Pope challenges bishops to be front-line evangelists
September 09, 2016
Speaking on September 9 to a group of newly appointed bishops from missionary territories, Pope Francis told them that they have "the great privilege and responsibility of being on the front lines of evangelization."
The Pontiff told the new bishops-- who were gathered in Rome for an orientation session organized by the Congregation for Evangelization-- that their most important duties involved preaching the Gospel:
...to care for the flock and to go in search of sheep, especially those that are far away or lost; to seek out new ways of proclaiming, to reach out to people; to help those who have received the gift of Baptism to grow in faith, so that believers, even those who are lukewarm or not practising, may discover anew the joy of faith and evangelising fruitfulness.
The Pope told the bishops that their most important collaborators would be their priests. They should respond immediately to the priests' needs, he said, and ensure that seminarians receive proper training to exercise priestly ministry.
At the same time, the Holy Father continued, bishops should be conscious of the forces that can harm the Church. "The devil has two weapons," he said; "the main one is division; the other is money." He insisted that bishops should do their utmost to curb division, especially by discouraging gossip. "He who gossips is a terrorist who throws a bomb," he said.
- The Pope to bishops of the mission territories: the Church is called to be above tribal and cultural connotations (Vatican press office)
- Pope to bishops: 'gossip and wealth destroy the Church' (Vatican Radio)