Ronald D. Witherup PSS
This first of three articles provides an overview of a new document on priestly formation, ‘The Gift of the Priestly Vocation’ or Ratio approved by Pope Francis. Ronald D. Witherup PSS is Superior General of the Society of the Priests of Saint Sulpice.
In the making for several years, a new Roman document on priestly formation finally appeared on 8 December 2016, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Titled ‘The Gift of the Priestly Vocation’, it is actually the Ratio fundamentalis institutionis sacerdotalis (hereafter, Ratio) or basic programme of priestly formation. It was promulgated by the Congregation for Clergy, with the approbation of Pope Francis. It is signed by the Prefect, Cardinal Beniamino Stella, the two Secretaries of the Congregation, Archbishop Joël Mercier and Archbishop Jorge Patrón Wong (charged with seminaries), and the Under-secretary, Mgr Antonio Neri.
Although this document, which guides the formation of presbyters (priests)1 all around the world, is periodically revised and updated, this particular edition is the result of a broad and lengthy consultation that began in 2014.