Extolling the attributes of a true shepherd, Francis pointed to St. Paul as the prime example.
As reported by Vatican Radio:
“The Good Shepherd gives his life for his sheep,” said Pope Francis during his homily, drawing inspiration from the readings of the day and dwelling on the characteristics that a shepherd should have. The Pope noted in Saint Paul, the figure of the “true shepherd”, who does not abandon his sheep unlike a “mercenary”.
Francis went on to highlight three qualities shared by all true shepherds, the first of which “is to be passionate, zealous, zealous.”
The second characteristic, he said, is the ability to discern:
He knows what seduction in life is. The lying father is a seducer. The Shepherd, is not. The shepherd loves. Instead, the snake, the father of lies, is a seducer. He is a seducer trying to turn away from fidelity…
Finally, he says, the bishop must have “the ability to denounce.”
An apostle cannot be naive: ‘Ah, it’s all right, let’s go ahead, eh? It’s all right … Let’s party, everyone … everything is possible …’. because there is the fidelity to the only groom, to Jesus Christ, to be defended. And he knows how to condemn it: that concreteness, to say ‘ no.’
At this, he came to the single most important piece of advice he has ever given, not only to bishops, but to all faithful Catholics who wish to protect others from the lies of the seducer:
The Good Shepherd can denounce, by name and surname as St. Paul did.
I have little doubt that a great many prelates in the Church enjoy, by the grace of God, the ability to discern evil insofar as it is present in the words and deeds of Francis.
This is especially the case with respect to Amoris Laetitia.
Many of them know very well that this exhortation contains the seductive lies of the Evil One. They know that having been published on Vatican letterhead and disseminated throughout the entire world makes it extraordinarily dangerous. They know that the text of the exhortation, if followed, will lead many souls to “turn away from fidelity.’
They know it.
And yet, they remain all but silent.
Ironically, Francis told us the reason:
They are not willing to give their life – a life of prestige, of luxury, of human respect – for their sheep. They are not willing to suffer – retribution, scorn, demotion – in exchange for the good of the flock.
If only they would follow the advice that was given by Francis himself, not only would they publicly condemn Amoris Laetitia for the act of seduction that it is; they would denounce, by name and surname, Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
With all of this in mind, Francis concluded his remarks by offering a prayer that (wonders never cease) we will do well in some way to make our very own:
For all the shepherds of the Church, for Saint Paul who intercedes before the Lord, for all pastors in order to serve the Lord.