“The laypersons don’t have to parrot back whatever we say”

La Stampa / Vatican Insider

January 16, 2018

By Andrea Tornielli

Francis meets the Episcopal Conference of Chile and denounces the risk of clericalism in the Chilean Church, “Let us be on guard, please, against this temptation, especially in seminaries”. As pastors “we are part of God’s people, not an élite”

In the last meeting of his first intense Chilean day (five appointments and five speeches), Pope Francis met briefly the bishops of the country in the cathedral of Santiago de Chile. A short meeting that becomes an opportunity to recall the hierarchies not to fall into clericalism and to consider themselves part of God’s people, without treating the laity as “peons” who must “parrot back whatever” bishops and priests say.

At the beginning of the meeting, the Pope greeted the world’s oldest bishop, 102-year-old Bernardino Piñera Carvallo, who participated as a conciliar father in the four sessions of Vatican II.

Francis then stressed the importance of the fatherhood of the bishop with his presbyterate, “A fatherhood that neither paternalism nor authoritarianism, but a gift to be sought. Stay close to your priests, like Saint Joseph”.

He therefore called for the recovery of the conscience of “being a people”, “One of the problems facing our societies today is the sense of being orphaned, the feeling of not belonging to anyone. This “postmodern” feeling can seep into us and into our clergy. We begin to think that we belong to no one; we forget that we are part of God’s holy and faithful people and that the Church is not, nor will it ever be, an élite of consecrated men and women, priests and bishops. Without this consciousness of being a people we will not be able to sustain our life, our vocation and our ministry”.

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