After a hiatus one and a half years, the cathedral chapter of Chur in Switzerland suddenly got the opportunity to elect a new bishop from a papal shortlist with three names. Yesterday the majority of the chapter members did what nobody had expected: they refused the entire list. According to kath.ch and Neue Zuericher Zeitung, the reason was that all three candidates were too liberal in the eyes of the electors.
This is awkward, not least because one of the candidates (whose names were soon published) is a member of Opus Dei.
This situation is the mirror image of what happened several times under Pope John Paul II, when electors publicly protested against papal “ternas” with conservative candidates, even when finally, grinding their teeth, they accepted one of them.
The media are uncertain if Pope Francis is now free to appoint whomever he wants or if he has to deliver a new shortlist.
The diocese of Chur has had controversial conservative bishops in the last decades. The most recent one took up residence with the Fraternity of St. Pius X upon his retirement in May 2019. His pre-predecessor had had to leave the diocese at the age of 49 in 1997, but got the newly created minuscule archdiocese of Vaduz (Liechtenstein) under heavy public protest. There have been ongoing public disputes between different wings of the Catholic Church in Chur, even in the last year after Pope Francis appointed an apostolic administrator.