Pope gives blunt advice to seminarians on priesthood
Seminary is not a psychological refuge or for people who lack courage, he warns
Picture: Vatican Insider/La Stampa
- Iacopo Scaramuzzi for Vatican Insider/La Stampa
- Vatican City
- April 15, 2014
The seminary is not a refuge for those who have “psychological problems” or lack the courage “to get on in life”. The seminary is a place where one develops their vocation, gaining an in depth understanding of the Gospel, Confession, the Eucharist and prayer.
“If you are not willing to follow this path with these attitudes and these experiences, – and I say this from the heart, without meaning to offend anyone - it is better to have the courage to seek another."
This was the advice Pope Francis gave members of the Pontifical Leonine College of Anagni – particularly seminarians – in an audience held today in the Clementine Hall in the Vatican Apostolic Palace. It was an opportunity for the Pope to give some frank advice to those preparing for the priesthood at the institute founded by Leo XIII in 1897. The Pontifical Leonine College of Anagni trains future priests of the Italian region of Lazio.
“Dear seminarians, what you are preparing for is not a profession, you are not training to work in a business or a bureaucratic organization,” Francis said. “We have so many priests who have gone half way … it’s sad that they did not manage to go the whole way; they have something of the employee in them, something of the bureaucrat in them and this is not good for the Church. Please be careful you don’t fall into this!
"You are becoming pastors in the image of Jesus, the good pastor. Your aim is to resemble him and act on behalf of him amidst his flock, letting his sheep graze.”
Francis presented the four “pillars” of seminary learning: “spiritual, intellectual, community and apostolic”. He reiterated what he had said to religious superiors general during a discussion published by Italian Jesuit periodical Civiltà Cattolica last January: “The four pillars must interact from your very first day as novices; they must never follow a structured sequence.”
“We respond to this vocation in the same way as the Virgin Mary does to the angel: “How is this possible?” Becoming “good shepherds” in the image of Jesus “is something very great and we are so small.” “Yes, it is true, it is too great; but it is not our work! It is the work of the Holy Spirit, with our collaboration,” Francis said in his address to the College, adding spontaneous comments here and there to his prepared speech.
Source: Vatican Insider/La Stampa