Symposium on Priesthood Theology Presented at Vatican

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Cardinal Mark Welle
Cardinal Mark Ouelle (Vatican Media)

The Vatican hosted the presentation of the International Symposium Towards Fundamental Priesthood Theology, organized by the Congregation for Bishops. The symposium will take place in Rome from 17 to 19 February 2022. The prefect of the said Congregation, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Rector of the Pontifical French Seminary, Professor Vincent Siret, and Professor Michelina Tenace from the Pontifical Gregorian University, spoke about his tasks.

Olga Sakun – Vatican City

As the participants of the presentation noted, the purpose of the theological symposium will not be to solve existing problems related to the priesthood, but to study its origins. This is especially important today, when the need arises more and more to study the relationship between the ministerial priesthood and the general priesthood of the baptized.

At different periods in the history of the Church, an ecclesiology has been developed that meets the needs of Christian witness in the context of a particular era. Such a rethinking is still needed today, while bishops and elders find it difficult to identify exactly what changes are necessary in order to fulfill their vocation: to sanctify the world through the gift received in the Sacrament.

In addition to the relationship between official and general priesthood, the theology of vocation and the risks posed by clericalization, which identifies the priesthood with authority rather than service, and perceives alter Christus as a privilege rather than a responsibility, will be discussed. It is in the prism of vocation that one can talk about priestly celibacy: when God calls, He also grants everything necessary for a person to live by this vocation. The priestly function does not imply celibacy, but in the Latin tradition it is one of the requirements in view of the prophetic witness of Christ’s priesthood and the eschatological character of the Church. Celibacy is a prophetic sign by virtue of which the priest is a free witness to the eschatological novelty.

Another issue that will be raised at the upcoming symposium is the relationship between the sacred and the secular. In Christianity, these categories, characteristic of ancient religions, have been overcome, but the dimension of mystery remains: the priest is called to reveal the mystery and transcendence of the liturgical action, without profaning the sacred and sacralizing the secular.

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