Letter: Choice of bishop not up for vote

Bishop William Murphy speaks at St. Agnes Cathedral

Bishop William Murphy speaks at St. Agnes Cathedral about the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI in Rockville Centre. (Feb. 23, 2013) (Credit: Howard Schnapp)

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I wish to offer a few thoughts regarding Bob Keeler's op-ed on the future of the Catholic Church on Long Island ["Choosing Long Island's next bishop," Opinion, May 19].

It's important to state that the opinions expressed by the 23 priests in their letter to Pope Francis should not be assumed to represent all priests. It's unfortunate that instead of sharing their thoughts and concerns with their brother priests, the authors chose instead to offer them to Keeler. Only one of the 23 letter writers was identified by name in the column.

Keeler's points are problematic. While there is not a popular election for the selection of a new bishop, it is inaccurate to assume that the needs of the local church are unknown and unexpressed to Rome.

Throughout his tenure, Bishop William F. Murphy has asked the priests of our diocese to submit the names of suggested candidates, as well as reasons for their recommendation. In addition, the papal representative sends confidential questionnaires to priests, sisters, brothers and lay faithful regarding specific candidates for bishop. It is therefore inaccurate for Keeler to shroud the process in mystery.

It's not within the bishop's prerogative to conduct an open process to select his successor. It seems to me that such a proposal is only being put forth so unjust criticism can be lobbed at the bishop when he does not follow this "suggestion."

Most important, though, it is not human analysis, private letters or published opinion pieces that will produce the next bishop of our diocese. What is most necessary is our prayer and the trust that we offer to God.

Rev. Gerard J. Gentleman Jr., Hicksville

Editor's note: The writer is pastor of Holy Family Church.
 

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