Pope tells Latin American bishops to shun ideology, empower laity

By Francis X. Rocca
Catholic News Service

RIO DE JANEIRO (CNS) — Reducing the faith to a worldly ideology, prizing administrative efficiency over missionary zeal, and exalting the role of clergy to the detriment of the laity are some of the major “temptations” undermining evangelization in Latin America, Pope Francis told church leaders from the region.

“The decision for missionary discipleship will encounter temptation,” the pope said July 28 at a meeting with the coordinating committee of the Latin American bishops’ conference, CELAM. “It is important to know where the evil spirit is afoot in order to aid our discernment.”

Pope Francis spoke with forceful words on the role of bishops, instructing them to lead without being authoritarian, to adopt “simplicity and austerity of life” and to care for their dioceses without ambitions for more prominent appointments.

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