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Cardinal Josef Cordes writes a book on the priesthood

2010-05-01

The book titled, Why a priest?, explains the origins, development and limits that come with the priesthood. Each chapter starts with a message from Benedict XVI or Joseph Ratzinger.

Card. Paul Josef Cordes
President, Pontifical Council Cor Unum

“It seems to me that specially in this moment we need like the Holy Father indeed with the Year for Priests we have to give again courage and to clarify the identity of the priest.”

In each page, the cardinal points out that what makes a priest different from the rest who are baptized is his ordination. In other words, a priest has received a special grace from God.

Card. Paul Josef Cordes
President, Pontifical Council Cor Unum

“He has a special gift when he is ordained, the community is praying for him, that God made him a grace and then the bishop is imposing them his hands and this is the sign that has to be righting faith, the sign the Holy spirit is taking possession of this man”.

The book says all the baptized have a function within the Church and it’s important one meets that function, but the role of the priest can never be substituted, a position spelled out in the Second Vatican Council.

Card. Paul Josef Cordes
President, Pontifical Council Cor Unum

“The Vatican  Council II, understands the priest as a member of the community with special gift. He can not be substituted by others, but he has this gift to guide and foster the community and he will do it well when he is loved by the community.”

Another main theme in the book is celibacy. According to Cardinal Cordes, celibacy also helps priests to dedicate 100 percent of their time to others.

But he adds, this “challenge” is also an “obligation”. He notes the only way to tackle difficulties is by “looking to God” and says this is the only way to understand its meaning even if others never will. 

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