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Move Seen As Part of Effort to Combat Careerism in Clergy.
Pope Francis has instituted a change in the title of “monsignor”, ordering that within dioceses it only be granted to priests who are at least 65 years of age, the Vatican announced today.

In a statement issued by the Secretariat of State, the Vatican said it had informed bishops’ conferences, through a circular sent to their corresponding nunciatures, that “in the world’s dioceses, the only ecclesiastical title henceforth to be conferred shall be “chaplain of His Holiness”, to which the appellation, “monsignor”, shall correspond.

The title shall be conferred only upon priests who have reached the age of 65.” Until now, diocesan priests under the age of 65 were eligible for the title, depending on the wishes of their bishops. The circular further clarifies that the use of the title “monsignor” in connection with certain major offices and where this is a cultural practice – such as for a bishop or the vicar general of the diocese - “remains unchanged.”

Read more: Pope Francis Changes Rules on Use of "Monsignor" Title

Reflects on Discerning God's Will During Morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta

“The Christian is a man or a woman who knows to keep watch over his or her heart,” the Holy Father observed in his homily this morning at Casa Santa Marta.

The Pope reflected on the importance of vigilance in discerning what comes from God.

Speaking on the first reading from the 1st Letter of John, the Holy Father began by referring to John’s call of remaining in the Lord as a “counsel for life” that allows us to understand what goes on in one’s heart.

“It is necessary to know the discernment of spirits, to discern whether something helps us remain in the Lord or takes us away from Him,” he said. “Our heart always has desires, has cravings, has thoughts. But are these from the Lord or do some of these things take us away from the Lord?”

The Holy Father echoed the Apostle John’s invitation to test the spirits, that which think and desire.

“Test the spirits to see if they really come from God, because many false prophets have come into the world. Prophets or prophesies or suggestions: ‘I want to do this!’ But this does not bring you to the Lord, it leads you away from Him,” he stressed.

Read more: Pope Francis: "Test the Spirits to See If They Really Come from God"

 

 

Our Pope, Francis, was born on Dec. 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires as Jorge Mario Bergoglio. He is 76 years old, and while an Argentinian by birth, his surname betrays his Italian roots. His father was a railway worker who immigrated to Argentina from Italy, and Bergoglio is one of five children.

After earning a secondary school degree as a chemical technician, Bergoglio felt a call to the priesthood.He joined the Society of Jesus, entering the novitiate in 1958. He received a philosophy degree in 1963 and spent the next three years teaching literature and psychology.

 

Bergoglio then studied theology from 1967 to 1970, during which time he was ordained a priest. His priestly ordination was on Dec. 13, 1969. Father Bergoglio did the final state of Jesuit formation from 1970 to 1971, and was novice master at the Jesuit seminary in San Miguel, a Buenos Aires suburb, from 1972 to 1973, where he taught theology.

In 1973, he made his perpetual vows in the Society, and that year was elected provincial for Argentina. After his time as provincial, from 1980 to 1986, he served as rector of the seminary at San Miguel, where he had studied, and was pastor of a parish in the city.

He went to Germany in 1986 to finish his doctoral thesis, after which he served as a professor, confessor and spiritual director.

In 1992, he was consecrated auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires, and given the titular see of Auca. He became Buenos Aires’ coadjutor bishop in 1997, and succeeded as the see’s archbishop the following year. His role as Archbishop of Buenos Aires made him also the Bishop of the ordinariate for Eastern rite Catholics in Argentina. (Except those of the Armenian Catholic Church in Argentina, who have their own bishop.)

Bergoglio was elevated to cardinal in 2001 and was appointed cardinal-priest of San Roberto Bellarmino, a Roman parish associated with the Jesuit order.

       He served as an official of the 10th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in 2001 and was for a time the president of the Argentine bishops’ conference.

 

Read more: BIOGRAPHY OF POPE FRANCIS