Vatican City, Mar 12, 2010 / 10:08 am
Pope Benedict met with priests and bishops participating in an international theological convention on Friday and spoke with them on the importance of understanding what it means to be a priest. This awareness of their identity is all the more important as secularism advances and some try to reduce the priesthood to being almost a 'social worker.'
Speaking of priestly identity in the modern "policentric" context, which often fades our idea of identity, "it is important clearly to bear in mind the theological specificity of ordained ministry, in order not to surrender to the temptation of reducing it to predominant cultural models," the Pope began.
In the presence of "widespread secularization which progressively tends to exclude God from the public sphere and from the shared social conscience, the priest often appears 'removed' from common sense," Pope Benedict said, adding that it's often a result of “the most fundamental aspects of his ministry."
For this reason, he explained, "it is important to avoid a dangerous reductionism which, over recent decades... has presented the priest almost as a 'social worker,' with the risk of betraying the very Priesthood of Christ."