Pope challenges Church’s pastors with “Beatitudes for Bishops”
Francis outlines the traits he’s looking for in bishops with a prayer card distributed at the start of the plenary assembly of the Italian Episcopal Conference

Limited Extract from By Loup Besmond de Senneville, Vatican City, Subscription journal La Croix International, 24 November 2021  

If a picture is worth a thousand words, Pope Francis may have found a prayer that’s worth at least a thousand speeches.       It’s called “Beatitudes for Bishops” and the pope gave a copy of it to each member of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) on Monday at the beginning of their weeklong plenary assembly in Rome.        The small prayer card bears an image of Jesus carrying “the lost sheep” on his shoulders and extols the Church’s shepherds to be humble servants of the People of God.       “Blessed is the bishop who makes poverty and sharing his lifestyle,” says one of the beatitudes.      Another praises the bishop “who is not afraid to wet his face with tears, so that in them may be reflected the sorrow of the people” and “the work of priests”.        “Blessed is the bishop who considers his ministry a service and not a power,” says another.       “Blessed is the bishop who does not shut himself up in government buildings, who does not become a bureaucrat more attentive to statistics than to faces” and the one “who has a heart for the misery of the world”.       “Blessed is the bishop who is not afraid to go against the grain for the Gospel,” says yet another.      “Blessed is the bishop who works for peace, who walks along the path of reconciliation, who plants the seed of communion in the hearts of priests, who accompanies a divided society along the path of reconciliation,” says another in this list of beatitudes tailor-made for the Church’s leaders