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THE CURIA

matter. In addition the missions have a Congregation of their own.

The manner in which bishops are elected is slowly being altered. Rome is seeking to exclude alien influences; and the disparity o exist- ing methods of nomination and appointment render this desire under- standable. Even where political ties create no difficulty, the right to name bishops is often placed in such undesirable hands as those of the Cathedral Chapter, where there is always danger of local intrigue and bias. In England the bishops of a Church province and the cathedral chapter draw up a list of candidates; and until recently a similar method of procedure was in vogue in the United States. Since IQIO the Consistorial Congregation has gradually made progress in introducing its own system, which is based on a biennial meeting of every group of suffragan bishops under the chairmanship of their metropolitan. At this meeting the names and qualifications of some candidates arc agreed upon. The selection must be supported by personal acquaintance of long standing. Each of the bishops must submit a list independently of the others; all are then examined in joint session. Finally a list in which the names are arranged accord- ing to merits is secretly agreed upon. This is then compared with information supplied by the Congregation's own secret service. It may be stated that this method of selection is probably the fairest that human fallibility can arrive at. It may be that men of unusual ability are slighted because they are found less subservient, but the method does keep out unworthy characters and weak compromise candidates. It assures to the hierachy a band of successors able to serve the Church as a whole.

Every five years each bishop must submit to the Congregation a detailed report concerning his activities and his diocese. The ques- tionnaires submitted go beyond religious and moral considerations proper, and deal with industrial, social, educational and political con- ditions, so that virtually the whole complex of matters affecting Catho- lic life is discussed. The Congregation proves that it reads these documents carefully by sending back critical remarks. Even the private life of a bishop is subject to supervision. The Congregation does not permit those in whom it has placed its trust to come even remotely near a life of vice.

Even the lower prelates and pastors are subject to the direct scrutiny


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