Pope says world needs courageous and caring priests

Priests must be not afraid to bring God's love to all people, but also capable of living mature, holy lives, while respecting the Church's teaching authority, Pope Benedict XVI has told a seminary audience in Rome.

Catholic News Service reports that he made the remarks on Friday to 60 members of Almo Capranica College, a diocesan seminary of Rome.

"In order to respond to the expectations of modern society" and be part of the enormous task of evangelization, "prepared and courageous priests are needed, who without ambition and fear, but convinced of Gospel truth, make proclaiming Christ their first concern," the Holy Father said.

Today's priests must "be ready to bow before human suffering" and help everyone feel "the comfort of God's love and the warmth of the ecclesial family," he said.

While such care and concern must be extended to all people, "the poor and those immersed in difficulty" need special attention, he said.

In order to carry out these duties, priests need to embody "human maturity and a diligent compliance with revealed truth which the magisterium of the church faithfully presents," Pope Benedict said.

They also must demonstrate "a serious commitment to personal holiness" and lead a virtuous life that is especially marked by humility and charity, he added.

As shepherds of the church, pastors need to help foster a sense of communion among their parishioners so that "everyone might have a growing awareness of belonging to the one body of Christ," said the pope.

The pope told seminarians the more they "keep their gaze fixed on Christ" and "remain in communion with him," the more they would be able to "faithfully follow in his footsteps."

World needs courageous, caring priests, says pope at Rome seminary (Catholic News Service 20/1/06)

Pope tells seminarians: Reach out to God's people, particularly poor, suffering (Catholic News Agency 20/1/06)
Human maturity and adherence to Church's Magisterium (Vatican Information Service 20/1/06)
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Benedict XVI Describes the Priest the Church Needs (Zenit 20/1/06)

23 Jan 2006