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Pope Francis said priests are called to exercise a “spirit of synodality” (CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz)

All forms of clerical abuse begin with a priest thinking he is better than others and detached from reality, Pope Francis said. Source: NCR Online.

“We can live our priestly ministry well only immersed in the priestly people from whom we come,” the Pope told about 1000 priests and bishops from 60 countries on February 8, during a conference on the continuing education and formation of priests.

“This belonging to the people – do not ever let us feel separate from the journey of the holy, faithful people of God – protects us, sustains us in our struggles, accompanies us in our pastoral concerns and saves us from the risk of becoming detached from reality and feeling omnipotent,” the Pope said. “Watch out because this is also the root of every form of abuse.”

The February 6-10 conference was sponsored by the dicasteries for Clergy, for Evangelisation and for the Eastern Churches, which each have some responsibility for the training and ongoing support of priests.

Meeting participants in the Vatican audience hall, Francis said the keys to a happy and healthy priesthood are holding fast to the joy of the Gospel, belonging to a people and experiencing “the generativity of service”.

Echoing a call from the October assembly of the synod on synodality, which requested that “seminaries and other programs of priestly formation remain connected to the daily life of the community,” Francis said the education of priests “should not be conceived as somehow ‘set apart.’ Rather, it should draw upon the contribution of the people of God: priests and lay faithful, men and women, celibates and married couples, the elderly and the young, without neglecting the poor and suffering who have so much to teach us.”

“Especially today, priests are called to exercise a spirit of synodality,” walking with their people, the Pope said.


‘Feeling omnipotent’ is at root of clerical abuse, Pope says (By Cindy Wooden, NCR Online)