Home - VIS Vatican - Receive VIS - Contact us - Calendar

The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

Last 5 news

VISnews in Twitter Go to YouTube

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 14 APRIL 2010 (VIS) - The ordained ministry was again the topic of catechesis by Benedict XVI at today's general audience held in St. Peter's Square and attended by 16,000 people.

  In particular, the Pope reflected on the "fruitful reality of the priest in the figure of Christ the Head in carrying out the tria munera that he receives, that is, in the three functions of teaching, sanctifying, and governing".

  "However, in order to understand what it means to act in persona Christi capitis, that is, in the person of Christ the Head, and the consequences of a priest's duty to represent the Lord, it is necessary to understand," the Holy Father said, "that the presbytery represents Jesus 'who is never absent in the Church'".

    "Therefore, a priest ... never acts in the name of someone absent, but in the person of the Risen Christ" and "the three offices of teaching, sanctifying, and governing are ... a clear specification of that effective representation because they are actually the three actions of the Risen Lord himself who teaches, sanctify, and guides the Church today".

  Referring to the first task, the munus docendi, teaching, the pontiff affirmed that a priest "teaches in the name of Christ present, putting forward the Truth which is Christ. For a priest, it is true what Christ says of himself: my teaching is not my own ... It is the voice and the word of the Father. That is how the priest should act: I do not propagate my ideas ... but am the mouth and heart of Christ and I present this unique teaching that has informed the Universal Church and that gives life".

  "The teaching that we are called to offer, the truths of the faith that we must communicate should be internalized and lived in an intense spiritual journey," the Pope emphasized, recalling that not infrequently can a priest's voice seem one that cries out in the wilderness. This is what its prophetic force consists in, not in being homogenized into any other dominant culture or mentality but of showing the unique newness capable of a profound and authentic renewal of the human being, that is to say that Christ is the Living One, God who is near to us, God who works in and through life in the world".

  "In preaching, catechesis, academic teaching, and above all "in the unwritten book that is his life, a priest is always a teacher. Not with the presumption of those who impose their own truths but with the humble and joyful sincerity of those who have found the Truth, have been grasped and transformed by it and who therefore cannot stop announcing it".

  "In fact, the priesthood," observed the Holy Father, "is not chosen by anyone for himself. It is not a way of obtaining security in life or a social position. The priesthood is the answer to the Lord's call ... to become preachers, not of a personal truth, but of His truth".

  Addressing himself to priests the Pope affirmed: "The Christian people need to hear the teaching of the true ecclesial doctrine" that has as it point of reference "Sacred Scripture, the writings of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, as well as the Catechism of the Catholic Church".

  "Priestly ordination," he continued, "means being immersed in the Truth ... which is not simply a concept or set of ideas to transmit and assimilate but the Person of Christ".

  "The Pope finished by expressing the desire that St. John Mary Vianney may serve as an example for priests because, in him, the Christian people recognize "that which must always be recognized in a priest: the voice of the Good Shepherd".
AG/                                VIS 20100414 (620)


  1. Thank you for your timely posting of the Holy Father's catechesis. We'll discuss it during my weekly segment next Monday at 7:35 am on the Son Rise Morning Show, which airs nationwide on the ETWN radio network. Find more information at the following link:


  2. How can one act in the person of the Risen Christ, while burying the truth?

    For the sake of the Church, and for the sake of Christ who died for us, it is time for truth (full truth) and reconciliation with respect to allegations of abuse.

    Tara Sutherland

  3. As a determined and long suffering Catholic it seems to me to be essential that the church deal not only with the abused and the abusers but those who covered up this tradgedy for so long. The cover up was the worst of the abuse and led to the abuse of likely thousands more children.

    Nothing short of an inquiry led by impeccable lay people and a few select clergy who were not implacated will or should put this mess to rest. The results of the inquiry should determine who, from bottom to top, in present positions of authority should resign. It should also be the basis for future reform of the church. Any future candidate for Pope should be clear of any involvement in the mess. Surely there were enough sound clergy who protested the mishandling of this sad affair to pick up the pieces.

    Tom Webb


Copyright © VIS - Vatican Information Service