Archbishop asks bishops to encourage their priests to spend time in the confessional
The B.C. Catholic
By Deborah Gyapong
SAINTE-ADELE, Quebec (CCN)
The Pope has removed Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana after three years in the post. Msgr. Mauricio Bravi will be in charge of the apostolic nunciature until a new nuncio is appointed.
In his last address, Archbishop Lopez Quintana told the annual plenary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) Sept. 23 that Pope Francis was giving bishops “a powerful lesson on the qualities that should characterize episcopal ministry.”
He urged the bishops to be “on guard against superficial commentary” that compared one bishop to another, focusing merely on differences of style.
We must learn to listen and reflect on the treasures of Pope Francis’s teaching, he said. Francis is calling us to not be complacent, not to rest on the laurels of the past, but to go out on the streets and byways to announce the Gospel and to accompany those in need.
Archbishop Lopez spoke of the image of God’s mercy that played a special role in Pope Francis’s vocation. On the Feast of St. Francis in 1953, he experienced “in a special way the loving mercy of God” and discovered that “God was there before him, waiting for him.”
“It is there as a priest the Pope received a major grace,” the nuncio said. “The Lord is always there before us; He is waiting for us.”
“Dear brother bishops, please encourage your priests to spend time in the confessional, to be present and available to hear confessions,” he said. “God is waiting for souls.”
Archbishop Lopez recounted what Pope Francis had told nuncios during a gathering in Rome last June on the qualities they should seek in prospective bishops.
Francis said to make sure the candidates they put forward are pastors, close to the people, the nuncio said. He also emphasized that they should be characterized by a simplicity of lifestyle, avoiding spiritual worldliness.
And as the spouse of one church, bishops should not be constantly longing for another, Archbishop Lopez said.
Pope Francis inaugurated his ministry on the Solemnity of St. Joseph, who provides a “beautiful model for bishops,” because just as St. Joseph had the pastorate of the Holy Family, bishops have responsibility for the Family of God in a particular church entrusted to their care, he said.
At a dinner Sept. 23 in his honour, CCCB president Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton presented to the nuncio an Inuit sculpture of a dancing bear as a gift expressing the gratitude of the bishops for his service.
Archbishop Lopez said he had a small version of the dancing bear by his computer, so he was delighted to receive the sculpture.