Pope to Brazilian Bishops: "Desperate Lives are Seeking Hope"
(07 Sep 09 - RV) Pope Benedict met with bishops from Western Brazil on Monday in the
first of a series of ad limina visits from different parts of the country – which
has the world’s largest Catholic population, with over 130 million members. Pope
Benedict visited the country in 2007. The Holy Father spoke to the bishops about the
formation of priests. He said that although Brazil still has too few members of the
clergy, attention must be paid to the careful formation of the priesthood. Speaking
in Portuguese, the Pope warned of the secularizing influence on the Church – of compromises
made to draw people into the Church – people the Pope points out never came. The Pope
says the younger generation, which grew up in this environment, is seeking transcendence.
He says it is the young men of this generation who are now arriving at the seminary,
and they need to find teachers who are true men of God, priests fully dedicated to
formation, to witness to the gift of self to the Church by celibacy and an austere
life, according to the model of Christ the Good Shepherd. He says seminarians must
strive to meet the Lord daily in the Eucharist, to love silence and prayer, and to
seek the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Pope Benedict offered the patron
of this year of priests, the Cure of Ars, as a model for those in seminary, and he
urged the bishops to take up the topic of priestly formation during the plenary meeting
of Brazilian bishops next April.