Work Group 4

Group 4,  Selecting/Monitoring Bishops

Lay Involvement in Selecting and Monitoring Bishops

  • Should lay input about Bishops, before they are assigned to a particular Diocese, be instituted, as was done in the early church?  Should the laity have any authority or input on the tenure of Bishops?
  • The current process of recommending candidates to the Congregation of Bishops is an entirely clerical process with little or no input from the laity.  But priests being considered for elevation to the episcopacy have the laity as their constituents and members of the laity may have valuable, and sometimes vital, information about the candidates.
  • In any prudently-run organization, authorities who are considering a person for promotion should have the responsibility to access information from the laity about the candidate.
  • Likewise, members of the laity may be well positioned to identify serious problems with the conduct of a bishop once in office.  The laity can have valuable information about a Bishop’s abuse behavior (not solely sex abuse) or financial mismanagement or corruption.
  • There appears no evident doctrinal reason why laypersons should not be in a position to be part of a process to review the Bishop’s performance.  This could be formalized through the institution of a diocesan review board, composed substantially of lay members, with access to diocesan records, that could initiate procedures for further action by appropriate church authorities.


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Proposed Areas of Inquiry

Transparency around the nature and scale of abuse in the Diocese and Spiritual Reparation for the Victims;

Transparency about All Diocesan Operations;

Accountability for bishops;

Lay involvement in selecting and monitoring bishops;

Greater involvement by women/laity in the Church; and

Improvements in formation of priests and priestly life

When: Saturday, January 5th, 10am – 12 noon
Where:  TBD
Tentative Topic: Prioritizing Recommendations and Developing Action Plan

When: Saturday, January 26th, 10-12noon
Where:  TBD
Tentative Topic: Finalizing Recommendations and Action Plan