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Pope warns against Church red tape

Pope John Paul II has cautioned against the "bureaucratisation" of the Church, stressing that Church organisations and Bishops conferences must serve bishops, not take their place.

The Holy Father gave this instruction when he met with 37 bishops from the Brazilian national bishops' conference, in Rome last week on their five-yearly "ad limina" visit to the Pope and Roman Curia.

"Episcopal conferences cooperate with fruitful and diversified help, to give life in an effective and concrete manner to the collegial union," the Pope said.

He referred to "the excess of organisations and meetings, which oblige many Bishops to remain frequently outside of their dioceses."

This phenomenon, John Paul II said, "in addition to being contrary to the 'law of residence' (canon 395), has negative consequences both on the bishop's closeness to priests, as well as on other pastoral aspects, for example the penetration of sects."

The Holy Father asked the bishops to avoid "the excessive multiplication of organisations, the bureaucratisation of organizations and subsidiary commissions that continue to be active in the period between plenary meetings.


10 Feb 2003