Note from Editor:
V.I.S. as quoted below: speak entirely in their own capacity.
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Below: From V.I.S. Vatican Information Service: (font made bold, colour changed):
"YEAR FOR PRIESTS: COMPLETE IDENTIFICATION WITH CHRIST
VATICAN CITY, 24 JUN 2009 (VIS) - During today's general audience, held in St. Peter's Square, the Pope focused his remarks on the Year for Priests which he inaugurated last Friday, Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and day of prayer for the sanctification of the clergy, and which is intended to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Mary Vianney.
"Why a Year for Priests?" the Pope asked. "And why should it recall the holy 'Cure of Ars' who apparently did nothing out of the ordinary?"
The Holy Father went on to explain how "Divine Providence ordained that the figure [of St. John May Vianney] should be associated with that of St. Paul" because, "although the two saints followed very different life paths, ... these exists nonetheless a fundamental factor that unites them: their total identification with their ministry, their communion with Christ".
"The aim of this Year for Priests", he went on, "is to support each priest's struggle towards spiritual perfection, 'upon which the effectiveness of his ministry particularly depends', and to help priests, and with them the entire People of God, to rediscover and revive an awareness of the extraordinary and indispensable gift of Grace which the ordained ministry represents, for the person who receives it, for the entire Church, and for the world which would be lost without the real presence of Christ".
"Although the historical and social conditions in which the 'Cure of Ars' worked have changed, it is right to ask how priests can imitate him by identifying themselves with their ministry in modern globalised societies", said the Pope.
"In a world in which the common view of life leaves ever less space for the sacred, in place of which 'functionality' becomes the only decisive category, the Catholic concept of priesthood could risk losing its due regard, sometimes even in the ecclesial conscience".
The Holy Father identified two conceptions of the priesthood, "which do not in fact contradict one another". On the one hand "a social-functional conception which identifies the essence of priesthood with the concept of 'service'. ... On the other hand there is a sacramental-ontological conception" which sees priestly ministry "as determined by a gift called Sacrament, granted by the Lord through the mediation of the Church".
"What", the Pope asked, "does it mean for priests to evangelise? In what does the primacy of announcement exist? ... Announcement coincides with the person of Christ", he said, "a priest cannot consider himself as 'master' of the Word, but as its servant".
"Only participation in Christ's sacrifice, in His 'chenosi', ... and docile obedience to the Church ... makes announcement authentic. ... Priests are Christ's servants, in the sense that their existence, ontologically configured to Him, have an essentially relational character. The priest is in Christ, for Christ and with Christ at the service of humankind. Precisely because he belongs to Christ, the priest is radically at the service of man".
Benedict XVI concluded by expressing the hope that "the Year for Priests may lead all the clergy to identify themselves completely with Christ Who died and rose again, so that, imitating St. John the Baptist, they may be ready 'to diminish' that He may grow; and that, following the example of the 'Cure of Ars', they may be constantly and profoundly aware of their mission, which is both sign and presence of the infinite mercy of God".
AG/YEAR FOR PRIESTS/... VIS 090624 (580)
POPE RECALLS CHILDREN IN WAR ZONES, RED CROSS, HOSTAGES
VATICAN CITY, 24 JUN 2009 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, the Holy Father greeted a delegation headed by Radhika Coomaraswamy, under secretary general of the United Nations and special representative for children and armed conflict.
The Pope expressed his appreciation for the efforts made by Ms. Coomaraswamy and her collaborators "to defend the child victims of violence and arms, I am thinking of all the children of the world, especially those who suffer fear, abandonment, hunger, abuses, sickness and death. The Pope remains close to all these young victims and always remembers them in his prayers".
He then went on to recall that on 24 June 1859, 150 years ago today, "was born the idea for a great movement to assist the victims of war, a movement which later took the name of Red Cross.
"With the passage of the years", the Holy Father added, "the values of universality, neutrality and independence of service have aroused the support of millions of volunteers all over the world, creating an important bulwark of humanity and solidarity in numerous contexts of war and conflict, and in many emergency situations. While expressing the hope that human beings in all their dignity and integrity will remain at the centre of the Red Cross's humanitarian efforts, I particularly encourage young people to make a concrete commitment to this most worthy organisation.
"I also take advantage of this moment", Benedict XVI concluded, "to ask for the release of all people held hostage in areas of conflict and, once again, for the release of Eugenio Vagni, Red Cross worker in the Philippines".
AG/CHILDREN WAR RED CROSS HOSTAGES/... VIS 090624 (290)
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
VATICAN CITY, 24 JUN 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Jose Benedito Simao, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Sao Paulo, Brazil, as bishop of Assis (area 9,077, population 304,000, Catholics 258,600, priests 53, religious 67), Brazil.
NER/.../SIMAO VIS 090624 (50)"
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