Friday, October 10, 2003

Pope John Paul II--"The scandalous behavior of a few has undermined the credibility of many."

The code word in the Pope's address below is "ideal", something that those in the know would immediately pick up on that often celibacy is treated by those in the church as an "ideal" that one should strive to live for but not get too concerned if they fail to live up to the "ideal." This is how many fallen priests live with the apparent inconsistency between what they have chosen and what they are living. The Pope is saying this must not be the case. He also attacks the "secular" view of priesthood which has done much to undermine the office and has just about gutted every female religious order that has bought into the notion.

From Zenit News Agency - The World Seen From Rome:

Today's clergy must be careful not to adopt the secular view of the priesthood as a "profession," a "career" and a means of earning a living. Rather, the clergy must see the priesthood as a vocation to selfless, loving service, embracing wholeheartedly the "esteemed gift of celibacy" and all that this involves. Here I wish to emphasize that celibacy is to be regarded as an integral part of the priest's exterior and interior life, and not just as a long-standing ideal which is to be respected (cf. "Presbyterorum Ordinis," 16). Sadly, the lifestyle of some clergy has been a countersign to the spirit of the evangelical counsels which should be a part of the spirituality of every priest. The scandalous behavior of a few has undermined the credibility of many. I wish you to know that I am aware of the sensitive way in which you have attempted to address this issue, and I encourage you not to lose hope. True discipleship calls for love, compassion and at times strict discipline in order to serve the common good. [It should] always be just and always be merciful.