This idea seems quite extraordinary:
With his mandatory retirement just two-and-a-half years away, Bishop Gerald Barnes used this year’s Combined Vicariate meetings to ask the leadership and staffs of diocesan parishes to ponder this question.
As part of his keynote talk, Bishop Barnes explained the formal process of how a new bishop is chosen for a diocese when the existing one retires. While the ultimate decision of the next Bishop of San Bernardino rests with the Holy Father, there is a multi-layered process of consultation in the selection of a new bishop. Bishop Barnes invited the faithful of the Diocese to be part of it.“You have a say,” he said. “I’m proposing that before I send anything to Rome, that I consult with the parishes. In the next few months we’re going to come up with a tool to do that.”
Bishop Barnes tied the consultation on the next bishop into the celebration this year of the 40th Anniversary of the Diocese. He asked parishes to look back and learn about the history of the Diocese, to assess both its strength areas and challenges, and, finally, to identify what qualities will be needed in the next bishop.
“We need to do this a very transparent, honest way,” he said.