1. Introduction: There are three important terms that constitutes and conditions this paper titled “Towards an integral pastoral ministry for the priests – Problems and Prospects”. These are Pastoral, Ministry and Priests. The clarification of the meaning of these three terms could, not only lay good and deep foundation for this paper, but also, expose the problems and prospects that are encountered in the priestly execution of an integral pastoral ministry today.
2. Pastoral: The term pastoral is derived from the Latin word pastor / pastoralis meaning shepherd (a guide and a companion). Its biblical usage portrays the loving care of God to bring back the lost sheep into his pasture, to nurture and care for them and as well illustrates the bewilderment and helplessness of mankind.1 The Gospel of John presents Jesus as the “good Shepherd” (John 10, 1-18). From among his flock, Jesus chooses and raises “leaders who are to act as under-shepherds. To them has been given the responsibility of leading, protecting, feeding, and caring for His sheep (Acts 20:28: Eph. 5: 12: 1 Pet. 5: 2-3)” 2 Pastoral activity could thus be defined as the loving care of God for man in history geared towards the salvation of mankind.3 which is exemplified in and realised through Christ (the good Shepherd). Christ himself entrusted this shepherding activity of God in the hands of his Church. The Church carries out this work of God through those appointed by her. The Pastoral activity of and in the church has a ministerial character.
3. Ministry: The concept of ministry takes its origin from the Old Testament depicting the councillor, servant, court assistant, or a sacred minister (Is. 61:6). Angels who stand before the throne of God are also referred to as ministers (Ps. 103:21).4 The New Testament usage of the word derives from the Greek word “diakonia” meaning service (diakoneo – to serve). Jesus himself is the exemplary minister of God as he asserts: “For the son of man himself came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mk 10, 45) While the work of those entrusted with responsibilities among the followers of Christ are depicted as service (diakonia, ministry) the persons themselves are referred to as ministers. The term ministry is also used in the Pauline letters to refer to diversity of services amongst the Christian community (cf. 1 Corinthians 12, 4-5, 7-10) and to the different charisms given to Believers by the God which help to build up the body of Christ (cf. Ephesians 4, 11-12, 15-16).5
Biblical understanding of ministry refers generally to a service rendered to God in and for the community. The executor of a ministry activity is designated as a minister. This person is either selected (elected) or anointed for a particular service either from the community, from another minister or has a direct mandate from God. “Ministry in the earliest years of the Church, therefore, was of two kinds: (1) ministry that flowed from the missionary enterprise and involved apostles, prophets, and teachers; and (2) ministry that consisted of the residential care of local communities – presbyters… and bishops and deacons…”6 Later developments in the history of the Church, especially in the Middle ages, experienced a theological shift of understanding of ministry from service to hierarchical power of leadership. The Council of Trent restricted formal ministerial functions to bishops, priests and deacons. The laity became objects of ministerial activity of the clergy. The reform work of Second Vatican Council reinstated the understanding of ministry as service thus curbing its long traditional restriction and understanding as an ecclesiastical status. The Council declares a variety of ministries which are not restricted to the clergy alone: “For the nurturing and constant growth of the People of God, Christ the Lord instituted in His Church a variety of ministries, which work for the good of the whole body.” (Lumen Gentium 18)
We can now posit that the term “Ministry” is closely linked with the biblical understanding of the term “Pastoral”. Ministry identifies the pastoral activity of the church, who, through and in Christ, is entrusted with the salvific work of God and defines it as service. Using the words of the Council Fathers, Pastoral Ministry can be defined as an activity aimed at making “the divine message of salvation known and accepted by all men throughout the world.” This work, which is the responsibility of the church, has, according to the Fathers of the second Vatican council, a priestly character.
