Bishop Carlos Malfa of Chascomus, Argentina, said this week that celibacy, obedience and prayer are three “absolute requirements” for priestly life that find their meaning in pastoral charity.
The bishop made his comments during an ordination ceremony in the diocesan cathedral.
He said a priest’s prayerful attitude “allows him to deepen his interior life, overcome fatigue and monotony, so that he has something new to offer, because it is an encounter with the Father.”
Likewise, obedience “is only valid,” he said, “inasmuch as it is a sacrifice to God, and it finds its meaning in the communion of the Church. A responsible, authentic and mature obedience requires a profound attitude of faith, love and sincere dialogue. Obedience should be loyal and frank,” and it can be broken “by rebellion, indifference or cowardness,” he explained.
“Pastoral charity gives meaning to celibacy, which can only be understood in the context of absolute love. The Lord and the Church have the right to a form of exclusive love. It’s not that celibacy is essential for our ministry. But it is a sign and an incentive of pastoral charity and a peculiar source of spiritual fruitfulness in the world,” Bishop Malfa went on.
He concluded his homily with a prayer that “the Holy Spirit will make our entire diocesan church a people of prayer that raises its voice to the Father imploring holy vocations to the priesthood, religious life and missionary service.”