VATICAN CITY, MAY 14, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The Church’s credibility today depends on the holiness of her children and, in particular, of her pastors, says John Paul II.
The Pope expressed this conviction today when he received the U.S. bishops of California, Nevada and Hawaii in audience, at the end of their five-yearly visit to Rome.
“The credibility of the Church’s proclamation of the Good News is intimately linked to the commitment of her members to personal sanctification,” the Holy Father said in the address he delivered in English.
“The Church is always in need of purification and so she must constantly follow the path of penance and renewal,” he said. “As bishops you must be at the forefront of this spiritual journey of sanctification.”
“Your episcopal ministry of ecclesial service, marked by your personal quest for holiness and your vocation to sanctify others, is a participation in Jesus’ own ministry and directed towards the building up of his Church,” the Pope said.
It “demands a pattern of life that unequivocally rejects any temptation to ostentation, careerism or the recourse to secular models of leadership and instead requires you to bear witness to the kenosis of Christ, in pastoral charity, humility and simplicity of life,” he added.
“Walking in the presence of the Lord,” the Holy Father said, “you will grow in a holiness lived with and for your priests and people, inspiring in them the desire to embrace the high standards of Christian life and guiding them along the footsteps of Christ.”