October 1, 2012

Bishops today must be courageous in proclaiming the Gospel, encouraging others to grow in faith and working to ensure the unity of the church based on adherence to its teaching, Pope Benedict said.

The pope met Sept. 20 with 95 new bishops attending a seminar in Rome on their new roles and responsibilities.

The group included eight bishops from Canada, including Edmonton Auxiliary Bishop Gregory Bittman.

Pope Benedict told them that as members of the College of Bishops, “you always must have a special concern for the universal Church, in the first place by promoting and defending the unity of the faith.”

The pope urged the new bishops to be “teachers and heralds” of the Gospel and of the Catholic faith.

Their priority should be to promote the Church’s commitment to the new evangelization, he said.

Pope Benedict told the bishops that their call to lead was not a call for them to try to do everything themselves or find a few close associates to help.

“Evangelization is not a work for a few specialists, but for the whole people of God under the guidance of pastors,” he said.