Andrea Gagliarducci’s Monday Vatican, a weekly look at what is going on inside the Holy See, mentions Bishop Steven Lopes of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, in other words, my bishop in this week’s look at recent appointments.
The appointment of Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas as Prefect of the new dicastery “Laity, Family and Life” took many by surprise.
There are many clues. Farrell was the Auxiliary Bishop under Cardinal Donald Wuerl, in the Archdiocese of Washington, and the latter hurried to deliver a statement to praise Pope Francis’s choice of Farrell. Cardinal Wuerl is considered very influential, and at the Synod he supported a line that put him on the opposite side of those who defended Catholic doctrine. To understand the Cardinal Wuerl’s impact, it is noteworthy that one of his protégés, Msgr. Steven Lopes, recently became the youngest bishop in the world and the first bishop to lead an Anglican ordinariate – and dialogue with Anglicans is crucial, as the Pope is preparing for a meeting with the Anglican primate, that will take place in Rome Oct. 5.
Cardinal Wuerl was the Episcopal Delegate in the United States for the formation of the Ordinariate, so I am sure, at the very least, he was consulted in the nomination of Bishop Lopes. However, it is my understanding the terna, or list of three names proposed to Pope Francis, came from our Ordinariate’s governing council and not from the Nuncio, as is the normal case for Roman Catholic diocesan bishops. This is another respectful nod to Anglican patrimony in Anglicanorum coetibus.
Of course the Pope chooses bishops either from the terna or chooses someone else as is his prerogative.
I also find it interesting Gagliarducci thinks Bishop Lopes will have something to do with dialog with Anglicans! I hope that is the case.
However, I’m reminded of some things Fr. Louis Bouyer, a former Lutheran who became a Catholic priest in France and served as an advisor during the Second Vatican Council. He bemoaned the fact that he was kept away from ecumenical discussions, even though he had retained close friendships with many of the key players in the Protestant world and probably better understood their approach to the Catholic Church than those on the Catholic side of the various dialogues.
Bouyer wrote perhaps he was viewed as an obstacle to ecumenism because of his conversion