Pope to seminarians: Do not become “businessmen priests” or “princes” and avoid “boring homilies”

Sharp and funny words of wisdom from Pope Francis today: 

 Pope Francis told seminarians not to become “orphan priests,” who are motherless without Mary; “businessman priests,” who are after money; or “prince priests,” who are aloof from the people.

He also warned them not to give “boring homilies,” saying their reflections should be brief, powerful and address the problems and concerns people are really going through.

In a private audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI hall with thousands of seminarians and priests from around the world who are studying in Rome, the pope spent 70 minutes answering the questions of eight pre-selected participants.

The pope told them that he already had seen the prepared questions, and urged them to feel free to change the questions and go off-script if they wanted. However, the men, who were from the United States, China, Lebanon, Cameroon, Mexico, Philippines and Poland, appeared to stay with the prepared questions.

In his off-the-cuff replies, the pope addressed questions about formation; difficulties living in a religious community; advice about being far from home and living in Rome; how to balance the many duties of being a priest or bishop; what a real leader must be; and what the new evangelization entails.

The pope peppered his serious and detailed advice with a number of humorous anecdotes and sarcasm, like when he warned the men to never forget they have a mother in Mary.

“But if you don’t want Our Lady as a mother, you will have her as a mother-in-law and that’s not good,” he said to laughter and applause.

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