4. Priesthood: Pauline Theology explicitly identifies the Church and the Christians as the Body of Christ and Christ as the Head of this body (cf. I Cor. 6, 15; 12, 12-27; Rom. 12, 5; Eph. 3, 6; 4, 12; 5, 23; Col. 1, 18, 24; 2, 19.), thus depicting a sacramental unity between Christ and the Church, and between the Christians with one another.7 This image of the church and the faithful as the body of Christ could be used to understand (to define and to distinguish between) the second Vatican Council understanding of the priesthood and the distinction between the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood.
4.1: The Common Priesthood of all the Faithful: The Common priesthood of all Christ’s faithful springs from their being the body of Christ. As the body of Christ, Christians (and as such the Church) have a share and partake in the inheritance of Christ (cf. Gal. 3, 29; 4, 7; Eph. 1, 11.). Since Christ is the true and eternal high priest (cf. Heb. 4, 14; 5, 5-10), the Church and Christians being the body of Christ, partake too in the priesthood of Christ. Thus the first letter of Peter and Book of Revelation describe the Church and the Christians as a kingdom and a line of priests (cf. 1 Peter, 2, 5, 9; Rev. 5, 9-10). The Priesthood of the Church and of Christians derive its existence and right as a participation in the priesthood of Christ. The Vatican Council II Decree on the ministry and life of Priests declares: “The Lord Jesus, ‘whom the Father has sent into the world’ (Jn. 10:36) has made his whole Mystical Body a sharer in the anointing of the Spirit with which he himself is anointed. In him all the faithful are made a holy and royal priesthood; they offer spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ, and they proclaim the perfections of him who has called them out of darkness into his marvellous light. Therefore, there is no member who does not have a part in the mission of the whole Body; but each one ought to hallow Jesus in his heart, and in the spirit of prophecy bear witness to Jesus.” 8 Thus all the people of God without distinction are called to this pastoral mission and as such are subjects and objects of the pastoral ministry activity of the church as the Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity affirms: “The Church was founded for the purpose of spreading the kingdom of Christ throughout the earth for the glory of God the Father, to enable all men to share in His saving redemption, and that through them the whole world might enter into a relationship with Christ. All activity of the Mystical Body directed to the attainment of this goal is called the apostolate, which the Church carries on in various ways through all her members. For the Christian vocation by its very nature is also a vocation to the apostolate. No part of the structure of a living body is merely passive but has a share in the functions as well as life of the body: so, too, in the body of Christ, which is the Church, ‘the whole body… in keeping with the proper activity of each part, derives its increase from its own internal development’ (Eph. 4:16)… In the Church there is a diversity of ministry but a oneness of mission. Christ conferred on the Apostles and their successors the duty of teaching, sanctifying, and ruling in His name and power. But the laity likewise share in the priestly, prophetic, and royal office of Christ and therefore have their own share in the mission of the whole people of God in the Church and in the world.” 9
4.2: The Ministerial or Hierarchical Priesthood: The ministerial Priesthood, though deriving from the same analogy of the body of Christ, applies directly to the function and position of Christ as the head of his body. A ministerial priest is called to be another Christ, thus is ordained to carry out the work of Christ as the head of his body (in persona Christi capitis). José Cardinal Sanchez, Prefect for the Congregation for the Clergy writes: “The ministerial priesthood finds its reason for being in light of this vital and operative union of the Church with Christ. As a result, through this ministry the Lord continues to accomplish among his People the work which as Head of his Body belongs to Him alone. Thus, the ministerial priesthood renders tangible the actual work of Christ, the Head, and gives witness to the fact that Christ has not separated Himself from his Church; rather He continues to vivify her through his everlasting priesthood. For this reason, the Church considers the ministerial priesthood a gift given to Her through the ministry of some of her faithful. This gift which was instituted by Christ to continue his own salvific mission was conferred upon the Apostles and remains in the Church through the Bishops and their successors”10
The common priesthood of all the people of God and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood are thus both a participation in the priesthood of Jesus Christ himself – who is the eternal Priest.11 The main distinction according to the analogy of the body of Christ, lie in the fact that the common priesthood is a service of a single member of the body of Christ (the church), while the ministerial priesthood is a service of Christ himself – the head and as such a service for the whole body of Christ (the church). It is a service of unification of the whole body of Christ.12 By Ordination the priest receive the three offices of Christ who is prophet, priest and king13 - the ministry of the word, the ministry of sanctification and the ministry of governance or pastoral authority.14
Pope Benedict IV further distinguishes two aspects of the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood. The first aspect derives from a social or functional perspective as “service” – service to the community in the fulfilment of a function. The second aspect springs from a sacramental-ontological perspective as a “sacrament” – anchored to the person of the priest thus based on an existential gift offered to the priest from Christ.15 While the aspect of service refers to execution of three fold functions of teaching, sanctifying and ruling, the aspect of sacramental union with the life of Christ refers to his own personal life and affirms that the life a ministerial priest is configured to that of Christ - as St Paul would say - “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2, 20). Both aspects are linked and correspond to each other thereby defining the function and meaning of the catholic ministerial priesthood.
