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Cardinal Castrillón says priests not masters of the faithful

People today seek one thing from a priest: to encounter Christ, contemplating in him the face of God, says Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos (pictured), prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, during a Vatican videoconference.

The videoconference continued the theme of the International Congress of Priests held last month in Malta: "Priests, Forgers of Saints in the Third Millennium".

Monsignor Esquerda Bifet, professor at Rome's Urban University, presented the priest's life of holiness as key "so that the Gospel can penetrate in a genuine way in cultures and also, in a special way, in our sociocultural and historical situation."

Monsignor Miralles, professor at the University of the Holy Cross, said that the Church' pastors "are credible in the measure that they reveal Christ."

According to the Monsignor Miralles, it is necessary to carry out pastoral service in three ways. First, "not out of obligation, almost wishing to be rid of it as a heavy burden, but willingly, according to Jesus' example, obedient to the Father unto death."

"In the second place, not for profit but with a good heart," he said. "It is the contrast between the hireling and the good shepherd. The hireling 'cares nothing for the sheep'; his interest is earnings. Instead, 'the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.'"

In the third place, not behaving as masters of the faithful who have been entrusted to them, but being "models for the flock," Monsignor Miralles said. "The shepherds are not the owners of the flock, because the flock is God's."

Cardinal Castrillón said, "In this long winter of an anthropology without Christ and a spiritualist humanism, celebrated by an esoteric and pantheistic religiosity, the Church does not remain inactive or indifferent. With the faithfulness of her priests she wishes to illuminate the darkness of a culture that dispenses with God and to be guide toward the dawn of a spring of holiness among men."

Cardinal Castrillón on What People Expect of Priests (Zenit 14/12/04)

Congregation for Clergy

Priests Congress to swell population of Malta (CathNews 13/10/04)
World Congress says religious life needs "fewer professionals, more witnesses" (CathNews 30/11/04)

15 Dec 2004