The Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, stressed the need this week to provide seminarians with a solid formation that will allow them to be pastors in contact with reality and evangelizers of the culture.
During the plenary meeting of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America in Rome, the cardinal spoke about the significance and importance of priestly academic formation. He also emphasized the need for it to be solid, especially in the case of those who are tasked with teaching doctrine.
“Perhaps in this point is where we find the crux of the problem with today’s formation: the contact with reality, as the evangelization of the culture and the enculturation of the gospel, requires solid discernment,” Cardinal Bergoglio said in an extensive speech in which he recalled that the mission of the priest is to communicate “the full life of Jesus Christ to our peoples.”
The cardinal went on to say, “Future pastors need to enter into contact with the heart of the cultures of the peoples they are going to serve, and not with the mere surface or with fragments of a reality mediated and modified by the positive sciences.”
Cardinal Bergoglio said a solid humanistic formation is needed to make pastors “appreciate more and more the wisdom of the peoples where it symbolically and mystically connects with the unity of nature and with the transcendent mystery of God, expressed by respect for the sacred and by devotion to what is holy and to the saints.”
The Argentinean cardinal said a solid formation of priests must instill in them a “spiritual discretion that is capable of testing everything and keeping only what is good,” in contrast with the temptation in today’s world to erase distinctions and fall into “all kinds of syncretism.”