Priests must not use vocation as social stepping stone, cautions Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict.
Pope Benedict.

.- During Pope Benedict's homily for the ordination of 14 priests on Sunday for the Diocese of Rome, he emphasized that the vocation of the priesthood, must not be viewed as a way to achieve social status in life, but rather as a way to “rediscover the ever-new face” of Christ.

In his homily for the ordination, which took place Sunday morning in St. Peter's Basilica, the Holy Father cautioned that the priesthood “must never represent a way to achieve security in life or to attain social position”

“Anyone who aspires to the priesthood in order to increase his personal prestige and power has radically misunderstood the significance of this ministry,” explained the Pope.

He noted that if a priest's main goal is to “achieve success,” he will say “what people want to hear” and “adapt to changing fashions and opinions.”

“In this way, he will deprive himself of the vital relationship with truth, reducing himself to condemning tomorrow what he praises today,” Benedict XVI warned.

"A priest who sees his ministry in these terms,” he continued, “does not truly love God and neighbor, he loves only himself and, paradoxically, ends up by losing himself.” The vocation of the priesthood “is founded on the courage to say yes to another will, with the daily-growing awareness that” by “conforming ourselves to the will of God ... we increasingly enter into the truth of our being and our ministry.”

Pope Benedict also encouraged the priests to “rediscover the ever-new face” of Christ through prayer.

“Only one who has an intimate relationship with the Lord can be seized by Him, can bring Him to others, can become His envoy. This involves a kind of 'remaining with Him' which must always accompany, and be the core of, priestly ministry, also and above all during moments of difficulty when it seems that 'the things to be done' must take priority.

“Wherever we are, whatever we do, we must always 'remain with Him'."

The Pontiff drew his homily to a close by asking God to give the priests the grace “to be able to live this ministry coherently and generously, everyday."

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