any case aren't Bishops nowadays typically chosen from areas outside of their new sees?

in many places but not all

Where I am, the current and previous Bishop were both from other dioceses before they were called to lead our diocese. Dolan of New York was from Milwaukee. Tagle of Manila was from Imus. DiLorenzo of Richmond was from Philadelphia and Honolulu. Though I gather historically it wasn't always this way -- Wojtyla was Archbishop of his hometown.

There may be other things at work, too...such as a desire to distance the successor from the prior Bishop.

And in any case, at least where I am, the diocesan priests and religious priests get along like brothers. I can't see it being a problem here, though I suppose I could see it becoming an issue in places where they have a lot more priests who may tend to form cliques among themselves divided by orders and seculars?

Again, priests are human....


#3

I wouldn't presume that it is always and everywhere the case that diocesan priests resent it when a religious order priest is named a bishop. :shrug:

Perhaps that is the case in some places. I imagine the reasons would vary from priest to priest and place to place. Some priests may resent when a priest is chosen "from their own ranks." "No prophet is without honor except in his hometown."

Yes, priests are human. They are subject to the foibles of resentment as much as any of us. But I would be cautious about speaking too broadly. I haven't really witnessed a lot of resentment on behalf of many priests regarding episcopal appointments. :shrug:


#4

[quote="PazzoGrande, post:1, topic:306311"]
I . . . because in any case aren't Bishops nowadays typically chosen from areas outside of their new sees? Where I am, the current and previous Bishop were both from other dioceses before they were called to lead our diocese. Dolan of New York was from Milwaukee. Tagle of Manila was from Imus. DiLorenzo of Richmond was from Philadelphia and Honolulu. Though I gather historically it wasn't always this way -- Wojtyla was Archbishop of his hometown?

[/quote]

I don't believe this is by design, but more by need and availability. Our present bishop is a hometown boy as was our former bishop who is now cardinal archbishop in Washington D.C. In fact, the Holy See seems to look to the priests of our diocese to fill bishop roles frequently. The following were all priests of my diocese:

Paul Joseph Bradley , Bishop, Kalamazoo Mich.
Edward James Burns , Bishop, Juneau Alaska
Daniel Nicholas DiNardo ,Cardinal Archbishop, Houston Texas
Bernard Anthony Hebda, Bishop, Gaylord Mich.
Adam Joseph Maida Cardinal Archbishop, Detroit Mich. (retired)
Thomas Joseph Tobin Bishop, Providence R.I.
William Joseph Winter , Aux. Bishop, Pittsburgh Pa.
Donald William Wuerl . Cardinal Archbishop, Washington D.C.
David Allen Zubik , Bishop, Pittsburgh Pa.

We are exceedingly blessed. However it is difficult to watch many of our best and brightest leave us, to work in other vinyards of the Lord.

I might point out that Cardinal O'Malley's Province of his Order is also headquartered here, where he attended school and was originally ordained as a priest.


#5

If I were to guess, this "resentment" is much more rare than the priest you spoke to made it out to be. I would need specific examples to comment on. However, a possible explanation may be the difference of culture. A religious priest is formed within a culture of obedience in all matters, whereas diocesan priests have considerable more autonomy.

There could be some friction if the incoming bishop initially acted more as a religious superior than bishop in overseeing his priests as he adjusted to the new role.


#6

[quote="SMOM, post:4, topic:306311"]
I don't believe this is by design, but more by need and availability. Our present bishop is a hometown boy as was our former bishop who is now cardinal archbishop in Washington D.C. In fact, the Holy See seems to look to the priests of our diocese to fill bishop roles frequently. The following were all priests of my diocese:

Paul Joseph Bradley , Bishop, Kalamazoo Mich.
Edward James Burns , Bishop, Juneau Alaska
Daniel Nicholas DiNardo ,Cardinal Archbishop, Houston Texas
Bernard Anthony Hebda, Bishop, Gaylord Mich.
Adam Joseph Maida Cardinal Archbishop, Detroit Mich. (retired)
Thomas Joseph Tobin Bishop, Providence R.I.
William Joseph Winter , Aux. Bishop, Pittsburgh Pa.
Donald William Wuerl . Cardinal Archbishop, Washington D.C.
David Allen Zubik , Bishop, Pittsburgh Pa.

We are exceedingly blessed. However it is difficult to watch many of our best and brightest leave us, to work in other vinyards of the Lord.

I might point out that Cardinal O'Malley's Province of his Order is also headquartered here, where he attended school and was originally ordained as a priest.

[/quote]

I kind of stray off topic.

Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville--although originally a priest of the Diocese of Corpus Christi in Texas--was sort of a hometown boy when he became our bishop. He's originally from Zapata. Although Zapata is in the Laredo Diocese (and before that in the Corpus Christi Diocese), it is in the five-county area known as the Texas Rio Grande Valley. It's just in a different diocese. A Valleyite is a Valleyite. He just grew up in a different diocese. Valleyites welcomed him home when he became our bishop. And he fit right in.


#7

Off-topic, but I've noticed that Cardinal O'Malley is the only bishop in orders who wears his habit, in fact he seems to eschew episcopal garb except when absolutely necessary.

As to your question, it may be necessary to go outside the diocese. I'm in upstate NY (in partibus infidelium) and when our Bishop retires I hope the Holy See sends a religious with missionary experience!!


#8

[quote="didymus, post:7, topic:306311"]
Off-topic, but I've noticed that Cardinal O'Malley is the only bishop in orders who wears his habit, in fact he seems to eschew episcopal garb except when absolutely necessary.

As to your question, it may be necessary to go outside the diocese. I'm in upstate NY (in partibus infidelium) and when our Bishop retires I hope the Holy See sends a religious with missionary experience!!

[/quote]

I've been to Albany....... :)


#9

[quote="didymus, post:7, topic:306311"]
Off-topic, but I've noticed that Cardinal O'Malley is the only bishop in orders who wears his habit, in fact he seems to eschew episcopal garb except when absolutely necessary.

As to your question, it may be necessary to go outside the diocese. I'm in upstate NY (in partibus infidelium) and when our Bishop retires I hope the Holy See sends a religious with missionary experience!!

[/quote]

I know of several less famous bishops(albeit not based in the us) who also wear their habits quite a lot, while they usually wear the garb of a bishop, religious always retain the right to wear their habits. Indeed when a diocese I know received a Monk as their new bishop most if not all of the priests were very happy with the choice.


#10

[quote="didymus, post:7, topic:306311"]
Off-topic, but I've noticed that Cardinal O'Malley is the only bishop in orders who wears his habit, in fact he seems to eschew episcopal garb except when absolutely necessary

[/quote]

I thought that's a nice touch. More of them should!

Let's be frank -- when the general American public sees our Bishops and Cardinals in their cassocks, they automatically presume they're evil. The biased culture in this country always presumes the worst about our leaders and nobody in the media really points out how stupid and bigoted that presumption is. So to see some of them wear habits could alleviate some of that.

Plus it's a little shocking when you realise how expensive prelates' cassocks cost nowadays, like $500 and up. If cassocks are supposed to be clothes of servants, in my opinion it doesn't fit that it should cost more than what average people wear.

Even the late Cardinal Martini criticised cassocks for being pompous and I think he had a point.


#11

[quote="PazzoGrande, post:10, topic:306311"]
I thought that's a nice touch. More of them should!

Let's be frank -- when the general American public sees our Bishops and Cardinals in their cassocks, they automatically presume they're evil. The biased culture in this country always presumes the worst about our leaders and nobody in the media really points out how stupid and bigoted that presumption is. So to see some of them wear habits could alleviate some of that.

Plus it's a little shocking when you realise how expensive prelates' cassocks cost nowadays, like $500 and up. If cassocks are supposed to be clothes of servants, in my opinion it doesn't fit that it should cost more than what average people wear.

Even the late Cardinal Martini criticised cassocks for being pompous and I think he had a point.

[/quote]

It's hard to see cassocks as being pompous - though they are distinctive. Frankly, I think that reaction is part of the misplaced Spirit of VII ethos. But, to each his own, I suppose.

Certainly some cassocks can be expensive...but some are quite reasonable...less than $150 as any easy google will show. I don't think anyone expects sackcloth...though maybe some do. Plus, non-regular priests don't take a vow of poverty...why should they be limited? Also, when you consider the positive non-verbal message of clerical garb, it seems to me the need to beat back the negative presumption that admittedly has been promoted is a better response than hiding in the crowd.

In any event, I think it is generally a good positive step to return to the wearing of clerical garb as a rule - Cardinal Martini notwithstanding.


#12

[quote="johnnykins, post:11, topic:306311"]
It's hard to see cassocks as being pompous - though they are distinctive. Frankly, I think that reaction is part of the misplaced Spirit of VII ethos. But, to each his own, I suppose.

Certainly some cassocks can be expensive...but some are quite reasonable...less than $150 as any easy google will show. I don't think anyone expects sackcloth...though maybe some do. Plus, non-regular priests don't take a vow of poverty...why should they be limited? Also, when you consider the positive non-verbal message of clerical garb, it seems to me the need to beat back the negative presumption that admittedly has been promoted is a better response than hiding in the crowd.

