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Pope Benedict XVI presents Year for Priests

2009-06-18

Cardinal Claudio Hummes
Prefect, Congregation for the Clergy

Im very happy to celebrate the year of the priest. Priests deserve this. They needed this recognition from the Church and from society. Their dignity and their importance needed to be recognized.

Monsignor Mauro Piacenza
Secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy

The Holy Father has chosen the slogan loyalty to Christ, loyalty to priests, for this special year.

Monsignor Mauro Piacenza is the secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy, the branch of the Vatican that deals with matters on the priesthood. He says dedicating a year to the priesthood has many facets, but centers around the vocation of priests.

Monsignor Mauro Piacenza
Secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy

The idea for the year of the priest comes from the need to reinforce the internal strength of priests. Thats to say, renewing their motivation and adherence to their own identity so as to foster a greater enthusiasm for the mission.

It also offers priests a chance to reflect on their own activities as priests and how to better help people.

Cardinal Claudio Hummes
Prefect, Congregation for the Clergy

"It will be very important for priests, because it will help them reflect on what their mission and vocation means. For example, a stronger, deeper spirituality, and a deeper understanding of theology that goes beyond their spiritual identity.

Monsignor Mauro Piacenza
Secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy

For example, thinking about how much dissonance or assonance there is in my life. Reflecting on things like patience when listening, humility when counselling, being firm when necessary, the ability to communicate Gods mercy in peoples lives.

There are about 400,000 Catholic priests in the world today representing some 1 billion Catholics. In country like China, for example, where freedom of religion is virtually non existent, priests are persecuted for practicing their faith.

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