Click here to advertise on

Pope Francis offers advice to seminarians

Catholic World News - May 13, 2014

Pope Francis met with seminarians from around the world who are studying in Rome and offered advice in response to their questions.

The May 12 audience took place in the Paul VI Audience Hall.

Assuring seminarians from the Middle East and Ukraine of his prayers, Pope Francis responded to an American seminarian’s question by stating that spiritual formation, academic life, community life, and apostolic formation are the four pillars of the seminary. Academic study without the other three components, he said, leads to the danger of “slipping into ideology.”

In response to a Chinese seminarian’s question about the difficulties of community life, Pope Francis warned against gossip and recalled that when he was in the early stages of formation, he told his spiritual director that he was angry with someone. The priest asked, “Tell me: have you prayed for him?” and the future Pope, ashamed, said, “No.” Pope Francis urged the seminarians to pray for those with whom they have problems.

In response to a question from a Mexican seminarian about discipline, Pope Francis referred to the Eastern Fathers, advised vigilance over the heart, and repeatedly emphasized devotion to Mary. The Pontiff also exhorted the seminarians to examine the inclinations of their hearts each night before retiring.

Pope Francis emphasized to a Philippine seminarian that priests must be humble servants of the people, avoiding love of money and vanity. He advised reading St. Augustine’s De Pastoribus.

Responding to a question from a seminarian from Cameroon, Pope Francis discussed his daily schedule-- a schedule that includes prayer, lectio divina, Mass, the Rosary, adoration, and the Liturgy of the Hours. “The ideal is to end the day tired,” said Pope Francis. “No need to take pills: finish tired.”

In response to a question from a Mexican seminarian about homilies and the new evangelization, the Pope advised closeness to the people and short, strong homilies of no more than eight to ten minutes. He recommended A Theology of Proclamation by Hugo Rahner-- “not Karl, Hugo … Karl is difficult to read”-- as well as a similar work by Domenico Grasso.

“One of the most beautiful jewels of the priestly life,” Pope Francis said in response to the last question, from a Polish seminarian, is “priestly friendship.”

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($26,491 to go):
$150,000.00 $123,508.96
18% 82%
Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on

Recent Catholic Commentary

Denial of Service Attack: Success! 2 hours ago
Federal debt as a social-justice concern 4 hours ago
Another side of Francis: US-Cuba role shows Pope's diplomatic muscle December 18
Silly season: a Christmas approaches, a scholar questions whether Jesus ever existed December 18
The intrinsic immorality of torture: still not convinced? December 18

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Europe seems 'elderly and haggard' CWN - November 25
Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch sign joint declaration, lament persecution of Christians CWN - December 1
Consistory for new cardinals scheduled for February CWN - December 11
Vatican report on US women religious calls for further self-assessment CWN - December 16
Pope brokered deal to open US-Cuba ties CWN - December 17