Seminary is not for those who do not wish to 'get on with life,' Pope admonishes
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/15/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
In addressing the Pontifical Leonine College of Anagni, the Pope did not mince words. Pope Francis was forthright in saying that the seminary is not a refuge for those who have "psychological problems" or lack the courage "to get on in life."
"Dear seminarians, what you are preparing for is not a profession, you are not training to work in a business or a bureaucratic organization," Pope Francis said.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Speaking to an audience at the Clementine Hall in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis reiterated that the seminary is a place where one develops their vocation, gaining an in depth understanding of the Gospel, Confession, the Eucharist and prayer.
The pope offered frank advice to those preparing for the priesthood at the institute founded by Leo XIII in 1897. "If you are not willing to follow this path with these attitudes and these experiences, - and I say this from the heart, without meaning to offend anyone - it is better to have the courage to seek another."
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The pope continued, "Dear seminarians, what you are preparing for is not a profession, you are not training to work in a business or a bureaucratic organization."
"We have so many priests who have gone half way ... it's sad that they did not manage to go the whole way; they have something of the employee in them, something of the bureaucrat in them and this is not good for the Church. Please be careful you don't fall into this!
"You are becoming pastors in the image of Jesus, the good pastor. Your aim is to resemble him and act on behalf of him amidst his flock, letting his sheep graze."
Francis then presented the four "pillars" of seminary learning: "spiritual, intellectual, community and apostolic.
"We respond to this vocation in the same way as the Virgin Mary does to the angel: 'How is this possible?' Becoming 'good shepherds' in the image of Jesus 'is something very great and we are so small.'
"Yes, it is true, it is too great; but it is not our work! It is the work of the Holy Spirit, with our collaboration," Francis said.
"It is about humbly giving oneself, like clay that is to be moulded, letting God the potter work the clay with fire and water, with the Word and the Holy Spirit." It is true that "at the beginning intentions are not completely righteous, and it is hard for them to be so": All of us have had moments when our intentions were not completely righteous but in time this changes with everyday conversion. Think of the apostles! Think of James and John. One of them wanted to be prime minister and the other a minister of the economy because it was a more important role. The apostles' mind was elsewhere but the Lord patiently corrected their intention and in the end the intention of their preaching and martyrdom was incredibly righteous."
The seminary, Francis declared, "is not a refuge for psychological problems or a refuge for those who do not have the courage to go on in life and see the seminary as a place that will defend them. No, that is not what it is. If that is what your seminary was it would become a mortgage for the Church! No, the seminary is there for people to move forward, along this path and when we hear the prophets exclaim the word 'Woe' it should lead you to reflect seriously on your future. Pius XI once said it was better to lose a vocation than to risk accepting a candidate who is not sure. He was a mountain climber, he knew about this things."
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