Clericalism Is Bad for Priests & Laity / Vatican Insider, La Stampa

Vatican Insider interviews the Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, the newly elected cardinal Beniamino Stella: ‘Let us not forget that a cleric’s vocation brings him closer to people …

“Clericalism” is a word that has been on the Pope’s lips a great deal in recent months. I think I am right in saying that what the Holy Father means when he refers to the term ‘clerical,’ is that it describes the kind of priest who wants to give orders, who always thinks he knows best and becomes closed, hindering the mission of the Church. A clerical priest is a priest who withdraws into his own shell, into his own mindset and does not consult or listen to others, especially the laity, as he doesn’t recognize the role of lay people in the Church’s mission. Sometimes, these kinds of priests believe they can dominate over others, especially the poor and ignorant and that they belong to some kind of cast, claiming certain privileges and powers. ‘Clericalism’ is bad for priests because it distorts their mission and is harmful for the laity because it hinders their development as adult Christians. This word, ‘clericalism,’ is a call to us priests to examine our consciences every day so that we don’t forget that being clerics means being in a condition to bear witness to the faith in a more efficient way and show deep commitment to our vocation. Being a cleric does not give us some kind of social status that places up above others. This would create a gap between us. These are real risks for the pastoral ministry and we need to guard against them. To keep them at bay we must keep our focus on the Cross, the humble and silent Virgin Mary who listens, suffers and gives herself. I hope everyone, myself included, can undertake this journey every day with God’s help.”

By Andrea Tornielli, Vatican Insider, La Stampa — Click here to read all of this interview.

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