Pope Francis to New Bishops: “Just Say No to Abuse”

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During a meeting in the Vatican, Pope Francis told newly ordained bishops that they must work to fight abuse and the culture behind it.

Last Saturday, Pope Francis held an audience in the Vatican with 74 newly ordained bishops from 34 different countries in the developing world. The bishops are in Rome for the week to better learn how to lead their dioceses.

During the meeting, the Holy Father cited his most recent letter about combating abuse, telling the new bishops to “just say no to abuse — of power, conscience or any type.” Pope Francis also added that they must work to reject the culture of clericalism that accompanies abuse.

“Saying no to abuse means saying no with force to every form of clericalism.”

The bishops were told they must “avoid conducting their own personal battles” and serve their “flocks” in communion with the Church, not as lone actors.

“The bishop can’t have all the gifts — the complete set of charisms — even though some think they do, poor things. The church needs unity of bishops not lone actors working outside the chorus, conducting their own personal battles.”

In speaking of abuse, Pope Francis did not mention any of the recent scandals within the Church, but did tell the bishops to be men that are “never harsh or confrontational but affable, patient, straightforward and open.” He also told them to avoid complacency or apathy, reminding them that “the devil enters via your pockets.”

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