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By Ines A. Murzaku, The Catholic Thing, Sept. 6, 2018

Ines A. MurzakuRobert Philip Reed an auxiliary bishop of Boston has issued a letter announcing a day of personal prayer and penance on September 24. It is moving to see a shepherd of the Church on the front line, doing penance and prayer.

But there is something else that caught my attention in the bishop’s announcement relating to the current crisis in the Church:

A couple years ago, on a Monday morning, I was informed that I had been named a bishop. When I accepted, I was conscious of the fact that, I also would have to accept whatever the future held with a complete openness to God’s will; much like in a marriage, or when I was ordained a priest.

There is some deep theological meaning and thinking here: Bishop Reed is comparing his promise to the diocese to marriage vows in full openness to God, promising to lead and support the faithful in good times and in bad times, in sickness and in health.

Indeed, the bishop is bound to his flock, the clergy and laypeople of his diocese, in a sacramental-intimate-nuptial way. The bishop is bound to all in the diocese, to bear the burden of all, to be a father to all, as St. John Chrysostom commented in his Homily 3 on the Acts of the Apostles.

As spouses, in a sign of fidelity to the people of the diocese, a bishop wears an episcopal ring, which, as for married people, represents a bishop’s marriage to his diocese and the people he is serving…..continued…..