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Pope 'badly advised' on rebuke to Mexican bishops

Published 08/03/2016

Pope Francis accused some Mexican bishops of being 'princes'
Pope Francis accused some Mexican bishops of being 'princes'

Mexico's main archdiocese has said Pope Francis was badly advised when he directed harsh words to bishops during his visit to the country.

The Pope told a gathering of bishops in February not to be career-minded clerics, saying: "We do not need 'princes', but rather a community of the Lord's witnesses."

Francis also urged them to maintain unity and show more transparency, saying: "If you have to fight, fight. If you have to say things, say them, but do it like men: to the face."

An editorial published on a website of the archdiocese of Mexico City said some of the Pope's comments had been misinterpreted by "reporters more focused on histrionics than the deep meaning of the words".

"The Mexican bishops have been accompanying the suffering, downtrodden people, devoting their lives to others and not living like 'princes'," the editorial said.

It denied local bishops were out of touch with the people and said the Pope's comments "might be due to someone near him who gave him bad advice".

The editorial ends with the question: "Who gave the Pope bad advice?"

But rector of the Pontifical University of Mexico, Mario Angel Flores, said the editorial appeared ill-advised, given that the Pope's comments "were very frank words, inviting everyone to be more clear".

"They are trying to downplay and question his words, which is not the most correct thing to do," he said.

Apart from his speech to the bishops, even Francis' prayers to the Virgin of Guadalupe reflected his concern that the Mexican church needed to get its priorities straight.

During his half-hour of silent prayer, Francis later told reporters: "I prayed for the Mexican people, and one thing I prayed for a lot was that priests be true priests, and sisters be true sisters and bishops be true bishops as the Lord wants."

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