Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Pope Francis: looking for true pastors in new bishops – Nuncio

According to Pope Francis’ representative to Ireland, the Pontiff is looking for “true shepherds who know their sheep” in appointing new bishops to vacant dioceses across the country.

In an interview on Sacredspace102fm, a local west Limerick Catholic radio station, Archbishop Charles Brown revealed directions he received from Pope Francis in appointing new bishops, at a two-day meeting with papal nuncios in Rome last month.

“He wants men who are true pastors, true shepherds, men who know their sheep,” Archbishop Brown said. “He doesn’t want people who are hyper-academic. He doesn’t want people who are detached from their people, or who want to lord it over their people. He wants shepherds who are with their sheep, who - as he said very memorably - have the smell of their sheep on them. He said anyone who wants to be a bishop - that should disqualify them right away. Anyone who is seeking the episcopate should not be a bishop, but that’s a classic Catholic teaching.”

Archbishop Brown said he has seen enthusiasm at all the recent episcopal ordinations in Ireland, and he is hopeful for the new bishops’ contribution to the future of the Church.

“These are the men who will bring the Church into the third millennium, who will bring the Church forward into this next chapter. So it is a very exciting moment, I think for the Church in Ireland,” he said. “I see enthusiasm at all these ordinations of bishops. I see men of prayer, men of faith - courageous men who are unafraid to speak with boldness about the beauty of the Christian faith - to communicate the Catholic Faith without fear. That is a very impressive thing for me and that is the way forward for Ireland.”

The Papal Nuncio, who was appointed to Ireland by Pope Emeritus Benedict, said the meeting with Pope Francis was an “incredibly positive experience” in which the Pope showed himself as a man “filled with the spirit of the Gospel” and who had great spontaneity and a sense of humour.

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