AYUGOSLAV Bishop has
said that the Vatican Coun:il should call on bishops to practise strict poverty as a means to sanctity, both for themselves and the Church at large.
"When the Church was poor." he said, "it was holy. When it became rich, sanctity diminished accordingly." The bishop, Mgr. Franic of Split-Makarska, said in a press conference at the Vatician Council's documentation centre: "The Council should exhort, if not command, bishops to renounce the possession of goods. We should live, like St. Peter, on offerings from our people, or, like St. Paul, by our labours."
He said that a bishop should be content with possessing only what iS necessary and should distribute everything else. Not only possession of goods but sometimes even the use of revenue-producing resources is a danger for bishops and for the Church, he added.
Asked if he thought bishops have a right to State subsidies if they could not support themselves, Bishop branic said: "I believe it is better for the Church if it aligns itself with the people and not with the State."
He pointed out that since the Council of Trullanum, all bishops of the separated Orthodox Church make a vow of poverty before their consecration. Hesuggested that it would be an inspiration for the whole church and the entire world if Catholic bishops followed their example.
The fact that most saints since the Middle Ages have come from religious orders and not from the ranks of bishops should give food for thought. he said.