It is not easy to be the father of Luke 15, waiting for the return of the lost, maintaining the household of the just. Or those who think they are just. St John Paul’s counsel: the Church is both a home and a school. The task of a bishop is not to usurp Christ’s role as Judge. It’s a hot topic today: who’s in, who’s out, and what about speaking the truth to sinners, however insulting we might care to make it? The harvest isn’t quite here yet. The task of the bishop–and the missionary disciple–is to draw as many people close who need a good example and a clearer path to Christ.
188. As shepherds and spiritual guides of the communities entrusted to us, we bishops are called “to make the Church the home and the school of communion.”(Novo Millennio Ineunte 43) As leaders of communion, we have the mission of welcoming, discerning, and fostering charisms, ministries, and services in the Church. As fathers and center of unity, we strive to present to the world a face of the Church in which all feel welcome as in their own home. For the entire people of God, especially for priests, we seek to be fathers, friends, and brothers, always open to dialogue.
It’s not easy to have this stance toward lay people. The advice here is good for non-bishops, too: seek union with Christ, and work at the needed virtues.
189. To grow in these attitudes, we bishops must seek constant union with the Lord, cultivate the spirituality of communion with all who believe in Christ and promote the bonds of collegiality that unite them to the college of bishops, particularly to its head, the bishop of Rome. We cannot forget that the bishop is principle and builder of the unity of his particular church and sanctifier of his people, witness of hope and father of the faithful, especially of the poor, and that his primary task is to be teacher of the faith, proclaimer of the word of God and the administration of the sacraments, as servants of the flock.
Good advice for people in families, too. Especially parents.
For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.