2009-02-20 14:57:23

Pope addresses Pontifical Commission for Latin America

(February 20, 2009) Pope Benedict acknowledged there is a great need for priests in Latin America but he said this should not result doing away with or lowering the standard of careful discernment and preparation for candidates to priesthood. Meeting the participants of the plenary assembly of the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for Latin America on Friday, the Pope said that one cannot neglect the necessary requirements, including rigorous training process in order to help form exemplary priests after the heart of Christ. The plenary assembly was discussing the current situation of seminaries in Latin America. Pope Benedict stressed that in their priestly training what is of utmost importance is that candidates build a personal relationship with the Lord, which is nourished by listening to His Word and by participating in the Eucharist. This personal experience then needs to be transmitted to others with great enthusiasm, the Pope said. He underscored the importance of carefully watching the candidates’ human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral development. Seminaries, he added, also need appropriate trainers and teachers, distinguished for their academic training, priestly enthusiasm and their loyalty to the Church, so that they instil in the young people of what God requires and expects of its pastors.

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