Aparecida 192-193: Challenges For The Priest

The bishops praised those who attended to the spiritual life in their priesthood. They identify three main challenges in paragraph 192:

192. A glance at our actual moment shows us situations that affect and challenge the life and ministry of our priests. These include the theological identity of the priestly ministry, how they fit into contemporary culture, and situations that affect their life.

And each of these are briefly noted in paragraphs 193 through 195. Let’s begin with theological identity:

193. The first challenge has to do with the theological identity of the priestly ministry. Vatican II establishes the ministerial priesthood at the service of the common priesthood of the faithful; each participates in the single priesthood of Christ, although in a qualitatively different way.(Lumen Gentium 10) Christ, High and Eternal Priest, has redeemed us and has shared his divine life with us. In Him we are all children of the same Father, and brothers and sisters of each other. The priest cannot fall into the temptation of regarding himself as a mere delegate or simply a representative of the community; rather he is a gift to it by the anointing of the Spirit, and by his special union with Christ the head. “Every high priest is taken from among men and made their representative before God” (Heb 5:1).

If I read this interpretation correctly, a priest is a servant in between. Possibly a bridge between people and their God. Not the only bridge, but an important one in light of the priesthood they share with any baptized person. Also the particular God-given calling they have received for service.

For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in 2007 Aparecida document, bishops, evangelization. Bookmark the permalink.

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