(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday received the participants in a pair of orientation and training programmes for newly ordained bishops, which took place in Rome over the past week. The annual courses – open to bishops ordained in the past year – have been organised by the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.
In his remarks to the bishops who took part in the sessions, which were held at the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum University, Pope Francis spoke of the importance of never losing sight of the inseparable bond between the stable presence of the Bishop and the growth of the flock. “Every authentic reform of the Church of Christ begins with the presence of Christ – who is never missing – and also of the pastor who governs in Christ’s name.” The Holy Father went on to say, “This is not a pious recommendation.” Citing the Council of Trent, Pope Francis continued, saying, “When a shepherd hides [from his flock] or is unreachable, pastoral care and the salvation of souls are at risk.
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The Holy Father also spoke of the need for a humble spirit of service in a shepherd of souls, a willingness to meet people where they are in their lives and to resist the temptation to change people. “Love the people that God has given to your charge,” said Pope Francis, “even when they have committed grave sins,” and that bishops owe their faithful and everyone under their pastoral responsibility the fullness of the Church’s teaching in all its breadth. “Reception is for all without discrimination,” he said, explaining that the Church is to offer “welcome to all without discrimination, offering the firmness of the authority that enables growth and the gentleness of paternity that generates.”
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