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Shun ecclesiastical careerism, Pope asks new bishops

CWN - September 19, 2013

Ecclesiastical careerism is a “cancer,” Pope Francis warned bishops during an audience on September 19.

Speaking to a group of newly appointed bishops, the Pope said that bishops are ordained “not to serve ourselves, but rather to serve the flock entrusted to our care.” He said: “Your hear must be large enough to be able to welcome all the men and women you meet.”

The Pope asked the new bishops to be especially responsive to their priests. He challenged them to meet frequently with priests, and said that any phone call from a priest of the diocese should be returned the same day.

As for the bishop’s relationship with the laity, the Pope said that the bishops should “walk alongside the faithful and all those who turn to you, sharing joys and hopes, difficulties and suffering, as brothers and friends, but even more so as fathers.”

Bishops, the Pontiff said, should not have “the psychology of princes.” He denounced the attitude of prelates who serve in one diocese while hoping for an appointment to another more prestigious diocese. Calling that approach a “scandal,” he likened it to the attitude of a married man looking for a more beautiful wife.

Bishops, the Pope added, should “avoid being absent from their dioceses.” He told the newly ordained prelates: “Avoid the scandal of being ‘airport bishops!’”

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  • Posted by: ForOthers8614 - Sep. 23, 2013 3:22 AM ET USA

    While reading a Michael O'Brien novel (Eclipse of the Sun I think) I was moved by the character of a bishop who took very seriously his obligation to be a spiritual guide to his flock. I turned to my wife and lamented, "I want a fictional bishop." We have since moved to the diocese of Phoenix and have been blessed with our very own Ambrose in Bishop Thomas Olmstead! Now with Pope Francis...! Thanks be to God for these descendants of the Apostles who care so much for our souls!

  • Posted by: unum - Sep. 19, 2013 6:24 PM ET USA

    Amen and amen! I thank God daily for this Pope.

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