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Fr. Greeley: the Clergy and Faithful Should Elect Bishops;
a More Representative Body Should Choose the Pope

The magazine Concilium was founded in 1965, during the last session of Vatican II. It's first Congress took place in Brussels in 1970. Present were Cardinal Suenens, Cardinal Congar, Fr. Karl Rahner, Fr. Chenu, Fr. Schillebeeckx, Fr. Hans Kung, and recently made Cardinals Walter Kasper and Roberto Tucci, among others.

The special edition of Concilium reporting the event - a book of 240 pages - is not easy to find. The copy below was taken from the Gregorian University's library in Rome, from the Italian edition.

Fr. Andrew Greeley, one of the 14 speakers at the Congress, delivered a talk titled "The authority in the future Church." He advocated democracy in the Church. To achieve this, he foresaw a future were Bishops would be elected by the clergy and lay people, with term limits for Bishops to exert their mission. He also predicted a change in the election of the Pope in order to make it more representative of the ensemble of the faithful.

Top right is a facsimile of the book's introductory page; at right, a photocopy of the Italian text. Below, we present our translation of the end of Greeley's lecture.
"I am personally convinced of the necessity for Bishops to be elected by the clergy and faithful of their dioceses, and that they should be elected for limited terms.

"I am also convinced that great changes should be introduced in the way to elect the Pope, so that the tremendous resposibility of choosing the leader of the Church is entrusted to a much more representative electoral body.

"I am not less convinced that our leaders, even if elected for a determined period of time, must have strong and efficient powers, for democracy is only possible when the authority is strong and efficacious. When the authority is weak, democracy degenerates into anarchy or tyrany."

(Andrew Greeley, "The authority in the future Church," L'avvenire della Chiesa - Bruxelles 1970 - Il libro del Congresso, Brescia: Queriniana, 1970, pp. 206-207).
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Posted on September 3, 2005

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