Conclusively, we could define pastoral ministry for priests as the continuation of the shepherding activity of God for mankind, which was realised by Jesus Christ16 and entrusted to the church as the body of Christ. This understanding of pastoral ministry for priests finds a deep definition in the words of the Second Vatican Council: “the Church is in Christ like a sacrament or as a sign and instrument both of a very closely knit union with God and of the unity of the whole human race”.17 The authority to render pastoral ministry is a gift of the Holy Spirit through and under the direction of the Church. Through His hierarchical and charismatic gifts the Holy Spirit directs and leads the Church.18 While the lay faithful as the body of Christ fulfil their priestly pastoral ministry through living a Christian life and through exercise of the charism with which the Holy Spirit has blessed them19, the ministerial priest representing Christ as the head of his body, fulfils his pastoral ministry through service for the whole body and through living a sacramental life.
5. Integral Pastoral Ministry for Priests: The elaborate definition and understanding of the key terms of this paper help us to posit the necessary constituents of an integral pastoral ministry for priests. I would like to identify three urgent areas.
5.1: Jesus Christ is the model and measure of Pastoral Ministry: The pastoral ministry of Jesus is predominately one of care and service to people whose life are in misery. His first homily at his home town demonstrates this vividly: “The spirit of the Lord is on me, for he has anointed me to bring the good news to the afflicted. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives, sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord.” (Luke 4, 18 – 19). Through this interpretation of his pastoral ministry Jesus is at the same time revealing a God who is deeply touched by the misery of his people, a God who gets himself involved in a human history tarnished with the colours of death in other to let life reign. This is salvation.
An Integral pastoral ministry derives its existence, model and measure from the ministry of Christ Himself. Thus the question if God’s intervention against the structures of death, his commitment to offer worthy human life, discernible and operative in the actions of Christians and in the praxis of the church just as they were in the life of Jesus should serve as guideline for an integral pastoral ministry. It has to secure that all her actions are geared towards the realisation of its primary mission – preaching Christ. An integral pastoral ministry has to assure that the ways and means through which it carries out its ministry corresponds to and is in line with the spirit of Christ. The Church is not for itself there, rather, she is essentially Mission. She has to ensure, that she utilizes her means to respond to the pastoral needs of the world to which she is called to evangelise.
