What’s priesthood for?

During last week’s Jubilee for Priests in Rome, Bishop Robert Barron sat down for an interview with CNA where he discussed Pope Francis’ view on the meaning of the priesthood.

“In the vision of Pope Francis, (priests) are the key players in communicating the Divine Mercy to the world. He sees that as our primary mission,” Bishop Barron said June 3.

“I think (the Pope) sees the mercy emphasis as the best way to renew the priesthood for our time.”

Bishop Barron, founder of Word On Fire Catholic ministries and auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, was invited to give a catechesis to the English-language participants during the June 1-3 Jubilee of Priests.

The three day event is the latest initiative in the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which began last December and will continue until November.

Before being appointed auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles in July of last year, Bishop Barron served as the rector of Mundelein seminary, starting 2012.

A couple years earlier, the Chicago native launched the Word On Fire online ministries in 2000.

See the rest of CNA’s interview with Bishop Robert Barron below:

You gave a catechesis to the English-speaking priests taking part in the Jubilee, with some 800 priests gathered at the Church of Sant’Andrea della Valle. What were some of the main points you discussed?

I talked about the woman at the well, which is a favorite of Pope Francis. I drew four points from it about God’s mercy. (First), that God’s mercy is relentless, crossing boundaries and borders as Jesus does, reaching out to this triple outsider.

Secondly, the Divine mercy is divinizing. It’s not just padding us on the head and healing our wounds; it lifts us up to share in the very divine life. He wants to give the woman at the well water bubbling up to eternal life.

And then thirdly, I talked about Divine mercy as challenging. I’m against the view that the more you say ‘mercy,’ the less you say ‘moral challenge.’ No: it’s both/and. It’s mercy all the way, and that implies transformation – metanoia. Finally, mercy sends us on mission. Continue reading


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