Don’t fish in aquariums, Francis tells future Vatican diplomats

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Pope Francis with members of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)

Pope urges members of Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy ‘to have the courage to move away from the margins of safety’

Clerics who work in the Vatican’s diplomatic corps are not called to be “senior officials of a state” or “a self-preserving superior caste, welcome in worldly living rooms”, Pope Francis has said.

Rather, they must be “authentic pastors” with the “courage to plow” with their own hands the fields of mission to which they are assigned, he told future Vatican diplomats during an audience at the Vatican.

The Pope met the current class and staff of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, which provides training to priests for eventual service in the Vatican’s diplomatic corps.

Francis said their formation was aimed at making them men who build “bridges” and urged them to guard against attitudes of superiority.

Speaking to the future diplomats about their role as representatives of the Holy See, he laid out clearly the charitable mission of the Church.

“The Holy See is the see of the Bishop of Rome, the Church that presides in charity that does not rest on vain pride but on the daily courage of compliance – or rather abasement – of its master,” he said.

“The true authority of the Church of Rome is the charity of Christ. This is the only power that renders it universal and credible for people and the world,” he continued.

“This is the heart of its truth, which does not build walls of division and exclusion but is a bridge that builds communion and calls to the unity of the human race.”

Using vivid farming and fishing metaphors, the Pope told them “not to expect the ground ready” when they get to their country of assignment but to “have the courage to plow it with your hands, without tractors or other more effective means”, preparing it for sowing and then waiting, with the patience of God, for the harvest”, which they may not necessarily benefit from in the future.

He also told them “not to fish in aquariums or fish farms but to have the courage to move away from the margins of safety” of what they know, to throw their “nets and fishing rods in less predictable” waters, and not to “get used to eating pre-packaged fish”.

The Pope said their future service includes “protecting the freedom” of the Holy See. In order “not to betray its mission before God and the true good of all people”, the Pope said, it cannot be “imprisoned by the logic of networks”, “be a hostage to cliques”, subject itself to “political powers” or be “colonised by the thinking of the day or the illusory hegemony of the mainstream”.

Vatican diplomats are called to seek the good in the churches and populations in which they serve, the Pope said. To achieve this with good results, they must “set aside the attitude of a judge” and take on the role of a teacher, who can draw out the good in the local Church and people.

He noted the various needs of the different continents and urged the priests not to be discouraged by the hardships they will face in their service

About The Voice Of Bombay's Catholic Laity

Bombay Laity Ezekiel’s Chapter 3 Task as Watchman 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[b] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
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2 Responses to Don’t fish in aquariums, Francis tells future Vatican diplomats

  1. Again and again Pope Francis keeps reminding the wily clergy that they should be ” SHEPHERDS ‘ and not Wolves who devour those in their care —
    BUT does it suit the convenience and lifestyle of these horrid so called ministers of CHRIST ???
    I will not be surprised if one fine day we hear the SAD news that our DEAR HOLY FATHER has been ” bumped off ” because of his insistence of the clergy being better human beings
    LET US PRAY !!!!!!!

  2. Yes, Fergus, that’s my biggest concern.We all know the church administration both at The vatican as well as the parish level are run exactly like the mafia. Pope Francis is also aware of this and we can only pray that he be protected by God. Take a peep into the administration at The archdiocese of Bombay to begin with. look at the issues of finance and transparency in finance and church land assets, the arrogance, no accountability, good life with a lot of drink and eat, then (if you have not read) the book ‘The God Father” compare it for yourself.
    However we the people of the church can and change what our ‘Dharma Gurus” have been doing ( of course there are exceptions).

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