Pope Francis: Well-trained priests vital for mission of the Church
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday received participants of an International Conference promoted by the Congregation for Clergy, telling them that “renewal of faith and the future of vocations is only possible if there are well-trained priests.”
Ratio Fundamentalis is the document on the best practices for the formation of seminarians in the Church and was the subject this week of an International Conference promoted by the Congregation for Clergy.
Importance of well-trained priests
Greeting the conference participants on Saturday in the Vatican, Pope Francis got straight to the heart of the matter by telling them that “the theme of priestly formation is decisive for the mission of the Church: renewal of faith and the future of vocations is only possible if we have well-trained priests.”
Drawing inspiration from the bible passage in which the Lord says to the prophet Jeremiah: “Get up and go down into the potter’s shop”, the Pope explained that “priestly formation depends first of all on God’s action in our lives and not our activities, adding, it is a work that requires the courage to let oneself be molded by the Lord, for it transforms our heart and our lives.”
During his address the Pope stressed that if one does not let oneself be molded like clay by the Lord every day, he becomes a priest who is out of the office with inertia, without enthusiasm for the Gospel or passion for the People of God. Instead, Pope Francis said, the seminarian needs to be guided by the Lord, as the craftsman, being led to become more and more his daily disciples.
The Holy Father pointed out that formation of priests requires protagonists; there are the seminarians, who abandon themselves to the craftsman’s providential creativity, rather than follow the “noise of human ambitions”, he said.
The second protagonists, the Pope continued are the trainers and bishops and he noted that, “if a trainer or bishop does not “go down in the potter’s shop” and does not work with God’s work, we cannot have well-formed priests.
The Church, Pope Francis said, “needs priests capable of proclaiming the Gospel with enthusiasm and wisdom.”
Finally, the Holy Father left the group with a question, “What do I want to be? A “priest in the lounge”, quiet and well-arranged, or a missionary disciple whose heart is burning for the Master and the People of God?