Thursday, 19 July 2007

Who wants to be a bishop???

Most of the men who are bishops in the Church are good men. They may not all necessarily be the best bishops. I have personally never met a bad bishop.

The problem is not that they are bad men, but rather they are good men who won't fight. Who won't throw a punch at the right time against the wrong thing. It takes a lot more courage today to be a good bishop simply becasue it's so easy to be an ordinary one and too risky to being a good one. It's attractive to hide in the crowd when trying to stand out from it will cost you so much. And we all know the risks involved.

Yet the problem is not just theirs. If anyone has ever watched a person in authority being 'handled' they know that there is a certain strategy to get the new man to do what you want. It really goes in three stages.

  • The absolute first thing you must say to a newly appointed bishop is just how timely is his arrival. How utterly  important it is for the diocese that someone like him is now in charge, and that only he can do what needs to be done. It's also good that you stress how long you have been waiting for him- it lends a sense of urgency to the whole story. It actually doesn't matter the exact content of what you say, it is the flattery that will do the damage. (The onset of the saviour complex)
  • The second step is that now that you have his attention you begin to tell him exactly what good he needs to do for the diocese. He already thinks that he is the answer, you now just tell him the problems- you set his agenda. And the more pressing you make it the better. (See previous post)
  • Finally, once you have him over a barrel you just keep him isolated. The success of the whole project relies on you keeping him busy and away from the people who will try and slap him out of it. You basically just need to keep him writing pastoral letters about what he is going to do, reading legal documents as though his salvation depended on it and talking to the right people- the ones who will compliment him no end on how well things are going and how much the people love him. Remember, it all depends on the success of him being loved 'from afar.' Get that right and you'll get the diocese, right?
Those who follow that simple plan are basically running your local Church. And you still wonder why when you ring the Chancery or write a letter the bishop never answers! He is already busy solving your problem- or at least the problem he thinks is yours.

They never throw a punch simply because they never know what hit 'em!

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