Pope: Priests' Personalities Elevated, Not Suppressed

Addresses Seminarians of Pontifical Ethiopian College

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 30, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says that Christ does not suppress the characteristic traits of a person, but ennobles them, placing them at the service of his work.

The Pope made this observation Saturday during an audience with the community of the Pontifical Ethiopian College.

In his speech, the Pontiff reminded the priests and the seminarians that Christ “does not suppress the person’s characteristic qualities; on the contrary, he elevates them, he ennobles them, making them his; he calls them to serve his ministry and his work.”

“Despite the unique character of each person’s vocation, we are not separated from each other; instead we are in solidarity, in communion within a single spiritual organism,” he added. «We are called to form the whole Christ, a unity recapitulated in the Lord, vivified by his Spirit.”

At the same time, the Holy Father continued, “Christ is inseparable from the Church which is his Body.»

“It is in the Church that Christ joins the baptized more closely to himself,» he said, «and, nourishing them at the Eucharistic table, he brings them to participate in his glorious life.”


The Pontiff then reflected on the “luminous figure of St. Giustino di Jacobis” (1800-1860), whose 150th anniversary of death was observed July 31. Di Jacobis was beatified by Pope Pius XII on June 25, 1939, and canonized by Pope Paul VI on Oct. 26, 1975.

“Sent at 38 by the prefect of the Propaganda Fidei at the time, Cardinal Franzoni, as a missionary in Ethiopia, in Tigray, he first worked in Adua and then in Guala, where he immediately thought about forming Ethiopian priests,” Benedict XVI noted.

The Pope explained that the saint «worked tirelessly so that that portion of the People of God might rediscover the original fervor of the faith sown by the first evangelizer St. Frumentius.”

In particular, he continued, the saint «recognized that attention to the cultural context had to be a privileged way along which the Lord’s grace would form new generations of Christians.”

“Know how to awaken love of God and the Church in each person, following the example of St. Giustino di Jacobis,” the Pope said to the priests and seminarians of the Ethiopian College.

“Live this period of your formation with joy and dedication” and “walk along the way of sanctity with decision,” he added. “You are a sign of hope, especially for the Church in your countries.”

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