The concept of ‘People of God’, to which we referred before, expresses the historical character of the Church as a reality of divine origin which also includes some changing and transitory elements. Bearing this in mind, how should the priestly character be expressed in the lives of priests today? What aspects of the priest’s life, as described in the Decree Presbyterorum Ordinis would you underline for the present times?
I would underline a characteristic of priestly existence which is not part of these changing and transitory elements. I refer to the perfect union which should exist, as the Decree Presbyterorum Ordinis reminds us on several occasions, between a priest’s consecration and his mission. Or, in other words between his personal life of piety and the exercise of his priestly ministry; between his filial relationship with God, and his pastoral and brotherly relations with men. I do not believe a priest can carry out an effective ministry unless he is a man of prayer.