In a conversation with seminarians and priests studying in Rome on Monday, Pope Francis touched on many issues: from the compassionate style of priests, who are called to be close to people and not careerists, to spiritual leadership, the engagement of young people Technologies and Distinction, The Dialogue between Science and Faith and the Church’s Role in War.
It was a long talk by the Pope in the Vatican audience hall with seminarians and priests studying in Rome. Francis was asked ten questions and details of Monday’s conversation were released this Wednesday.
The good priest and the style of God
When asked about the concreteness of mercy, the Pope answered that it is necessary to learn the language of gestures that express closeness and tenderness. And this also applies to preaching: “Expression plays a big role. If you don’t make human gestures, your mind will also freeze and in the sermon you will say abstract things that no one understands and someone will be tempted to go outside and have a cigarette.”
Francis spoke of three languages that “reveal a person’s maturity: the language of the head, the language of the heart and the language of the hands” and called for learning “to express in these three languages: that I think what I feel and do, feel what I think and do, I do what I feel and think,” said the Pope.
And then one must accept God’s style, which is nearness. God came near in the incarnation of Christ. “He is next to us”, the Pope continued. A good priest is “a merciful and gentle neighbor”, Francis explained, repeating that God’s style “is always closeness, compassion and tenderness”. Therefore, the priest must be there “with passion and tenderness”.
Keep in touch with God’s people
When asked how to live the priesthood without losing the spirit of the sheep that should be inherent in the priestly ministry, Francis replied that, even if one is engaged in studies or in the Curia, it is important “to have contacts to keep with the people, with the faithful people of God, because there is the anointing of the people of God: these are the sheep”. If you lose the scent of the sheep, if you distance yourself from them, you may be “a theorist, a good theologian, a good philosopher, a very good pastor who does all these things,” but “you will have lost the ability” . .” to smell the sheep”.
“Your soul has really lost the ability to be awakened by the smell of the sheep,” the Pope noted, recommending pastoral experiences “in a parish, in a home for boys or girls, or in an old people’s home, whatever it may be. .” may be”, so as not to lose touch with God’s people. And again Francis reaffirmed what he calls the principle of the “four closenesses of the priest”: closeness to God – prayer -, closeness to the bishop, closeness to other priests and closeness to God’s people: “If you have none if you are close to the people of God, you are not a good priest”, Francis concluded.
Priesthood has nothing to do with careerism
The Pope then spoke about priests who live the priesthood as a job, with fixed working hours, about official priests who seek peace – “don’t disturb the priest, the priest is busy” – and a comfortable life; in short: careerism. “The priesthood is a sacred service to God”, declared Francis, “the service, the highest degree of which is the Eucharist, is a service to the community”.
In this context, he raised the issue of “climbing priests”, that is, those who wanted to climb the corporate ladder, and asked them to stop: “The climber is ultimately a traitor, he is not a servant. He wants his own and does nothing for others.” He then shared an anecdote about his grandmother, an Italian immigrant to Argentina—like many other Italians who moved to America and made homes and families there—who was happy to offer simple practices. , as a normal “catechesis”. “Grandma taught us: “In life you have to move forward”, ie. be careful, don’t confuse progress with climbing, because a climber is one who climbs, climbs, climbs and when he’s at the top he shows (the middle finger)… Grandma said a clear word there! – continued the Pope – he shows you that he is like that, he shows you that. All climbers do is do stupid things, they do stupid things. It has done me good in life.”
For a priest, on the other hand, the most important thing is communion, participation and mission, service to others: “The risk of seeking his own satisfaction and tranquility is the risk of progress and unfortunately in life there are many careerists”. said the Pope.
Pope warns young priests against pornography
Francis also warned future and young priests about Internet pornography. “It is a vice that so many people have, so many lay people, but also priests and nuns. The devil comes from there”, the Pope recommended to the young people of the church. He’s not just talking about criminal pornography, such as child abuse; it means “reasonably ‘normal’ pornography”.
“The pure heart that accepts Jesus daily cannot receive this pornographic information,” weakens the heart. He urged participants to delete pornographic content from their computers and mobile phones. And if you can’t erase it, protect yourself well so you don’t end up in such a situation,” the Pope warned.
At the same time, the Pope encouraged seminarians and priests to use social networks as a means of communication: “They offer a service to progress in life.”
(Vatican news – mg)