Time and again, the cryptic word “Emeritus” is heard, in and out of the Ecclesiastical Circle--such as the bishop or archbishop “Emeritus” of this and that diocese or archdiocese, respectively. Considering the enigmatic terminology, it is understandable that the question asked here and there is precisely what does it mean, what is it all about, what is it for.
For a start, let it be said that “Emeritus” in no way means “Emirate”--such that the archbishop or bishop concerned would or should be then considered or called an “Emir”! This is manifestly a joke. But it is all right because there is after all something really funny about the said term even when seriously appended to the right persons in the Hierarchy of the church--the world over.
Somebody “worn out”, something “finished” or “done away with"--these are some of the objective meanings of the term “Emeritus”, which incidentally is usually used only within the Church circle. The conclusion is both odd and hilarious. A Bishop or Archbishop “Emeritus” is then someone worn out to be discarded, somebody finished to be set aside or done away with—and wherefore left behind to rest, set aside to be in peace (eternal peace included)!
By the way, the word “Emeritus” attached to the name of this Archbishop or that Bishop, seems to be a way of somehow easing the once and for all final reality that the Churchman concerned is “retired”--forever and ever--whether tired, tried or fried, does not really matter. The thing certain is that he is placed out of the way, he is set aside precisely to disable him from intervening or messing up the agenda of the still active and busy members of the Hierarchy.
Now kidding aside--as if this were of any importance--a bishop or archbishop emeritus means any of the following (as if it matters: The person concerned has “served his time”. The individual thus qualified has “completed” his task. The said archbishop or bishop is wherefore “deserving” to be thus titled. What he is deserving of, is not really said much less known.
There are some things common though among all so called “Emeritus” Episcopal figures: They no longer understand a host of things. Oh yes, they pray the breviary if they could still read. They celebrate the holy mass if they could still see. They go around if they could still walk. They listen to the radio if they could still hear. One thing however is very certain: they take a lot of medicines of different colors and shapes. And for those so curious to ask how they still manage to live, the answer is both reassuring and consoling: To this writing, they get a “pension” of 100.00 pesos a day--or 3,000.00 a month!
March 8, 2010