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For a humble and brotherly Church which serves

· The Pope at the profession of faith with the Italian Bishops ·

Pope Francis asked the Italian Bishops to get rid of “burdens that obstruct healthy apostolic promptness”, and to put themselves “before the flock”, as “ungroping” guides. However he also urged them to know how to be “among” and “behind” their flock, “sharing with the lowly”, to “set aside every form of arrogance” in order “to bend down to all whom the Lord has entrusted to our care, and especially to priests”.

The occasion was the meeting on Thursday afternoon, 23 May, in St Peter's Basilica, for the renewal of the profession of faith with the whole Italian Episcopate. In the meditation that he addressed to the bishops he asked them to make “our voice recognizable both to those who have embraced the faith” and to those who are not yet “of this fold”. And he reminded them that “a lack of watchfulness makes the pastor tepid; it makes him absent-minded, forgetful and even impatient. It tantalizes him with the prospect of a career, the enticement of money and compromises with the spirit of the world; it makes him lazy, turning him into an official, a state cleric concerned with himself, with organization and structures, rather than with the true good of the People of God”.

Being “among” the flock, the Pontiff continued, demands above all “being capable of listening to the silent tale of those who are suffering and of sustaining the steps of those who fear they may not make it”.

The Pope concluded with his prayer to the Blessed Virgin. “Lift us from the torpor of laziness, pettiness, and defeatism. Clothe pastors in the compassion that unifies, that makes whole; let us discover the joy of a humble, brotherly Church which serves”.

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St. Peter’s Square

Aug. 18, 2019

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