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Cardinal unveils major Vatican conference on priesthood slated for 2022

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Increasing vocations to the priesthood, improving the way laypeople and priests work together and ensuring that service, not power, motivates the request for ordination are all possible outcomes of a major symposium being planned by the Vatican in February 2022.

”A theological symposium does not claim to offer practical solutions to all the pastoral and missionary problems of the Church, but it can help us deepen the foundation of the Church’s mission,” said Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and the chief organizer of the symposium planned for Feb. 17-19, 2022. The symposium, “Toward a Fundamental Theology of the Priesthood,” seeks to encourage an understanding of ministerial priesthood that is rooted in the priesthood of all believers conferred at baptism, getting away from the idea of ordained ministry as belonging to “ecclesiastical power,” the cardinal said at a news conference April 12.

The three-day gathering, the cardinal said, is aimed specifically at bishops and delegations of theologians and vocations personnel from every country, although it will be open to other theologians and people interested in the topic. The relationship between baptism and ordained ministry needs greater emphasis today, Cardinal Ouellet said, but reviewing the foundations of a theology of priesthood also “involves ecumenical questions not to be ignored, as well as the cultural movements that question the place of women in the church.”

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