Presbyterorum Ordinis 10: Distribution

Presbyterorum Ordinis 10 deals with the distribution of priests in the Church. Leading off …

The spiritual gift which priests receive at their ordination prepared them not for a sort of limited and narrow mission but for the widest possible and universal mission of salvation “even to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8), for every priestly ministry shares in the universality of the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles.

The intent of the document is openness to mission work when necessary. But I also wonder about this sentence in light of the training of priests. Are they just sacramental providers? Teachers? Preachers? Or jacks of all spiritual trades, as it were?

Hence, priests of such dioceses as are rich in vocations should show themselves willing and ready, with the permission of their own ordinaries (bishops), to volunteer for work in other regions, missions or endeavors which are poor in numbers of clergy.

A point probably lost in light of today’s numbers game. But the spirit of the statement might apply to older clergy holding the plum assignments in suburbs while younger priests struggle in first assignments in difficult parishes the older guys would prefer not to take.

 … there should be set up international seminaries, special personal dioceses or prelatures (vicariates), and so forth, by means of which, according to their particular statutes and always saving the right of bishops, priests may be trained and incardinated for the good of the whole Church.

This surprised me, too. Got me thinking about the possible advantages to international training–not just in Rome. Or temporary exchanges of priests from one diocese to another … not that I have a particular oar in these waters.

Thoughts?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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