Be joyful shepherds, trust your laity, be concrete, pope tells bishops

“Ecclesial sensitivity” urges bishops to “go out to the people of God in order to defend them from the ‘ideological colonization’ that takes away human identity and dignity,” he said. In the past, the pope has used “ideological colonization” to refer to the strong pressure being used to convince people and nations to adopt practices such as same-sex unions and abortion.”

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Pope Francis (CNS/Paul Haring) Pope Francis (CNS/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Bishops must have “ecclesial sensitivity,” being bold in denouncing cultural trends that offend human dignity, but also trusting their lay faithful to fulfill their vocations in the world, Pope Francis said.

“Ecclesial sensitivity” involves taking on “Christ’s attitudes of humility, compassion, mercy, concreteness and wisdom,” the pope, who is bishop of Rome, told the other bishops of Italy May 18, opening their annual general assembly at the Vatican.

Part of “ecclesial sensitivity” is “reinforcing the indispensable role of the laity willing to take on the responsibilities that belong to them,” he said. “In reality, laypeople who have an authentic Christian formation do not need a ‘bishop-pilot’ or a ‘monsignor-pilot’ or clerical input to assume their responsibilities at every level from the political to the social, from the economic to the legislative. Instead, they need a ‘bishop-pastor.'”

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