Interview with the Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy His Eminence, Beniamino Cardinal Stella

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His Eminence, Beniamino Cardinal Stella

Osservatore Romano, 7 December, 2016

  1. On the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the Congregation for the Clergy promulgated the new Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis, an instrument for the formation of priests. What is the rationale for a new Document for future priests and what were the guiding principles for the preparation of the text?

The last Ratio Fundamentalis dates back to 1970, even though it was updated in 1985.  In the meantime, as we know, the historical, socio-cultural and ecclesiastical contexts have changed, above all due to the effects of the rapid evolution to which the world is subjected nowadays.  Within these new contexts, the Priest is called to incarnate the mission of Christ and of his Church.  This rapid evolution has not been done without significant changes relative to other aspects:  the image or vision of the priest, the spiritual needs of the People of God, the challenges of the new evangelization, the language of communication, and many more.  It seemed that the formation of Priests needed to be revamped, renewed, and restored to the centre.  We have been encouraged and illuminated by the Teaching of Pope Francis: by the spirituality and prophecy with which his words are inscribed, the Holy Father has turned often to Priests, reminding them that the priest is not a functionary, but a Pastor anointed for the people of God, who has the compassionate and merciful heart of Christ for the weary and exhausted throng.  The words and admonitions of the Holy Father, some of which have regarded temptations tied to money, to the authoritarian exercise of power, to rigid legalism, and to vainglory, show us how the nurturing of Priests and of their formation has been a fundamental aspect of the ecclesial action of this Pontificate, and should also become the focus, more each day, of every Bishop and of every Local Church.