Bishops Reminded of Their Role as Custodians of the Faith

Says Secretary of Doctrinal Congregation

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ROME, SEPT. 12, 2003 (Zenit.org).- A bishop is "custodian, master and educator of the faith" who must help modern man to find "new ways, often alternative ones," to attain real happiness, says a Vatican official.



Archbishop Angelo Amato, secretary of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, drew the profile of the episcopal ministry when he addressed the meeting of bishops being held through Sept. 19 at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum.

The event has gathered 106 bishops from 25 countries of Europe and America and from Australia. The prelates, all newly appointed by John Paul II, are meeting to reflect on their ministry at the invitation of the Congregation for Bishops.

In his address Thursday, entitled "The Bishop: Custodian of the Faith," Archbishop Amato said that modern "weak thought," according to which "the human being lives his day by following opinions all of which are equally valid and all equally provisional," must be counterbalanced by the "strong thought" of Jesus and his style of life.

The latter, the archbishop said, is reflected in "acceptance, compassion, healing and forgiveness" attested to daily by Jesus before "publicans, sinners, prostitutes, foreigners, lepers, widows, children, the sick, the possessed, renegades, the poor and enemies."

In today's world, just as fashion changes every season, "culture modifies opinions and conduct, rejecting all stable and eternal truth," while the "arbitrary decisions of the self" substitute the divine commandments, the archbishop said.

Therefore, it is up to the bishop to show that "in the labyrinth of the multiple humanistic and religious options oriented to giving meaning and value to life, only Jesus can bring to a good end our yearning for happiness and complete joy," he said.

The day began with a Mass presided over by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the doctrinal congregation.