Monday, August 24, 2009
Rome has vetoed an election by the Maryknoll religious order which would have seen a religious brother, meaning someone not ordained to the priesthood, installed as the order's superior in the United States. Instead, the Vatican has directed that Maryknoll must choose a cleric for the job.
The decision, communicated to Maryknoll in early August, is consistent with earlier Vatican rulings that in religious orders containing both priests and lay brothers, formal authority must be exercised by priests. In 2002, the Vatican nixed an attempt by the Capuchin Franciscans to elect a brother as provincial superior of their Detroit-St. Joseph Province.
In general, church-watchers say that policy is intended to defend the theology of apostolic succession, in which decision-making power in the church is believed to flow through the sacrament of holy orders. Although religious brothers take vows and are generally seen as equals within their communities, under the church's canon law they are considered laity.
"Potluck lunch and Mass with Bishop Wang"