Tuesday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
(I Timothy 3:1-13; Luke 7:11-17)
Today’s first reading lists criteria for choosing bishops and deacons in the late first century Church. These offices are only roughly equivalent to what has developed. Still the advice provides guidance in selecting ordained ministers given today’s clerical crisis.
Both bishops and deacons need to be stable, practical, and caring. Most importantly, they should not give the devil inroads into their souls. That is, they should not be deceitful, greedy, or self-indulgent. They will keep the devil at bay by remaining close to Christ in prayer. If they mean to serve the Church, they must be intimate with Christ, its head.
Much is being said about the cause of sexual abuse. Pope Benedict wrote that it is to be found in the sexual permissiveness of our time. Pope Francis seems more convinced that it is the misuse of power inherent in clericalism. Both these men would agree that the cancer needs to be treated by prayer. They no doubt would agree that there must be greater attention to the selection of candidates. But even there what should be sought are humble men who seek God’s assistance.