Eight Habits of Highly Effective Bishops

Notwithstanding the sex-abuse scandal that has buffeted the Catholic Church in the United States, Catholics genuinely admire bishops whose courage and dedication have made a difference in their dioceses. Adversity tends to sharpen the contrast and clarify the picture of Catholicism in America. And the recent presidential election added another dimension to any reflection on the American Catholic identity, as many of the most crucial issues intersected Catholic teaching on the sanctity of life, sex, and marriage.
 
Never before have Catholic Americans watched more closely what happens in their chanceries. They want to know what sort of man their shepherd is, this “successor to the apostles” who comes down to us from St. Peter. How does he discharge his responsibility? Is he an example of personal holiness? Is he courageous? Increasingly, Catholic commentators locate the mission of the contemporary Church at the epicenter of a global culture of death. And while it is true that bishops have pastoral care over the “portion of the people of God assigned to them” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 886), they also work for the good of the universal Church. The Church in America is undeniably free enough to function without persecution or legal impediment. But is it prepared for the fight? …
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