Audio length: 3:07 minutes
Transcript published: February 03, 2012
Bishops and priests are to be servants to their people.
It is a tragic mistake for clergy to think they are superior to their people, for their effectiveness in ministry is negatively impacted by such thinking. The honor given to bishops and priests, most notably in the kissing of their hands, is intended for the Lord whom they serve. Bishops and priests must be loving fathers to their people, while remembering that their role within the Church does not make them above other Christians. In Christ we are all equal.
The office of the bishop is that of overseer, not overlord, and he must attend to the spiritual needs of his people in the same way a father tends to the needs of his children. Neither bishop nor priest should remain aloof from their people, for what caring earthly father would remain aloof from his own children?
Clergy should be approachable when in public, making sure their demeanor makes them approachable. A priest’s personal faith in Christ should be demonstrated by the warmth of his smile and his readiness to minister to those with whom he comes in contact. His priestly attire and uncut hair and beard is not meant to put off the public, but rather be a sign that he is a servant of the Most High and available to serve.