Vatican cardinal advises priests, missionaries to use three-dimensional approach


Cardinal Ivan Dias, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples addressed the priests and missionaries of the world yesterday calling on them to use a three dimensional approach to their service: doctrine, discipline, devotion.

The Vatican cardinal spoke on Monday afternoon at the General Assembly of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Rome, emphasizing the qualities that all priests and missionaries around the world must develop to help others encounter Christ.

"Every priest, on his path of growth and in his ministry, should safeguard these three dimensions: Doctrine, Discipline, Devotion,” Cardinal Dias counseled.

He then focused on each dimension, beginning with “doctrine.”  He said that “safeguarding doctrine” is defined by remaining faithful to the “Word of God, the Magisterium of the Church,” as well as the teachings of Benedict XVI. 

The second dimension of discipline, the prelate emphasized, is extremely essential today, and must “be taken more deeply into account.”

“This implies the discipline of mind and body, a sign and fruit of a human and spiritual maturity. This includes formation in chastity and proper relations with the opposite sex; management of discord and conflict in relationships and in the community; management of free time and use of new technologies.”

Moving on to the final dimension of devotion, the cardinal underlined that each priest today “should bear in mind that he is a man of God. He should give primacy to the spirit, keeping in mind that he is in the world, but not of the world."

Addressing the priests and missionaries in attendance, Cardinal Dias said that in general, they must always assist in “helping others to encounter the living and active person of Jesus Christ,” in their daily work and in the celebration of the sacraments.

The cardinal concluded by saying every priest, like every Christian, "has the missionary spirit in his DNA," otherwise he would be "a deformed Christian or at least not yet well-formed ..."

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