In Côte-d’Or, Catholics paint a robot portrait of their future bishop

This November 27, Mgr Roland Minnerath, Archbishop of Dijon, will celebrate his 75th birthday. Reached by the age limit, he will be able to place his charge in the hands of the Pope. While the Burgundy diocese awaits its future pastor, a group of lay people sent a letter to the apostolic nuncio, responsible for proposing possible successors to the pope who will appoint the archbishop. “We are waiting for our future bishop to be“ a traveling companion and a brother ”, as the Synod initiated by Pope Francis opens in the Church”, is it written in this letter sent to Bishop Celestino Migliore, in Paris.

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Made up of around fifty Catholics from Côte-d’Or, the group was not born simply at the time of this succession. It is on the occasion of the Letter to the people of God, published by the Pope in August 2018, that these Christians from 16 different parishes and 25 Catholic movements have undertaken their work, for “To understand what it means to follow Christ today and to try to put it into practice”. It is also good “The shock of the crisis shaking the Church” than the synodal process which “Forces us to speak (…) to fight against clericalism and to repair, or better still, to raise up the Church ”, explain the faithful.

Entrusting missions to professionals

Seizing therefore the imminent appointment of a new bishop, the group expresses several wishes for a new diocesan governance and for the examination of the recommendations made by the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church (Ciase). “We wish to invent with him an organization that is at the service of these communities by putting in place, wherever necessary, transparency and safeguards that prevent abuse and control over people and minds”, specifies the letter addressed to the nuncio.

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The warm tone of the letter addressed to “Monsieur le nuncio, dear brother” hopes to welcome a bishop who is “A traveling companion and a brother”, by also proposing new organizations: “We will be attentive to the composition of the boards on which it will be based while respecting parity, the transparency of decision-making processes, and equal access for all to information that concerns everyone. “ An expectation that engages the signatories who formulate, in a certain way, an “offer of service” by proposing to the future bishop to entrust missions to professionals, in particular human resources or financial management.

Traditionalist claims

At the head of the diocese of Dijon since 2004, Bishop Minnerath was appointed member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by Pope Francis in 2015. Ordained a priest in 1978 for the diocese of Strasbourg, he spent ten years in the services of the nunciatures of Brasilia (Brazil) and Bonn (Germany), then in Rome, before returning to Alsace in 1988 for a position of professor at the faculty of Catholic theology of Strasbourg.

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In recent months, the Archbishop of Dijon has had to deal with demands from traditionalist Catholics for the reception of priests wishing to celebrate only in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite. Bishop Minnerath, ensuring the unity of the diocese, had in fact put an end to the presence of the priests of the Fraternity of St. Peter who refused to concelebrate the ordinary Mass at least once a year, during the Chrism Mass, ahead, in a way, the motu proprio Keepers of the tradition enacted by the Pope last July.

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