The fundamental challenge for priests is to bring Christ to world, "with all of his love, with all of his demands", a Vatican official said, as the Year for Priests draws to a close.
According to the Catholic News Agency, undersecretary for the Congregation for the Clergy Archbishop Celso Morga told Vatican Radio that "the priest carries out ministry, a proclamation that is Christ. And Christ has his demands, he has his commandments. This is the great challenge for today's priest."
"They must be pious men. And consequently they must be docile. The priest is a servant. His life is not in his own hands but rather in the hands of another who is Christ, and in the hands of the Church, his spouse," he said.
Some 14,000 were expected to attend the International Meeting of Priests in Rome that concludes tomorrow. The event is marking the close of the Year for Priests, which is the largest gathering of priests in history.
Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that the Vatican secretary of state Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone saying that the sex abuse scandal in the Church showed the need for a spiritual renewal.
Bertone said the revelations had harmed the credibility of the church. But he said they had also provided a "providential realisation" of the need for a "new season of spiritual renewal and rebirth".
Pope Benedict XVI is expected to address the priests gathered in Rome at a vigil service Thursday night during, and again Friday during a Mass.
At closing of Year for Priests, Vatican official comments on challenges clergy face (Catholic News Agency)
Vatican No. 2: Sex scandal shows need for renewal (The Guardian)