Monday, August 31, 2009

We pass another time marker- August

I can't believe August ends today. It has been quite a summer and a fairly quiet summer. I am thankful for that, it is a grace. Time is a function of change.

Writing about change, I have been following the case of Bishop Joseph Martino whose resignation as bishop of the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania was accepted by the Holy Father this morning, over the past week. He submitted his resignation with reference to canon 410, par. 2, which allows a bishop to resign for health or other grave reasons. Pope Benedict named Justin Cardinal Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia, as Apostolic Administrator of Scranton until a successor to Bishop Martino is installed.

Without a doubt, Bishop Martino's six years in Scranton have been difficult, as the diocese needed to make big changes during his time as bishop. There is a press conference in Scranton even as I type. Watching it I am moved to compassion for Bishop Martino, especially given his honesty about the toll episcopal ministry has taken on him as a person. This should move us all to have compassion and even mercy for our bishops. I believe we are called to pray for our bishops daily and to support them as we would Christ. Having had the privilege of seeing two wonderful bishops work up close, I can attest to how hard they work, how much they care, and how committed they are, as shepherds, to following Christ, the Good Shepherd, which is the only way they can effectively lead God's holy people . We all know how much criticism many bishops take. They take it patiently without getting defensive and lashing out.

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