Thursday, July 1, 2010

Preliminary Thoughts on a New Bishop

In understanding my own identity as a priest, on of the inescapable elements to which I often return is my relationship to the bishop.  While ordination configured me to Christ in a particular way, the fact of the matter remains that I minister in my diocese as an extension of the ministry of the Bishop.  For this reason, it is essential that I promise my respect and obedience to him and to his successors.

I think it is the second part of that promise, to his successors, that requires a great deal of courage from priest.  Beginning September3 of this year, Bishop Cupich will relinquish his jurisdiction over the Diocese of Rapid City and take possession of the Diocese of Spokane.  This diocese needs him in many ways.  They are reeling from sex abuse settlements; money and responding to abuse are two areas where Bp. Cupich is very good.  This means, though, that I will be without a shepherd, and that sooner or later, I will find myself bound to a man about whom I had no choice.  

Already people are asking who will replace Bp. Cupich.  I can't really say, though I would guess that it will be someone from the South Dakota, North Dakota, and Minnesota region.  Indeed, while I can speculate for the next year about who it might be, in the end, it matters little.  I have already chosen to be obedient to him, and I will be.  What I do makes no sense without him.  Who I am cannot be defined without reference to him.  Priests are bound to their bishops. 


  1. This reminds me of when my own bishop was called to Saginaw and caused some hurt and it makes me realize that my current bishop will not be around forever. Thanks for the reminder Fr. Dennis.

  2. This sounds challenging but ultimately rewarding for you.

    A program I practice suggests one put "principles before personalities". Sounds similar to your path in this case.


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