Pope warns seminary is not a refuge for the fearful

Pope Francis has told seminarians that the seminary is not a refuge for those who lack the courage to “get on in life”.

The Pope told seminarians training for the Italian diocese of Lazio that a seminary is not a refuge for those who have psychological problems either.

The Pontiff was speaking on April 15 at the Clementine Hall in the Vatican.

He told the seminarians that they are not training for work in a business or bureaucracy.

“We have so many priests who have gone half way . . . it’s sad that they did not manage to go the whole way; they have something of the employee in them, something of the bureaucrat in them and this is not good for the Church.”

“Please be careful you don’t fall into this.”

Rather, the seminarian should aim to be pastors in the image of Jesus, “the good pastor”.

“Your aim is to resemble him and act on behalf of him amidst his flock.”

Pope Francis said it is true that “at the beginning intentions are not completely righteous, and it is hard for them to be so”.

“All of us have had moments when our intentions were not completely righteous, but in time this changes with everyday conversion.”

The Pope cited the examples of the apostles James and John.

“One of them wanted to be prime minister and the other a minister of the economy because it was a more important role.

“The apostles’ mind was elsewhere but the Lord patiently corrected their intention and in the end the intention of their preaching and martyrdom was incredibly righteous.”

Being a good shepherd means meditating on the Gospels, experiencing God’s mercy oneself in Confession, being nourished by the Eucharist and being men of prayer.

“If you are not willing to follow this path, with these attitudes and these experiences – and I say this from the heart, without meaning to offend anyone – it is better to have the courage to seek another,” the Pope said.

Earlier this year, Pope Francis warned that priests can be “little monsters” if they aren’t trained properly in the seminary, with hearts being molded as well as minds.


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