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The diaconal spirit of Joseph Ratzinger: ‘We are not lords, but servants’

Benedict XVI’s personal secretary debunks ‘mystical experience’


Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 09/12/16

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As more details trickle forth about the new book-length interview with Pope Emeritus Benedict, this passage caught my eye:

[Journalist Peter] Seewald asks Benedict about a motto that appeared on the invitation to the first Mass celebrated by him after his priestly ordination: “We don’t rule over your faith, we serve your joy.” Benedict’s response reads like it might have come from his successor, Pope Francis. “As part of a contemporary understanding of the priesthood, not only were we conscious that clericalism is wrong and the priest is always a servant, but we also made great inward efforts not to put ourselves up on a high pedestal,” states the former pontiff. “I would not even have dared to introduce myself as ‘the reverend,'” says Benedict. “To be aware that we are not lords, but rather servants, was for me something not only reassuring, but also personally important as the basis on which I could receive ordination at all.” “The statement on the invitation expressed a central motivation for me,” he continues. “This was a motive I found in various texts in the lessons and readings of Holy Scripture, and which expressed something very important to me.”

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