Pope: True authority of Church of Rome is the love of Christ
(Vatican Radio) “The true authority of the Church of Rome is the charity of Christ.” That was the message of Pope Francis to members of the Pontifical Eccesiastical Academy, the “Accademia” – the Roman institution responsible for preparing priests for the diplomatic service of the Holy See.
It is only the charity of Christ that makes the Church of Rome “universal and credible” to human beings and to the world. This, the Pope continued, “is the heart of its truth, which does not build walls of division and exclusion, but makes bridges that build communion and recall the whole human race to unity; this is its secret power, which nourishes its unshakable hope, invincible despite momentary defeats.”
Pope Francis told the future diplomats that the service to which they will be called requires them to defend the liberty of the Apostolic See, which, “in order not to betray its mission before God and for the true good of men,” must not get caught up in factions, or “allow itself to be colonized by the popular thoughts of the day, or by the illusory hegemony of the ‘mainstream’.”
In a series of analogies, the Holy Father warned the students not to expect “the ground to be ready” but to be prepared to “plow it with your hands… in order to prepare it for the seed” in hopeful expectation of a harvest which they, perhaps, may never see. He asked them not “to fish in aquariums or fish farms” but to have the courage to go to the margins, to cast their “nets and fishing poles” in lesser known areas, without getting used to “eating fish that others have prepared.”
The Holy Father reminded them that their mission will take them all over the world: “To Europe, needing to be awakened; to Africa, thirsty for reconciliation; to Latin America starving for nourishment and interiority; to North America, intent upon rediscovering the roots of an identity that does not define itself in terms of exclusion; in Asia and Oceania, challenged by the capacity of fermenting in diaspora and dialogue with the vastness of ancestral culture.”
Pope Francis assuring his audience of his prayers for them, and asked for theirs in return. He concluded his remarks with a reminder: “Your whole life is at the service of the Gospel and of the Church. Never forget it!”