Congregation for Bishops

Pope Francis greets a crowd on his way to a meeting with cardinals at the Vatican on Friday (Feb. 21). RNS photo by David Gibson

In another strongly worded message to the Catholic hierarchy, Pope Francis on Thursday told the Vatican body that vets nominees for bishops that they need to find him better candidates to send to dioceses around the world.

“To choose such ministers we all need to raise our sights, to move to a higher level,” Francis told the Congregation for Bishops, the critical department of the Roman Curia that acts as a clearinghouse for bishop nominees. “We can’t do anything less, and we can’t be content with the bare minimum.”

On consecutive days last weekend, Francis delivered stern warnings to 19 new cardinals he appointed to join about 150 others in the College of Cardinals: On Saturday,  he told them to avoid “rivalry, jealousy, factions,” and at a Mass in the Vatican on Sunday,  he said they must reject “habits and ways of acting typical of a court: intrigue, gossip, cliques, favoritism, and preferences.”