You probably did not miss Pope Francis’ recommendation that bishops should smell like their sheep. What may have been missed is the universal call to holiness. If a bishop is supposed to smell like their followers, what does your bishop smell like?
If we want our bishops to be cowards in the midst of our culture of death, then we should continue to be cowards in the world that we are called to sanctify. If we want our bishops to be just a figure head, then we should continue to only listen to them when it feels good. If we want our bishops to neglect life issues, then we should probably continue to contracept, abort, euthanize, and divorce. If we want bishops that avoid the faithful, we should continue not interacting with the clergy in everyday circumstances. If we want bishops to never mention marriage, we should probably continue to shack up with our girlfriends. If we want bishops to speak against warfare, then we should probably confess our own sins against our brothers. If we want bishops to hide in the chancery, we should probably stay in the comfort zone of our couch. If we want bishops to carry Q-Tips instead of a crozier, we should probably continue to complain about little nuisances as if they were the most important thing in life.
Bishops are going to smell exactly like the faithful they lead. If we want holy and saintly bishops, then the faithful need to follow these precepts of the Church (CCC 2041-2043):
1) Go to Mass each Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation.
2) Go to Confession at least once a year. Also go to Confession after you commit a mortal sin.
3) Receive the Eucharist at least once during the Eastern season
4) Fast and abstain on the days the Church establishes
5) Assist the Church with Her material needs
Of course, we can add many other wonderful fragrances to our life so that the bishops will smell better. The list below is taken from Midwest Theological Forum’s “Daily Roman Missal”, published by Rev. James Socias:
- Daily: Get up at a fixed time, Scripture reading, Rosary, Angelus, spiritual reading, examination of conscience, Mass, visiting Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, offer you day to God, mental prayer, work with order
- Weekly: make Sunday very special to celebrate the Lord’s Day, honor Mary on Saturday
- Monthly: try to go to Confession at least once a month, find spiritual guidance, go to a small retreat
- Yearly: try to make a two or three day retreat
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to hear the Pope tell your bishop, “From your smell I can tell you must have a very holy diocese.”