Don't be careerist bishops - Francis

24 September 2013

Pope Francis has warned bishops against the Church "cancer" of a careerist mentality, telling them to dedicate themselves to the diocese where they serve and not aspire to be promoted to one that is more appealing.

"We pastors must not be men with a 'princely mindset' - please - ambitious men that are spouses of this Church, while waiting for another one that is more beautiful or wealthier," he said on Thursday to a group of recently ordained bishops attending an orientation class in Rome.

He said such vying for another diocese was a "scandal" and compared it to married men who lust after a more beautiful wife. "Is there such thing as 'spiritual adultery'?" he asked. "I don't know, you decide," he said.

Francis said bishops should spend more time in their dioceses and out among the people, warning them not be flying off to other places too frequently. "Avoid the scandal of being 'airport bishops'!" he said.

Francis also urged the bishops not to take themselves too seriously. "Find a way to laugh at yourselves, first of all, and a bit at other things," he said. "This is a grace that we bishops must ask for," he concluded.

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