Pope tells archbishops not to be 'armchair Catholics,' but apostles

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Catholic Church’s new cardinals
and new archbishops must be willing to risk everything, patiently endure evil
and bear crosses like Jesus did, Pope Francis said.

“The Lord answers our prayers. He is faithful to the
love we have professed for him, and he stands beside us at times of
trial.” Just as he accompanied the apostles, “he will do the same for
you,” the pope told five new cardinals and about 30 archbishops named
during the past year.

Pope Francis addressed the new cardinals and archbishops
during his homily at a Mass in St. Peter’s Square June 29, the feast of Sts.
Peter and Paul, who are the patron saints of the Vatican and the city of Rome.

The Mass was celebrated the day after Pope Francis created
new cardinals from El Salvador, Mali, Laos, Sweden and Spain. Thirty-six
archbishops appointed over the course of the past year were also invited to
come to Rome to concelebrate the feast day Mass with Pope Francis. They came
from 26 countries.

The concelebrants included Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of
Newark, New Jersey; and Archbishops Paul D. Etienne of Anchorage, Alaska; and
Charles C. Thompson of Indianapolis. All three of the U.S. prelates have deep
connections to the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Archbishop Etienne was a priest
of the archdiocese and Cardinal Tobin is the former archbishop.

In what has become the standard practice, the pope did not
place the pallium on new archbishops during the liturgy. Rather, after the
Mass, the pope handed each archbishop a pallium folded up in a small, simple
wooden box tied with a brown ribbon as a soloist sang “You Got to Walk
that Lonesome Valley,” a traditional American gospel song.

The actual imposition of the woolen band was to take place
in the archbishop’s archdiocese in the presence of his faithful and bishops
from neighboring dioceses. The pallium symbolizes an archbishop’s unity with
the pope and his authority and responsibility to care for the flock the pope
entrusted to him.

After the Mass, Cardinal Tobin told Catholic News Service
that St. John XXIII had said “cardinals and bishops are the coat hangers
on which the church hangs its tradition. Now I don’t like being a coat hanger,
but the thing I like to wear the most is the pallium.”

Being made of lamb’s wool, the pallium is a reminder of
“the need and really the obligation of the bishop to look for the one who
is lost and then bring the lost one back on his shoulders,” the cardinal
said. “I hope to do that in Newark.”

Archbishop Etienne noted that the pallium also is “symbolic
of the unity of the metropolitan archbishops with the Holy Father and, through
him, with the universal church.”

It tells an archbishop that his role is to be a good
shepherd to his flock, “to help the people entrusted to my pastoral care
to learn to live in unity and peace, to manifest that truth and love of Jesus
Christ and the Gospel,” he said.

“The role of every priest, and particularly every
bishop, is to be more and more transformed into Christ and that’s my
prayer,” Archbishop Etienne said. “And then whatever burdens come and
challenges, I’ll find my peace because I will be firmly convinced in
experiencing his presence with me.”

Archbishop Thompson told CNS he received the pallium from
Pope Francis as a gift for the sixth anniversary of his ordination as a bishop.

Pope Francis “has been such a great model, example and
witness, and to receive this from him,” the archbishop said, is “a
reminder to go forth. I think about Jesus at the Last Supper when he washed the
feet of the disciples and said, ‘Now, go and do as I have done.'”

Archbishop Thompson said he kept watching Pope Francis
during the Mass and looking at the pallium the pope wears as a symbol of the
universality of his mission. “I watched him in his role of being the
shepherd” and knew the pope was calling him “now to go forth and be
that shepherd for the people entrusted to my care.”

In his homily at the Mass, the pope said the life of every
apostle is built on: constant, edifying prayer; a firm, passionate profession
of faith; and a willingness to patiently endure persecution.

People must ask themselves whether they are “‘armchair
Catholics,’ who love to chat about how things are going in the church and the
world,” he said, or if they are “apostles on the go,” who are on
fire with love for God and ready to offer their lives for him.

Apostles of Christ “know that they cannot just tread
water or take the easy way out, but have to risk putting out into the deep,
daily renewing their self-offering,” he said.

Christians must follow the Lord completely and live
according to his ways, not ways guided by personal self-interest, he said.
Christ’s way “is that of new life, of joy and resurrection; it is also the
way that passes through the cross and persecution.”

In different parts of the world, “often in complicit
silence, great numbers of Christians are marginalized, vilified, discriminated
against, subjected to violence and even death, not infrequently without due
intervention on the part of those who could defend their sacrosanct rights,”
the pope said.

However, there is no Christ and no Christian without the
cross, he said. “Christian virtue is not only a matter of doing good, but
of tolerating evil as well,” he said, quoting St. Augustine.

Enduring evil means “imitating Jesus, carrying our
burden, shouldering it for his sake and that of others,” knowing that the
Lord is by one’s side.

Finally, the pope said, prayer is another essential element
of the life of an apostle as it “is the water needed to nurture hope and
increase fidelity. Prayer makes us feel loved and it enables us to love in

As is customary, a delegation from the Orthodox Ecumenical
Patriarchate of Constantinople attended the Mass for the feast of Sts. Peter
and Paul.

Before the Mass, Archbishop Job of Telmessos, head of the
Orthodox delegation, joined the pope in prayer at the tomb of St. Peter inside
St. Peter’s Basilica. The two also stopped before a bronze statue of St. Peter,
which was adorned with a jeweled tiara, ring and red cope.

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Contributing to this story were Cindy Wooden and Junno
Arocho Esteves.

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