Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Gregory of Nazianzus (d. 390 AD) on Bishops

"Now we, on the other hand, indiscriminately elevate to bishoprics anyone and everyone, provided they are willing. We pay no attention to previous performance, recent or long-standing, to behaviour, to learning, to associations, not even the attention one needs to distinguish the rattle of a false coin. People whose worth has not been demonstrated by the test of time, or fire, appear spontaneously as candidates for thrones. If he only realized that, for the most part, people elevated are worsened by power, who in his right senses would put forward a person he does not know?... How is it that precious stones are hard to find, fertile land rare, bad horses everywhere, and good ones bred only in rich stables; but that you can find a bishop anywhere, totally untrained, but all ready-made in dignity?" Three Poems on Himself and the Bishops, in The Fathers of the Church (Catholic University Press, 1987), p. 61.

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