5.2: The Call to a sacramental life: While service defines integral nature of pastoral ministry for the priests, the call to a sacramental life - a life configured to that of Christ – remains the prerequisite (condition sine qua non) for this service and makes the priestly pastoral ministry possible and integral. An integral pastoral ministry for the priests calls for an integral human personality and personal Christian spirituality. “The formula Nemo dat quod non habet” applies here to the full.20 While explaining the meaning of the special year for the priests 2011, Pope Benedict IV, admonishes: “Only participation in Christ's sacrifice, in his kenosis, makes preaching authentic! …Proclamation, therefore, always involves self-sacrifice, a prerequisite for its authenticity and efficacy.”21 According to the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council priests “cannot be ministers of Christ unless they be witnesses and dispensers of a life other than earthly life… Their ministry itself, by a special title, forbids that they be conformed to this world… To achieve this aim, certain virtues, which in human affairs are deservedly esteemed, contribute a great deal: such as goodness of heart, sincerity, strength and constancy of mind, zealous pursuit of justice, affability, and others…”22 Article 9 of the same document admonishes: “Priests, therefore, must take the lead in seeking the things of Jesus Christ, not the things that are their own. They must work together with the lay faithful, and conduct themselves in their midst after the example of their Master, who among men ‘came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life as redemption for many’ (Mt 20:28).”23
5.3: Enabling the ministry of the lay Faithful – and Call to Collaborative ministry: The function of the head is to nourish and build up the body through the encouragement of its potentialities. The head should integrate the different talents of the parts to a unified whole. The body is not there for the head rather the head for the body and should be ready to risk its “head” for the life of the body. The Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests gives a definite instruction to priest on this note thus: “While trying the spirits to see if they be of God, priests should uncover with a sense of faith, acknowledge with joy and foster with diligence the various humble and exalted charisms of the laity… Likewise, they should confidently entrust to the laity duties in the service of the Church, allowing them freedom and room for action; in fact, they should invite them on suitable occasions to undertake worlds on their own initiative.”24
6. Problems and Prospects: I would here like to portray the result of a questioner I conducted during a pastoral theology lecture with third year theologians (2010) of Seat of Wisdom Seminary Owerri on problems and prospects of pastoral ministry as experienced from the seminarians in their various parishes and places of apostolic work. They are to evaluate the different aspects of priestly ministry.
6.1: Priestly service: Here the seminarians are of the view that the priests are doing well even though there are some aberrations and lapses. Some of these are due to lack of knowledge, and respect for the actual meaning and intention of the sacrament. There is great need for adequate ongoing formation for priests. The graces of ordination need to be flamed into flame and its glowing light maintained.25 This need for ongoing formation for priests is one that derives, according to Pope John Paul II in the Document Pastores dabo Vobis, from the theology of the Holy Orders itself. Then the call to the priesthood is not a call that ends with the ordination. Rather, it is a daily and continues call thus demanding a daily continuous answer. The positive response of the candidate, during the period of formation and essentially at ordination, is one that “must be expressed anew and reaffirmed through the years of his priesthood in countless other responses”26 and encounters in daily life. “Permanent formation is necessary in order to discern and follow this constant call or will of God. Thus the Apostle Peter is called to follow Jesus even after the Risen Lord has entrusted his flock to him…”27 Thus “the ongoing formation of priests… is the natural and absolutely necessary continuation of the process of building priestly personality which began and developed in the Seminary or the Religious House with the training programme which aimed at ordination. It is particularly important to be aware of and to respect the intrinsic link between formation before ordination to the Priesthood and formation after ordination. Should there be a break in continuity, or worse, a complete difference between these two phases of formation, there would be serious and immediate repercussions on pastoral work and fraternal communion among priests, especially those in different age groups. Ongoing formation is not a repetition of the formation acquired in the Seminary, simply reviewed or expanded with new and practical suggestions. Ongoing formation involves relatively new content and especially methods; it develops as a harmonious and vital process which - rooted in the formation received in the Seminary - calls for adaptations, updating and modifications, but without sharp breaks in continuity.”28
6.2: Priestly life: Some seminarians doubt if some ministerial priests are really convinced Christians. That suffices and needs no further comments. However it establishes the urgent necessity for programmes on human and spiritual formation for priests. It is important not to close our eyes to the fact, that there can be wolves clothed like shepherds who have be entrusted with pastoral ministry in the Lords flock. The protection of the Lords flock against such false shepherds is a task of an integral pastoral ministry of the church entrusted in the hands of priests. It is an important work of protection of the dignity and Credit of the priesthood. We are called to be our brother’s keepers and keepers of the flock at the same time.
