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Pope targets priestly formation in PNG/Solomons

Pope Benedict XVI has stressed the value of proper formation of priests and religious, in his address to the Bishops of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands at the end of their five-yearly ad limina visit to Rome.

He told the Bishops that it is in their own best interest to closely monitor the formation of priests, as "priests are and must be a Bishop's closest cooperators".

"This special relationship is expressed most effectively through your assiduous care to uphold the unique identity of your priests, to encourage their personal sanctification in the ministry, and to foster a deepening of their pastoral commitment," he said.

The Holy Father said that priestly identity must never be likened to any secular title or confused with civic or political office.

"Rather, configured to Christ who emptied himself taking the form of a servant (cf. Philippians 2:7-8), the priest lives a life of simplicity, chastity and humble service, which inspires others by example," he said.

Benedict referred to the participation of the young in the mission of the Church, the outstanding generosity of missionaries, and the flowering of local vocations.

He acknowledged that they "have not hesitated to recognise the difficulties which continue to afflict [the] Dioceses... In the face of these, the faithful look to you to be courageous witnesses to Christ."

Papal Address to Bishops of Papua New Guinea and Solomons (Zenit 26/6/05)

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Catholic Church in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands


28 Jun 2005