Friday, May 11, 2007

the Good Shepherds

How many times have you been hurt by the attitude or actions of a priest, religious or other clergy?
How many times has an encounter with the same turned into a moment of grace for you?
Cardinal Bertone: Pastors Need to Be Welcoming, SÃO PAULO, Brazil, MAY 10, 2007 (

The phenomenon of people leaving Catholicism poses "serious questions to the Church," says Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.Cardinal Bertone, in Brazil with Benedict XVI, spoke to Vatican Radio today about the growth of sects in Latin America and people leaving the Church to join Protestant communities."Unfortunately, sects represent a phenomenon that not only afflicts the Latin American continent but North America and Europe as well," he said.

"The Church is called -- as the Lord himself said and as we hear repeated in the Gospel -- to a continual process of conversion to her Lord," the Vatican secretary of state explained. "It is a process of purification and renewal."The problem -- and I always say this to bishops and priests -- is a problem of bishops and priests being able to welcome and listen to people."

Cardinal Bertone pointed to the example of current and previous pastors of the Church.He encouraged "being close to people, being welcoming -- as the great saints who were bishops have taught us, and as Pope John Paul II spoke about in his autobiography when he said: 'I have tried and I try to be welcoming, to be near people.'"And how Pope Benedict XVI teaches us in his ability to listen, his closeness to people -- the people he meets, even just for a moment, during audiences, feel transfigured because they have the perception of being treated as a friend, as if you were meeting with old friends.""This is a very beautiful thing. It is a teaching," Cardinal Bertone said. "It is also a simple but effective way to stop this exodus of our Catholic Christians."

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