6.3: Collaborative ministry: The seminarians are generally of the view that our church is still uka fada. An Integral Pastoral Ministry needs to work towards a transformation to “uka ndi mmadu” – the church of the people of God. Such a church will conform to the understanding of the church as defined by the Fathers of the African Synod. Uzoukwu writes: “The recognition of the gifts of communities and individuals, of the rights of communities and individuals, is basic to the understanding of ministry in the church. It shows that fundamentally all members of God’s family are graced (filled with God’s particular gifts). All communities have their particular gifts which they bring to the communion of churches… Ministries and services are exercised for the well-being of the community; through them the church-community bears witness to the Reign of God in the world.”29
It is a fact that could be hardly doubted, that most of the leaders of today independent and charismatic churches stem from the historical or traditional churches especially from the Catholic Church. These are people who were either frustrated or not allowed to live out their genuine spirit gifts within the church. Lack of patience or vision for a possible solution within the church drive them away. The Church not only looses good and potential collaborators for the pastoral ministry, but also their good and active members who are being drawn away by such charismatic personalities. Uzukwu writes: Often times those of us in the historical or missionary churches wonder why the sects and the independent churches (called African Christianities by some) have such success. Compared with the missionary churches, they arouse more participation and engender more fulfilment among their members despite the fact that the formation of their church leadership is in many ways rudimentary. We must appreciate the fact that many of these churches tune into the dimension of spirit, which is vital to the African notion of person. The “in” of the Spirit of God, who makes his home in the community and in each individual Christian, is also the “opening out” of the spirit of the community and of individuals to creativity…. While the missionary churches (especially the Roman Catholic church) hold such charisms suspect, the independent churches delight in and even exaggerate such manifestations of the Spirit. The creativity which is embodied in the charisms both builds the community and heals the individual Christian. Aside from their exaggerations the charisms experienced in the independent or “spiritualist” churches are in tune with the African universe and with the early experiences of the Christian church-community. The services that the Spirit of God causes to be rendered to the community and the world are multiple, and they are communicated through these gifts. Christians become wholesome persons by the act of rendering this service.”30
7. Conclusion: This paper did not limit the understanding of priesthood to the ministerial Priesthood. Such a limitation is improper and against the spirit of the Christ and the Church. Even when the point of discussion refers exclusively to the ministerial priests, it has to take into account the ministerial priest as symbol of Christ the head, does not and cannot exist on its own but always in reference to and as a service to the body.
Footnotes and Bibliography
1. Hampton J. Keathley, Critical Concerns for Pastoral Ministry (1 Timothy 1: 3-7) http://bible.org/article/critical-concerns-pastoral-ministry-1-timothy-13-7
As a Metaphor for the church (cf. 1 Peter 5, 4, Heb. 13, 20), the flock “is not some unthinking mass or herd but a community capable of response to an authority of devotedness and love.” Agnes Cunningham Pastoral Ministry: Overview and Perspective. http://www.womenpriests.org/classic2/cunning.asp
2. Agnes Cunningham Pastoral Ministry: Overview and Perspective. Ibid.
3. “The eternal Father, by a free and hidden plan of His own wisdom and goodness, created the whole world. His plan was to raise men to a participation of the divine life.” Lumen Gentium 2
4. Agnes Cunningham Pastoral Ministry: Overview and Perspective. http://www.womenpriests.org/classic2/cunning.asp
5. “The word diakonia (“service”) is applied beyond the apostolate. It refers also to certain material services necessary to the community, such as serving at table (Acts of the Apostles 6:1-4) and the collection for the poor at Jerusalem (11:29; 12:25; Romans 15:31; 1 Corinthians 16:15; 2 Corinthians 8:4; 9:1,12-13).” Richard P. McBrien, Catholicism, HarperSanFrancisco, 1994, 767.
