Just as a little reminder, folks: Sunday is your last day to vote for the recipient of the Ecclesial Backbone Award for 2011!
Also, you can start sending in your nominations for 2012. Here are the parameters I look at:
- The nominee must be an active bishop of the Church (not including the Pope): the ordinary of a non-titular diocese or the major superior of a religious order. Bishops emeritus and cardinal prefects of the Roman Curia should not be considered ... unless their actions really cause a flap! And since the goal is to celebrate episcopal leadership, lay people and other priests or religious are not concerned.
- Ideally, the bishop has performed an act of leadership that is in defense of Catholic orthodox tradition, on a matter of internal discipline or catechesis, such as (mirabile dictu!) excommunicating a prominent pro-abortion politician or making a positive rule within his diocese requiring a particular set of actions or denying Catholic status to some dissident group.
- Ideally, the action has not only drawn media attention but has caused a prominent organ of Catholic dissent (e.g., National Catholic Distorter, USCatholic, Commonweal) to froth at the mouth.
- While the above two parameters are the ideal, I'm open to considering other acts that are timely, firmly orthodox, and directed towards the Catholic faithful on matters of faith and morals, provided those actions show moral courage (for instance, if they take place in a potentially hostile context) and call for Catholic solidarity, authentic witness and/or authentic practice of the Faith (e.g., frequent confession, observing holy days of obligation, chastity, etc.).