The Catholic Church in the United States can seem more like a corporation, with well manicured lawns and security guards, than the body of Christ.

Aware and concerned about careerism, Pope John Paul II commented during a 2004 “ad limina visit” with American Bishops, that “some today view Christianity as weighed down by structures and failing to respond to people’s spiritual needs” — to which he responded, “Far from being something merely institutional, the living center of your preaching of the Gospel is the encounter with Our Lord himself.”

“It is clear that all of your activities must be directed towards the proclamation of Christ. Indeed, your only duty of personal integrity renders contradictory any seperation between mission and life… I urge you therefore to be close to your priests and people…Inspired by the great Pastors who have gone before us, like Saint Charles Borromeo, your visiting and careful listening to your brother priests and the faithful, and your direct contact with the marginalized, will be ‘quasi anima episcopalis regiminis’ (an extension of his spiritual presence among his people).

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