St. Gregory the Great Has Some Advice for Our Pastors

The Pastoral Guide

by Pope St. Gregory the Great

Let the pastor be discreetly silent, and to the point when he speaks…When a pastor has been afraid to assert what is right, has he not turned his back and fled by remaining silent? Whereas if he intervenes on behalf of the flock, he sets up a wall against the enemy in front of the house of Israel. Therefore, the Lord again says to his unfaithful people:

Your prophets saw false and foolish visions and did not point out your wickedness, that you might repent of your sins.

The name of the prophet is sometimes given in the sacred writings to teachers who both declare the present to be fleeting and reveal what is to come. The word of God accuses them of seeing false visions because they are afraid to reproach men for their faults and thereby lull the evildoer with an empty promise of safety. Because they fear reproach, they keep silent and fail to point out the sinner’s wrongdoing. The word of reproach is a key that unlocks a door, because reproach reveals a fault of which the evildoer is himself often unaware. That is why Paul says of the bishop:

He must be able to encourage men in sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

For the same reason God tells us through Malachi:

The lips of the priest are to preserve knowledge, and men shall look to him for the law, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.

Finally, that is also the reason why the Lord warns us through Isaiah:

Cry out and be not still; raise your voice in a trumpet call.

Anyone ordained a priest undertakes the task of preaching, so that with a loud cry he may go on ahead of the terrible judge who follows. If, then, a priest does not know how to preach, what kind of cry can such a dumb herald utter? It was to bring this home that the Holy Spirit descended in the form of tongues on the first pastors, for he causes those whom he has filled, to speak out spontaneously.

Last year, the CCCB invited a notorious dissenter to address them at their Plenary Session.  You can read about that fiasco here.

So far, the invited speaker dissenter has not been named for the 2010 Plenary Session happening between Oct.25-29. 

Who’s it gonna be this time? Küng, McBrien, Baum? What dissenter is going to be invited to address the bishops this year?

Why don’t they invite someone like Scott Hahn or another respectable theologian.

4 thoughts on “St. Gregory the Great Has Some Advice for Our Pastors

  1. Pacheco: Thank you for this post. I absolutely agree with its message to pastors (Bishops & priests) to find the courage to speak the truth.

    I couldn’t think of a better prayer to offer on this Thanksgiving weekend: in thanksgiving for the pastors who DO speak the truth, and for courage for those who have not taken up what my old friend Fr. Neuhaus (RIP) used to call the ‘wonderful challenge of orthodoxy’.

    Happy Thanksgiving and blessing for you and your family,

    Fr. Tim Moyle

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