More bishops like this, please.

From a piece by Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg, South Africa, posted on NCR:
There can be legitimate and different "opinions" at the level of the Vatican dicasteries, conferences of bishops, individual bishops, communities of religious and lay faithful. And there can be such a thing in the church as loyal dissent.

Tensions and differences should be expected among thinking Catholics, therefore, but they should be managed by people who follow, not the route of power and control, but the way of discernment in the Spirit. Then all those concerned will consciously allow God to be God, and be open to recognizing the "fruits" and that "by their fruits you will know them". This calls for a respectful encounter between religious and hierarchy, with a conscious commitment to listening to what is deeper than the words, to what God may be saying through the other.
You can read the whole thing here. It's good.

One commenter posted this quotation, from Pope John XXIII (before he became pope):
"Authoritarianism suffocates truth, reducing everything to a rigid and empty formalism that is dependent on outside discipline. It curbs wholesome initiative, mistakes hardness for firmness, inflexibility for dignity. Paternalism is a caricature of true fatherliness. It is often accompanied by an unjustifiable proprietary attitude to one's victim, a habit of intruding, a lack of proper respect for the rights of subordinates."



Blogger crystal said...

Good quotes :) I like Bishop Dowling - first read about him when that discussion of AIDS and condoms came up.

5:16 p.m.  
Blogger PrickliestPear said...

Ah, I thought I recognised the name, but I wasn't sure what I had read about him.

That explains why someone described him as a "renegade bishop" in a comment on that article.

He's also been very critical of the ridiculous new English translation of the liturgy.

I'm really starting to like this guy. A lot of JPII's episcopal appointments were duds, but on some rare occasions he chose genuine leaders, and Bishop Dowling looks like one of them.

11:10 a.m.  

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