“The charity of Christ is the true authority of the Church of Rome.”
This was the central theme of Pope Francis’ address to the students of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy. The Vatican institution oversees the formation of the diplomats who will work at the Secretary of State and the apostolic nunciatures worldwide.
Reminding them of their duties to the local Churches that they will serve, the Pope said that the Holy See “presides in charity, “that is based not on vain pride but rather on the daily courage of the condescension or abasement of her Master.”
Christ’s charity, he continued, “is the sole force that renders her universal and credible for man and for the world: this is the heart of her truth, that does not erect walls of division and exclusion, but instead forms bridges to build up communion and to recall the unity of humanity.”
The Holy Father also exhorted the students to remember that they are called to reflect the face of Christ and not to become “high functionaries of the State.” He also conveyed the importance of protecting the memory of their path of service and to not be “hollowed out by cynicism “nor to lose sight of the face of He Who is at the origin of your journey.”
Continuing his address, Pope Francis called on the members of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy to become bridges and not assume superiority over other.
“The service to which you have been called requires you to protect the freedom of the Holy See, which so as not to betray her mission before God and for the true good of mankind cannot be imprisoned by the logic of cartels, taken hostage by the accounting division of factions, accept the division among consuls, submit to political powers and to be colonised by the current dominant streams of thought or the illusory hegemony of the mainstream,” he said.
“The mission you will one day be called to carry out will take you all over the world. In Europe, which needs to be reawakened; in Africa, which thirsts for reconciliation; in Latin America, which hungers for nourishment and inwardness; in North America, intent on rediscovering the roots of an identity that does not define itself in terms of exclusion; in Asia and Oceania, challenged by the capacity for transformation in diaspora and by dialogue with the immensity of ancestral cultures.”
Concluding his address, Pope Francis promised to accompany them with his prayers and that they may have a profound loved for the Church in their work.
“Your whole life is at the service of the Gospel and the Church. Never forget it!” he exclaimed.