Benedict XVI to new bishops

The Holy Father recently addressed newly named and consecrated bishops during a workshop organized for them each year in Rome by the Congregation for Bishops.

The Holy Father had some good insights for these new bishops about what it means to be a bishop.

At the end of his address the Pope quoted a prayer of the English St.Aelred, Abbot of Rievaulx (+1147).

I can’t find the Latin online, and I don’t have PL 195 (I hope a seminarian or a priest at a seminary will dig this up and send it me by email… even digital photos of the pages).  Here is a fast translation from the Italian text quoted by the Pope:

"You, sweet Lord, have placed one such as me at the head of your family, of the sheep of your sheepfold (…) so that your mercy could be manifested and your wisdom revealed.  It pleased your benevolence to govern well your family through such a man, in such a way that the sublimity of your power would be seen, not that of man, in such a way that the wise man would not have anything of his own wisdom to vaunt in, nor the just man in his own justice, nor the strong man in his own strength: since when these men govern your people well, you it is who is ruling, and not them.  And therefore not unto us, Lord, not unto us, but unto Your name give glory." (Speculum caritatis, PL 195).

He also recommended St. Pope Gregory I, "the Great" and his Liber regulae pastoralis and made, I think, a rapid allusion to St. Augustine’s famous: Nos episcopi sumus, sed vobiscum Christianus sumus.  … We are bishops, but with you Christians. (Dolbeau 10D = 162C, 2.), or else "Christiani sumus propter nos, clerici et episcopi non nisi propter uos… We are Christians for ourselves, clerics and bishops for no one but you." (s. 301A), or perhaps most famously, "Vobis enim sum episcopus, vobiscum sum Christianus.  Illud est nomen suscepti officii, hoc gratiae; illud periculi est, hoc salutis.  … I am a bishop for you, with you I am a Christian.  The former is the name of the office undertaken, the latter the name of a grace; the former means danger, the later salvation" (s. 340.1). 

In this last citation, a sermon preached on the anniversary of his ordination, Augustine speaks of the burden of being a bishop, describing it as a sarcina, the heavy backpack of the Roman soldier.  He describes himself as being in the midst of the sea, tossed by a tempest, but in remembering redemption through the Blood of the Lord with the serenity of being safe in port.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Great commentary, Fr. Z.
    May our Bishops receive this inspiration, be guided by the Holy Spirit, to be true shepherds, and spiritual fathers for their priests and the faithful.

  2. torontonian says:

    It took some creative googling, but here’s what I came up with: The excerpt is from Aelred’s Oratio Pastoralis, not the Speculum Caritatis, and it doesn’t actually appear in PL 195. It is, however, in volume 1 of the Corpus Christianorum: Continuatio Mediaevalis series. Here’s the Latin text:

    Et tu, dulcis domine, talem constituisti super familiam tuam, super oues pascuae tuae (…) ut manifesta fieret misericordia tua et notam faceres sapientiam tuam, ut sublimitas sit uirtutis tuae, non ex homine, ut si forte placuerit benignitati tuae per talem bene regere familiam tuam, non glorietur sapiens in sapientia sua, nec iustus in iustitia sua, nec fortis in fortitudine sua; quoniam cum bene regunt populum tuum illi, tu potius regis quam illi. Sic, sic, non nobis, domine, non nobis sed nomini tuo da gloriam.

    Gold Star for the Day

  3. Great folks, Andrew and torontonian!

    What this demonstrates is that whoever put that speech together for the Pope, put it together with the wrong reference.

  4. Bad secretary. No biscuit with your espresso.

  5. Rob F. says:

    PL195 is available in PDF form here:

    The Speculum Charitatis starts on Column 505, which is page 274 of the PDF. It is not particularly short, and my brief scan of it did not turn up our quote.

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