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Rome Reports

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Pope's four pieces of advice to priests

Pope Francis met with the community of the Pontifical Benedict XV Flaminio Seminary of Bologna. They are celebrating the seminary's 100th anniversary.

The pope talked about four things diocesan priests should maintain a closeness to: God, the bishop, other priests and the people.

“Being close to God in prayer, I've said, begins in the seminary. Being close to the bishop, always close to the bishop. Without the bishop, the Church can't go forward. Without the bishop, the priest can be a leader, but then he will not be a priest.”

He told those present that the priesthood should not be seen as a career, but as a vocation to serve. He also talked of the pain he feels when he sees the clergy divided among itself.

“This is something that makes me suffer, when I see fragmented groups of priests, where one is against the other. Or when they are outwardly polite but then talk badly behind each other's backs.”

The pope continued by asking priests to remember their roots and stay close to the people. He warned against clericalism, calling it a path to corruption.

Claudia Torres