Every bishop must defend the faith, Vatican official says

.- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect for the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops, said that every bishop is required to proclaim the Church's teachings to modern society.

Bishops should be “capable of publicly defending the faith,” Cardinal Ouellet underscored. “In addition to the virtues that are normally demanded of a bishop, this capacity is particularly necessary today.”

In an interview with the Italian daily L’Avvenire on Nov. 18, Cardinal Ouellet described the involved process of selecting a new bishop which requires taking the opinions of numerous people into account.

“This research provides important elements for ruling out certain candidates and accepting and proposing others,” he said. “In some cases, additional inquiries need to be carried out. Altogether, it is a serious process that is normally done well.”

Some priests actually aspire to become bishops, he noted, saying that there can also be “movements or pressure to suggest or insist a certain priest be elevated.”

“For this reason, it is important to evaluate not only the human and emotional maturity, but also the spiritual maturity of the candidates for bishop,” he said.

Cardinal Ouellet also noted that he has had some candidates turn down their appointments. 

“There have been quite a few more than I expected,” he said. One of the main reasons for this trend is that “in recent years, the role of the bishop, and of authorities in general, both religious and political, is not at all easy.”

“Likewise because of the scandals, the media campaigns and the accusations of sexual abuse by priests and religious. It is understandable that not everyone wants to confront these situations.”

Ultimately, all bishops must realize that their mission is to serve Christ and the Church and not themselves, he stressed. 

“Bishops should know who they are working for, that is, for the Lord and for the Church,” Cardinal Ouellet said. “Not for themselves. When this happens, it becomes apparent in the way in which their personality is expressed. The ladder-climber’s self-interest prevails or tends to prevail.”

Tags: Faith, Cardinal Ouellet


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