2010-11-05 14:30:05

Priestly conversion needed for credible church reform, Pope says

(November 5, 2010) Personal conversion and purification, especially for priests, are critical steps in the process of true and credible reform of the church according to Pope Benedict XVI. The church community today is experiencing "trials and suffering, and it shows the need for purification and reform," he said. The pope made his remarks in a written message on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the Nov. 1 canonization of St. Charles Borromeo. The message addressed to Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi of Milan, Italy, was released on the Nov. 4 feast of St. Charles. Pope Benedict recalled how St. Charles, who was archbishop of Milan, was a major influence in the church's counter-reformation movement. At the time, the church community suffered from major divisions, "doctrinal confusions, faith and customs whose purity was clouded, and the bad example of various sacred ministers," he said. Without limiting himself to deploring or condemning the problems or just hoping for others to change, Pope Benedict said, St. Charles began by reforming his own life, relinquishing all wealth and comfort and filling his life with prayer, penance and dedication to his flock. The Holy Father held out St. Charles Borromeo as an appropriate example of someone who, through personal and communal conversion, was able to "transform hearts" through the power of prayer and penance. He urged all priests and deacons to turn their lives into "a courageous journey toward sainthood and not fear the exhilaration of Christ's trusting love." 

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