By Samuel Medenilla
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) urged members of the clergy and consecrated persons Thursday to rise above the “dismal shadows” shrouding their ranks.
In his statement for the CBCP Pastoral Exhortation for the Opening of the 2018 Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons, CBCP president Romulo Valles called the scandals and vices of some members of the clergy and consecrated persons, as “shadows,” which the Church should acknowledge and address.
“Some get entangled in their concern for material possessions, in their need for pleasures and in their desire for power. Instead of becoming servant-leaders of communion they may even lead us to confusion and disharmony,” Valles said.
“Such misconduct calls for sincere reflection and humble repentance and reparation,” he added.
While the Davao Archbishop expressed his sadness over such incidents, he noted it could also serve as an opportunity for the clergy to relate with other sinners and guide them toward the path of absolution and renewal.
“May our Priests and Consecrated Persons, in their weakness and woundedness, continue to serve and guide fellow sinners with the joy of the Gospel that leads to the fullness of life,” Valles said.
The 2018 Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons is a part of the Church’s nine-year preparation for 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity to the Philippines on 2021.
To highlight the Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons next year, Valles said they will initiate their New Evangelization drive, wherein they will call on the clergy and the consecrated to reflect if their values, mind-sets, behavior and life-styles are still consistent with that of Christ’s.
Included in the campaign is the review of the ways of seminary and religious formation and the Church’s collaboration with the laity in the work of mission and ministry.
“The Clergy and Consecrated Persons, given their role of leadership in our communities, and who often enjoy privileges and entitlements, should stand up from a comfortable and privileged position to generously and humbly serve,” Valles said.
“Renewed servant-leaders for the New Evangelization – this is the goal of our prayers and activities this year,” he added.
He reiterated the important role of the faithful in ensuring this through their continuous support and prayers for the clergy, the consecrated, and the seminarians.
“My dear people of God, please continue to support our clergy and consecrated persons in their journey as servants to the servants of the Gospel,” Valles said.
“Let us also pray for the young men and women in the seminaries and formation houses. As they prepare for a life of self-offering and service, may their communion with Jesus be the source of their inspiration, strength, and joy,” he added.
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