VATICAN CITY, JUNE 14, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Being a spokesman for the Vicar of Christ might be an exacting task, but it is also an original way to fulfill the priestly vocation, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope made this reflection today when he addressed members of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, which is responsible for training candidates for the Holy See diplomatic service.
The Holy Father reflected with the students on the concept of representation.
“Not rarely,” he said, “it is considered in a partial way in contemporary understanding: In fact, there is a tendency to associate it to something merely external, formal, not very personal.
“The service of representation for which you have been preparing yourselves is instead something far more profound because it is participation in the ‘sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum,’ which characterizes the ministry of the Roman Pontiff. It is, because of this, an eminently personal reality, destined to influence profoundly the one who is called to undertake such a particular task.”
Passion for communion
The Pontiff suggested that certain elements of priestly life must get special attention when one is a Holy See diplomat.
The first of these, he said, is “a full interior adherence to the person of the Pope, to his magisterium and to the universal ministry; full adherence, that is, of the one who has received the task to confirm brothers in the faith.”
Secondly, a Holy See representative should “assume, as style of life and as daily priority, an attentive care — a true ‘passion’ — for ecclesial communion,” Benedict XVI proposed. “Again, to represent the Roman Pontiff means to have the capacity to be a solid ‘bridge,’ a sure channel of communication between the particular Churches and the Apostolic See: on one hand, putting at the disposition of the Pope and of his collaborators an objective, correct and profound view of the ecclesial and social reality in which one lives, on the other, being committed to transmit the norms, indications and guidelines that emanate from the Holy See, not in a bureaucratic way, but with profound love of the Church.”
The Pope acknowledged that such a mission “calls for full determination and generous willingness to sacrifice, if necessary, personal intuitions, one’s own projects and other possibilities of exercising the priestly ministry.”
But, he affirmed, this sacrifice will not “devalue each one’s originality but, on the contrary, is extremely enriching.”
The papal representative becomes a “sign of the presence and of the charity of the Pope,” he said.
“And if that is a benefit for the life of all the particular Churches,” Benedict XVI continued, “it is so especially in those particularly delicate or difficult situations in which, for varied reasons, the Christian community finds itself having to live.”
Thus serving as a Holy See diplomat is an “authentic priestly service,” the Pope affirmed.
Furthermore, he said, the diplomat “will always be profoundly identified, in a supernatural sense, with the one whom he represents. To be spokesman of the Vicar of Christ could be demanding, at times extremely exacting, but it will never be mortifying or depersonalizing. It becomes, instead, an original way of carrying out one’s priestly vocation.”
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