Pope Francis yesterday warned newly-ordained priests against the twin perils of worldly ambition and love of money.
The Pope, in his homilu at a Mass in Rome where he ordained nine deacons to the priesthood, acknowledged that in the past there used to be talk of the “ecclesiastical career”.
But he continued: “This is not a ‘career’, it is a service, a service like that which God has done to his people. And this service of God to his people has ‘traces’, it has a style, a style that you must follow. Style of closeness, style of compassion and style of tenderness. This is God's style. Closeness, compassion, tenderness.”
He urged the nine men – Georg Marius Bogdan, Salvatore Marco Montone, Manuel Secci, Diego Armando Barrera Parra, Salvatore Lucchesi, Giorgio de Iuri, Riccardo Cendamo, Samuel Piermarini and Mateus Henrique Ataide da Cruz – to beware of vanity and “the pride of money”.
The devil enters via the pockets, he said. “Be poor, as the holy faithful people of God are poor. Poor people who love the poor. Don't be climbers.”
A priest should not be an entrepreneur, he said, telling the story of an intelligent, practical priest who became a “ruthless businessman” in the running of his parish, and kicked out an elderly man who had made a mistake.
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Speaking on what was the 58th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, when parishes throughout the world requested special offerings to help pay for the training of priests, Pope Francis also asked the nine men to resolve immediately never to speak badly of a brother priest.”
He added: “If you have something against another, be men. You wear the trousers, go there, and tell him to his face... Don't be talkative. Don't fall into gossip.”
He also urged them to be merciful and forgiving of people who tell them of their problems. “God's style is also a style of compassion and of tenderness. Don’t close your heart to problems. And you will see so many.”