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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis to Chilean bishops: Laity are not our peons nor our employees

Pope Francis met with Chilean bishops in the sacristy of the Cathedral of Santiago. The Holy Father gave a special greeting to Msgr. Bernardino Piñera Carvallo, the oldest bishop in the world as well as the most-tenured, with 60 years in his post. 

“A beautiful, lively memory. Thank you.”

The pope asked them to take care of their priests and highlighted the importance of being aware of being a people. 

“The lack of consciousness of belonging to God’s people as servants, and not masters, 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.”

Thus, the Holy Father reminded them the missionis the Church's, and not the priest's or the bishop's, and that laity have their own identity. 

“Let us be clear about this. The laypersons are not our peons, or our employees. They don’t have to parrot back whatever we say.”

Pope Francis asked bishops to combat this temptation of clericalism, especially in seminaries. 

“I must admit that I'm worried by the formation of seminarians, let them be pastors at the service of God's people.”

Before leaving, the Chilean bishops gave the pope a cross, and the encounter concluded with this family photo.