Mangaluru, Feb 22, 2018: The incumbent Catholic Bishop of Mangalore diocese, is on the verge of giving way to a new sheppard of the diocese after 21 years (1996-2017), he had sought retirement at the age of 75 years as per practice.
It is evident the Roman Catholic community in the region is eagerly speculating on a new appointment in a very subtle manner. The selection has been delayed for unknown reasons. Recently though many public prayer sessions have been conducted to pray for various needs like electing a good State Govt in Karnataka, city water and such needs, there has never been a mention for a new Bishop in Mangalore, which many wonder at.
The incumbent Bishop, continues to hold the position as there is no new appointment. According to information available on the diocese website, the current bishop was elected Auxiliary Bishop of Mangalore on January, 11; ordained bishop on May 15, 1996.
The final word on a new Bishop here rests with the Pope who has followed his own dictates recently in many instances. Sources close to the diocese reveal that due to the delay, too many aspirants have emerged. “If all goes well, the diocese may get its new bishop in the first half of this year.
Presently many candidates are being mentioned for the Bisphoric even from the young priests of the diocese. While some work in the diocese, others work in various diocese missions in other countries. It must also be seen that apart from Diocesan secular clergy, there are other religious here, like Jesuits, Carmelites, Capuchins and so on. The last appointment in the region, Shimoga went to the jesuits which was unexpected, it must be noted too.
The procedure takes place according to Canon law (Ordinances and regulations made by ecclesiastical authority). A scholar priest told this correspondent that the selection is also very secret until announced simultaneously in Vatican and here at noon, as per order of the Pope. The announcement is made after the acceptance of the concerned candidate is obtained. It is also said that some of the prominent priests, nuns and people could be asked for their comments of a panel of candidates, however all these acts are very secret and any disclosure can bring displeasure.
Generally, as and when a diocese falls vacant - by death, resignation or retirement at the age of 75, the process for appointing a new bishop begins. The Apostolic Nuncio (the Vatican ambassador) asks for names, seeking opinions from bishops, priests of the diocese, the religious, the laity and anyone else he thinks appropriate. He compiles a list of names and presents it, with opinions, to the Holy See (Rome). The Pope may accept one of the candidate or consult further. The whole process is secret.
According to Church law, Canon 378 stipulates, a suitable candidate must be: Outstanding in strong faith, good morals, piety, zeal, wisdom, prudence and human virtues, and possesses those other gifts which equip him for the office of the bishop; be held in good esteem; at least 35 years of age; a priest ordained for at least five years; holds a doctorate or a licentiate or at least be well versed in sacred scripture, theology, or canon law.
After a candidate chosen accepts his appointment, it is announced, and he must receive the Episcopal Ordination and take office within three months. If the candidate is not a bishop already, he is to be consecrated by a panel of three bishops after receiving the papal mandate. It is recommended that there be a public church service or mass when he takes office. If one already a bishop is appointed to the diocese, he must assume office within two months of announcement.
Bishops of Mangalore : Bishop Aloysius Paul D’Souza (8 November 1996 – present), Bishop Basil Salvadore D’Souza (22 March 1965 – 5 September 1996), Bishop Raymond D’Mello (5 February 1959 – 21 April 1964), Bishop Basil Salvador Theodore Peres (4 January 1956 – 24 April 1958), Bishop Victor Rosario Fernandes (16 May 1931 – 4 January 1956), Bishop Valerian Joseph D’Souza (1928 – 14 August 1930), Bishop Paolo Charles Perini, S.J. (Apostolic Administrator 1923 – 1928), Bishop Paolo Charles Perini, S.J. (17 August 1910 – 12 June 1923),
Bishop Abbondio Cavadini, S.J. (26 November 1895 – 26 March 1910)