Pope Francis calls for bishops to remain grounded to communities
Pope lashes out at 'airport bishops' and 'careerism' found in the church
Pope Francis has called upon bishops to tend to the churches in their backyard, in lieu of jet-setting about for seminars and workshops. He has dismissed these leaders as "airport bishops," who travel indiscriminately and neglect the needs of their parishioners.
Pope Francis voiced his indignation at reports of bishops who could never make time for their own flock, which occurs when bishops are invited to attend international seminars and conferences.
The Argentine pontiff reiterated that residence in a diocese was "not only necessary for organizational purposes but had theological roots.
"You are betrothed to your community, deeply bound to it. I am asking you, please, to remain among your people," the pope said at an audience of new bishops from around the world. You must stay, stay! Avoid the scandal of airport bishops," he said.
Francis voiced his indignation at reports of bishops who could never make time for their own flock, which occurs when bishops are invited to attend international seminars and conferences.
The Pope also reminded them about the importance of collegiality.
"This forms a 'unique body' that gives you direction in your daily work and presses you to ask yourselves: 'How do I live the spirit of collegiality and collaboration in the Episcopate? How can I build communion and unity in the Church the Lord has entrusted me.'?' The Bishop is a man of communion and unity, the 'visible principle and foundation of unity.'"
The Pope also spoke about the need to be closer to the marginalized, both geographical and existentially. The bishops, he added, must walk with his flock. He urged them not to forget about priests in their diocese, advising them to have an open line of communication with them while tending to their needs, especially in challenging situations.
"Careerism is a cancer," the pontiff said, adding that some bishops trying to raise the profile of their diocese reminded him of those men "who are constantly looking at other women more beautiful than their own."
"Be welcoming pastors... journeying with your people," he said, urging the new bishops to remain accessible to those they administer to.
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Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
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