Z has reported that Fr. Paul Sirba was just named Bishop of Duluth, Minnesota (U.S.A.).
Hearty congrats to Fr. Sirba!
Fr. Sirba was once upon a time my spiritual director. He was always nice. A fine priest and a decent human being. A good and holy man. The spiritual direction he gave was always in consonance with the lives of the saints. The Lord bless and reward him always.
Lots of bishops are now being appointed, as in the 1970s. Lots more to come. In the next five years nearly 1/3 of U.S. bishops will retire (88 bishops). The torch has been passed to a new generation.
This is what Ratzinger had to say in 1984:
"The problem is that in the years following the Council, for a certain time, the profile of the ideal 'candidate' was not completely clear." What do you mean by that? "In the first years after Vatican II", he explains, "the candidate for the episcopal office seemed to be a priest who above all was 'open to the world.' At any rate this criterion came entirely into the foreground. After the turn of 1968 and with the aggravation of the crisis, it was understood that the characteristics associated with this did not alone suffice. Thanks to bitter experiences, it was realized that bishops 'open to the world' were indeed needed but ones who at the same time were capable of opposing the world and its negative tendencies in order to improve them, check them and to warn the faithful against them. The criterion for selection, therefore, gradually became more realistic, the 'opening' as such no longer seemed to suffice as answer and prescription in the altered cultural situations. Besides, a similar maturation took place even with many bishops who had bitterly experienced in their dioceses that the times had really changed with respect to the times of somewhat uncritical optimism after the Council."
-The Ratzinger Report, p. 65.