Yesterday I watched the installation of Bishop Gregory Parkes as the bishop of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida. It was a great celebration for the diocese, part of which included a heartfelt and sincere expression of gratitude to the retiring bishop, Bishop Robert Lynch, who has served that local church for over twenty years. He is well respected and much loved, and up to Monday of this week was a blogging bishop. His blog, "For His Friends" has been in existence since 2008, and his "thoughts and reflections" have been one of my favorite and sought after reads.
In his 739th and final post, entitled "It's Time To Say Good-bye", Bishop Lynch speaks of his reflections on priesthood and service as a bishop, upon his love of the Church and her role in the human family, and especially of his love for the Diocese of St. Petersburg. He credits inspiration for his blog to Rocco Palma of "Whispers in the Loggia" fame (another of my favorite reads). And of his blogging, he says:
"Often the Spirit worked in me by giving me first a title and then from that spur the energy to sit down and compose. I have never used my blog to attack any person and even in disagreement (and as I aged I have become somewhat more disagreeable) I have addressed issues, which I hope and pray have been mildly topical. When controversial you might be interested in knowing that the comments, which I always have read, which were inimical to my point or to me personally almost always came from readers outside the diocese and not from those who knew me personally as their bishop from whom I mostly derived support. Blogs can be dangerous because they are unsupervised, unregulated and opportunities for calumny and slander and I never wanted to go there or even approach such shameful misuse. Ideas are fair game for intelligent discourse, people are not or so I felt."
I have always respected that in the words and thoughts of Bishop Lynch, and I try to hold to the same principles. While his thoughts come from a finer mind and deeper intellect deserving of attention and respect, I try to be positive and affirming in the journey that we all share. In reading him, I find a shepherd that speaks to my heart, and a good pastor of his flock.
May he enjoy his retirement and may the doors that the Lord has yet to open for him bring him happiness. Thanks, Bishop Lynch!