Bishops and Priests 'Not Smarter' Than Others, Says Pope Francis

Speaking to tens of thousands pilgrims Wednesday, Pope Francis said that no one is a bishop, priest, or deacon because he is “smarter, more talented or better than others,” but only by virtue of a gift of love bestowed by God “for the good of his people.”

“God forbid that a bishop, priest or deacon should think he knows everything, that he always has the right answer for everything and has no need of anyone else,” he said.

Francis has spoken on several occasions against careerism and a sense of superiority among the clergy. Just a week ago the Pope said that being a bishop “is not a position of prestige, or an honorific post,” and added that the episcopate “is not an honor, it’s a service, and that is how Jesus wanted it.”

Continuing on this theme, at his General Audience this morning Francis said that clergy should pray for humility every day. “A pastor who is aware that his ministry comes only by the mercy and the heart of God,” he said, “will never take an authoritarian attitude,” as if the community were “his property, his personal kingdom.”

Pastors need to be conscious, Francis said, “that they always have something to learn, even from those who may still be far from the faith and the Church.”

The Pope ended his address asking his listeners for prayers “that the pastors of our communities will be the living image of communion and love of God.”