Starting out in the priesthood in difficult times

Archbishop ludwig schick ordained three candidates for the priesthood as deacons on saturday. "Today more than ever, all those who enter the service of the church must be holy, apostolic and catholic people. You must be prepared to help purify and sanctify the church", said schick at the solemn consecration in the bamberger cathedral.

The decision for church service is not easy at the moment. "The three of you are going into the service of the church at a time when the church is very much challenged, from within and from without. Many will think and perhaps say: how can you do this??", said schick, referring to the recently published results of the abuse study commissioned by the german bishops’ conference.

Chic: punish the guilty

The bad image of the church has to do with the fact that some of those who solemnly and publicly vowed a holy life in the ordination of deacons, priests, and even bishops, had seriously failed to do so. "Everyone who does this is one too many", schick said. Everyone in the community of believers has the duty to cooperate so that the culprits are found, named and punished. The church owes this first of all to the victims, but also to the faithful priests and good pastors, who must not be placed under general suspicion.

One must not forget: "at least 95 percent of the priests in germany have done nothing wrong", so chic. The investigation also confirmed this. All those who had been seriously injured by abuse had to ask the victims for forgiveness and make amends. Everything must be done to prevent any abuse in the future. No topic was to be excluded from the outset, but all had to be scientifically validated.

Transparency, enlightenment and prevention are to be demanded everywhere and absolutely. "I gladly dedicate the three of you and wish you. I also invite many young people to choose spiritual and ecclesial service", said schick.

The newly ordained deacons are florian will from motschenbach (kulmbach district), dominik stehl from meineck (lichtenfels district) and markus grasser from grafenhausling (bamberg district).

In the catholic church, ordination to the diaconate is the first stage of the sacrament of holy orders – the other two are ordination to the priesthood and episcopate. At the ordination of deacons, the

Candidates to faithfully proclaim the gospel, participate in the services and help the needy. They also pledge obedience to the bishop and celibacy.

Deacons assist priests at the eucharist, may administer baptism, assist at weddings and lead funerals, celebrate liturgies, distribute communion and give benediction. After one year in the diaconate, ordination to the priesthood usually follows. There are also permanent deacons who can marry and pursue a profession.

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