Aparecida 322: Healthy Freedom

322. In the entire formation process, the seminary environment and the formation pedagogy must foster a climate of healthy freedom and of personal responsibility, and avoid creating artificial environments or imposed paths. The candidate’s option for the priestly life and ministry must mature and be supported by true and authentic, free and personal motivations. That is the aim of discipline in houses of formation.

Unfortunately, the discipline directed at young people can often be clumsy, callous, and an expression of the immaturity of those in power.

This piece is quite good:

Pastoral experiences, discerned and accompanied in the formation process, are extremely important for corroborating the authenticity of the motivations in the candidate and helping him to assume the ministry as a true and generous service in which what I am and what I do, consecrated person and ministry, are inseparable realities.

First thing: a candidate for ordination belongs in ministry of some sort. I’m not sure it doesn’t need to be a continuous part of a person’s formation. Being able to reflect upon, pray with, and discuss in direction such experiences are vital to understanding and discerning interior motivations as well.

I would be cautious about too close a tie between “what I am” and “what I do,” lest we form people who cannot separate their stature as a saved disciple from the service they provide to others. At times in our lives, we may need to step back from elements of ministry. That doesn’t decrease how God might affirm us. Ministers are something more than cogs in an NGO.

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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