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Letter from Rome: The old wineskins keep on bursting

Scattered thoughts on the pope's attitude adjustment program, clericalism and the refusal to make necessary changes

Letter from Rome: The old wineskins keep on bursting

Pope Francis holds an ordination Mass on April 25 at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican to ordain nine priests for his diocese as bishop of Rome. (Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP)

Pope Francis recently ordained nine new presbyters for the Diocese of Rome. And he told them not to think they are embarking on an ecclesiastical career, as it was once said in the old days.

"This is not a career," the pope warned them in Italian. "It's a service ... that has a style you must follow. The style of closeness, the style of compassion and the style of tenderness. This is the style of God — closeness, compassion, tenderness," Francis repeated on this fine morning before the main altar in St. Peter's Basilica on the day that the Church marked Good Shepherd Sunday.

He then repeated the advice he's given out so many times before — that priests and bishops must be like shepherds that walk "at times ahead of the flock, at times in the middle or behind ... but, always there, with the people of God.”

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The 84-year-old pope did not fail to caution these young men against the allure of money or the temptation to treat the people in their care as if they were employees.

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