Highlights from the week online

Mega-dioceses are part of the problem

At his website, Taylor Marshall suggested one little-discussed reason for the abuse crisis: the growth of the “mega-diocese”. It used to be the case, Marshall wrote, that a diocese was small enough for a bishop to oversee. But today, he said, “the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has 1,117 priests and 4,392,000 baptised laity. One bishop cannot oversee more than 1,000 priests. One bishop cannot be shepherd for 4.3 million people. For reference, the entire population of England in AD 1086 was 3.6 million. Imagine if all of England in AD 1086 had only one bishop. Ridiculous.” In the 16th century, the pace of episcopal appointments slowed; from 1870 under Pius IX, it slowed even more. It is particularly extreme in the United States, Marshall said.

He advocated the creation of many more bishops, in accordance with the Catholic principle of subsidiarity.“If a bishop had 100 priests and 100,000 people, it would be a manageable situation,” strengthening supervision and accountability in the dioceses.

The relic-hunter who became a saint

At Aleteia, Philip Kos­loski described the aftermath of St Helena’s conversion in the 4th century. “She decided to go straight to the source and set out on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with the support of her son, Emperor Constantine.” St Helena is believed to have recovered the Cross on which Jesus was crucified. “It is also believed that St Helena found the ‘title of the cross’, upon which was inscribed ‘Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews’. She also reportedly discovered the nails of the True Cross that were driven into the hands and feet of Jesus,” Kos­loski wrote.

Tradition also holds that the “holy stairs” which Christ climbed before Pilate were brought back from Jerusalem to Rome by Helena. There’s room for historical debate about Hel­ena’s exact role, but “when we visit the shrines dedicated to these relics, we are reminded of a fundamental spiritual truth: Jesus Christ walked this earth, died for our sins and reigns forever in heaven. He is not a ‘myth’, or a ‘legend’, but a real person who loves us dearly and desires to be with us for all eternity.”

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