Rorate Caeli

Pope Francis: "Bishops, Enough with Congresses, Conferences and Travels! The Decrees of Trent must be obeyed: a Bishop must truly reside in his diocese."

From the address of the Holy Father to the full composition and staff of the Congregation for Bishops this morning:

The Second Vatican Council states that to the Bishops "is fully entrusted the pastoral office, that is the habitual and daily care of their flock" (Lumen Gentium, 27). We must dwell more on these two descriptions of the care of the flock: habitual and daily. In our time assiduity and habituality are often associated with daily routine and boredom. So often we try to escape to a permanent "elsewhere". This is a temptation for Shepherds, for all pastors! The spiritual fathers must explain it well, so that we understand it and will not fall. Even in the Church, unfortunately, we are not exempt from this risk. Therefore, it is important to reiterate that the mission of the Bishop requires habituality and daily dedication. I think that in this age of meetings and conferences the decree of the Council of Trent on residency is so up-to-date: it is so up-to-date and it would be nice if the Congregation for Bishops wrote something about this. The flock need to find space in the heart of the Shepherd. If he is not firmly anchored within himself, in Christ and in his Church, he will be constantly buffeted by the waves in search of ephemeral compensation and will not offer any shelter to the flock.
February 26, 2014

The Pope is right - but of course it is mainly the post-conciliar duties of the permanent functioning of the Conferences of Bishops, these bureaucratic behemoths, and their endless committees and gatherings, as well as international meetings of all kinds, from ecumenism to interreligious dialogue, that have increased the incessant traveling of bishops outside their dioceses. This had become quite unusual in the three centuries preceding Vatican II as the non-residential Ordinary common throughout the late Middle Ages and Renaissance became increasingly scarce with the full implementation of the Tridentine reforms. In this as in much else the practical effect of Vatican II has been that of an Anti-Trent.