Praying for priests
A significant part of Pope Benedict XVI’s emphasis on the renewal of the Church focuses on priests. In 2005, as Cardinal Ratzinger, he wrote a famous passage for the Good Friday Way of the Cross that reflected on the “filth” in the Church, “even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him!”
In his Letter to the Catholics of Ireland, he addressed one section to priests and Religious, expressing sympathy for the pain they are feeling and their sense of betrayal. But he went on to exhort them to “become ever more clearly men and women of prayer, courageously following the path of conversion, purification and reconciliation.”
During his trip to Portugal and to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, the Pope again invoked the importance of renewing the priesthood. On May 12 he entrusted the world’s priests to Mary
. “Help us, through your powerful intercession, never to fall short of this sublime vocation, nor to give way to our selfishness, to the allurements of the world and to the wiles of the Evil One.”
The Pope asked Mary to “restore calm after the tempest,” an allusion, it would seem, to the recent turmoil surrounding the scandals.The renewal of the Church envisioned by Pope Benedict is not solely the responsibility of the bishops, or the clergy, but their reform is an essential part of the much broader renewal that he envisions.