Serving Vatican Calls for Christian Mentality, Says Pope

Receives Pontifical Seat Bearers in Audience

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 13, 2006 ( Benedict XVI reminded the Pontifical Seat Bearers that service to the Holy See calls for a Christian mentality and lifestyle.

The Pope received in audience today the «sediari pontifici,» the corps of men who traditionally carried the Pope’s «sedia gestatoria.» The «sedari» were the pallbearers in Pope John Paul II’s funeral.

The service of the «sediari pontifici,» who now carry out functions of protocol in the Pontifical Household, dates back to the 14th century. The position is passed on from generation to generation.

In the meeting in the Vatican’s Consistory Hall, the Holy Father said that he hoped «that you may always be — both in the Vatican and at home, in the parish and in all situations — helpful and attentive to others.»

«This is a precious lesson for your children and grandchildren, who will learn from your example how service to the Holy See means, above all, a Christian mentality and lifestyle,» he said.

The Pope has the opportunity to greet the «sediari pontifici» almost daily, as they assist in welcoming personalities and groups he receives in audience.


«Diligence, courtesy and discretion must be the characteristics that distinguish you in your work,» said the Pontiff, adding that it must manifest concretely «your love for the Church and your dedication to the Successor of Peter.»

«Your work, then, is part of a context wherein everything must speak to the whole world of the Church of Christ, and must do so coherently, imitating him who ‘came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as ransom for many,'» Benedict XVI said.

This is the meaning of the reforms put into effect by recent Popes, in particular Paul VI, who gave up the «sedia gestatoria.»

«Ceremonies were simplified, bringing them back to a greater sobriety more in keeping with the Christian message and the needs of the times,» said Benedict XVI.

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