The process for selecting candidates for the episcopacy normally begins at the diocesan level and works its way through a series of consultations until it reaches Rome. It is a process bound by strict confidentiality and involves a number of important players – the most influential being the apostolic nuncio, the Congregation for Bishops, and the pope.
Stage 2: The Apostolic Nuncio
At this point, the nuncio narrows his list and a questionnaire is sent to 20 or 30 people who know each of the candidates for their input. All material is collected and reviewed by the nuncio, and a report is prepared. Three candidates are listed alphabetically – the terna – with the nuncio's preference noted. All materials are then forwarded to the Congregation for Bishops in Rome.
Stage 3: Congregation for Bishops
A cardinal relator is chosen to summarize the documentation and make a report to the full congregation, which generally meets twice a month on Thursdays. After hearing the cardinal relator's report, the congregation discusses the appointment and then votes. The Congregation may follow the recommendation of the nuncio, chose another of the candidates on the terna, or even ask that another terna be prepared.
|Then Cardinal Ratzinger with Mgr. Scicluna|