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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis' steps to live out the role of Catholic bishop

Pope Francis held a special meeting with all the new bishops he had appointed in the last year. He gave them advice for their new role, describing their mission as a bishop for the Catholic Church.

Look, don't look away. Don't pretend not to see anything. Don't leave people waiting and don't hide problems under the rug. Remain close, stay in contact with people. Devote more time to them than to your desk. Do not fear contact with reality, know others and embrace them.

The Holy Father said each of these actions and remaining close to the people are milestones in a bishops journey. 

We need Bishops capable of hearing the beat of their communities and their priests, even from a distance: hear the pulse.
Apostles of listening, who know how to listen even to what is not pleasant to hear.

He told them their role as bishop is not meant to give them another step with which they can climb up the social ladder and gain a better status. The pope's final request was something he has mentioned before.

Finally, I ask you again to reserve the greatest closeness to your priests: the priest is the closest neighbor to the bishop.

The bishops gave Pope Francis a standing ovation after his words. He stressed their role is one of service, that of a pastor. The pope also encouraged the men to always remain close to the Blessed Mother.

Melissa Butz