Become shepherds, not bureaucrats, Pope tells seminarians [CWN]


#1

In an April 14 address to seminarians from the Pontifical Leonine College, Pope Francis told the young men that if they are not prepared to dedicate themselves to serving the faithful, …

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#2

Amen.


#3

Good for him. One of the current problems within the Church is too much politics and too many bureaucrats. We need good shepherds not more politicians.


#4

:thumbsup:


#5

Thank you Pope Francis!


#6

“In following Jesus’ ministry there is no room for mediocrity,”


#7

One thing I would like to ask is why any of this politics makes a lot of difference to anyone’s faith life. The amount of politicking in the Church even today is microscopic compared to what it was in some other ages, yet people seem to complain more today. (?)

I frankly have no idea what happens in chancery offices behind closed doors between bishops, VGs, chancellors and mid-level office bees. Although based on human nature, I can guess. I don’t really care much, however, unless it concerns me. That is not because I am naive and think that everything is just heavenly, because it more than likely isn’t, but I can’t really do anything about it.

I mean, it would be one thing if there were verifiable information that in half the chanceries of the world there were covert rings of backstabbing liars. But most of these articles that try to be specific end up being 99% innuendo and he said she said nonsense.

Obviously the Pope has something in mind as he gives this speech, but I don’t know that he is sitting on a giant pile of case files. However… I wonder if we could draw a line between this bureaucrat talk and the sexual abuse crisis… That, I think, could be a credible way of looking at it.


#8

I’ve seen enough politicking firsthand to know it’s alive and well. I’m not trying to blow it into an epidemic, but it’s enough to be legitimately dismaying to people when they see it. I do think it has been getting better over time, and is continuing to do so through today.


#9

Pope Francis told the young men that if they are not prepared to dedicate themselves to serving the faithful, they should not become priests.

Good.

I saw too many conservative seminarians who thought they were there to tell the laity exactly how they weren’t catholic enough. In great detail and self righteousness


#10

I am completely on board with this, even as I have an increasing awareness that some level of bureaucracy is inevitable in my future. Numbers are low enough that I will likely end up pastor somewhere much earlier than I would have in decades prior. There will be paperwork, spreadsheets, number crunching, and financial development. There will be bureaucracy.

The reality of pastoral ministry entails an administrative character. I think there is a sense in which the “paperwork” is actually proper to the ministry of the priest. Being a good pastor entails being a good steward. That role comes even more to the forefront now when parishes in dioceses across the continent are being merged or closed. There is bureaucracy involved in proving that a parish or ministry is viable, self-sustaining, or otherwise worthy of being kept open. With this in mind, I don’t have a difficult time imagining how some priests could end up seeking a “bureaucratic halo.” In fairness to them, the expectations from superiors can play a major role in fostering that desire. Even if misguided, I think it can be part of a well-intentioned desire to “come through” and help the local Church flourish.

It is a tricky issue, but I am sure that Pope Francis knows this. I pray that I may have the pastoral freedom to be a shepherd when the time comes.


#11

That sounds to me like a different problem than the one the Holy Father was addressing.

Zeal IS a desirable quality in a shepherd (not necessarily so much a bureaucrat), it just needs to be delivered in conjunction with compassion and humility.


#12

Two qualities I found lacking in most of the guys I went to school with who were eventually ordained.

But, what do I know?


#13

Obviously the Pope has something in mind as he gives this speech, but I don’t know that he is sitting on a giant pile of case files. However… I wonder if we could draw a line between this bureaucrat talk and the sexual abuse crisis… That, I think, could be a credible way of looking at it.

Granted the days of nepotism, papal nephews, patronage and power struggles are long behind us and, in fairness the Catholic Church is no worse (and, if anything, far better) than most other environments for politicking. However, as with the seual abuse crisis, what tends to be lost sight of is the fact that people (quite rightly) expect more of their priests - they expect them to “preach the gospel with their lives” - and so when petty bureaucratic squabbles emerge, or people feel obstructed by petty politicking they understandably feel aggrieved and disillusioned. It’s worth recalling Pope Francis’ comment in his homily at last year’s Chrism Mass urging priests to be shepherds who know the smell of the sheep - as opposed to the smell of the office. Granted this may be directed particularly at curial officials in Rome but there is nonetheless relevance in their for all the Church. How we treat each other reflects considerably on our relationship with God and with ourselves.


#14

The politicking in the Church is as it always has been. And there is way too much of it. I truly believe that there is no political system that has all the answers to societies problems and there never will be. Consequently I think the Church could focus a whole lot more on bringing folks to her by being less concerned about how people vote, or "rubbing shoulders with Kings and Queens (the past), or even on the policies of a particular government.

I am not suggesting we can live unaffected by the politics of our various countries, but the Church could do a lot more to help people accomplish that. There could be better distribution and stewardship of monies and land, more jobs created, more missions started, even Faith related non profits that don’t depend on any State monies…and so on. There is plenty of work and missions that could be done by the Faithful if the Church reviewed how she gets things done within her own walls and financial practices.


#15

It sounds as though you know that a few seminarians that might have been overly harsh or insensitive. That’s an unfortunate story, but please keep in mind that seminarians and priests are sinners too. Let’s pray that they have grown in humility and compassion since then.


#16

Aye Aye Holy Father :tiphat:


#17

I have to say another part of the speech gives me pause…:frowning:

catholic.org/news/hf/faith/story.php?id=54958

(auto play video of another francis story included)

The seminary, Francis declared, “is not a refuge for psychological problems or a refuge for those who do not have the courage to go on in life and see the seminary as a place that will defend them. No, that is not what it is. If that is what your seminary was it would become a mortgage for the Church! No, the seminary is there for people to move forward, along this path and when we hear the prophets exclaim the word ‘Woe’ it should lead you to reflect seriously on your future. Pius XI once said it was better to lose a vocation than to risk accepting a candidate who is not sure. He was a mountain climber, he knew about this things.”


#18

Why does it give you pause?


#19

The seminary, Francis declared, “is not a refuge for psychological problems or a refuge for those who do not have the courage to go on in life and see the seminary as a place that will defend them. No, that is not what it is. If that is what your seminary was it would become a mortgage for the Church! No, the seminary is there for people to move forward, along this path and when we hear the prophets exclaim the word ‘Woe’ it should lead you to reflect seriously on your future. Pius XI once said it was better to lose a vocation than to risk accepting a candidate who is not sure. He was a mountain climber, he knew about this things.”

The seminary (for diocesans at least) isn’t an end in itself, it’s simply a means to an end - a staging post on the journey to priesthood which is itself the ultimate end. Getting there, to pick up on Francis’ analogy, involves climbing a mountain. There is a risk the a seminarian will see the seminary as a refuge - a nice, comfortable, secure environment and will thus be reluctant to keep going upwards. Although it might seem harsh, it is nonetheless netter to not accept such a person as a candidate for Holy Orders for thier own sake as much as for that of the Church.


#20

Ahh…I see…thanks for the translation

I was reading the statement like a Protestant :eek:

20 heaven bucks for InThePew :thumbsup:

[BIBLEDRB]john 14:16-17[/BIBLEDRB]


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