Vatican City, Sep 13, 2018 / 11:01 am
The most important duty of bishops is total dedication to the pursuit of holiness and the holiness of their local Church, Pope Francis said to a group of 130 new bishops Thursday.
"I speak to you here of the most urgent task of Pastors: that of holiness!" Francis said Sept. 13, explaining that holiness is not a "bookkeeping" of one's virtues, a schedule of ascetic practices, a diet, or "a gym of personal effort."
"Before we existed, God was there and he loved us. Holiness is touching this flesh of God that precedes us. It is getting in touch with his goodness," he said. "Each of us [bishops] must humbly enter into the depths of ourselves and ask ourselves what he can do to make the face of the Church we govern in the name of the Supreme Pastor more holy."
To do this, the pope recommended they face the wounds of their local Church and dialogue with their flock about the questions they have. He also advised paying special attention to their clergy and seminaries.
He said the challenges facing clergy and seminaries cannot be confronted without "updating our processes of selection, accompaniment, evaluation." But solutions will only be fruitful if they also address "the spiritual chasm that, in many cases, has allowed scandalous weaknesses"