6. P. McBrien, Catholicism, HarperSanFrancisco, 1994, 767f.
7. Christ himself describes this intimate relationship with the symbol of the vine and it’s (John 15. 1-8).
Cf. “By communicating His Spirit, Christ made His brothers, called together from all nations, mystically the components of His own Body.” Lumen Gentium 7
8. Presbyterorum Ordinis 2.
9. Apostolicam Actuositatem 2.
Cf. “These faithful are by baptism made one body with Christ and are constituted among the People of God; they are in their own way made sharers in the priestly, prophetical, and kingly functions of Christ; and they carry out for their own part the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the world.” Lumen Gentium 31.
10. José Cardinal Sanchez Prefect for the Congregation for the Clergy, Directory on the ministry and life of Priests. Libreria editrice Vaticana 1994, Nr. 1
Cf. “… the priesthood… is conferred by that special sacrament; through it priests, by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, are signed with a special character and are conformed to Christ the Priest in such a way that they can act in the person of Christ the Head.” Presbyterorum Ordinis 2.
“Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are united sacramentally to him in the ministerial priesthood. Our priestly life and activity continue the life and activity of Christ himself. Here lies our identity, our true dignity, the source of our joy, the very basis of our life.” Pope John Paul II, Pastores dabo Vobis 18.
11. “Though they differ from one another in essence and not only in degree, the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood are nonetheless interrelated: each of them in its own special way is a participation in the one priesthood of Christ. The ministerial priest, by the sacred power he enjoys, teaches and rules the priestly people; acting in the person of Christ, he makes present the eucharistic sacrifice, and offers it to God in the name of all the people. But the faithful, in virtue of their royal priesthood, join in the offering of the Eucharist. They likewise exercise that priesthood in receiving the sacraments, in prayer and thanksgiving, in the witness of a holy life, and by self-denial and active charity.” (Lumen Gentium 10)
12. “The same Lord, however, has established ministers among his faithful to unite them together in one body in which, "not all the members have the same function" (Rom 12:4).” Presbyterorum Ordinis 2.
“The ministry of the priest is entirely on behalf of the Church; it aims at promoting the exercise of the common priesthood of the entire people of God; it is ordered not only to the particular Church but also to the universal Church” Pope John Paul II, Pastores dabo Vobis 16
13. “Priests by sacred ordination and mission which they receive from the bishops are promoted to the service of Christ the Teacher, Priest and King. They share in his ministry, a ministry whereby the Church here on earth is unceasingly built up into the People of God, the Body of Christ and the
of the Holy Spirit.” Presbyterorum Ordinis, 1 Temple
14. “Jesus Christ is priest, prophet, and king. Through their ordination and its concomitant ontological change, priests are so formed to Christ that it becomes theirs to act as "other Christs" in the triple office of sanctifying (munus sanctificandi), teaching (munus docendi), and governing (munus regendi).” Michael F. Hull, The Sacramental Leadership of the Priest. http://www.clerus.org/clerus/dati/2002-04/29-999999/03INS3.html
“In the exercise of their teaching office it is the duty of pastors to preach God's word to all the Christian people so that, rooted in faith, hope and charity, they will grow in Christ, and as a Christian community bear witness to that charity which the Lord commended… In discharging their duty of sanctifying their people, pastors should see to it that the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice is the center and culmination of the whole life of the Christian community. They should labor without stint that the faithful are nourished with spiritual food through the devout and frequent reception of the Sacraments and through intelligent and active participation in the Liturgy... In fulfilling their office as shepherd, pastors should take pains to know their own flock. Since they are the servants of all the sheep, they should encourage a full Christian life among the individual faithful and also in families, in associations especially dedicated to the apostolate, and in the whole parish community.” Christus Dominus 30
