Today I hosted lunch for a small group of priests from the diocese of diverse backgrounds. During the conversation the topic arose of our new bishop. "What could he really do to make a difference?" I was asked. I said that an invitation to the Fraternity of St Peter or the Institute of Christ the King to take over a parish wouldn`t go amiss. And while we`re at it why not the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate or the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (maybe they could run the `youth village`)? A Benedictine foundation from Le Barroux or Fontgamboult would be a great idea. Also a Natural Family Planning instructor in every parish might help things too. My earlier thoughts can be found here.
I think the most important of the points made in the posts you reference is the one on the constant connection between the Diocese and the parish so that neither become isolated. In all organisations the man in charge has to be seen, has to know all parts of the organisation, and listen to what's going on, so that he truly does have a 'feel' for what is going on. Some of the most successful managers are those that really take this seriously. Of course some Priests may resent this , seeing it as interfering in their parish, but it is necessary. It also helps to nip any potential non-orthodoxy in the bud. A 5 year visitation is far too infrequent. I would go so far as to say that a monthly personal contact of some sort would be the minimum (even if it's just a how-are-you phone call). Some of this can be delegated, as all the diocesan officials should be involved, but ultimately the top man needs to know his Diocese intimately. Most other things will be of minor importance compared with really being in touch.
Indeed, Father. But don't nick our FSSP Priest, okay?
But seriously, getting more religious orders/societies in wouldn't go amiss anywhere. Most Dioceses, mine own included, don't have enough Priests for the Parishes.
Over at the "Traditional Vocations" blog (which incidentally I need help with, if you know anyone) we featured over 20 religious communities/orders/societies. Just think if each of them sent just one Priest or Brother to the UK, and, say, they all descended on Hexham & Newcastle and St Andrews & Edinburgh, we'd have 10 more Priests each...
I know it's a pipe-dream when taken to that extent, but I think every Diocese that has Priests having to serve more than one Parish should, by default invite religious orders (etc.) to send a Priest to take over a Parish and/or establish Personal Parish(es) as necessary. Maybe one day I shall suggest this to the Cardinal... (or maybe not! ;-P )
Regarding the previous post, and Fr Seán's suggestions before: it's interesting to note that both the FSSP Seminaries have a mandatory "Spirituality Year" before tonsure, in which they do just what Fr Seán suggested!
I second Seeker's comment that the bishop must know his priests and have their confidence. I agree that this 'fathering' of the priests 'will nip any potential non-orthodoxy in the bud'. In Australia we have a dreadful situation of an unorthodox priest left for 28 years in a parish refusing to leave, with the support of 'his community', after his position was terminated. The scandal this has caused is incalculable.
How were your excellent suggestions received by your brother priests?
Not a great response, Sharon but I`m used to that!
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