Thomas at American Papist has a poll question asking “What is the single most important position for a pope to have held prior to his election?” The options include parish priest, diocesan bishop, curial office, monastic or contemplative order, teacher at a seminary/grad school, or diplomat. I voted for parish priest, because I think what’s most important is that one have the experience of dealing with the faith as it is lived. A priest needs to console the grieving, baptize the young, visit the sick, and so on. Otherwise, it’s too easy to become a bureaucrat.
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