Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Scandal cannot conceal 'radiance of the priesthood,' Pope tells 15,000 priests

Catholic World News - June 11, 2010

At a Mass in St. Peter's Square concluding the Year for Priests, Pope Benedict XVI said that it was no coincidence that the sex-abuse scandal struck during a year set aside for celebration of the priesthood.

The Year for Priests was dedicated to a spiritual revival of the clergy, the Pope said in his homily. "It was to be expected," he said, "that this new radiance of the priesthood would not be pleasing to the Enemy."

Thus it was not surprising, the Pope reasoned, that during the year "the sins of priests came to light-- particularly the abuse of little ones."

The Pope said that the Church must "insistently beg forgiveness from God and from the persons involved, while promising to do everything possible to ensure that such abuse will never occur again." He called for vigilance in the training and supervision of future priests, and emphasized the importance of discipline within the Church:

The Church too must use the shepherd’s rod, the rod with which he protects the faith against those who falsify it, against currents which lead the flock astray. The use of the rod can actually be a service of love. Today we can see that it has nothing to do with love when conduct unworthy of the priestly life is tolerated. Nor does it have to do with love if heresy is allowed to spread and the faith twisted and chipped away, as if it were something that we ourselves had invented.

At the same time, while acknowledging the sins of some priests, the Pope said that the scandal should give the faithful a new perspective on the great gift of the priesthood. "Had the Year for Priests been a glorification of our individual human performance, it would have been ruined by these events," he said. But in fact the revelations of priests' weaknesses is a reminder that God serves the Church, and makes Himself available to the world, through the ministry of weak and fallen human persons.

The priesthood, Pope Benedict said, is a demonstration of the "audacity of God who entrusts Himelf to human beings," fully realizing their weakness." God's astonishing confidence in man comprises "the true grandeur concealed in the word 'priesthood,'" the Pontiff said. "The world’s religions, as far as we can see, have always known that in the end there is only one God. But this God was distant," the Pope continued. Through the priestly ministry, God becomes immediately present to his creatures. Therefore a Catholic priest is "no mere office-holder" but a direct participant in Christ's saving action.

Pope Benedict delivered his long and beautiful homily on the priesthood at a Mass that closed the observances of the Year for Priests. This year coincided with the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Vianney, the Curé of Ars, who was frequently cited by the Pope this year as a model of priestly dedication. As he celebrated the Mass the Pope used the chalice that once belonged to the French saint.

More than 15,000 priests-- who had come to Rome at the Pope's invitation for the final celebrations of the year-- joined in concelebrating the Eucharistic liturgy.

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 ($27,707 to go):
$150,000.00 $122,292.96
18% 82%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org 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 CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Another side of Francis: US-Cuba role shows Pope's diplomatic muscle 15 hours ago
Silly season: a Christmas approaches, a scholar questions whether Jesus ever existed 15 hours ago
The intrinsic immorality of torture: still not convinced? 20 hours ago
The Complexity of Reforming Religious Communities December 17
Speaking Softly to Women Religious December 16

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