Sunday, 21 September 2014



Bishops must not have “an expiration date,” Pope Francis told a gathering of recently appointed bishops yesterday.

In his address to 138 bishops gathered at the Vatican, the Pope warned them against always being on the lookout for a promotion elsewhere and surrounding themselves with “courtiers, climbers and yes-men.”

The new bishops should not be “like a medicine that will stop being effective or like perishable food to be thrown out,” he said.

He also encouraged them to accept their congregations as they are.

“I also beg you to not let yourselves be deceived by the temptation to change the people. Love the people that God has given you, even when they will have committed great sins,” he said.

The Pope addressed the bishops as they gathered in Rome for a series of orientation programmes.
In his address, Francis reminded them of their mission to be “custodians of the joy of the gospel” and outlined a series of do’s and don’ts for their ministry.

The Church cannot have bishops who are “switched off or pessimists” or who have “surrendered to the darkness of the world or resigned to the apparent defeat of the good, screaming – at this point, in vain – that the tiny fort has been attacked,” he said.

Instead, the bishops must be like vigilant watchmen, “capable of waking up your churches, getting up before dawn or in the middle of the night to bolster the faith, hope and charity, without letting yourselves be lulled to sleep or conforming to the nostalgic complaint of a golden past that’s already gone.”

The Pope also spoke of the need for bishops to be accessible and available to their priests.

A bishop who is “reachable” isn’t the one who has endless means of communication at his disposal. Rather, he is the one with room in his heart to welcome and listen to all of his priests and their “concrete needs, giving them the entirety and breadth of church teaching and not a list of complaints.”

Bishops must always adopt a positive approach, especially in their dealings with each other.
“Though jealously safeguarding the passion for truth, do not waste your energy in opposition and arguments, but in building and loving,” the Pope said.

He also spoke of the bishops’ need for prayer to sustain them in their ministry.

“It is necessary to always dwell in Christ and never run away from him: dwell in his word, in his Eucharist, in the things of his father and, above all, in his cross,” he said.


Pope Francis' exortation this week to bishops is a challenge to all serving bishops to re-examine their relationships with their priests and people.

It is also a challenge to priests to re-examine how they get on with their bishop and their people.

- No bishops hiding behind the walls of elaborate palaces.

- No priests on pedestals talking down to people.

- No bullying.
A welcoming face at a presbytery door :-)

- No remoteness.

- No "I'm better than you" attitude.


- Openness - service - compassion - availability - humility - sacrifice - prayerfulness - sensitivity.

Don't take my word for it.

Listen to the Pope !

+Pat Buckley


  1. I hope +N Treanor has a copy of Pope Francis' exortation behind the wooden / electric gates.


    1. I think for now we have exhausted the +NT problem?

      I see no change - and no hope of change.

    2. Those electric gates were on Lisbreen in Bishop Walsh's time too. This whole business about Lisbreen is unjust. The Bishop (+Noel) is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. The job had to be done! Its a listed building and no parish monies were used in the necessary work! I have not seen any antiques in Bishop Treanor's residence either. Leave the Bishop alone. He deserves our love and prayers. Priest, Down and Connor.

    3. Actually I think C B Daly installed the electric gates?

      No gate will keep a good bishop in.


  2. Bebe21 September 2014 12:10

    I don't recall any instruction in my California Roman Catholic grammar school that the pope is always and everywhere infallible. My understanding of papal infallibility stems from reading Hans Kung's magnum opus while in high school many years ago, but I do recall that only when he himself so declares by speaking "ex cathedra" with the Church is the pope and his pronouncement so deemed. As someone has already noted: I didn't know folks actually used "Magisterium" anymore haha! So, when I read on BBC about Cardinal Nichols' comments, I didn't find them all that relevatory, except that a living and breathing RCC cardinal made such a statement. Of course, Nichols is in the UK. But hey, when you're Pius IX trying to turn back the secularist, capitalistic, and mechanistic tide of the late 19th century (and maybe tick off Bismarck in the process), you might just codify as an Article of Faith that what you say must be heard and tremblingly obeyed. Anyway, the only items infallible of the past two hundred years had to do with Mary. The rest had to do with Christ, some heresies which are now footnotes of history, and something called beatific vision which is probably really special to the hair-splitters but sounds incredibly tedious to me. So is the infallible thing really all that important?

    BTW thanks kindly for your blog, which I found only recently. I never knew about the RCC in Northern Ireland.Troubles never cease, eh?

  3. Dear Pat,

    Very sadly I have to agree with your recent comment vis a vis + Noel Treanor ; there is little if any hope of change in him, in his method of 'pastoral outreach', or how he relates to us as clergy of D&C.
    He's in the wrong role, & I'm fearful of the consequences if he remains as Bishop until retirement age. (another 12 or 13 years )

    Priest of Down & Connor.

    1. Dear Priest,

      There will be no cataclasmic consequences.

      Only the slow, certain drift into meaninglessness, leaderlessness, despair...

  4. I think infallibility has had its day. The Vatican City is a remnant of old glory and a reminder that the Pope has more in common with the Queen than one would first like to admit. Popey is both a religious and civil head of state. My tv history reminds me that the popes were no different from the scheming heads of states that lived in ancient Italy. Is Jesus the antithesis to the feudalistic control mentality of hierarchy or state? Sean

    1. Yes Jesus is that.

      All that goes against that is "anti-Christ"!

  5. You and I and Paisley agreeing...? I wonder what God did with him when he got him upstairs? That being said there was little or no mention of Ianos passing over here. Sean