Bishops must be pastors not princes, says Pope Francis
Pope briefs nuncios on selecting episcopal candidates
(Picture: Filippo Monteforte/AFP)
In a June 21 address to apostolic nuncios, Pope Francis stressed the importance of finding bishops who will be good pastors and servants of the faithful in their dioceses.
The nuncios are diplomatic representatives of the Holy See, but in his talk the Pope downplayed their work as ambassadors and laid the heaviest emphasis on their role in identifying candidates for episcopal office. He urged them to be sure that “the candidates are pastors who are close to the people: fathers and brothers.”
“Be attentive that they aren't ambitious, that they don't seek the episcopate,” the Pope said. Candidates to become bishops should be poor in spirit, he said; he warned sternly against those who have “the mindset of princes.”
The Pope warned the nuncios against the same sort of “spiritual worldliness” in their own lives. “Giving in to the spirit of the world, which leads one to act for personal realization and not for the glory of God, is that kind of 'bourgeoisie of spirit and life' that urges one to get comfortable, to seek a calm and easy life,” he said.
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