Bishop Rogelio Livieres of Ciudad del Este in Paraguay exhorted priests this week to overcome the “filth” of scandals, which arise from bad doctrine, sinful lives, the abandonment of the faithful to sects and economic corruption.
Over the last year, Paraguyans have witnessed former bishop Fernando Lugo abandon his commitment to his diocese and vocation. Lugo then became the country's president, only to later have it revealed that he fathered at least one child while he was a bishop.
Bishop Livieres addressed these types of behavoir in a letter to mark the Year for Priests, saying the “filth” of some priests that has led to scandals. In the letter, the bishop also called on priests to “not lose sight of the transcendental vocation they have been called to by Jesus Christ.”
The bishop identified four areas of “filth” that need to be overcome: “False doctrines that have politicized and secularized the faith, as if the Kingdom of God were of this world; sins that have led some to have an immoral double life and to cause scandal; negligence of apostolic responsibilities and the abandonment of the faithful that has led to the advance of sects; and economic corruption.”
He noted that although the majority of priests serve faithfully, the Church is discredited by the scandals of a few which—whether proven or not—are spread by the media. “In any case, abuses must be corrected and there must be authentic renewal,” the bishop said.
For this reason, he stressed that seminary formation must “strongly emphasize the sacred identity of the priest as minister of God, unconditional fidelity to the doctrine and morality of the Church, and obedience to the commandment to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth, beginning with one’s own parish.”
Bishop Livieres called on all of the faithful to participate in this effort of renewal. “Renewing our priests does not mean trading them for others when they have problems, but rather on the contrary, calling them to conversion, encouraging them and helping them.”