<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Unsolicited Advice to the Bishops ARCC
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Unsolicited Advice to the Bishops (Wed Nov 15, 2006 11:05 am)

The United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is meeting now in D.C. and it is rumored that a change in priorities is on the agenda. Who would question the wisdom of this? Not that this would ever occur, but suppose, just suppose, that you had 15 minutes to deliver a layperson's perspective on this project and could give some advice. Here a few thoughts that ARCC would offer:

Dear Bishops,

1. You asked for this job, you worked and prayed for it, and you got it. Now live with it. Don't moan and groan about the difficulties and criticisms involved. They are part of the job.

2. You owe your people an explanation for the decisions that stem from your own personal convictions. Reference to authority is not enough. As Pope Benedict XVI said at Regensburg, Faith and Reason go hand in hand. If you cannot support your decisions by reason and common sense, there is a good chance you are wrong.

3. Always make it a point to consult with your people in the pews (not just your hand-picked consultants). Know the sensus fidelium (opinion of the faithful). You cannot teach us, if you don't know what we know or do not know, or how we are thinking. The Spirit speaks to all of us. It is also important that we know that you have asked, and heard what we have to say.

4. You are spiritual leaders, not political, not financial, not military, or psychological, but spiritual leaders. You should know about these things as we do, but lead us spiritually and trust us to respond according to our expertise. If you were not such legal owners/managers/controllers of our Churches you would have less fear and be better able to provide due process.

5. Respect is due your office, but as persons you must earn respect like everyone else. Respect your people and their willingness, qualifications, and intention to help.

6. If you are open and accountable, we will respond.

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