A Bishop Is "Neither an Organizer Nor a Bureaucrat"

Cardinal Schotte Presents John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 17, 2003 (Zenit.org).- A bishop is “neither a politician, a businessman nor an administrator,” but rather has “Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd” as his model, says a cardinal who helped with the new papal document on the role of prelates.

Cardinal Jan Schotte, secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops, held a press conference today to present the apostolic exhortation “Pastores Gregis” (Shepherds of the Flock), signed a day earlier by John Paul II. The exhortation gathers the conclusions of the Synod of Bishops held Sept. 27-Oct. 30, 2001.

“We all experience today the process of the secularized society, which tends to impose, including on the Church, its own parameters, norms and models,” the cardinal noted.

Therefore, one “cannot discard a priori the existence of symptoms of ‘auto-secularization’ when a bishop, priests, religious or the laity accept or adopt too easily models existing in various sectors of society,” he said.

For bishops, “the political model, conceived in terms of power that comes from the people, is not acceptable,” the cardinal explained. Nor can the “model of a businessman be accepted, according to which the bishop ends up by being identified with the head of an organization.”

Neither is the “administrative” model valid, according to which the bishop becomes “an organizer or a bureaucrat of resources, both material as well as impersonal,” Cardinal Schotte continued.

Quoting from section No. 7 of the apostolic exhortation, Cardinal Schotte explained that the bishop must exercise the three functions of teaching, sanctifying and governing the People of God with the very characteristics of the “Good Shepherd,” which the Pope describes thus: “with charity, knowledge of the flock, concern for all, mercy toward the poor, the stranger and those in need, and a willingness to seek out the lost sheep and to bring them back to the one sheepfold.”

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