Pastors, Not Princes

no crownA few Catholic outlets are picking up on the Pope Francis quote-of-the-week. Regarding candidates for bishops, edited into bullet points:

  • Pastors who are close to the people, fathers and brothers;
  • they are gentle, patient, and merciful;
  • they love poverty, interior poverty as freedom for the Lord and exterior poverty as simplicity and austerity of life;
  • they don’t have a “princes'” psychology
  • they aren’t ambitious,
  • they don’t seek the episcopate
  • they are spouses of a Church without constantly seeking another
  • they are capable of ‘keeping an eye on’ the flock that will be entrusted to them, that is,
      • of caring for everything that keeps it united;
      • of being ‘vigilant’ over it;
      • of being attentive to dangers that threaten it;
  • but above all that they are capable of ‘keeping an eye over’ the flock;
      • of keeping watch;
      • of tending hope,
  • that there is sun and light in their hearts;
      • of sustaining with love and patience the plans that God has for his people

Wow. Just that.

Some translators are suggesting “principles” instead of “princes,” but Italian language people would seem to be saying that “princes” makes more sense there. Given the context of what follows–the rejection of ambition–and an explicit rejection of diocese-as-starter-wife, I’m thinking prince.

The psychological emphasis seems to be one of joy, not a grim-faced orthodoxy.

It’s a summary that would work for anyone in ministry. I know I could spend a personal retreat on these principles and would encounter a significant personal challenge on some of these points.

This is extremely hopeful.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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