Priests concelebrate Mass with Cardinal Jose Advincula at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City on June 15, 2023. SKY ORTIGAS

By CBCP News

June 15, 2023

Manila, Philippines

Catholic priests should be true agents of communion rather than instruments of division and even competition, the head of Manila’s Roman Catholic Church said Thursday.

While celebrating Mass at SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, Cardinal Jose Advincula urged priests and parishes to avoid rivalries in order to promote the Church and its values.

The root of this, according to him, is what he called the “scourge” of clericalism “that values structures and temporalities over persons and mission”.

“Our people are all the more hurt and frustrated whenever they notice their priests competing for assignments and positions instead of supporting one another in their ministry,” Advincula said in his homily.

“This means committing ourselves to thinking and acting in terms of community and realizing that the whole is greater than the parts,” he said.

Reflecting on the synodal path in the archdiocese, he emphasized that synodality is not just a process or a program “but a relationship between the laity and the clergy”.

He also shared and discussed the three “striking” responses of the lay participants: participation by co-responsibility, mission by preferential option for the poor, and communion for interministeriality.

“These are our dreams and hopes for our church especially here in the Philippines,” Advincula said.

“And this will only be possible if we allow the Lord to put down the veils of vices, partialities, rivalries, jealousies and quarrels that hinder us the clergy and the laity from working together, supporting each other, listening to one another and journeying hand in hand toward the renewal of the Church and society,” he added.

The Mass was held for the more than 1,000 participants of the Clergy and Lay Congress organized by Couples for Christ (CFC), a worldwide Catholic movement that aims to strengthen Christian family life.

The gathering was part of CFC’s 42nd anniversary celebration. On June 13, the venue was also packed with advocates for life, marriage and the family for the CFC’s “Family is a Gift Conference”.


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