The Shepherd, June 2010
FROM THE FATHERS
“LET US then do all things that we may have the Spirit of God within us. And let us treat with reverence those to whose hands the work of the Spirit has been entrusted. For great is the dignity of the priesthood. Whose sins ye shall forgive, He says, they are forgiven; and because of this Paul says: Obey those who lead you and be subject unto them (Heb. 13:7), and hold them in great reverence. For you have only the care of what concerns you; and if you look well after that you will not be held accountable for what others do. But the priest, even should he order his own life fittingly, yet does not scrupulously have due care both for your life, and the lives of those about him, shall go with the wicked into everlasting fire; and so he oftentimes while not failing in his own conduct will perish because of yours, if he has not done all that belonged to him to do. Knowing then the greatness of their danger, treat them with much consideration.”
Saint John Chrysostom, + 407 A.D.
“I HAVE SPOKEN thus briefly of the manner of binding and loosing, so that the pastors of the Church shall be at pains to use with great discretion the power to bind and loose. But whether the pastor binds justly or unjustly, the sentence of the pastor is to be feared by his flock, lest the one who is subject to it, though perhaps unjustly bound, may then deserve sentence for another sin. Therefore let the pastor be fearful lest without due care he either bind or loose. But he that is under the care of the pastor, let him also be fearful lest he be bound, though unjustly. Neither let him rashly question the judgment of the pastor, lest, though unjustly bound, from the angry resentment of his complaint sin may arise where there was no sin.”
Saint Gregory the Great, Pope of Rome, + 604 A.D.