By Linda Bordoni
Pope Francis has urged bishops in Chile to be on guard against the temptation of Clericalism.
Meeting his brother bishops in the Sacresty of Santiago Cathedral, the Pope recalled the ad limina visit in the Vatican about a year ago and said he wished to reiterate some of the points made during that meeting in Rome.
“I can sum them up in the following phrase: the consciousness of being a people” he said.
Warned against the sense of not belonging
He said “one of the problems facing our societies today is the sense of being orphaned, the feeling of not belonging to anyone”.
It’s a “postmodern” feeling, he continued, that can seep into us and into our clergy and make us 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”.
Priests are servants, not masters
Without this consciousness of belonging to God’s people as servants, not masters, the Pope said, “can lead us to one of the temptations that is most damaging to the missionary outreach that we are called to promote: clericalism, which ends up as a caricature of the vocation we have received”.
He said that a failure to realize that the mission belongs to the entire Church, and not to the individual priest or bishop, limits the horizon, and even worse, stifles all the initiatives that the Spirit may be awakening in our midst.
Clericalism extinguishes the prophetic flame to which we are called to bear witness
Francis reminded the bishops that “laypersons are not our peons, or our employees” and said that “Clericalism, far from giving impetus to various contributions and proposals, gradually extinguishes the prophetic flame to which the entire Church is called to bear witness”.
He strongly invited those present to be on guard against this temptation, especially in seminaries and throughout the process of formation.
The gift of dreaming
He implored the Holy Spirit for “the gift of dreaming and working for a missionary and prophetic option capable of transforming everything, so that our customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and ecclesial structures can be suitably channelled for the evangelization of Chile rather than for ecclesiastical self-preservation”.
“Let us not be afraid, Pope Francis concluded, to strip ourselves of everything that separates us from the missionary mandate”.