SÃO PAULO, Brazil, MAY 4, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The scandal caused by the few priests who have sexually abused children should not silence the witness of priests who are faithful to their ministry, says the archbishop of São Paulo.
In an article in the archdiocesan paper for April 24, the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Cardinal Odilo Scherer encouraged talk of priestly vocations to continue.
The cardinal pointed out that Benedict XVI’s message for the World Day relates to the Year for Priests, and focuses on the importance of priestly witness.
“Although the call [to the priesthood] is, above all, the fruit of God’s gratuitous action, it is also fostered by the quality of the personal and community witness of those who are already priests and exercise the priestly ministry,” Cardinal Scherer contended. “How many have opened to the priestly vocation because they were marked by the example and witness of another priest! How many followed the example of Ignatius of Loyola, of Don Bosco, of Philip Neri, of St. John of the Cross.”
The cardinal emphasized that “the witness of priestly life inspires new vocations. And this also happens today.”
“In times of spreading scandals on priestly behavior, there could be the temptation to be silent, to no longer speak about the priestly vocation,” Cardinal Scherer reflected.
However, he said, “we must not cease to speak about, to live and to witness — in a joyful and humble way — priestly fidelity, making known the examples of holy priests.”
“Let us not forget that a vocation is, above all, fruit of the grace of God,” the cardinal said. “And let us remember also that in the history of the Church, it was precisely the times of crisis that were the most fecund in the emergence of new vocations and fruitful initiatives for priestly formation.”