Catholic World News

Be mediators, not rigid ‘middlemen,’ Pope exhorts priests

December 09, 2016

Priests should offer their lives in service to their people, not pursue their own interests, Pope Francis said in his homily at a morning Mass on December 9.

The Pope drew a contrast between “mediators” and “middlemen” in the clergy. The mediator, he said, “gives himself to unite the parties; he gives his life.” The priest, he explained, is a mediator between God and his flock, and in this sense he imitates Christ. “The logic of Jesus as mediator is the logic of annihilating oneself,” the Pope said, citing the letter of St. Paul to the Philippians.

Middlemen, on the other hand, “must take the path of rigidity,” the Pope continued. “Often disconnected from the people, they do not know what human suffering is.” He added that this sort of priest invariably is influenced by worldliness, pursuing his own interests rather than the good of the Church.

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  • Posted by: Lucius49 - Dec. 10, 2016 1:49 PM ET USA

    I've heard clergy remark that the Pope doesn't like priests resorting to name-calling, strawmen, and caricatures in speaking to them. Rigidity based on what standard? Sad to say I think the constant rigidity characterizations are a personal difficulty. Then there's the whole fake news as coprophilia charactization. Remarks unworthy of Peter. Peter confirm the brethren. Don't berate them.

  • Posted by: feedback - Dec. 10, 2016 10:53 AM ET USA

    Now condemning "rigidity" as bureaucratic heartlessness makes perfect sense.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Dec. 09, 2016 10:08 PM ET USA

    Aha! The second time in a week that we have a definition. We now know what "rigidity" can entail: a disconnect from the people, ignorance of human suffering. We are finally getting somewhere. We first learned what proselytism is _not_. A picture is beginning to form that the Pope's understanding of proselytism is converging with our understanding. Likewise is his understanding of rigidity converging with ours. Rather than the most devout among us being perceived as rigid, it is the bureaucrat.