VATICAN CITY, MAY 7, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The priesthood is not a path to prestige, says Benedict XVI.
In his homily today during the ordination Mass of 15 new priests in St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pope said that the spirit of the priesthood is opposed to “making a career” of it, to get to the “top,” or “to seek a position through the Church: to be served rather than to serve.”
The Holy Father criticized the “image of the man who, through the priesthood, wants to be important, to become a personality.”
“But the only legitimate ascent to the ministry of the pastor is the cross,” said the Pope. “This is the door.”
On World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Benedict XVI said that to be a priest is “not to desire to become personally someone, but to live for the other, for Christ and, in this way, through him and with him, to live for the men he seeks, whom he wishes to lead on the path of life.”
The Pope continued: One “enters the priesthood through the sacrament, that is, through giving oneself to Christ, so that he can dispose of me, so that I serve him and follow his call, even if it is opposed to my desires for self-fulfillment and esteem.
“To enter through the door, which is Christ, means to know him and love him ever more, so that our will is united to his and our conduct is his.”
The Holy Father gave this advice to the new priests: “May Christ grow in us, may our union with him be ever more profound.”
Of the 15 new priests ordained, five studied at the Roman Seminary, seven at the Redemptoris Mater diocesan college of Rome, one at Capranica College, also of the Diocese of Rome, and two are religious of the Discalced Carmelites.
Twelve are Italians, while the other three were born in Israel, Honduras and Poland.