Who is the “Bad Shepherd”?


Diego Fares SJ / Church Life / 13 November 2017

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The shepherd who sells what he freely inherited

When he was still Fr. Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the pope wrote a paper titled “The Bad Superior and His Image.”[1] This referred, obviously, to the superior within the Jesuit order who has a precise pastoral mission. Strikingly, in that article he did not use the image of the mercenary which Jesus himself places in opposition to the good shepherd, but rather he uses the image of the one who “sells what he freely inherited.”[2]

The selling of an inheritance is always a sale at too low a price. For this reason, those who sell off their inheritance are defined as “blind guides.” At the root of such a profane action, which is always a bad deal, is their blindness, their lack of discernment, the failure to recognize the Son of God come in the flesh. Bergoglio contextualizes it within the Letter to the Hebrews, which affirms: “Do you not think that a much worse punishment is due the one who has contempt for the Son of God, considers unclean the covenant-blood by which he was consecrated, and insults the Spirit of grace?” (Heb 10:29).[3]

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