I have two Pope Francis quotes for you today, both regarding bishops, delivered by US papal nuncio Archbishop Christophe Pierre at the recent ordinations of two American bishops.
Earlier today, reader Joseph Snearline shared with me Archbishop Pierre’s homily at the June 29 Mass of Ordination and Installation of the Bishop James R. Golka of Colorado Springs. Archbishop Pierre quoted these words of Pope Francis, from his homily last year on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul:
“Today we need prophecy, but real prophecy: not fast talkers who promise the impossible, but testimonies that the Gospel is possible. What is needed are not miraculous shows. It makes me sad when I hear someone say, “We want a prophetic Church”. All right. But what are you doing, so that the Church can be prophetic? We need lives that show the miracle of God’s love. Not forcefulness, but forthrightness. Not palaver, but prayer. Not speeches, but service. Do you want a prophetic Church? Then start serving and be quiet. Not theory, but testimony. We are not to become rich, but rather to love the poor. We are not to save up for ourselves, but to spend ourselves for others. To seek not the approval of this world, of being comfortable with everyone — here we say: “being comfortable with God and the devil,” being comfortable with everyone — no, this is not prophecy. We need the joy of the world to come. Not better pastoral plans that seem to have their own self-contained efficiency, as if they were sacraments; efficient pastoral plans, no. We need pastors who offer their lives: lovers of God. That is how Peter and Paul preached Jesus, as men in love with God. At his crucifixion, Peter did not think about himself but about his Lord, and, considering himself unworthy of dying like Jesus, asked to be crucified upside down. Before his beheading, Paul thought only of offering his life; he wrote that he wanted to be “poured out like a libation” (2 Tim 4:6). That was prophecy. Not words. That was prophecy, the prophecy that changed history.”
Archbishop Pierre was in Wilmington, Delaware on Tuesday, for the episcopal ordination of William E. Koenig. At this Mass, Pierre repeated Pope Francis’s words to the bishops of Central America during World Youth Day in Panama in January 2019:
“The outcome of our pastoral work, evangelisation and mission does not depend on the material means and resources at our disposal, or on the number of our events and activities, but on the centrality of compassion: this is one of the unique things that we, the Church, can offer our brothers and sisters. I am worried about how the compassion of Christ has lost a central place in the Church, even among Catholic groups, or is being lost – not to be so pessimistic. Even in the Catholic media there is a lack of compassion. There is schism, condemnation, cruelty, exaggerated self-praise, the denouncing of heresy… May compassion never be lost in our Church and may the centrality of compassion never be lost in the life of a bishop.”
Mike Lewis is a writer and graphic designer from Maryland, having worked for many years in Catholic publishing. He’s a husband, father of four, and a lifelong Catholic. He’s active in his parish and community. He is the founding managing editor for Where Peter Is.
With thanks to Where Peter Is and Mike Lewis, where this article originally appeared.