What is a bishop? Let Pope Francis tell you.

Part of his definition: 

“May bishops be shepherds, close to the people; ‘fathers and brothers, may they be gentle, patient and merciful; may they love poverty, interior poverty, as freedom for the Lord, and exterior poverty, as well as simplicity and a modest lifestyle; may they not have the mindset of “princes”’. Be careful that they are not ambitious, that they are not in quest of the episcopate’, that they are espoused to the Church, without constantly seeking another; this is called adultery. May they be overseers of the flock that has been entrusted to them, to take care of everything that is needed to keep it united. …

I wish to emphasize again that the Church needs genuine Pastors … look at the testament of the Apostle Paul. … He speaks directly to us. He commits the pastors of the Church ‘to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance’. Therefore, not masters of the Word, but committed to it, servants of the Word. Only in this way is it possible to edify and obtain the inheritance of the saints. To those who are plagued with questions about their legacy: ‘What is the legacy of a bishop, gold or silver?’, Paul answers, ‘Holiness’. The Church remains when God’s holiness spreads to her members. …

Vatican Council II states that the ‘pastoral office or the habitual and daily care of their sheep is entrusted” completely to bishops. In our times, regularity and the everyday are often associated with routine and boredom. Therefore we often try to escape to a permanent ‘elsewhere’. Unfortunately even in the Church we are not exempt from this risk. I think that in this time of meetings and congresses the decree of the Council of Trent is very current, and it would be good for the Congregation for Bishops to write something about this. …

The flock needs to find a place in the heart of its Pastor. If this is not solidly anchored in itself, in Christ and His Church, the bishop will continually be at the mercy of the waves, in search of ephemeral compensations, and will offer no shelter to his flock”.

There’s much more, and it’s excellent. Read it. 


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