Edited to take account of Madame Evangelista's comment.
I've been trying to work out what it is about the Bishops' Conference that makes them so, well, different. They seem to march to a different drum from many of us; they don't seem to like to make decisions on their own; they're just not what one expects of Bishops. I might have hit on something. If, like me, you remember the time when you went to University as a defining moment in growing up, you might find it strange that so few of our Bishops had that experience in that way. Being 18 and suddenly being on your own, having to manage finances, make new friends, learn how to hold your drink, make outrageous mistakes and get away with it: in short, having to grow up. Of course, you don't have to go to University to do this - you just have to leave home and set up shop somewhere. But the University analogy is apt for people who are going away to study for a qualification; and the leaving home analogy isn't apt for people who leave their parents' home for a sort of religious boarding school where board and lodging is provided at somebody else's expense. Of course all of the Bishops eventually were left to their own devices and had to sort of make do by themselves, but at a much later age, and when they were different people.
If you don't count being at a Seminary like Ushaw or Valladolid where you attend University classes (much less Rome), how many of our Bishops have had that experience?
- Bishop Arnold – yes: a barrister
- Bishop Brain - no
- Bishop Budd - no
- Bishop Burns - no
- Bishop Campbell - no
- Bishop Conry – no
- Bishop Cunningham – no
- Bishop Davies - no
- Bishop Doyle – no
- Bishop Drainey - no
- Bishop Evans - no
- Bishop Paul Hendricks - yes: a physicist who worked for two years for GEC
- Bishop Hine (I can't find out about his education)
- Bishop Hollis - yes read Modern History at Balliol
- Bishop Hopes – trained as an Anglican priest
- Archbishop Kelly – no
- Bishop Kenney - no (though his experience in Sweden mark him out as differently formed)
- Bishop Lang - no
- Bishop Longley - yes: studied music at the RNCM in Manchester and New College, Oxford
- Bishop Lynch - no
- Bishop McGough - no
- Bishop Malcolm McMahon - yes Mechanical Engineering and worked for Daimler and London Transport
- Bishop Thomas McMahon - no (though he trained in France, which is different)
- Bishop Moth - no
- Archbishop Nichols - no
- Bishop Noble (I can't find out about his education)
- Bishop Rawsthorne - no
- Bishop Regan - no
- Bishop Roche - no
- Archbishop Smith - yes: Law degree from Exeter
- Bishop Stack - no
- Bishop Williams - no (in fact entered Junior Seminary aged 13 years old in 1961)
Now, there's nothing wrong with the formation any of them has had, nor is there any reason to expect that a Bishop should have gone to University. But their background sets them apart from many of the people they have to deal with.
Is this why they have come to depend on the Tabletistas?
Incidentally the page here where they have published their CVs is illuminating in many respects.