Pope warns clerical abuse is rooted in a sense of superiority

sense of superiority

Pope Francis cautioned a gathering of priests about the scourge of clerical abuse, asserting that it stems from a sense of superiority among priests.

“We can live our priestly ministry well only immersed in the priestly people from whom we come” advised the pope.

“This belonging to the people — do not ever let us feel separate from the journey of the holy, faithful people of God — protects us, sustains us in our struggles, accompanies us in our pastoral concerns and saves us from the risk of becoming detached from reality and feeling omnipotent” the pope said.

“Watch out because this is also the root of every form of abuse” Francis said, commenting on the sense of superiority exhibited by some clergy.

The pope made these remarks during a conference on the continuing education and formation of priests.

More than 1,000 priests and bishops from some 60 countries attended the 3-day meeting. The conference was sponsored by the dicasteries for Clergy, for Evangelisation and for the Eastern Churches.

Speaking at the Vatican audience hall, Pope Francis expressed gratitude for their dedication. The pontiff hoped the conference would inspire the group to rekindle their passion for their vocation and to share it with fellow priests.

In line with the synod’s call for priestly formation to remain integrated with community life, the pope underscored the importance of drawing upon the wisdom and contributions of the faithful.

“Remember your roots, your history, the history of your family and the history of your people” he said. “A priest is not born by spontaneous generation; either he is of God’s people or he is an aristocrat who ends up neurotic.”

Life of service

Pope Francis emphasised the vocation of priests is to serve. He underscored that their formation in service entails more than just imparting knowledge. But, he stressed, it also involves focusing on others, revealing their virtues and complexities, and addressing their needs.

He highlighted the necessity for seminarians and priests to receive similar support, “encouraging their journey, assisting them in discernment, accompanying them in their difficulties and supporting them amid pastoral challenges.”

Echoing his frequent call for mercy, Pope Francis urged priests to be forgiving.

“When people come to confession, they come to ask for forgiveness and not to hear a lecture on theology. Please be merciful. Always forgive, because forgiveness has this grace of embracing, of welcoming. I urge you: always forgive.”


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