A mere mention of the word priest quickly takes minds to philosophy or/and theology. This is true though, because these two subjects continue to occupy central place in their studies. But before embracing philosophy or theology, there is one main thing that often and naturally should have occupied the mind of the candidate; the urge to serve God and the willingness to live a consecrated life.
Those who have passed through this when asked why they decided on this vocation, often respond by saying it was a call. Many non Christians and even some Christians are still to understand what it really means to receive a call. The Priesthood, once embraced, is compelled to face a litany of hurdles.
This too, is not abnormal and if it were to be abnormal, then there wouldn't have been any need for priesthood. In fact, priests are trained to help Christians fight the devil whose work are readily embedded in the medley of daily hurdles traversed by man.
How successful, the men of God has been exercising their vocation is another issue. The world is changing at an almost geometric rate. This change in itself is a huge challenge for the priestly vocation. In fact, it is amazing to watch the fast pace of advancement in many fields of science and technology that affects the everyday lives of the common man. Committed research and explorations in every field of human venture have brought out drastic changes in the society.
Pope Francis, the 266th and current Pope of the Catholic Church is quite aware of these challenges and does not want the Catholic Church to fall prey to it. Hence the release of the fundamental document streamlining the readjustments in the training process of young priests.
The document, "Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis" is serving as working tool for members of the National Episcopal Conference who have the arduous task to contextualize it to Cameroonian reality.
They are surely working taking into consideration the new challenges in the profession. The emerging global culture and fast growing communication media offer opportunities as well as challenges in the area of formation. The spirit of inquiry and scrutiny has not left any aspect of human life out of the reach of investigation and research.
Some of these queries have focused public attention on the private living of publicly professed consecrated persons, exposing at times the inconsistencies of the clergy and the religious.
Though it has demoralized the clergy and scandalized the people in some contexts, it has also resulted in honest efforts to bridge the gap between the ideal and the actual and to look for effective and adequate pedagogy for formation.
In this wise, three main challenges need to be overcome; the challenge of excellence, authenticity and fidelity. The new dispensation tells of the need to constantly readjust in order to enable the word of God impact on the lives of the Christian communities.