Pope says priesthood not for personal gain

Benedict XVI told a group of visiting bishops from Ghana that the priesthood is not for improving one's social standing or standard of living.

Zenit reports that the Pope on Monday stressed that the gift of self to the other is "at the heart of the sacrament of holy orders."

"Those who receive this sacrament are configured in a particular way to Christ the Head of the Church," the Holy Father said. "They are therefore called to give of themselves completely for the sake of their brothers and sisters."

"This can only happen when God's will is no longer seen as something imposed from without, but becomes 'my own will based on the realisation that God is in fact more deeply present to me than I am to myself,'" he said quoting from his encyclical, Deus Caritas Est.

For this reason, "the priesthood must never be seen as a way of improving one's social standing or standard of living," Benedict XVI said.

"If it is, then priestly gift of self and docility to God's designs will give way to personal desires, rendering the priest ineffective and unfulfilled."

The Pope encouraged the bishops of Ghana, who were on their five-yearly visit to Rome, "to ensure the suitability of candidates for the priesthood and to guarantee proper priestly formation for those who are studying for the sacred ministry."

"We must strive," he said, "to help them discern Christ's will and nurture this gift so that they may become effective and fulfilled ministers of his joy."

Priesthood Not for Personal Gain, Says Pope (Zenit 24/4/06)

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26 Apr 2006