Selection of Bishops and the Voice of the Faithful

October 11, 2013

On October 11, 1962 Pope John XXIII opened the Second Vatican Council. Much celebrating and book writing is now taking place to remember that historic event, 50 years ago. It was a call to the People of God to take their place as adults in the Catholic Church.

One of the major applications of this very positive emphasis on the laity has been to hear the voice of the faithful on the selection of bishops. The Bishop of the Diocese of Greensburg, our neighbor Bishop Brandt, will reach 75 next year and will submit his resignation. The Diocese of Harrisburg already has a “vacant bishop’s chair”. It would be most appropriate if there were a wide consultation on the selection of the next bishop in these two dioceses. The National Federation of Priests Councils published a manual for such a process in 1974. A number of dioceses have used that manual or developed their own.

The Association of Pittsburgh Priests would be glad to assist Greensburg in such a process. It would be a process with greater outreach and transparency than usually occurs.

If there is any interest in such a process I can be reached at 412.387.4517. We tried to encourage a wide open process here in Pittsburgh in 1982, but had little luck. Perhaps the voice of the faithful would be more welcome today.


Fr. Neil McCaulley (retired)
Epiphany, Uptown
164 Washington Place
Pittsburgh PA 15219

Member of the Association of Pittsburgh Priests

P.S. What happens in any diocese is important to every diocese, especially its neighbors!