From our permanent special correspondent
Prayer is worth all talk. By offering the Italian bishops on Monday a prayer on “The beatitudes of the bishop”, Pope Francis wanted to promote the image of a humble episcopate and in the service of Catholics, as he regularly does. This prayer, printed on a small card illustrated with a picture of Jesus bearing “The lost sheep” on his shoulders, contains eight beatitudes praising in particular the figure of the bishop “Who makes poverty and sharing his lifestyle”, or “Who is not afraid to let the tears flow down his face, so that he can reflect the pain of the people” and “The fatigue of priests”.
“Blessed is the bishop who considers his ministry as a service and not as a power”, who “Do not lock himself in the peace of government, which does not become a bureaucrat more attentive to statistics than to faces, who has the misery of the world at heart”, “Who is not afraid to go against the grain for the Gospel”, can we still read about this prayer distributed to the Italian bishops on the occasion of their Plenary Assembly, organized this week in a large Roman hotel. “Blessed the bishop, artisan of peace, (…) who accompanies a divided society on the path of reconciliation”, also states this series of beatitudes which draws, in hollow, the robot portrait of Catholic leaders.
Those “Beatitudes of the bishop” come from a pronounced homily on October 31 by the Archbishop of Naples, Mgr Domenico Battaglia. After this gift to the members of the Italian episcopate, the Pope then spent two hours with them. A speech followed by an exchange described by many as a moment “Fraternal” and ” with family “, but held behind closed doors. Since the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Francis has developed the habit of sketching out, in front of the Italian bishops, his vision of the role of the episcopate.