A Role Model for Bishops

I have written here on St. Thomas More as a role model for laypeople in the Catholic Church. The bishops, too, need a role model, however, particularly in these times. They are after all responsible for helping their flocks grow in holiness and for clearly teaching the laity the truths of the Catholic faith.

They bear responsibility for what is taught in the Catholic schools in their dioceses and – critically – in the diocesan seminary. They also oversee the work of the priests in the diocese, and if necessary, have the duty of disciplining them.

Even if a member of the laity never personally hears the bishop speak, he or she should experience the effects of the bishop’s guidance and supervision of the priests in the diocese, and his careful response to egregious examples of false preaching, poor example, moral laxity, error in expounding Catholic theology, or a dangerous and destructive permissiveness in tolerating within the members of God’s Mystical Body unwholesome lifestyles and scandalous behavior.

Clarity in teaching the Gospel, faithfulness in living it, and courage in speaking the truth in season and out of season should be the hallmarks of all bishops. This is achieved both by proclaiming truth and denouncing falsehood.

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