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    » 08/05/2009, 00.00

    VATICAN

    Pope: Priests in love with Christ, against the "dictatorship of relativism"



    Benedict XVI returns to the Cure d'Ars as a model for priests during the year dedicated to them. He fought against the "dictatorship of rationalism"; Today the priest is fighting against the "dictatorship of relativism." But both rationalism and relativism do not satisfy the thirst for truth that is in the heart of man. The pastoral effectiveness of the Cure d'Ars depended on his "friendship with Christ."

    Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) - "Contemporary relativism mortifies reason, because in fact it arrives at the point of affirming that the human being knows nothing with certainty beyond the field of positive science”. Thus man remains a "beggar for meaning and fulfilment," "in constant search for comprehensive answers to questions of substance that he ceaselessly poses to himself”. Thus, just as the Council invites, the priests of today must remember this "thirst for truth," that is burning in the heart of every man, and become teachers of the faith, capable of "opening up the way that leads to Christ [and the Church] to all people”.

    This was the heart of the pope’s message in his first general audience from the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo summer, dedicated to the figure of Saint John Mary Vianney, whose memorial was celebrated yesterday. Benedict XVI reaffirmed the value of the Saint, known as the Curé d'Ars, as an example for all priests in the this year for priests, launched on the occasion of 150 anniversary of his death, which occurred on  August 4,1859.

    Beyond the differences, and "even admirable" "nineteenth century devotional spirituality” of the Curé d'Ars, the pontiff stressed the need to see the  “prophetic power" of his priestly personality.

    "In post-revolutionary France - explained the pope – that was experiencing a kind of 'dictatorship of rationalism' bent on erasing the very presence of priests and the Church in society, he lived, first - in the years of his youth - a heroic clandestinity travelling kilometres at night to attend Mass. Then - as a priest – he stood out for his unique and fruitful pastoral creativity in showing that the rationalism which prevailed at the time, was far from meeting real needs and moreover, ultimately not worth living. "  

    "If then there was a 'dictatorship of rationalism' - continued the Pope - at present there is in many environments, a kind of 'dictatorship of relativism'. Both responses are inadequate to the man’s just demand to fully use his own reason as a distinctive and constitutive element of his identity. Rationalism was inadequate because it did not take account of human limitations and wanted to elevate reason alone as the sole measure of all things, transforming it into a god; contemporary relativism mortifies reason, because it arrives at the point of certifying that the human being knows nothing with certainty beyond the field of positive science. "

    The priest today must indicate or facilitate those "who do not believe the path that leads to Christ and his Church", and for those who already believe, the priest must "stimulate, nurture and support the spiritual battle."

    The pope also outlined the condition for this pastoral commitment: "the priest must create an intimate personal union with Christ, to be nurtured and augmented day by day. Only then will he touch the hearts of the people and open them to the merciful Lord. "

    The pope recalled that the Curé d'Ars was over a period of great abandonment to the faith, able to help his "parishioners rediscover the meaning and the beauty of sacramental penance, showing it to be an intimate requirement of the Eucharistic Presence."

    The Curé d'Ars, said the pontiff, "managed to touch the hearts of the people not by virtue of their human skills, nor relying solely on an, albeit laudable, effort of the will; he conquered souls, even the most refractory, by communicating to them what he intimately lived, that is his friendship with Christ. It was his 'being in love' with Christ, and the true secret of his success was the pastoral love that he had for the mystery of the Eucharist proclaimed, celebrated and lived. "

    The pope spoke at length on the childhood of the Curé d'Ars, the faith lived in the family, his illiteracy as a child, the difficulties of his vocation. Nevertheless, “in his pastoral service, as simple as it was extraordinarily fruitful, this anonymous priest in a remote village in southern France was able to become one with his own ministry, to become, even in a visible and universally recognizable way, alter Christus, the image of the Good Shepherd, who, unlike the mercenary, gives his life for his sheep (cf. Jn 10:11). "

    Ultimately, said Benedict XVI, "the effectiveness of the mission of every priest," and "the credibility of witness" depends "on holiness”.

    "Let us pray – he concluded –so that, through the intercession of Saint John Marie Vianney, God makes a gift to his Church of holy priests, and so believers may grow in their desire to support and assist their ministry. We entrust this intention to Mary, whom today we invoke as Our Lady of the Snows”.

    Photo: CPP

     
     
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    See also

    11/02/2009 VATICAN
    Faith, hope and charity, a spiritual journey’s start and end, says Pope
    After 20 catecheses devoted to Saint Paul, Benedict XVI in today’s general audience talks again about the great spiritual figures of the Middle Ages. Saint john Climacus and his ‘Ladder of Paradise” show human life’s “climb” towards God.

    28/06/2009 VATICAN
    Follow Saint Paul in one’s passion for Christ and the Gospel, says Pope
    Benedict XVI sums up the positive results of the Pauline Year which comes to an end tonight. Saint Paul is also a model for priests in this Year for Priests which just began. The Pontiff greets the parish priest and the faithful from Latakiyah (Syria). Tonight the Pontiff will preside over Vespers in the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, together with representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

    19/08/2009 VATICAN
    Pope: Priests formed and consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary, like St. John Eudes
    Benedict XVI stresses the importance of ongoing formation of clergy, by comparing our era to that of the French saint, who had "clear awareness of the serious need for spiritual help in which souls languished also because of the failure of much of clergy”.

    31/08/2009 PHILIPPINES
    Year for Priests in Manila: confessions and fund raising for seminaries
    Across the Philippines a number of initiatives are being undertaken for the ‘Year for Priests’. Through days of prayer, fasting and fund raising, priests and lay people are bearing witness to society of their meeting with Christ, inviting young people to offer their lives in the service of God and the Church.

    01/04/2009 VATICAN
    Pope: the Church accompanies Africa in the great challenges that await it
    At the general audience, Benedict XVI recalls the stages of his first trip to the African continent. The presentation of the working document for the next African Synod. The need for evangelization, hope for the young, the role of women, the pursuit of interreligious dialogue with the Muslims.



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