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The courage of faithfulness

· Benedict XVI's Address to the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy ·

A serious responsibility that unites the Pope to his collaborators

“God’s faithfulness is the key to, and the source of, our own faithfulness”: a virtue that “for those who work in the Holy See, is of particular importance” since it perfectly expresses the bond “existing between the Pope and his direct collaborators, both in the Roman Curia and in the Papal Representations”.

The Pope chose to spoke about faithfulness to the priests that, having concluded the formation process of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, are about to arrive in the various places in the world where they will work with the local Churches and make contact with the local authorities of the country. The Holy Father received in Audience these priests on Monday, 11 June, together with the other members of the academic community.

Faithfulness in the Bible, explained Benedict XVI, is above all “a divine attribute: God reveals himself as the one who remains ever faithful to his Covenant with his people, despite their unfaithfulness”.
“God sees to the fulfilment of his loving plan; thus, he is trustworthy and true”. Therefore this divine attribute “makes it possible in turn for men and women to be faithful”.  For human beings, the virtue of faithfulness “is profoundly linked to the supernatural gift of faith” and it becomes expression of  “that steadfastness proper to those who have made God the foundation of their entire lives”.

Faithfulness, asked of the Pope's collaborators, is a “serious responsibility, but also a special gift which as time goes on should make (one) grow in closeness to the Pope, a closeness marked by interior trust, a natural idem sentire , which is exactly expressed by the word 'faithfulness'”.

Thus a particular gift to those priests about to depart: from the faithfulness to Peter “who sends you forth”, said the Pope, “also gives rise to a special faithfulness towards those to whom you are sent”. In this way he explained “you will also help the Successor of Peter to be faithful to the mission he has received from Christ”. He continued: “here I can only mention with gratitude the assistance that I receive every day from my many collaborators in the Roman Curia and in Papal Representations, as well as the support that comes to me from the prayers of countless brothers and sisters worldwide”.

Benedict XVI concluded by recalling that the faithfulness of the entire Church and the Holy See “is no 'blind' loyalty, for it is enlightened by our faith in the One who said: 'You are Peter, and on on this rock I will build my Church'”.

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