The Catholic Church needs holy, healthy and humble priests and that requires prayers for vocations and the careful selection and training of candidates, said the Congregation for Clergy.
Updating 1985 guidelines for preparing men for the Latin-rite priesthood and ensuring their continuing education, training and support, the Congregation for Clergy released ‘The Gift of the Priestly Vocation’, a detailed set of guidelines and norms for priestly formation, on 7th December.
The updated document draws heavily on St John Paul II’s 1992 apostolic exhortation on priestly formation, as well as on the teaching of and norms issued by now-retired Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis and by Vatican offices over the past three decades.
It reaffirms an instruction approved by Pope Benedict in 2005, which said, ‘the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture’.’
The document insists that through courses in pastoral theology, the example of priests and practical experience, candidates for the priesthood learn that priestly ministry involves – as Pope Francis says – being “shepherds ‘with the smell of the sheep,’ who live in their midst to bring the mercy of God to them.”
Picture: Pope Francis greets a new priest during the ordination Mass of 11 priests in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on 17th April. The Catholic Church needs holy, healthy and humble priests, and that requires prayers for vocations and the careful selection and training of candidates, said the Congregation for Clergy. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).