The folly of inexperienced pastors

From Gregory the Great‘s The Book of Pastoral Rule:

No one presumes to teach an art that he has not first mastered through study. How foolish it is therefore for the inexperienced to assume pastoral authority when the care of souls is the art of arts. For who does not realize that the afflictions of the mind are more hidden than internal wounds in the body? And yet, how often do they who are completely ignorant of spiritual precepts profess themselves physicians of the heart, while anyone who is ignorant of the power of medicine is too embarrassed to be seen as a physician of the body?

4 thoughts on “The folly of inexperienced pastors

  1. I’m reading this right now, too, and it’s intimidating in parts. I’m fairly certain I would not have passed clerical muster for dear St. Gregory! 🙂

  2. I’ve always found St. Gregory to be an interesting character. If I understood correctly the entire context from which that quote came from, it was NOT a statement of teaching, but rather it was a response of thought that came about when considering his greater role in the structure of the Catholic church. As a response to that idea he appears without argument a very humble man. He was himself an exceedingly learned man after all. And, as a result of that vigorous education and study I believe that it is reasonable to wonder how much Platonic thought weaved its way into his understanding. He is a bit to Essenes-like for my comfort. Those who were abstainers from marriage, meat, wine (they ate bread and vegeta- bles), body oil, and gratification of physical desires. This is just to much similar
    to Gnostic dualism. I can picture him fitting in well with those in the Colossian Church that Paul addressed.

    Can the cloak of humility actually cover up pride? Of course. Does human intellect elevate someone to become one above the average in “knowing the things of God”? No.

    1. You know a lot more about Gregory than I do, Duane. The quote here is the first paragraph of the first chapter of his book, which I just started reading yesterday. So, that is the extent of my ability to engage in thoughtful conversation about him.

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