Those of us who have been praying for bishops to take on the several vacant Australian dioceses would have been aware something was up. During January, most people are on holidays and not much happens. But here we are in the fourth week of February without any episcopal appointments being announced.
Now we know why.
With the announcement of Pope Francis calling Cardinal Pell to Rome to work full time on the difficult Vatican banking and finance problems, much of the episcopal planning already done must have been thrown into disarray.
As we all well know the appointment of a bad bishop can wreck generations of spiritual havoc, the appointment of a mediocre bishop can allow all kinds of bad situations to flourish, and the appointment of a good bishop will lead to untold spiritual good. The stakes are very high, so pray we must.
Not only must the Apostolic Nuncio find a possible candidate, who is theologically sound, can preach, can inspire, can pray, has sufficient intelligence and education, can lead, and who consistently has positive encounters with the members of his flock, extensive background checks need to be done. Only then does the candidate get asked to accept such a heavy responsibility for the sake of God's people. Many good candidates refuse. Thus we must pray, and pray daily. Only with prayer will God's most holy and beneficial will be done in these crucial matters.
Let us pray then that the Holy Spirit will lead those seeking the new successors of the apostles, and that in His Mercy He will reveal which of those on the short lists are unsuitable due to ambition, personality disorders and serious character defects and which have His divine approval.
Our Lady Help of Christians, patroness of Australia and Queen of the Apostles, pray for us.
St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, pray for us.
Ven. Caroline Chisholm, pray for us.
For a good daily prayer in intercession for a new bishop, print out the single page A4 PDF below....