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Philippine bishop wants laypeople to administer dioceses

MANILA (UCAN): Bishop Francisco de Leon of Antipolo, the Philippines, wants to allow laypeople or nuns to administer dioceses instead of priests.
 
He made the proposal when he met with Pope Francis during an ad limina visit by Philippine bishops to Rome in May.
 
“I think and I feel that it’s high time for us bishops to leave the administration of the diocese to competent laity or religious persons,” the bishop said.
 
Bishop de Leon said bishops should instead focus their attention on “praying, preaching and new evangelisation.” By allowing laypeople or religious persons to run dioceses, bishops could spend more time on their pastoral duties, he explained.
 
“I told the pope that what we need is a competent layperson who should have managerial skills and who is already retired so that he will have no more financial burdens,” Bishop de Leon said.
 
He noted that nuns could also act as diocesan administrators. “If they can administer a school, why can’t they administer a diocese?” he asked.
 
Bishop de Leon said the pope told him that lay administrators are being appointed in places such as Germany where there is a lack of priests.
 
He said the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines might consider the proposal in the future.
 
“The pope did not say no, he did not object,” said Bishop de Leon. “He said it has been done, it is being done. So why can’t we do it?”
 
The bishop said that among the proposals made by bishops during the meeting with Pope Francis was the ordination of permanent deacons in the Philippines. The pontiff left it to the bishops to decide on the matter.
 
Three groups of Filipino bishops visited in Rome for the obligatory ad limina visit to the pope from May 20 to June 8.

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