While I’ve served in three different dioceses (Maryland, New York, and Massachusetts) over the past 13+ years, I’ve never participated in an election for a new bishop. Pretty much every time I leave a diocese the bishop retires and there’s a call for an election — which I try not to read too much into. This week the slate of five nominees to become the 16th Bishop of Massachusetts was announced. I’m hopeful for the end result and am thankful for the priests willing to enter this vulnerable and exciting time of discernment.
Of course I’ve also been formulating questions to ask at the to-be-scheduled walkabouts/dog and pony shows where all the candidates present themselves and answer questions. Since I can’t be at all of them, I’m offering my list for others to utilize.
“Will you insist your bishop’s ring be larger and blingier than the 2013 Red Sox World Series ring?”
“Do you prefer to be called Your Grace or Your Lordship?” **
“Will you start wearing hideous vestments just because they were hand made for you by Sunday School children?”
“Do you Tweet? If so, perhaps following @FatherTim is not in your best interest.”
“If you use social media will you commit to never using the phrase ‘the good people of St. XX’ as in ‘I had a great visitation with the good people of St. John’s today.’”
“When it comes to miters, do you believe size really does matter?”
“Do you feel that any seat a bishop sits in automatically become the Bishop’s Throne even if it’s at McDonalds?”
“Do you prefer purple purple or reddish purple?” **
“Will you return Confirmation to parishes or do you prefer 3 1/2 hour liturgies that forever sour teenagers on the Church?”
“Do you believe a pectoral cross should channel the spirit of Flavor Flav?”
“How do you feel about mentioning Jesus in letters responding to world events?”
“Where do you stand on the issue of the Cathedral Nautilus?”
“Do you promise not to use the phrase ‘humbled and honored’ in your acceptance speech?”
“Will there be liturgical dance that involves orange chiffon at your consecration?”
“Do you currently or have you ever owned a clergy shirt in any color other than black?”
“What’s your position on clergy from Hingham who like to live-snark diocesan convention?”
** I grudgingly acknowledge that my archnemesis, Scott Gunn, came up with this question.