For decades, the visits bishops are required to make to the Vatican were known for their formality and routine style, but Pope Francis launched “a whole new style of ‘ad limina’ visits,” a Chilean bishop said.
The bishops were expecting “to have a long meeting with a speech and then individual meetings,” as in the past, Auxiliary Bishop Fernando Ramos of Santiago, secretary of the Chilean bishops’ conference, told Catholic News Service.
Instead, the Vatican informed the prelates before their departure from Chile that they were going to have a group meeting with the pope and the prefects of several Vatican congregations and offices.
“We were told that this was going to be a new way of doing things that was beginning with us, that looks for a more fruitful, more incisive dialogue between the representatives of the local churches and the pope with his main collaborators,” Bishop Ramos said.
After spending three hours with the pope on 20th February, the Chilean bishops met again with Pope Francis on 23rd February. At the second meeting, the pope and Chilean bishops were joined by several top officials, including: Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state; Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Bishops and president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America; and Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Picture: Pope Francis meets with bishops from Chile during their ‘ad limina’ visits to the Vatican on 20th February. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano).