4 Concepts Behind Call for Holiness of Bishops

Cardinal Bergoglio Comments on "Pastores Gregis"

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 20, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The new apostolic exhortation on the role of the bishop may be summarized in four words -- hope, service, mission and communion -- says a cardinal who helped prepare the document.



"Pastores Gregis" (Shepherds of the Flock), which gathers the conclusions of a 2001 synod of bishops, was published Thursday by the Pope and presented a day later by the Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio at a press conference.

The four words -- hope, service, mission and communion -- "are translated in an exhortation to holiness, a word that appears more than 100 times in the text," the archbishop of Buenos Aires observed.

Quoting the apostolic exhortation, Cardinal Bergoglio, who was assistant relator of the synod, said that holiness is the bishop's vocation "particularly applicable today, at a time of crisis of the spirit."

Responding to a journalist's question about his greatest challenge, the cardinal replied: "In large cities, the urban pastoral program, which must penetrate the urban culture, to respond with the hope of Christ."

"The people of the city … have a need to rediscover the sense of admiration and astonishment in the face of the revelation of the Gospel. To proclaim the kerygma in large cities is more necessary than ever," he added.

Asked how bishops should react to scandals caused by priests, the cardinal pointed to the postsynodal apostolic exhortation "Pastores Dabo Vobis." In that papal document on the priesthood, the question is fully addressed of the "formation in the seminaries, of the continuing formation of priests, and of the bishop's responsibility," the cardinal said.

Also present at the press conference were Cardinal Jan Schotte, secretary-general of the synod, and Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Oria, secretary of the synod assembly.