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Rome Reports

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Vatican to host ambitious conference on the theological foundations of priesthood

In February, thousands of people along with a group of bishops will meet at the Vatican to reflect on the foundations of the priesthood.

The conference will be organized by the "Center for Research and Anthropology of Vocations," presided over by Cardinal Marc Ouellet.

The participants hope to recall the foundation of each vocation which lies in baptism, and through which the faithful participate in the mission of the Church.

Prefect, Congregation of Bishops
"We Catholics remained with the priestly ministry, and Protestants with the baptismal priesthood. It was necessary to reconcile these perspectives, to integrate them. The Second Vatican Council did just that, but this idea has not yet entered into the life and pastoral care of the Church."

The conference will be held in Rome from Feb. 17 to the 19. It is titled "Toward a fundamental theology of the priesthood," and will be concluded by the Pope. 

The conference will address questions such as the relationship of the priesthood with other vocations in the Church, and why priests are asked to be celibate. 

Prefect, Congregation of Bishops
"This is not a symposium on priestly celibacy, as if this question should be fundamentally addressed. It is a broader perspective, starting with baptism."

Rector, Pontifical French Seminary in Rome
"To show (future priests) the reasons that justify the request (for celibacy) and this life commitment, and to propose to them, consequently and coherently, the most appropriate ways to live this gift with fidelity."

Professor of Theology, Pontifical Gregorian University.
"Today, in many parts of the world, bishops and priests are seeking to identify what changes are needed for a priest to truly be a sentinel of the Kingdom of God, a man called by God to sanctify the world through the gift of the sacraments of the Kingdom."

The conference also has a dedicated website on which content will be published to prepare for the meetings. 

Organizers hope that by returning to a theology of the priesthood, a missionary drive will once again be taken up throughout the Church. 

It seems to be an event that will benefit not only priests, but all believers.