a) A Priest’s Mission

Being A Priest (free from clker dot com)

I’m sure this page will change a lot as time goes on.

For a long time I’ve noticed that Pope Francis has said many interesting things directly to priests on their role as priest.

He’s encouraging, while he’s also challenging.

So far I haven’t saved any of what he’s said but I’ll begin today (13 July 2015) and let’s hope this page might some day help some priest — or someone who may have a calling to be a priest.

A Priest’s Mission:
Top Quotes

  1. “When a priest is in love with Jesus, you can see it.
    Even if he’s tired as a mop.
    If not, he behaves like a bureaucrat.” (Pope Francis)
  2. “The only place where there are no arguments is the cemetery.” (Pope Francis)
  3. “Today, I ask you, in this retreat, to be pastors with the compassion of God. To leave the “whip” hanging in the sacristy and to be pastors with tenderness, also with those who create many problems. It is a grace. It is a divine grace.” (Pope Francis)
  4. “It was axiomatic among the Fathers of the Church that bad priests are the ruin of the people.” (original source unknown, regarded as a maxim by Pope John XXIII)

A Priest’s Mission:
Quotes and Sources of Quotes

Before the Q&A session started, the pope told the priests and the bishops that conflict inside the Church is to be expected. According to Francis, a Church with no internal tensions is dead.

“The only place where there are no arguments is the cemetery,” he joked.

….

“When a priest is in love with Jesus, you can see it,” Francis said. “Even if he’s tired as a mop. If not, he behaves like a bureaucrat.”

Francis told the priests to avoid being “puritans” and “hypocrites,” saying the Church should not be so attached to the law that it has no mercy or tenderness. He called on them not to condemn a newborn child for the sins of their parents, for instance by denying baptism to the child of a single mother or of a divorced and re-married person.

The pontiff asked priests to respect laity by “leaving them in peace,” and to avoid the temptation of clericalism. A parish priest, he said, shouldn’t turn every good layman into a deacon, nor should a layman try to be good by being ordained.

….

An Australian priest asked the pontiff for his “secret” in reaching out successfully to the secular world. Francis said in those places where the Church seems irrelevant, reduced to a subculture, the important thing is not to proselytize.

He said that proselytism is a “caricature” of spreading the Gospel, and quoted Benedict XVI to the effect that the Church can grow only by attracting others to it, by using a “language of gestures” and provoking curiosity.

Francis added that it’s important not to condemn anyone, to repay an enemy with goodness, and to always put the focus on the Holy Spirit.

To a priest from Peru, who asked Francis about the best way to help those living in situations of social injustice and poverty, he said that the easiest answer would be to “spread hope.”

The pope then called the poor the “wealth of the Church,” saying they’re the heart of the Latin American church and that they can’t be used as propaganda.

The Argentine pontiff said the biggest temptation of Latin American clerics is to become attached to money and power, adding that although the laity can forgive a priest for emotional quirks or having an extra glass of wine, they won’t forgive a priest who cares too much about money or who mistreats his flock.

“There’s so much poverty in the world today,” Francis said. “Even in the soul of the rich … How I want them to be free, not slaves to money.”

When a priest from Holland asked the pontiff about the relationship between Eastern and Western Europe, Francis said that there’s always been a geopolitical tension between cultures, reminding his audience that Catholic forces sacked Constantinople (1204) and invaded Russia twice.

“Dialogue is needed,” he said. “There’s hope, despite those who say there’s no hope between Moscow and Constantinople,” adding that the Vatican and the Patriarchate of Constantinople are on the same page when it comes to fundamental values.

Francis called the division among Christian churches “shameful,” expressing hope to find a unified date for Easter week.

“It’s a scandal that we have to ask each other, ‘When does your Christ rise from the dead?’” he said.

— Pope Francis in an “off-the-cuff” Question-And-Answer session as reported by Inés San Martín for cruxnow.com (‘Francis talks women, clericalism, and Catholic-on-Catholic fights’) after his Mass with priests from all round the world gathered for the “Third Worldwide Priests’ Retreat” in the Basilica of St John Lateran in Rome, June 12 2015

“How often do I think that we are afraid of the tenderness of God and because we are afraid of God’s tenderness, we do not allow it to be felt within us. Because of this we are so often hard, serious, punishing…. We are pastors without compassion. What does Jesus say to us in Luke at Chapter 15? About that shepherd who noticed that he had 99 sheep for one was missing. He left them well safeguarded, locked away, and went to search for the other, who was ensnared in thorns…. And he didn’t beat it, didn’t scold it: he took it tightly in his arms and cared for it, for it was injured. Do you do the same with your faithful? When you realize that one of your flock is missing? Or are we accustomed to being a Church which has a single sheep in her flock and we let the other 99 get lost on the hill? Are you moved by all this compassion? Are you a shepherd of sheep or have you become one who is “grooming” the one remaining sheep? Because you seek only yourself and you have forgotten about the tenderness your Father gave you, and it is recounted to you here, in Chapter 11 of Hosea. And you have forgotten how to give that compassion. The Heart of Christ is the tenderness of God. “How could I fail you? How could I abandon you? When you are alone, disoriented, lost, come to me, and I will save you, I will comfort you”.

Today, I ask you, in this retreat, to be pastors with the compassion of God. To leave the “whip” hanging in the sacristy and to be pastors with tenderness, also with those who create many problems. It is a grace. It is a divine grace, We do not believe in an ethereal God, we believe in a God who became flesh, who has a heart and this heart today speaks to us thus: “Come to me. If you are tired, oppressed and I will give you rest. But the smallest, treat them with compassion, with the same tenderness with which I treat you”. The Heart of Jesus Christ says this to us today, and it is what I ask in this Mass for you, and also for me.”

— Pope Francis in his homily as part of the Mass for priests from around the world gathered for the “Third Worldwide Priests’ Retreat” in the Basilica of St John Lateran in Rome, June 12 2015

“It was axiomatic among the Fathers of the Church that bad priests are the ruin of the people.”

— A quote written by Pope John XXIII, “Good Pope John,” as it appears in his autobiography ‘Journal of a Soul’, page 437 of the 1980 revised edition published by Geoffrey Chapman of London & NY. Note: (This quote is under a title of the Pope’s called “Maxims heard or gleaned from various sources” and the editors of the book comment, “We give this list just as it was made by Angelo Roncalli when he was a seminarist, without trying to verify or complete the sources or texts.”)

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