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Priesthood in the 21st century: Vatican encourages reflection on its challenges

Living celibacy in the 21st century, the formative education of seminarians, the prevention of sexual abuse, of abuses of power and of conscience were some of the issues addressed in the symposium on the priesthood inaugurated by Pope Francis in February 2022. 

Without friends and prayer, celibacy can become an unbearable burden and a testimony against the beauty of the priesthood.

Now the organizers of the symposium have presented two volumes summarizing the lectures.

Cardinal Marc Ouellet is the Prefect emeritus of the Dicastery for Bishops and the main promoter of this symposium.

For thirteen years, we have been saying that vocations are disappearing, that there are tensions and rivalries in the communities, and that there is a lack of a missionary spirit, something the Pope has tried to instill in us. That is why I think that these reflections are first and foremost for bishops.

The symposium addressed the problem of clericalism and how it can be solved if the faithful learn the meaning of the common priesthood.

Pontifical Faculty of Educational Sciences "Auxilium"

Reflecting on the complementary nature of vocations, the dignity of the baptismal priesthood and the common dignity of all believers is the present focus.

Formation in the seminaries is also an important task. Some seminaries have started incorporating lay formators who have more contact with the outside world.

Bishop of Manatova (Italy)

I think that the specific seminary structure basically created dependent personalities, because it was a somewhat closed world and one that was not very capable of interacting with today's culture.

In spite of the current culture's resistance to anything that is defined, one must have a clear idea of what one wants to achieve in formation. Thus, one must have a clear vision about the Catholic priesthood.

Cardinal Ouellet wanted to emphasize that this symposium was organized to deepen the teachings on the priesthood, especially in today's context.