In his address to the Bishops of Mexico, the pope spoke some hard truths. He spoke to them at the Basilica of our Lady of Guadalupe. He broke down his speech in four sections each of them focusing on having a gaze like the one that God has on us, and which Our Lady of Guadalupe has on God’s people. He encouraged them to have a Gaze of Tenderness, a gaze that sews, an attentive and close gaze versus a dormant one, and a gaze of unity and unified vision.
The most striking feature to me was how many challenges he said they needed to avoid, paired with how much advice he gave them. Many were left with a feeling that he was a bit rough on them. However, I think it was very pastoral while being very honest about some things that may need changing. Here’s a list of the main challenges and advice he gave them:
Challenged Bishops to Avoid:
- Lack of transparency
- Empty plans of hegemony
- Interest groups
- Empty rhetoric without Christ, which obstructs God’s grace “to a fault”
- Being complacent before a sick church.
- Giving up on your people/diocese waiting or asking to be reassigned
- Providing old answers to new questions and realities
- Distancing from each other as Bishops.
- Misuse of power
- Being discouraged by difficulties
- Empty rationalism in the promotion of education at the Pontifical University
- Behaving as Princes of the Church, instead of witnesses of the Lord
- Letting Christians to lose their faith. Don’t let them be reduced to a mere “human resource”
Encouraged them to:
- See to people with tender love
- Help priests understand their ministry.
- Offer a motherly embrace to youth
- Call to reach out to young people.
- Imprint God’s love on people
- Be patient in the work of God
- Join God’s condescendence, lowering God’s self to our level.
- Reach out to the indigenous people
- Recognize the cultural heritage of the indigenous people
- Get tired, be generous
- Lower themselves to be with others
- Look over priests
- Join with priests’ joys and sadness
- Be compassionate toward priests
- Seek communion and unity
- Continue the good they have already achieved (increased members, permanent formation, more fraternal environment than before, greater collegiality, fruitful pastoral interventions)
- Promote missionary zeal, essential for the future
- Promote the formation of lay people
- Seek universality while providing education at the Pontifical University
- Be honest and even struggle with each other face to face, asking forgiveness if necessary.
- Continue their positive work towards migrants
- Reinforce ties with the US
For the full text press here
For the video press here
For an actual outline and summary of his talk please see my following post.