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Monday, February 14, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 12 FEB 2011 (VIS) - At midday today the Holy Father received priests and seminarians of the Fraternity of St. Charles Borromeo, which is currently celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary. The group was accompanied Msgr. Massimo Camisaca, founder and president of the fraternity, and by Fr. Julian Carron, president of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation.

  "This moment brings to mind my long friendship with Msgr. Luigi Giussani", said the Pope, "and stands as testimony to the fecundity of his charism. On this occasion I would like to respond to two questions which our meeting today raises in my mind: What is the place of the ordained priesthood in the life of the Church? What is the place of fraternal life in the experience of priests?

  "The Christian priesthood is not an end unto itself. It was established by Jesus for the birth and life of the Church. ... The glory and joy of the priesthood is to serve Christ and His mystical Body. ... The presence of priestly vocations is a sure sign of the authenticity and vitality of a Christian community. God calls at all times, also to the priesthood. There is no true and fruitful growth in the Church without an authentic priestly presence to support and nourish it".

  In this context the Pope expressed his gratitude "to everyone who dedicates their energy to the formation of priests and to the reform of priestly life. Like the rest of the Church, in fact, the priesthood also needs continual renewal, rediscovering the most essential traits of its being in the life of Jesus". Such renewal requires "profound education in meditation and prayer", as well as "a study of theology which enables Christian truths to be discovered in a way that associates them to the life of the individual and the community".

  Going on then to refer to the importance of the shared life, the Holy Father explained that it is not simply "a strategy to respond to the lack of priests. Nor is it, per se, merely a stay against man's solitude and weakness. All this can also exist, of course, but only if the fraternal life is understood and experienced as a journey in which to immerse oneself in the reality of communion. ... No priest administers things which belong to him; rather, with his brethren he participates in a sacramental gift which comes directly from Jesus".

  "Living with other people means accepting the need for one's own continual conversion. Above all it means discovering the beauty of such a journey, the joy of humility, of penance, but also of conversation, of mutual forgiveness, of reciprocal support".

  Benedict XVI concluded by highlighting the importance "of abiding with Jesus in order to be able to abide with other people. This is the heart of the mission. In the company of Christ and of his brothers each priest can find the energy necessary to take care of mankind, to shoulder the spiritual and material needs he encounters, to teach - with ever-new words dictated by love - the eternal truths of the faith for which our contemporaries also thirst".
AC/                                    VIS 20110214 (530)

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