It’s going to be an interesting three years, full of pithy quotes from the new head of the US bishops’ conference, Bishop William Skylstad of Spokane. Take this offering in USA Today in which he talks about the difficulties of the past few years:
Acknowledging “tension” between his responsibilities to his diocese and his role as leader of the bishops’ group, Skylstad said, “It’s been a tough time for bishops, honestly, a very tough time.”
Excuse me if I shed no tears. Frankly, what sympathy should I have for them? That they’ve had to deal with the mess they created? That many of them have failed completely at their duties? That laypeople are starting to hold them accountable for upholding Church teaching, and God forbid, for making sure that child molesters are not coddled and protected?
Skylstad has a real gift for understatement, as I pointed out last week when his election was announced. In 2002, in response to publicity that a predecessor had been arrested in 1986 for strangling a male prostitute he’d hired, Skylstad could only comment on the bishop’s drinking problem.
It’s a real comfort to know that the new head of the bishops’ conference is so in touch with the real priorities, that is, how bishops are feeling.