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Bishops are called to their ministry by Christ, Pope says

Pope Francis said yesterday in an address to the Congregation for Bishops Rome that the purpose of that body, which helps to provide the Holy Father with recommendations of names of priests from various parts of the world who ought to be made bishops, is to help insure that those men are actually called to that ministry by Christ. “This Congregation exists to ensure that the name of those chosen has first of all been pronounced by the Lord. Behold the great mission entrusted to the Congregation for Bishops, its most challenging task: to identify those whom the same Holy Spirit has given to guide the Church,” the Holy Father told members of one of the most important dicasteries of the Roman Curia. “The holy People of God continues to speak … we need someone who looks upon us with the breadth of the heart of God; we do not need a manager, an administrator of a company, nor one who is at the level of our smallness or small pretenses.”

Pope Francis says that bishops should be chosen because they have truly been called to that ministry by Christ.
Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

“We need someone who knows how to raise himself to the height of God's gaze above us in order to guide us to him. We need those who, knowing the broad scope of God is more than his own narrow garden, can guarantee us that what they aspire to is our hearts, and not a vain promise,” the Holy Father said. He also made clear that the needs of particular dioceses should be taken into account when appointing diocesan bishops. “here does not exist a standard Pastor for all the Churches. Christ knows the singularity of the Shepherds which each Church needs … our challenge is to enter into the perspective of Christ, taking into account this singularity of the particular Churches.”

Pope Francis said that a good potential bishop should be marked by "professionalism, service, and holiness of life," saying that a bishop should be a witness to the Risen Christ. “Union with Christ on the cross of true giving of himself, for his Church … the courage to die, the generosity of offering their own lives and being consumed by their flock are inscribed in the ‘DNA’ of the episcopate,” the Pope declared.

“I want to emphasize this: renunciation and sacrifice are connatural to the episcopal mission. The episcopate is not for oneself, it is for the Church, for the flock, for others, especially for those who according to the world should be excluded.”

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