Tuesday, February 1, 2011

So the Bishop of Shreveport Called Me This Morning

Which to say makes for something unusual that is not part of my daily routine. My Bishop is Bishop Duca of the Diocese of Shreveport who I am a pretty big fan of by the way.

It appears my blog might have some regular State wide readership I was not aware of and that was the reason for the call.

If you notice in the link section the shields of each Louisiana Diocese are now gone. It appears that at the Louisiana Catholic Conference my blog came up at least among the Lawyers.

As usual Bishop Duca was very nice and is always a joy to talk too. By the way the fact he actually called was nice!! Needless to say he is a very busy man., It was much better than getting cold letters from various Dioceses saying there is a problem! Ahh the human touch you know.

The issue was the copyright of the Shields which it appears Dioceses are now going to some effort to get copyrighted. This makes a lot of sense by the way in light of recent comments by a certain American Bishops in trying to deal with the problem that certain groups and individuals might be passing themselves as giving the official Catholic position on topics and uprooting the authority of the local Bishops. I did not ask this but I suppose the Individual Shield of the Bishop himself is copyrighted too.

I do wonder if this is a general trend nationwide?

In a very good Interview by John Allen of Cardinal George on a wide array of topics (see Picking the brain of the U.S. bishops' thinker-in-chief ) Cardinal George said:

NCR: Three years ago, I asked you if there was an overarching theme you hoped would mark your term as USCBB president, and you said ‘Catholic identity.’ Three years later, were you able to move the ball?

George: I don’t know that I was able to move the ball, but I think the divergences in understanding of Catholic identity have been clarified in the last three years. If that creates better dialogue, clearer dialogue, then I think that’s something desirable.
Part of Catholic identity is the role of the bishop, meaning the ministry of bishops and the leadership of bishops, which has been contested for many reasons. We need a lot more conversation around that topic.

Are you encouraged by how that conversation is shaping up?

It depends on where you start. Am I encouraged by divisions in Catholic communion? No. Am I encouraged by the fact that it’s now necessary to talk about differences in self-understanding? Yes. Am I hopeful about the bishops taking possession of their own vocation in the church? Yes.

By the bishops’ vocation, what do you mean?

The teaching dimension, I think, has been very well carried for many decades, both individually in many dioceses and collectively by the conference. The part of the definition that hasn’t been attended to is governing. The sexual abuse crisis is evidence of that. If bishops had governed more clearly between 1973 and 1986, when statistics tell us most of the abuse took place, it might have been contained more quickly, and we would not be subject to the terrible crisis it has caused us.

Your reading is that bishops today are more ready to exercise their powers of governance?
Yes, and to do so responsibly.

Cardinal George also hit on this theme late last year. See Cardinal George's Address to US Bishops' Meeting

Further people like Archbishop Chaput have exhibited some frustration that Catholic is being tied to a lot of groups that might be undermining the mission of the Church.

Now while the Bishops cannot copyright "Catholic" no doubt they can start to make efforts that the Office of Bishop and the Diocese is protected. So the fact that the Bishops seem to be taking even the slight issue of Shields of Diocese on blogs I think is a good sign in some ways.

Anyway I am in huge need of updating this blog. The Louisiana Catholic links section is just area that needs sprucing up. So I shall have some kind of Diocese's divider (maybe the Bishops face or the Cathedral) up later this week.


Andrew Guidroz II said...

There definitely must be a big move to get more internet aware ... judging by the update of the website of our diocese in Lafayette as well.

But I just wish they would choose a piece of artwork that is "approved" that we could use as a link.

Like you, I think the obvious choice for a link to the Diocese is the Coat of Arms for the bishop. It is what is on every program of ordination or special event at the cathedral. A screenshot of the whole webpage is what I used in the blog post directing folks to the diocese website but that isn't practical for a permanent link.

James H said...

Yeah that would be nice. I like the Shields because I get into the Symbolism that is on them.

I am thinking I might go with the Diocese Catherdral and try to shrink it

Jay Anderson said...

So, you actually spoke to the Bishop on the phone? How'd that go? Did his secretery call and say "Please hold for Bishop So-And-So."? And then did the Bishop say "Hello, JH, this is Bishop So-And-So. I appreciate your desire to reflect our Diocese, but please remove my coat of arms or my lawyers will need to have a little conversation with you."?

Strikes me as NOT the sort of phone call one would want to receive.


James H said...

Oh know He is very nice!! He had called and I had missed it.

I got connected. I did not get a sense that I wa about be sued LOL He was just saying that were trying to keep the official Diocese trademarks protected. SO it was not threatening LOL

It was a giood way to handle it. Unlike lets the USCCB that sends send cold letters i you part of the New AMerican Bible without permission

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