Pope Francis reflected on the priesthood Saturday, stressing that a true priest, who has been anointed by God for His people, will surely have a close, living relationship with Jesus Christ, without which the priest will have nothing to offer. The pope encouraged priests to ask themselves some basic questions. “What is the place of Jesus Christ in my priestly life? Is it a living relationship, from the disciple to the Master, from brother to brother, from the poor man to God, or is it a somewhat artificial relationship… that does not come from the heart?” the Vatican Radio quoted Francis as saying in his homily at Casa Santa Marta on Saturday.
“We are anointed by the Spirit, and when a priest is far from Jesus Christ he can lose this unction. In his life, no: essentially he has it… but he loses it. And instead of being anointed he ends up being smarmy,” the pope added. “And how damaging to the Church are smarmy priests!” the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics went on to say. “Those who put their strength in artificial things, in vanity, in an attitude… in a cutesy language… But how often do we hear it said with sorrow: ‘This is a butterfly-priest,’ because they are always vain… [This kind of priest] does not have a relationship with Jesus Christ! He has lost the unction: he is smarmy.” The pontiff admitted that priests have many limits. “We are sinners, all,” he said. “But if we go to Jesus Christ, if we seek the Lord in prayer – prayer of intercession, prayer of adoration – we are good priests, even though we are sinners.” More