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Friday, June 10, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 10 JUN 2011 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received the superiors and students of the institution that trains candidates for the Holy See diplomatic service, the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, with its president, Archbishop Beniamino Stella.

  Speaking of pontifical diplomacy, the Pope explained that it "has a very long tradition and its activities have contributed in no small part to shaping the very face of diplomatic relations between States in modern times".

  "Loyalty, coherence, and a profound humanity", he said, "are the fundamental virtues of any envoy, who is a called to put, not only their work and their qualities but, in some way, their entire person at the service of a word that is not their own".

  Speaking of the person and the actions of a diplomat of the Holy See, Benedict XVI emphasized that "he is first a priest, a bishop. ... He is a servant of the Word of God who, like every priest, has received a mission that cannot be carried out part time but that requires him to be, with his entire life, an echo of the message that has been entrusted to him, the Gospel message. It is precisely on the basis of this priestly identity, very clearly and deeply lived, that one is called to adopt, with a certain naturalness, this specific task of being the bearer of the word of the Pope; called to bring the universal horizon of his ministry and his pastoral charity to the particular churches and the institutions in which his sovereignty is legitimately exercised in the state sphere or that of international organizations".

  The Pope noted that "in the exercise of such a delicate ministry, the care of one's own spiritual life, the practice of human virtues, and the formation of a solid culture are interwoven and mutually sustained. They are dimensions that allow one to maintain a deep inner balance in a work that requires, among other things, the capacity of openness to others, an equanimity of judgement, a critical distance from personal opinions, sacrifice, patience, constancy, and, at times, even firmness in the dialogue with others".

  "On the other hand", he concluded, "the service of the person of the Successor of Peter ... allows one to live in constant and profound reference to the catholicity of the Church. Where there is openness to the objectivity of catholicity, there also exists a principle of true personalization: a life dedicated to the service of the Pope and ecclesial communion is, in this sense, extremely enriching".
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