In any event, I think it is generally a good positive step to return to the wearing of clerical garb as a rule - Cardinal Martini notwithstanding.

[/quote]

I dunno, until it was pointed out to me, I never even noticed a difference between a cassock and the pants/shirt combo that many priests wear nowadays. It was all black clothes with a white collar to me. :p

But then, I'm not always very observant when it comes to those sorts of things. :o


#13

Maybe its not so much that priests are dissapointed that a member of a religious order has become bishop, but they are a little happier when a priest becomes a bishop. I know in my diocese we always talk about the Bishops who were priests in our diocese. If I remember (someone can help), the Lincoln Diocese was the home of these priests

Thomas Olmstead- Bishop of Phoenix

Michael Jaeckels- Bishop of Wichita

Robert Vasa- Bishop of Santa Rosa

Anyway, while I'm sure some priests may not be as happy with members of religious orders becoming bishops, i just think most priests feel more joy when one of their own becomes a bishop


#14

[quote="johnnykins, post:2, topic:306311"]
A diocesan priest once told me that with the decrease in the number of named monsignori compared to earlier times, there are such limited opportunities to "move up" so to speak, that an outsider is sometimes resented.

[/quote]

Monsignori is not a level of Holy Orders. Holy Orders consist of deacon, priest, and bishop.

Monsignori is an honorary title that can only be giving to a secular priest. Religious priests are never monsignori.


#15

[quote="Friar_David_O.Carm, post:14, topic:306311"]
Monsignori is not a level of Holy Orders. Holy Orders consist of deacon, priest, and bishop.

Monsignori is an honorary title that can only be giving to a secular priest. Religious priests are never monsignori.

[/quote]

Yes, but I think his point is that when a secular man is named bishop by the Pope, he is very often--I think the majority of the time--a monsignor. This is of course not necessary at all, but I suppose by correlation monsignori and bishop appointments are related.


#16

[quote="didymus, post:7, topic:306311"]
Off-topic, but I've noticed that Cardinal O'Malley is the only bishop in orders who wears his habit, in fact he seems to eschew episcopal garb except when absolutely necessary.

As to your question, it may be necessary to go outside the diocese. I'm in upstate NY (in partibus infidelium) and when our Bishop retires I hope the Holy See sends a religious with missionary experience!!

[/quote]

Contrast that with Archbishop Chaput who is also an Franciscan. He wears the usual episcopal clothing.


#17

[quote="Friar_David_O.Carm, post:14, topic:306311"]
Monsignori is not a level of Holy Orders. Holy Orders consist of deacon, priest, and bishop.

[/quote]

True - just as Archbishop is not an order, per se, but is simply the title of a Bishop of a metropolitan see or a member of the Holy See's nunciature etc. Likewise, Cardinal, Primate, Patriarch, Provincial, etc., etc. yet such titles are a "promotion" of a sort - at least they are a recognition of ability, etc..

Monsignori is an honorary title that can only be giving to a secular priest. Religious priests are never monsignori.

The point was that years ago many more secular priests were named monsignor as a title of respect and recognition that, by being so rare today by comparison, leaves the only recognition (so to speak) being named Auxiliary Bishop, to Ordinary, Metropolitan, Cardinal etc., so when someone outside gets the nod, it can create envy...


#18

[quote="johnnykins, post:17, topic:306311"]
...
The point was that years ago many more secular priests were named monsignor as a title of respect and recognition that, by being so rare today by comparison, leaves the only recognition (so to speak) being named Auxiliary Bishop, to Ordinary, Metropolitan, Cardinal etc., so when someone outside gets the nod, it can create envy...

[/quote]

If, of course, it is accurate that priests find it a downer when an outsider is elevated, which has not been demonstrated. We are only speculating on a second hand comment provided by the OP.


#19

It is a calling from God. All Holy Orders is such. That call comes through the Church.

Any priest who feels slighted in the least for not being called to be a bishop has other issues he needs to be addressing.


#20

[quote="runningdude, post:18, topic:306311"]
If, of course, it is accurate that priests find it a downer when an outsider is elevated, which has not been demonstrated. We are only speculating on a second hand comment provided by the OP.

[/quote]

Then here's another source you could look at
ncronline.org/news/vatican/religious-order-bishops-are-long-contested-tradition
"Critics charge that at least in the West, naming religious-order priests as bishops is an anomaly -- it’s arguably an insult to the local clergy, critics say, as if none of them were worthy, and can also be disruptive to religious life. "


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