Here is a quick translation of what Pope Francis said about his priestly identity in the Q&A when he met with the clergy of the diocese of Rome recently:
The Pope then responded to one who asked him how he defined himself now, seeing that when he was Archbishop in Buenos Aires, he loved to define himself simply as “priest.”
“But I really do feel like a priest. I feel that I am a priest, really, a bishop … I feel that way, no? And I thank the Lord for this. [applause] I’d be afraid of thinking myself to be a little more important, no? Of that, yes: I’m afraid of that, because the devil is crafty, eh? He is crafty, and he makes you feel that now you have power, that you can do this, that you can do that… but he is always on the prowl around us, he prowls around us, like a lion – that’s what St. Peter says, no? But thanks be to God, I haven’t lost “that,” not yet, no? And if you see at some point that I’ve lost it, please, tell me, tell me, and if you can’t say it privately, say it publicly, but say it: ‘Look out, be converted!’, because it’s clear, no?” [applause]
If you want to know why Francis has credibility, has real moral authority – here it is: he has the humility to say, “If I’m getting uppity, somebody please tell me!” It’s a good example for all of us, whatever our level of responsibility in church or society.