Aparecida 195: Spiritual Life of Priests

An expansive project: the spiritual life of the clergy. The bishops touch on a number of important aspects:

195. The third challenge has to do with vital and affective aspects, celibacy, and an intense spiritual life grounded in pastoral charity, which draws nourishment from personal experience with God and in communion with the brethren. It likewise has to do with cultivating fraternal relations with the bishop, the other priests of the diocese, and lay people. In order for the priest’s ministry to be coherent and give witness, he must love and carry out his pastoral task in communion with the bishop and with the other priests of the diocese. The priestly ministry that springs from Holy Orders has a “radical communal shape” and can only be carried out as a “collective work.” (Pastores Dabo Vobis 17) The priest must be a man of prayer, mature in his choice of life for God, and must make use of the means of perseverance, such as the sacrament of confession, devotion to the Blessed Virgin, mortification, and fervent dedication to his pastoral mission.

The testimony from Pope John Paul II is significant, that “radical communal shape.” Often enough clergy drift into more of an eremitic life. I can imagine this is more of a problem in mission lands south of the US-Mexico border. Isolation is enough of a problem in the US, one of the most priest-rich nations in Catholicism. Many clergy I know are indeed dedicated to that “collective work” in ministry. But nearly all could benefit greatly from more attention in that area.

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 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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