Volume > Issue > Note List > Collegiality Means Responsibility

Collegiality Means Responsibility

Many bishops the world over have been complaining that Rome, in intervening in their affairs, treats them like children.

At the World Synod of Bishops in Rome this past October, the hot topic was collegiality — i.e., decentralization of authority in the Church. In our view, the most memorable words on the topic were spoken by Cardinal Ratzinger: “Being at the service of hope means to proclaim God with His human face, with the face of Christ. The world thirsts for knowledge, not for our ecclesial problems, but the fire that Jesus brought to earth.” Ah, but we have so many ecclesial problems! Ratzinger continued: “This proclamation [of the Gospel] requires the courage of truth and the disposition to suffer for the truth. To enter the Apostolic Succession [i.e., to become a bishop] also implies entering this battle for the Gospel…. The problem central to our time is the emptying of the historical figure of Jesus Christ. An impoverished Jesus…becomes a vain hope…. If the bishops have the courage to judge and to decide with authority about this battle for the Gospel, the so hoped-for decentralization is automatically achieved.”

Well, there it is! If certain bishops want more freedom, all they need do is have the courage to proclaim the truth, even at the risk of suffering, and to run a tight ship. If certain bishops don’t want to be treated like children, then they must act like adults. If they want more freedom, all they have to do is act responsibly. (Actually, given the New Oxford Note above, it looks like some bishops have too much freedom and Rome isn’t intervening enough.) In the Church as elsewhere, there can be no freedom without responsibility.

Enjoyed reading this?

READ MORE! REGISTER TODAY

SUBSCRIBE

You May Also Enjoy

The Pope's Problem

Even popes have problems. And Pope Benedict XVI is no exception.

His “Regensburg lecture” raised…

Is Benedict to Blame?

Vatican II's vaunted reforms couldn't keep Catholics from being swept away from the Church. There wasn't much Pope Benedict XVI could do to stop this, and surely he can't be blamed for it.

Sex, Lies & Dossiers: The Vatican at the Crossroads

The months leading up to the recent papal conclave saw abundant stories of Vatican intrigue, from last year's curious VatiLeaks scandal to a confidential dossier made available exclusively to the new pontiff.