Service, not careers, should be top goal of bishops, says Pope Francis

(Photo: REUTERS / Tony Gentile)Pope Francis blesses a child during a special audience with members of Italian adult scouts in Paul VI hall at the Vatican November 8, 2014.

Bishops of the Catholic Church must bear in mind they are called to serve as shepherds of the flock, and their offices should not be used to exercise power over others, Pope Francis has said.

In his weekly general audience at St. Peter's Square on Wednesday, Francis declared that men of cloth who focused on their careers more than their pastoral duties did not have a place in the Church, Vatican News reported.

"It's sad when you see a man who seeks this office and who does so much to get there and when he makes it, he doesn't serve, but struts like a peacock, living only for his own vanity," the Pope said.

At the audience, Francis continued with a series of talks on the Church he has delivered in the past weeks. He addressed bishops, who were in attendance, directly at some points.

The pontiff underscored the importance of bishops in the life of the Church, describing their role in a community. He said the bishop served as "guarantor of their faith and as a living sign of the presence of the Lord in their midst."

Together with priests and deacons, bishops fulfil the maternity aspect of the Church by helping blessing new children of God through baptism and other sacraments.

In their service, the ordained minister is "supporting us for our entire lives and embracing us with his tenderness and warmth, especially during the most fragile moments of trial, suffering and death," the Pope said.

Such service orientation should be foremost in the mindset of bishops, Francis continued, pointing out that Christ envisioned the role that way.

That is why the role of a bishop "is not a position of prestige or an honorary office," he said. "There must be no place in the Church for the worldly mentality.

"No, the Church must not be a place for this mentality," he said. "The episcopacy is a service, not an honor to show off."

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