What does it take to be a good bishop?

Categories: Editorial

Some thoughts that others felt every bishop should follow

Oct. 25, 2013, edition

A good pastor, as pastors themselves are wont to repeat, should be constantly out among his parishioners yet always in the rectory when you call.

It’s an inside-baseball bit of advice that’s shared with tongue firmly planted in cheek, the kind of counsel one might expect Bishop Donald Kettler has heard in reference to good bishops as well.

It’s probably presumptuous to suggest how to be a good bishop to someone like Bishop Kettler, who has worn the miter and carried the crosier for 11 years already, but as our diocese prepares to welcome him as the ninth bishop of St. Cloud Nov. 7, what better time to share the advice I’ve heard offered to other bishops at one time or another.

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Consider that you have been chosen from among men and appointed on their behalf for those things that can change lives.

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The ruler is the servant. Rather than lord it over people, a bishop should strive to benefit others, and he does this by listening and listening and listening.

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Devote yourself wholeheartedly to seeing every kindness.

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Know no discouragement.

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Present no alibis.

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Lead without being dictatorial.

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Be a faithful steward and guardian of Jesus Christ. Don’t be afraid of losing a battle through the eyes of the world and winning the war in holding up Jesus Christ.

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As one chosen by the Father to rule over his family, be mindful always of the Good Shepherd, who knows his sheep and is willing to lay down his life for theirs.

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Always, with the charity of a father and a mother, love all who are placed in your care. Love the priests. Love the deacons. Love the religious. Love God’s people. Love your coworkers in the ministry of Christ.

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Respect the talents of each person.

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Remember, difference is not always bad. Do not refuse to listen, because there is wisdom in God’s wonderful people.

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Never relax your concern for those who have not been gathered into the fold. They too are entrusted to you. Love them, pray for them and do everything you can to gather them to the Lord.