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Pope to Priests: "Be Pastors, Not Officials"

Speaking to a group of priests and bishops at a conference to mark the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s decrees on priestly formation and ministry on Nov. 20, Pope Francis said that priests cannot forget their roots, that they aren’t “mushrooms” that magically sprout at ordination. “On the day of their ordination, I always say to the new priests: ‘Do not forget where you came from; from the flock. Do not forget your mother and your grandmother … This means that you cannot be a priest believing that you were created in a laboratory. No, it begins in the family with the tradition of the faith and all the experiences of the family.”

He also stressed that priests must learn to rejoice and not become rigid authoritarians with the flock entrusted to them. "I tell you sincerely: I am afraid of rigid (priests).

I am afraid," the pope said. "Rigid priests, keep them far away, they bite! The words of St. Ambrose come to mind: 'Where there is mercy, there is the spirit of God. Where there is rigidity, there are only his ministers.' And a minister without the Lord becomes rigid. This is a danger for the people of God. Be pastors, not officials."

Pope Francis @Pontifex

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