Pope Francis to Newly Ordained Priests: Don’t Be Like a Peacock

Pope Francis presided over the Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on April 26, during which he, as the bishop of Rome, ordained 19 men for the Diocese of Rome.

Nineteen men lie prostrate for their ordination as priests for the Diocese of Rome on April 26.
Nineteen men lie prostrate for their ordination as priests for the Diocese of Rome on April 26. (photo: CNA/Bohumil Petrik)

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis presided over the ordination of 19 men to the priesthood on Sunday, where he warned them against being vain priests who live first for their own pleasure rather than for God’s.

“A priest is ugly who lives for his own pleasure,” Pope Francis said, adding that such a priest “acts like a peacock.”

Pope Francis presided over the Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on April 26, during which he, as the bishop of Rome, ordained 19 men for the Rome Diocese.

During the ordination Mass, the Pope delivered the standard homily based on the Italian edition of the liturgical book Pontificale Romanum for the ordination of priests, but digressed from the text several times to offer advice to the men about to be ordained.

In these remarks, he said priests should nourish God’s people with their homilies, while making sure they are not bored.

Ensure “that your homilies are not boring; that your homilies reach the heart of the people, because they come from your hearts,” he said. “What you say to them is what you have in your heart.”

The Holy Father also warned against proclaiming God’s word without giving a good example.

“Words without example are empty words,” he said. “They are ideas that do not reach the heart and may even cause injury.”

Pope Francis gave the men further advice in executing their responsibilities as priests.

In presiding over Mass, he told them not to “rush” through the celebration. Rather: “Imitate that which you celebrate,” because “it is not an artificial rite.”

Speaking of their responsibilities as priests in distributing the sacraments, the Pope said to “never refuse baptism to whoever asks for it.”

With regard to the sacrament of penance, he told the new priests the confessional is a place where they are called “to forgive, not to condemn.”

“Imitate the Father, who never tires of forgiving,” he said.

After the Mass, Pope Francis delivered his Regina Coeli address overlooking St. Peter’s Square, explaining that the newly ordained priests are called to have a pastoral life based upon the Good Shepherd.

Recalling how the Fourth Sunday of Easter is also known as “Good Shepherd Sunday,” the Pope said this day is an occasion to reflect on Jesus’ gift of self, through his passion, death and resurrection.

The Good Shepherd, he said, “gives life, has offered his life in sacrifice for all of us.”

The March for the Martyrs in Washington, D.C., Sept. 25, 2021.

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“I’ve heard it myself from the people of Iraq and Syria: when the Islamists come to cut your head off, they don’t ask if you’re a Catholic or a Protestant or Orthodox. They ask you if you believe in Jesus,” said Father Kiely. “That’s that point. That unites us. That’s what Pope Francis called ‘the ecumenism of blood.’”