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Pope stresses need for solid priestly identity March 17, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, General Catholic.

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.  In his address, the Pope stressed the need for priests to focus almost exclusively on their priestly mission, to spread the Word of God to the people.  They should not allow themselves to be reduced to the role of ‘social worker’ or administrator, but must insure that their efforts are concentrated on delivering the message of redemption that is found only through Christ.  The Pope further stressed that priests must not be afraid to carry this message out into the world, not just in the confines of the parish and the Mass.

I think this is all good advice.  I know that, especially in this diocese, our parishes are horribly understaffed with clergy and so our priests do get sucked into alot of administrative and other tasks that take an unfortunate amount of their time.  The Pope’s comments are nevertheless a good reminder, an exhortation, to priests to focus as much as possible on their apostolate.  With regard to his advice to bear witness to their faith in the world, I think this is an area where some priests can improve.  One concern I have is when priests do not wear clerics outside the confines of the Mass, and sometimes, not even then.  Clerics, just like religious habits, are a powerful witness to the world, that mark the priest or religious as someone marked by Christ for very special work.  Wearing ‘civilian’ clothes may be more comfortable, but it gives up a wonderful opportunity to bear witness to the world the Word of God and the graces available through Christ’s Church. 

I love to see priests and religious out in public wearing their clerics or habit.  I have seen the impression a faithful, hopefully happy(!!) priest or religious can make by their presence in the world.  It can have a powerful impact on people’s behavior, and it can help remind lapsed Catholics that Christ is waiting for them in the Eucharist (after Confession, of course).   I encourage all priests to wear clerics whenever practicable.

What’s more, while the standard priest ‘suit’ is fine, I love to see a priest in a cassock and/or biretta.  I would be happy to buy an interested priest both or either……but they have to promise to wear it, alot! 


1. dallas - March 17, 2010

Wow – I also offered to buy a cassock – but I have to admit I was sure the offer wouldn’t be accepted… My pastor, while not ever wearing a cassock, rarely doesn’t wear clerics 🙂

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