June 11, 2010. “Today we can see that it has nothing to do with love when conduct unworthy of the priestly life is tolerated,” said the Pope during the closing of Year for Priests. He was referring to bishops who did not defrock priests guilty of abuse.
“Nor does it have to do with love if heresy is allowed to spread and the faith twisted and chipped away, as if it were something that we ourselves had invented.”
About 15 thousands priests attended.
Benedict celebrated the Mass in sweltering heat after presiding the night before over a vigil in which he strongly defended the church’s requirement that priests take a vow of celibacy.
Although he has a reputation as an occasionally austere figure, the pope won praise from priests for speaking plainly and showing a keen understanding of their difficulties, as well as for inspiring them with reminders of the importance of their work and depth of their faith.
“It’s a challenge being a priest today, no?” Andres Ulloa, 24, an Ecuadorean seminarian from Guayaquil, said after the Mass. “But he talked about the joys of being a priest…. He knows how to get to the center and the essence of problems.”
Benedict spoke about “the audacity of God” in trusting men to be priests.
“That God thinks that we are capable of this, that in this way he calls men to his service and thus from within binds himself to them — this is what we wanted to reflect upon and appreciate anew over the course of the past year,” he said.
Although he didn’t announce any new measures to combat sexual abuse, he said the church must use “the shepherd’s rod, the rod with which he protects the faith against those who falsify it.”