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Year for Priests was Time of Grace, Suffering: Vatican Paper
John Thavis
Source: Catholic News Service
Published: Friday, June 11, 2010
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VATICAN CITY (CNS)—The Year for Priests, which coincided with new revelations of clerical sex abuse, has been both a time of grace and a time of suffering for the church, the Vatican newspaper said.

"The infidelity, sometimes grave, of some priests in various parts of the world has, in fact, obscured the church's credibility in the eyes of many people. The wound will take time to heal, and things cannot go on as if nothing happened," said a front-page commentary in the June 10 issue of L'Osservatore Romano.

But although some have spoken of an "annus horribilis"—a horrible year—it has actually been a year of grace, the commentary said.

"The seed that has been planted of interior renewal of priests and their more incisive witness of the Gospel will bear fruit. The time of trial has been revealed as an opportunity for greater awareness of this ministry in the church," it said.

The model priest—one who serves, loves and acts unselfishly—is essential to humanity as it searches for God, it said.

The article said many discussions about the priest will continue "until the end of time," including the priest's identity through history and the obligation and appropriateness of celibacy. More important, it said, is the witness of priests among the people and the difference they make in people's lives.

The price priests pay is most evident when they share people's suffering, when they cry out against injustice, or when they defend the weak against the powerful, sometimes paying with their own lives, it said.

The commentary was signed by Carlo di Cicco, vice director of the newspaper.

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