Vatican

Papa Francesco spiega la figura del sacerdote in un importante Congresso a Roma

The pontiff opened the International Symposium "For a fundamental theology of the priesthood" in the Vatican with a conference in which he referred to his fifty years of priesthood and highlighted the essential elements of the priest.

Nicolás Álvarez de las Asturias-February 17, 2022-Reading time: 2 minutes

Pope Francis opened this morning in Rome an important congress on ministerial priesthood, organized by the Congregation of the Bishops, which is taking place these days in Rome. The symposium brings together more than 700 experts in the Paul VI Hall, among cardinals, priests, theologians, laymen and religious from all over the world, to discuss the priestly vocation, the formation of seminarians, priestly celibacy and their spirituality.

The Holy Father, in fact, wanted to begin, in his opening speech, with those who have been in his priestly life for over fifty years, searching in them the passage of God through his life and the light to illuminate the ultimate meaning of priestly ordination. In this way, his words are far removed from any apparent touch of formality, indicating the essential elements that allow the priest to aspire with joy to sanctity, even in the midst of his own weaknesses and the incomprehension of others. It seems to me that these essential elements pointed out by the Pope can be summarized in three points:

In prima linea nella missione

In the first place, the "Take the high road" (cf. Lk 5:4), as the very orizzonte of the priestly mission. In the Pope's thinking, priests are not in the background but, together with the rest of the faithful, are at the forefront of the Church's mission. The peace of the difficulties is fought with the anchoring to the "wisdom of the living and present Tradition of the Church".

Corrispondere all'amore di Dio

Secondly, to know that a martyr is called to holiness implies trying to respond every day to God's love, which always precedes us: "even in the midst of difficulty, the Lord does not smile to love and, therefore, to call".

Quattro "vicinanze".

And the third element, which includes four "vicinanze" that give your life joy and fertility: the vicinanza of God, which "allows us to confront our life with his"; the vicinanza of the Lord, which presents obedience as "a fundamental option to welcome those who have been placed close to us as a concrete sign of that universal sacrament of salvation which is the Church"; closeness to priests, because "fraternity is deliberately choosing to be holy together with others and not in solitude"; and closeness to people, which before being a duty is a grace, and which invites to a way of life in the image of Jesus, Good Samaritan.

Insomma, a few words that come from a heart grateful for the gift of priesthood and from a mind convinced of the importance of both the mission of priests and their need to seriously seek sanctity in the Church they serve.
It is the prelude to the masterly entrance in a Congress where, certainly, you will have the opportunity to feel many things, and very good.

The authorNicolás Álvarez de las Asturias

San Dámaso Ecclesiastic University (Madrid) - nalvarez@sandamaso.es

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