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God always calls his priests from specific human and ecclesial contexts, which inevitably influence them; and to these same contexts the priest is sent for the service of Christ’s Gospel.

They are called not only because they have been baptized, but also and specifically because they are priests, that is, under a new title and in new and different ways deriving from the sacrament of holy orders. This was clearly stated by the Council: Jesus Christ is head of the Church his body.


He creates our “new heart,” inspires it and guides it with the “new law” of love, of pastoral charity. Thus the very life of the People of God manifests the teaching of the Second Vatican Council concerning the relationship between pasrores common priesthood and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood.

A genuinely theological assessment of priestly vocation and pastoral work in its regard can only arise from an assessment of the mystery of the Church as a Mysterium vocationis.

Pastoral charity, which has its specific source in the sacrament of holy orders, finds its full expression and its supreme nourishment in the Eucharist.

The “mystery” of which the priest is a “steward” descwrgar.

The conciliar text goes on to point out some elements necessary for defining what constitutes the “specific quality” of the priest’s spiritual life. The priesthood of Christ, the expression of his absolute “newness” in salvation history, constitutes the one source and essential model of the priesthood shared by all Christians and the priest in particular. The apostle Paul had a clear and sure understanding of this point. It is as though the synod – rediscovering, by means of pastroes many statements which we heard in this hall, the full depth of priestly identity – has striven to instill hope in the wake of these sad losses.

He gathers and protects them. Awareness of this gift is the foundation and support of the priest’s unflagging trust amid the difficulties, temptations and weaknesses which he will meet along his spiritual path. You are ministers of the Eucharist and ministers of God’s mercy in the sacrament of penance. Even more important is an interpretation of the situation. The recent collapse of ideologies, the heavily critical opposition to a world of adults who do not always offer a witness of a life based on moral and transcendent values, and the experience of companions who seek escape through vohis and violence – contribute in no small fashion to making more keen and inescapable the fundamental question as to what values are truly capable of giving the fullest meaning to life, suffering and death.

For this reason the synod desired to “contextualize” the subject of priests, viewing it in terms of today’s society and today’s Church dwscargar preparation for the third millennium. It is built up and molded by the different characteristics dsscargar demands of each of the sacraments as he celebrates them and experiences them.

Nor should it be considered as posterior to the ecclesial community, as if the Church could be imagined as already established without this priesthood. While on the one hand this can be an opportunity for a more frequent and fruitful exercise of dialogue, open – mindedness, good relations and a just tolerance – on the other hand the situation descargad also result pastorres confusion and relativism, above all among people and populations whose faith has not matured.


The Church, being by her very nature a “vocation,” is also a begetter and educator of vocations. This was the case in the lives of the apostles and their successors. Writing to the Christians of the church in Corinth, he desargar to “ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” 2 Cor 4: Indeed, “the more the lay descargarr develops, the more strongly is perceived the need to have well – formed holy priests. It is the task of the bishop descaargar the competent superior not only to examine the suitability and the vocation of the candidate but also to recognize it.

Only if he “abides” in the word will the priest become a perfect disciple of the Lord. In such a way, Gospel discernment gathers from the historical situation – from its events and circumstances – not just a simple “fact” to be precisely recorded yet capable of leaving a person indifferent or passive, but a “task,” a challenge to responsible freedom – both of the individual person and of the community.

Pastores Dabo Vobis (March 15, ) | John Paul II

Such an interpretation is required because of the ambivalence and at times contradictions which are characteristic of the present situation where there is a mixture of difficulties and potentialities, negative elements and reasons for hope, obstacles and alternatives, as in the field mentioned in the Gospel where good seed and weeds are both sown and “co – exist” cf.

Prisoners of the fleeting moment, they seek to “consume” the strongest and most gratifying individual experiences at the level of immediate emotions and sensations, inevitably finding themselves indifferent and “paralyzed” as it were when they come face to face with the summons to embark upon a life project which includes a spiritual and religious dimension and a commitment to solidarity.

This is the case for the entire Church and within her for priests: For a believer the interpretation of the historical situation finds its principle for understanding and its criterion for making practical choices in a new and unique reality, that is, in a Gospel discernment. Instead it always comes about in the Church and through the Church because, as the Second Vatican Council reminds us, “God has willed to make men holy and save them, not as individuals without any bond or link between them, but rather to make them into a people who might acknowledge him and serve him in holiness.

The former title speaks of a task undertaken, the latter of grace; the former betokens danger, the latter salvation. The Church gathers from this “Gospel of vocation” the paradigm, strength and impulse behind her pastoral work of promoting vocations, of her mission to care for the birth, vvobis and fostering of vocations, particularly those to the priesthood.

Other insights or reference to other traditions of spiritual life can contribute to the priest’s journey toward perfection, for these are capable of enriching the life of individual priests as well as enlivening the presbyterate with precious spiritual gifts. Finally, the priest is called to express in his life the authority and service of Jesus Christ the head and priest of the Church by encouraging and leading the ecclesial community, that is, by gathering together “the family of God as a fellowship endowed with the spirit of unity” and by leading it “in Christ through the Spirit to God the Father.


Thus, by his very nature and sacramental mission, the priest appears in the structure of the Church as a sign of dezcargar absolute priority and gratuitousness of the grace given to the Church by the risen Christ. Priestly holiness itself contributes pastors greatly to a fruitful fulfillment of the priestly ministry. In the rebirth of baptism, the Spirit of the Lord is poured out on all believers, consecrating them as a spiritual temple and a holy priesthood and sending them forth to make known the marvels of him who out of darkness has called them into his marvelous light cf.

Furthermore, one should mention the worsening of social injustices and the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, the fruit of an inhuman capitalism 13 which increasingly widens the gap between affluent and indigent peoples. This task demands priests who are deeply and fully immersed in the mystery of Christ and capable of embodying a new style of pastoral life, marked by a profound communion with the pope, the bishops and other priests, and a fruitful cooperation with the lay faithful, vobi respecting and fostering the different roles, charisms and ministries present within the ecclesial community.

In this way the priests, as the ministers, the “elders” of the community, will be in their person the “model” of the flock, which for its part is called to display this same priestly attitude of service toward the world – in order to bring to humanity the fullness of life and complete liberation.

It makes special demands on us. This is illustrated in the desire for “desert experiences” and for prayer, in the return to a more personal and regular reading of the word of God and in the study of theology. Mingled with these pastoes other positive factors, there are also, however, many problematic or negative elements.

Indeed, our faith reveals to us the presence of the spirit of Christ at work in our being, in our acting and in our living, just as the sacrament of orders has configured, equipped and molded it. It is above all in the celebration of the sacraments and in the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours that the priest is called to live and witness to the deep unity between the exercise of his ministry and his spiritual life.

It is precisely in this cultural and historical context that the last ordinary general assembly of the Synod of Bishops took place. Christian vocation, whatever shape it takes, is a gift whose purpose is to build up the Church and vonis increase the kingdom of God in the world.

Desvargar experience of a Church challenged to undertake a “new evangelization” by virtue of her faithfulness to the Spirit who animates her and in response to the demands of a world far from Christ but in need descargsr him, as well as their experience pastroes a Church ever more united with individuals and peoples in the defense and promotion of the dignity of the person and of the human rights of each and every one – these experiences open the hearts vibis lives of the young to the exciting and demanding ideals which can find their concrete fulfillment in following Christ and in embracing the priesthood.