15. Pope Benedict XVI; On the Meaning of the Year for Priests. Ibid. (Cf. J. Ratzinger, Ministero e vita del Sacerdote, in Elementi di Teologia fondamentale. Saggio su fede e ministero, Brescia 2005, p. 165)
16. “Jesus Christ is called the sacrament (sign and source) of encounter with God; He is termed the primordial or original sacrament of the encounter with God. This is to say that in God's communication with human beings, what comes first is Christ himself. He is the incarnate Son of God, the human face of God, the humanity of God, God's own body-language, God's liberating and healing love made visible.” Brian Gleeson, The Church as Sacrament Revisited: Sign and Source of Encounter with Christ, In: Australian EJournal of Theology, February 2005 – Issue 4 Australian Ejournal of Theology, February 2005 – Issue 4. http://dlibrary.acu.edu.au/research/theology/ejournal/aejt_4/gleeson.htm
17. Lumen Gentium 1
18. “He (The Holy Spirit) both equips and directs with hierarchical and charismatic gifts and adorns with His fruits.” Lumen Gentium 4
19. “They exercise the apostolate in fact by their activity directed to the evangelization and sanctification of men and to the penetrating and perfecting of the temporal order through the spirit of the Gospel. In this way, their temporal activity openly bears witness to Christ and promotes the salvation of men. Since the laity, in accordance with their state of life, live in the midst of the world and its concerns, they are called by God to exercise their apostolate in the world like leaven, with the ardor of the spirit of Christ.” Apostolicam Actuositatem 2.
“One engages in the apostolate through the faith, hope, and charity which the Holy Spirit diffuses in the hearts of all members of the Church. Indeed, by the precept of charity, which is the Lord's greatest commandment, all the faithful are impelled to promote the glory of God through the coming of His kingdom and to obtain eternal life for all men-that they may know the only true God and Him whom He sent, Jesus Christ (cf. John 17:3).” Apostolicam Actuositatem 3.
20. “While it is true that God can accomplish the work of salvation through unworthy ministers, God nevertheless, ordinarily prefers to manifest his greatness through those who are more docile to the promptings and direction of the Holy Spirit, so much so that they can say of the apostolate, thanks to their own intimate union with Christ and holiness of life: ‘it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me' (Gal 2, 20).” Congregation for the Clergy. The Priest and the third Christian Millennium Teacher of the word, minister of the sacraments and the leader of the community,
19 March 1999 Chapter 3, nr. 1. Vatican City
21. Pope Benedict XVI; On the Meaning of the Year for Priests In: L'Osservatore Romano; Weekly Edition in English; 1 July 2009, page 11
22. Presbyterorum Ordinis 3.
“The priest must never forget that he is a man chosen among men to be at the service of men. To sanctify himself and carry out his priestly mission, he must present himself with an abundance of human virtues which render him worthy of esteem by those around him. In particular he must practice goodness of heart, patience, kindness, strength of soul, love for justice, even-mindedness, truthfulness to his word, coherence in the duties freely assumed, etc. It is likewise important that human virtues be reflected in the priest's social conduct, correctness in the various forms of human relations, friendships, courtesy, etc.” Congregation for the Clergy, Directory on the Ministry and Life of Priests;
Editrice Vaticana, 1994; Nr. 75 Liberia
23. Presbyterorum Ordinis 9.
24. Presbyterorum Ordinis. 9.
“For their pastors know how much the laity contribute to the welfare of the entire Church. They also know that they were not ordained by Christ to take upon themselves alone the entire salvific mission of the Church toward the world. On the contrary they understand that it is their noble duty to shepherd the faithful and to recognize their ministries and charisms, so that all according to their proper roles may cooperate in this common undertaking with one mind.” Lumen Gentium 30
25. “I am reminding you to fan into a flame the gift that God gave you” (2 Tim 1:6)
26. “In this sense one can speak of a vocation ‘within’ the priesthood. The fact is that God continues to call and send forth, revealing his saving plan in the historical development of the priest's life and the life of the Church and of society. It is in this perspective that the meaning of ongoing formation emerges.” Pope John Paul II, Pastores dabo Vobis 70.
29. E. Uzukwu, A listening Church
; Orbis Books 1996, 112 Maryknoll, New
30. Ibid. 109-110