Church's Diplomats Must Be Missionaries of Dialogue, Says Pope

Receives Priest-Students of Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 31, 2004 ( The Church’s diplomatic representatives, including its papal nuncios, must be genuine missionaries through dialogue with national and international institutions, says John Paul II.

To carry out that mission of dialogue, the Pope recommended prayer and «mature and total faithfulness to Christ,» when receiving in audience the priest-students of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy. The academy forms those who in the future will work as papal aides in the apostolic nunciatures and the Vatican Secretariat of State.

In his address, the Holy Father reminded his listeners that they must participate in «the evangelizing mission of the Church,» carrying out their endeavors «in the ecclesial communities of the countries in which they work» and «before governments and national and international organizations.»

This calls for an «ability to dialogue, knowledge of the different peoples, of their cultural and religious expressions, as well as of their legitimate aspirations,» he said.

«It is indispensable, at the same time, that you have appropriate theological and pastoral formation and, above all, mature and total faithfulness to Christ,» John Paul II added.

«Only if you remain united to him through prayer and the constant seeking of his will, will your work be beneficial and will you be totally fulfilled as priests,» he said.

The life of many Popes of the last century was closely linked to the academy. Leo XIII, Benedict XV, Pius XII and Paul VI were either students or professors of this institution. It is headed by Spanish Archbishop Justo Mullor García, who came to Rome after being apostolic nuncio in Mexico.

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