(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the bishops of the Dominican Republic on Thursday morning in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican. The Dominican bishops are here in Rome for their ad limina visits.
In remarks prepared for the occasion and delivered in writing on Thursday morning, Pope Francis focused on the need for the bishops to promote and defend the family founded on marriage: the lifelong union of one man and one woman open to life and prepared to keep faith with their promises to one another, come what may, for each other and for the good of society. “The family,” said Pope Francis, “is the place where we learn to live together in difference, to forgive and to experience forgiveness, and where parents pass on values to their to their children, and especially the faith.”
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Pope Francis also encouraged the bishops to have particular cconcern for the formation and ongoing spiritual development of their clergy. “I invite you to take time and care for priests, to care for each of them, to defend them from the wolves, which also attack the shepherds,” he said.
The Holy Father praised and encouraged the bishops to continue and to expand their care for immigrants, especially those from neighboring Haiti, who come to the Dominican Republic in search of better living conditions. “We must continue to cooperate with civil authorities to achieve solutions to the problems of those who are deprived of documents or denied their basic rights,” in a manner genuinely compatible with solidarity.
Pope Francis concluded with a call to the bishops for greater attention to the duty of stewardship, especially as regards the created order. “The relationship between man and nature should not be ruled by greed, by manipulation or by over-exploitation,” he said, “but must keep the divine harmony among creatures and creation, to put them at the service of all and of future generations.”
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