The nomination of Anne Soupa to the archdiocese of Lyon has sparked many reactions and comments, perhaps less of the interior of the catholic Church and its leaders from other spheres ; it is no longer so common the national media to devote their securities to a fact affecting the catholic Church, except in the case of sex scandals.
Without presuming to express the intentions of Anne Soupa, it is the way in which is perceived the role of the bishop, which makes me wonder. In effect, the nomination and the comments that surround it to revolve almost exclusively around the question, not so much of the exercise of authority, but indeed of power. To become bishop, that one is a man or a woman, it is to receive a ability to decide and to direct.
→ THE FACTS. The theologian Anne Soupa brig the seat of the archbishop of Lyon
I do not deny that this exists, I am well placed to measure ; however, is that the profound nature of the episcopate ? That is why, for the exercise of a power, that the Lord has called and sent his apostles, from the bishops who succeed them ? “You know : the leaders of the nations to the command of masters, and great ones make them feel their power. Among you, he shall not be so : whoever wants to become great among you shall be your servant ; and whosoever will be among you the first will be your slave. Thus, the Son of man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many. “Matthew 20, 25-28.
A look into the Churches of the East, could shed some light. The bishops are chosen, not among the priests, most of them are married, but among the monks. The primary reason is not their celibacy, in any case, if it is, it is because that this choice of life expresses the gift of self to God. The bishops, therefore, are that, men of God, religious, devoted, non-first leaders, organizers, managers. I do not idealizes not the Churches of the East, examples belie this ideal, showing here and there how the links to political power can pollute the freedom, both of the Church and of States.
However, the bishops, and the priests of the Latin Churches, by their celibacy, are this, men of God, used prayer and the proclamation of the Word and as servers of the food of the soul that they should give to all.
However, for reasons that are often historical, the bishops, have gradually occupied in the administration, under the mode of contingency, in view of the weakening of the institutions of the roman Empire, and until that meant the tiara, papal, or prisons of the church. Today, in France, the bishop being responsible for ” everything “, especially that which blocks, must constantly arbitrate and allocate time to tasks that were more a matter of people who have more skills than them in these areas.
It is worth remembering the question posed by one who is about to confer the sacrament of order : “does he Have the required skills ? “. The indeterminacy of these skills can lead to moderate requirements, however, and this is happy, it ensures that they take account of the context of human, social, ecclesial, in which someone is ordained or called to a particular mission. This question of skills is decisive, it must lead any appeal or such application. It needs to be expanded beyond only ordained ministers, both for those who are called and sent, and those who call and send.
→ MAINTENANCE. Place of women in the Church : “It is necessary to reopen the question of the ministries “
Here I use the plural to signify that one of the answers to the questions posed by Anne Soupa lies in the practices of decision-making who refuse the solitary exercise but build looks and words various. The bishop, or ordained minister, takes its place of course, but never alone, always allowing the time and the methods which seek the agreement of the greatest number. In such a process, each person must have a place, ordained ministers, lay faithful, and therefore, men and women, especially the christian communities.
However, this may not only honor the questions asked. Among these, I perceive that that questions the recognition of the state of adult in the faith, that is, regarding the ministries, missions, sex. The exercise of a decision-making role, under the episcopal ministry, with which are associated the priests, may provide to call and to train other ministries for the Church. Men and women receive – receive – ministries of charity, of preaching, of the presidency of the common prayer, not by way of contingency, but of right, not by delegation, but in view of skills, which the community must first be the witness, not in subordination but in a full and complete liability. Such practices, which are not already exist, to lead, but should lead to re-read the apostolic ministry of bishops, with whom I associate the celibate priests, in the light of the Acts of the Apostles and Letters of the Apostles, so that it is expressed first of all in the homelessness, the foundation, the innovation.
These few lines are items paid in the service of a debate, for choices, decisions, that it would be severe not to engage with seriously, as a serious question addressed by Anne Soupa.